Click here to join The Daily Caller’s “Cigar Hunter” email list. Subscribers are automatically entered to win prizes from time to time.
“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.”
If you know what that means, buy yourself a cigar. You’ve earned it for sitting through a university seminar on Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy.”
Here are the Cliffs Notes: “Abandon all hope, you who enter here.” That’s the final inscription on the gate to hell in “The Inferno” — the first part of the epic Dante poem.
Yes, inferno literally means “hell” in Italian. I doubt the folks at Oliva Cigar had that in mind when they named a private-line cigar they make exclusively for the Famous Smoke Shop, and I can’t imagine they wanted fans of milder cigars to abandon all hope. (Update: the always-helpful Scott Shemtov at Famous Smoke informs me that it was his company, not Oliva, that picked the name.)
Smoking the “Inferno by Oliva” isn’t a hellish experience. It is, however, a pepper factory in a neat little Nicaraguan package.
The going rate online is $20.99 for a 5-pack of robustos (5 inches x 50 ring gauge), which is a pretty good deal at retail. Be aware, though, that the price probably isn’t going to go down since the cigar is made exclusively for one retailer.
But a funny thing happens when you start a cigar column: People send you free cigars. Famous Smoke sent me a few Infernos to try, so my cost for this review is a big fat $0.00. (Note to self: Launch a big-screen TV column as soon as humanly possible.)
I had the pleasure of sharing a pair of Infernos with my good friend Kelly Maher, the brains behind RevealingPolitics.com, while she was in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. She’s my first guest smoker and, I hope, not my last.
We both agreed that pepper was the primary flavor of this full-bodied cigar, but Kelly had a more nuanced take. “It’s more like a habanero pepper, where it slowly creeps up on you — and then ‘Bam! It’s pepper!’ — than it is like a jalapeño, which is ‘Bam!’ immediately.”
I didn’t think to tell her that the Inferno’s dark Nicaraguan wrapper leaf is cut from — drum roll, please — a Habanero leaf. Go figure.