Cracking into my humidor of cigars awaiting review again. Thing's got like 50 or so sticks in there, which always makes it so hard to decide what to try... but I finally settled on returning to the Archetype cigars, and trying another blend.
Archetype is a kind of “sub-brand” within the Ventura Cigar Company umbrella (the same company behind Psyko Seven, Slaughterhouse, etc); the line pays homage to the psychologist Dr. Carl Jung and mythographer Joseph Campbell.
There are actually five different blends of Archetype cigars, divided between Series A (in partnership with Davidoff and produced at the Davidoff factory), and Series B (produced in partnership with Drew Estate). Sage Advice falls under Series A (an easy way to tell to which series an Archetype belongs is to look at the band: Series A features a white background, while Series B features a black background), along with Dream State, and Strange Passage, which I have reviewed here before.
Cigar: Archetype Sage Advice
Vitola: Toro (6” x 52)
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: NSA/Habano hybrid
Binder: Dominican San Vicente
Filler: Undisclosed multi-national blend
Rating (out of 10): 8.7
The wrapper is kind of a light chocolatey brown, with nearly invisible seams and a few light veins. There's a light sheen of oil. It features a blue foot band with the Archetype labyrinth brand logo, and a white band near the head featuring a pale blue color-splash background and a black and white image of an eye. Each of the Archetype blends features similar styles of band artwork.
Construction seems good, mostly firm throughout with just the right amount of give between the fingers. The cap looks pretty good; just one slight wrinkle that shouldn't be much issue since it's going to be cut, anyway.
The barrel gives of a soft, woody scent, while the foot is rich and earthy, with notes of chocolate and nuts.
I got a perfect cut with my Xikar Xo; actually, the only time I didn't get a perfect cut with this beauty is one time when someone bumped my arm while I was making the cut. The XO is a bit pricey (somewhere around $120), but it's a fantastic piece of equipment, and it's a Xikar, so... free lifetime warranty.
The cold draw is only slightly resistant, and tastes of cedar with a hint of pepper and other spices, as well as something faintly fruity underneath.
The chocolate comes through much more prominently once the cigar is lit, with the cedar fading to the background.
The burn is having some trouble toward the start; it seems to favor one side over the other. Hopefully an early touchup corrects it.
Doesn't seem like I'm going to be that lucky.
Cracked pepper, cinnamon, and some other kind of spice on the finish. It's distinct, but not harsh or overwhelming.
Definite notes of coffee creeping in as we go. Gives this thing a nice mocha flavor.
The ash is a medium-grey in color, and mostly solid except for some looseness and scorching where I had to make a few touchups before. The burn is a little more even now (about an inch down), but still favors that same side just slightly.
Man, I'm really liking the way this mocha flavor develops. If I wasn't reviewing this on its own merits, I'd brew a cup right up for this. Perfect pairing for a nice morning smoke.
Rolling into the second third with a consistent, medium-bodied cinnamon mocha flavor. Actually, that cinnamon-and-spice finish kicks up just slightly in intensity in the middle third.
The burn is far more cooperative now. A couple of times it tries to go back to its one-sided, uneven burn, but then I think it sees the stern look I'm giving it, and self-corrects before I get the lighter back out.
Some notes of sweet tobacco pop in and out throughout the second third, accenting the primary flavors.
The chocolate seems to be fading a little bit past the halfway point, leaving the coffee flavor in its place.
By the last third, the cigar must have figured less typing means I'm paying less attention to it, and started its uneven burn behavior again.
But I'm always paying attention, and now... well... it burns the wrapper nice and even, or else it gets the light again...
Slight crack in the wrapper, where the band had been covering it before, unless it was just created by removing the band. Either way, it's there, but it's minimal.
Flavor's still great, and I wish I had a few more of these to enjoy with a nice, hot cup of mocha.
A smoke and a mocha... “Smocha.”
The coffee flavor holds out right to the end, and I'm kind of bummed it has to be over...
This is exactly how I need my scoring system to work all the time; this stick had a flavor I absolutely loved, but the burn issues kept it from scoring in the 9-point range.
Of the Archetype smokes I've tried so far, I'm still kind of drawn to the apple flavor of the Strange Passage, but this one would still make a great breakfast smoke.