Wrapper: Ecudadorian Habana 2000
Size: 4.5 x 54 Robusto
Price: TBD ($3-$5)
I won these cigars from the Face Book page, “My Cuban Wheel” run by Moreno. The enterprise is so new and there is so little information about the blender and the cigars that I find it somewhat frustrating in giving you a good look…and taste.
I did some IM with Moreno and he is a kind, gentle 81 year old Cuban ex-patriate.
I choose the smallest cigar of the sampler box that Moreno sent me. As I’ve only had them a couple weeks, that seems to be the safest choice. I have smoked a couple and was very impressed.
I do the sniff-o-rama and get a deep cocoa aroma with a bit of hay. It’s everywhere and intensifies at the foot.
I decide to punch the cap. It doesn’t appear to be a triple cap, but who knows?
I light up and get a nice dose of milk chocolate. I also get a deep, dark espresso taste. The flavors are stumbling over each other to get to the head of the line.
I taste a wonderful creaminess that enhances the cocoa. I get a graham cracker crust. With lots of sweet cashews. Ecuadorian wrappers are known for the sweetness they impart upon the palate.
And now I’m getting some fruity flavor…Can’t indentify it yet.. just the right amount of tartness, like orange marmalade…sweet and bitter.
The cocoa is going crazy.
There are two different blends so far. The names are simple. They are either No.1 or No. 2. I am smoking No. 2. Which according to Moreno, “Has a 6 & 7 priming Habana 2000 wrapper (also cuban seed) grown in Ecuador (2010 crop).”
Moreno also calls the cigars by the name Sublime #54, etc. Which is what I believe I am smoking. There is a clever gimmick on the band. Each cigar has the date, in big numbers, indicating the date it was rolled. Very clever.
An inch in, the draw is perfect. The construction is excellent; very firm to the touch with a few minor veins and a couple tree trunks in there.
There is a great similarity to the CAO Brazilia. Although the blends are completely different.
And for the first time ever, I think that this cigar has the most intense cocoa and coffee taste of any cigar I’ve smoked….outside of infused cigars.
The body is mild. But having smoked some earlier ones, they do reach a medium strength. And just as the first third ends, red pepper rears its lovely head.
The spice ramps us pretty quickly. And it brings the creaminess with it. I drink some bottled water and the flavors explode in my mouth. The cocoa is dazzling.
I am smoking the cigar way too soon to expect a fair amount of complexity but if I was disciplined enough to let them age, I’m sure this would be a 12 theatre multiplex.
I reach the halfway point and the oils in the wrapper just glisten. The cocoa and coffee and creaminess are the driving forces while some spice lingers in the back field.
Into the last third, the spiciness begins to climb. There is lots of wood and leather. And loads of cocoa and coffee. Plus the sweet creaminess.
The flavor profile doesn’t change much but that’s OK as this particular profile is just okey-doke with me. The strength begins to climb out of the mild position and move into a strong medium.
The cigar finishes out having been a real pleasure to smoke. It is an absolutely perfect morning cigar. Wakes up your palate with delightful flavors and sweetness.
I still have several of the other sticks to try; but decided to let them rest a bit more since they are larger cigars and usually need that extra time.
Kudos to Moreno and My Cuban Wheel.
And now for something completely different:
Earlier in my life, I found a perfect way to ditch good friends: Open a recording studio.
Back in the early 80’s, I had one in Long Beach, CA. I had a partner who did the engineering, although I was also capable of the tech stuff. But I was the producer. The big cheese.
We were beginning the recording of the Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick song, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?”
I was doing this whole project with my money and one lender. An ex con who was one of my best friends and advisors.
So I had to convince some of the best players around to record for me on the cheap. I got off easy on the bass playing, as I was the guy.
But I needed guitars, keys, and drums.
Believe it or not, the keys and drums were the easy part. It was getting the right guitarists that was so difficult.
I had some of my best friends come in and since I had gotten a license from Universal Studios to use the theme from the Munsters, every note of the song had to be perfect.
Try and tell hot shot players that they have to tone it down and play what I tell them to play. Since I was using a lot of young guys in their 20’s, most didn’t have a lot of recording experience. And that’s completely different from playing live. Live, you can woodshed the hell out of a song. In the studio, it takes a really good sense of control and discipline; to be able to play the same riff from one take to the other.
And my friends couldn’t do it. The packed their gear and stormed out with their middle finger raised and calling me the 7 words TV won’t allow.
Plus Butch attended all of the recording sessions. Which had an intimidation level.
There is something inherently cool about sitting behind the big glass window of a control booth. Everyone wants to hang out and watch you work….that is until they see how difficult it is and that the attention to detail can become very tiring for someone that’s not a musician….which Butch was not. This whole project was a monster Milli Vanili with Butch lip syncing and pretending to play bass.
It took a full week to get the guitar part right. Then it was my time. As the studio owner, I got a lot of session gigs from bands that would come in and ask if I knew a bassist. Duh.
So I made a lot of dough on the side. But my general rule was not to play while they recorded, and I produced. I would come back to the studio after I went home and had dinner (I was a swingin’ single guy back then) and take a short nap.
I’d open up the studio, around 11pm, and be totally by myself. I clicked on the lights of the booth... while leaving the recording area dark. In fact, I dimmed the lights in the booth.
We were analog back then. 3” reel to reel tape. I’d sit in a comfy chair with my bass plugged in direct. No amp. Grab the good headphones and learn the song during several playbacks. Then I pushed record. And I’d play my ass off.
Bet you didn’t know this….but after the first couple albums, McCartney would do the same thing. The rest of the band recorded and he would come back later and lay down his track with the rest of the band out doing whatever they were doing.
To be continued…..