The label itself is an explosion of printed colors. Humphries told me they took far more time to produce than he expected.
“They can’t make these in the U.S. It has something to do with the gold dust,” he said. “They have laws against this in the U.S. — it’s hysterical. They have to be made in Switzerland, or someplace in South America.”
The upper label, which will remain constant from president to president, features images of the White House, the Capitol dome, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
“One of the little things that I did for myself — I put the Vietnam wall on here,” Humphries explained, his voice suddenly lower. “My father was killed in Vietnam when I was three years old, in 1969. And so I wanted a little honor for my father.”
With that, the next table — occupied by National Review editors — seemed to join in our spontaneous moment of sympathetic silence. While the outdoor patio at Morton’s held its collective breath, I struck a match.
“Here’s to your dad.”
The first taste was a good hint of what was to come. The El Presidente started on the mild side, almost comparable to a Perdomo 10th Anniversary Champagne cigar. The first third was creamy with a hint of coffee and toasted cedar. But most of the flavor profile was a very pleasant, mild leather. (RELATED: Havana comes to Northern Africa)
It’s the kind of cigar you’ll enjoy smelling, even if you’re not the one smoking it.
Humphries smoked with me, but he wasn’t too interested in talking about whether his cigar would win any blind taste-tests. My talk of leather and the lack of a cocoa note suddenly made me feel decidedly geeky.
“That’s not my specialty. I know what I like, and I know what my market is,” he told me. “This is for the guy who enjoys going to the cigar lounge and talking about politics. A guy who enjoys it but is not obsessed by it. I didn’t want it too strong.”