Ammo & Gear Reviews

Cigar Hunter: ‘Tempus’ devours everything, said the Romans

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“Time, you devourer of things,” the line from the 15th book of the ancient Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses, goes:

Tempus edax rerum, tuque, invidiosa vetustas,
Omnia destruitis vitiataque dentibus aevi
Paulatim lenta consumitis omnia morte!

Oh time, you devourer of things, and you, envious old age,
Together you destroy everything. And slowly gnawing at them with your teeth,
You consume all things, little by little, in lingering death!

Okay, that’s dramatic as hell. But Ovid was making a point by having Pythagoras, of all people — yes, that triangle guy — give a lengthy speech about the constantly changing universe and all the things in it.

Everything must change, nothing stays the same. He may as well have been writing an R&B song. Helen of Troy gets wrinkles, Hercules gets flabby in geezerhood, and so on. And time is the universal leveler: We all croak in the end.

Then again, Pythagoras was also a vegetarian and droned on and on about not eating animals because we’re all reincarnated and you might be dining on your Uncle Phil. So perhaps we should put a steak on the grill and take the whole thing with a Lot’s Wife-size pillar of salt.

What does this have to do with cigars? Simple: Our tastes change as we age and our palates mature. I was a huge fan of Macanudos when I was in my 30s. Not any more. The taste of a Hyde Park just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. These days I like more intense flavors, darker wrappers, earthier profiles. But that doesn’t make my old fave a bad cigar. You might love it, and more power to you. (RELATED: Burning the midnight maduro)

Give in to the instinct to evolve. If you haven’t explored your own shifting cigar tastes in a while, there’s never a bad time to try new things. And new cigar brands have been cropping up like kudzu in the last few years.

Cigar Press magazine’s current cover story is about six amazing entrepreneurs who are changing the face of the industry: Jonathan Drew of the truly prolific Drew Estate, Jon Huber, formerly with CAO and now running the new artisanal Crowned Heads brand, Pete Johnson, with his wildly popular and biker-chic Tatuaje (“tattoo”) line, Dion Giolito of the well-regarded new-ish Illusione, George Rico of Gran Habano and Matt Booth of Camacho’s off-beat Room 101 blend — about the last two of which I know next to nothing.

But that’s the fun of it. I’ll bet I try them in the next month or two. And there’s no reason a new brand can’t become my new stand-by. (RELATED: Litto Gomez and the Rocky Mountain haircut)

Right now my default smoke is the Drew Estates Undercrown, a medium-bodied cigar that bears a clear family resemblance to the far more expensive Liga Privada line. I highly recommend them both.

But right now I’m warming up to something new: The Alec Bradley “Tempus” line. (See what I did there?) Cigar Insider, a publication of Cigar Aficionado, gave the Tempus a “94” rating, making it one of the best-regarded cigars out there this year.