Doing another review tonight, since I've done nothing all day but sit around playing War Thunder on PS4. It's a free-to-play, WWII MMO combat simulator, and is one of the most painstakingly detailed games of its kind; you can choose between air combat or tank warfare, and the developers have taken into account such minutiae as your pilot losing consciousness if you pull out of a dive too quickly (from excessive G-Force), or which tank crew have been wounded or killed based on where the shell penetrates the armor. It's extremely frustrating, but intensely satisfying at the same time. Strongly recommend, for all you PS4 gamers out there.
Wait, am I reviewing the game, or a cigar?
Right. Stogie #2 for today. Fumbled through my “needs reviewing” humidor once again, and pulled out this little Robusto from Macanudo, the Crü Royale. It's a bit darker than what I've come to expect from a Mac, and the band design is a departure from their norm, also. Color me intrigued. Let's give it a try.
Cigar: Macanudo Crü Royale
Vitola: Robusto (5” x 50)
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican La Vega Especiale (proprietary)
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican, Nicaraguan Viso
Rating (out of 10): 8.1
As I noted above, the Crü Royale is something of a departure from Macanudo's milder, lighter-colored sticks. It's got a beautiful reddish-brown color, with completely invisible seams, and several light veins, along with a light toothiness and a thin oily gloss.
The band is silver accented with blue and black, complementing the wrapper nicely, and visually setting the stick apart from Macanudo's “typical” Connecticut-wrapped smokes.
A couple of minor blemishes on the wrapper, but it's a fine-looking stick, no less.
Construction is close to perfect, no damage or soft spots, only a little bit of wrinkling around the cap.
The stick gives of a rich, potent cedar scent, with strong floral notes at the foot.
Absolutely perfect cut. Never a surprise with this Xikar.
Cold draw is perfect, and tastes of earth and fruit, with a bit of pepper on the finish.
Definitely pretty mild start to this thing, not a whole lot of oomph to the smoke early on. Notes of butterscotch and a peppery spice that leaves a tingling sensation on the lips and a sweet aftertaste in the mouth.
Seriously, it's such a mild smoke, I'm wondering if I'm even pulling anything through. Did this thing go out already?
Follow-up: It did. Somehow, even as I was drawing through it, the stick went out on me almost immediately. After a quick re-light, it immediately picks up in body to a solid medium.
Didn't take long for the burn to become uneven and require a touchup.
Well, after a rough start, things make a marked improvement. Clear notes of butterscotch and coffee, and a peppery kick to the finish. A nice, medium body that leaves no doubt that I'm actually drawing smoke. And a (mostly) even burn line.
Coming up on the end of the first third, and that spice is really starting to pick up.
That peppery zing kicks off the second third, which takes on a distinct undertone of cedar, as well.
The burn is struggling again, and another touchup is needed. Another frustrating burn on an otherwise very tasty cigar...
The ash column, though, is a nice white color, and holds together quite well, despite multiple touchups.
Oohh, some distinct notes of ginger near the half. Very nice.
The spicy nature of the second third is already fading again as the last third approaches.
Right at the start of the last third, the cigar went out again as I was smoking it and needed another relight. Having had two different cigars from different manufacturers, but from the same humidor, both display burn issues today, I have to wonder if maybe the RH is just a bit too high in there. Might have to try reducing it.
Back to that rich, creamy butterscotch flavor in the back third, with a subtle pepper kick still on the finish, though not quite as strong as in the second third.
Seems like the burn is slowing down here, too, holding out to really let you get more flavor out of it...
So, today, I've smoked and reviewed two cigars that tasted fantastic, but experienced some serious drawbacks on the burn, which has led me to two different conclusions:
That the RH in my humidor may be a bit too high and require some downward adjustment;
That my scoring system that weighs construction and burn more heavily may actually be working as I intended, despite some early concerns that it wasn't working out right.
But back to the cigar itself. The Crü Royale performed quite well in terms of flavor, and I'd like to try another sometime, if I can find it (I think this one was part of one of my monthly samplers from Thompson Cigars), just to see if I can get a better light and burn to it. Apart from all the lighter fuel this thing cost me, it was actually pretty damned enjoyable.