“Cattle die, | and kinsmen die,
And so one dies one's self;
But a noble name | will never die,
If good renown one gets.
Cattle die, | and kinsmen die,
And so one dies one's self;
One thing now | that never dies,
The fame of a dead man's deeds.”
—Hávamál 77-78 (Bellows translation)
(In memory of the ten Sailors lost in the USS John S. McCain collision this week, and the five Army troops lost in the Black Hawk crash off Kaena Point in Hawaii last week).
My box of Norsemans by Viking Cigar finally arrived yesterday, along with a handful of books I'd ordered separately, including the Eddas and books about Runecasting in divination and magick. Since my spiritual teacher and guide on my quest for greater spiritual wisdom is Odin, I waited until today (Wodenstag) to hold blöt and bless these cigars, but now that they've been blessed with incens and mead (on the closed box, so as to bless them without affecting the flavor), and made into sacred offerings to the gods, I decided I didn't want to wait to review the last of the three blends.
I was greatly impressed with the Viking and the Nordic Warrior, and I've been anxiously waiting for these to arrive so I could complete the trifecta of tasting and reviewing!
So, before I bore you all any more, let's smoke this thing! For Odin!
Cigar: Norseman, by Viking Cigar
Vitola: Robusto (5” x 52)
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: USA Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano Estelí; Dominican Piloto
Rating (out of 10): 9.5
The Norseman sets itself apart from its brethren (the Viking and the Nordic Warrior) with its shaggy foot, a half-inch or so of binder and filler that extend past the wrapper, which itself is rugged and hide-like, just slightly knobby, with no visible veins or seams. There is the faintest hint of oil detected by the fingers.
The metal band (I would consider the bands one of the real staples of the Viking brand. I have not thrown a single one out; getting to take a little bit of shiny metal makes each smoking experience somewhat akin to a small raid, and there's always something to bring back) features a vertical, point-down sword, bisecting a symmetric pair of bearded warrior heads flanked by a round Viking war shield on either side.
The construction is absolutely flawless, as I have come to expect from Viking Cigars. It is neatly capped, and cuts absolutely perfectly, despite an accidental slip of my hand. Not sure whether to attribute that to the cigar, or to my handy-dandy Xikar XO.
The aroma from the barrel is very faint, but I'd attribute the scent to cedar and peanuts; the shaggy foor is rich with cocoa.
The cold draw is nice and open, and tastes of chocolate with a hint of coffee. After lighting, the flavor is predominantly chocolatey, with a soft undertone of caramel, and a bit of salt on the finish.
I'm also getting a healthy dose of coffee coming through.
The coffee flavor picks up quite a bit once we burn past the shaggy foot and get to the wrapper. Some nice cedar on the retrohale, too.
A faint hint of peanut hiding in there somewhere.
The ash is a slightly mottled grey in color, and pretty firm, behind a nice, mostly-even burn line.
Nice bit of complexity to this one so far, with the flavors rolling through one another smoothly, in a nice, mild-bodied and silky smoke.
Getting some sweet tobacco notes in the second third, leaving a sweet, syrupy sensation inside the mouth after the exhale.
Burning just a little bit faster than I'd anticipated. But the burn is remaining even, not getting out of control.
Not much in the way of new flavors. What we have is still primarily coffee, cedar, chocolate, and peanut, all with the faintest caramel undertone, and a dash of salt on the finish; the complexity here lies in how all these flavors work through and around each other like the knotwork patterns which feature prominently in Norse and Celtic art.
I may have spoken too soon about the lack of new flavors; as the last third begins, there's a very slight kick of hot pepper that comes into the mix.
It's interesting, the way flavors mix well together on the smoke of a cigar in ways they never could in food and drink; I doubt many people go munching on wood, grass, or leather because they enjoy it. But right now, I'm speaking specifically of this fascinating pairing of hot pepper and coffee, which I'm very much enjoying as this thing nears its end.
Still have a nice, even burn (even if it's not razor-sharp); I'm always very pleased when I can get through a cigar without having to touch up the burn.
Tonight, I accomplish something I've long wanted to do: taste and review each blend in the Viking Cigar lineup. While my favorite is still the bold, sweet, chocolate and maple flavor profile of the Viking Maduro, each of these smokes is fantastic in its own right, and could all be enjoyed over course of a day, or even in one multi-cigar sitting. The Norseman would make a fine breakfast smoke, paired with a light roast coffee; the Nordic Warrior would go nicely after a light lunch; and the fuller-bodied Viking Maduro would be a fantastic evening smoke, before or after dinner. If I were smoking multiple cigars in the same evening, I'd probably go in that same order, starting with the Norseman and finishing with the Viking Maduro. Of course, my reviews of these cigars has gone in the opposite direction! Oops!
And, of course, now I've got the full trip of shiny metal cigar bands!