It's been several months since I've sat down and done a review here, and there's many reasons for that. As I noted in a previous blog entry, I adopted a dog, and rarely smoke inside anymore, so being able to review while I smoke has been a challenge. Incidentally, I've recently adopted a second dog, which is fantastic, but only makes it more difficult to find time and space for reviews. I also had to have a tooth extraction and bone graft recently, so smoking was off the table entirely while that was healing.
Beyond that, though, the reality is I've been battling both Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and for a very long while, I had lost the motivation to do really anything, even things I really loved. I found myself in a place where I couldn't even bring myself to light up a smoke.
I don't bring it up for pity. I bring it up because that's where I've been. I'm getting treatment, and slowly but steadily improving, but I can't go back and retroactively keep up with my reviews here; I can only pick up where I left off and get back to it. Maybe at some point I'll do a more detailed blog entry about mental health, but tonight, I just want to smoke.
Of course, I recently got to attend a couple events here on island with Drew Estate's Willy Herrera, and got hooked up with some of his pre-Drew Estate blends from his family company's vaults in Miami (El Titan de Bronze). These are unbanded, well-aged sticks, and I'm very, very excited to finally take the time to sit down and try one tonight, as I wait for Hurricane Lane to reach Oahu.
Cigar: El Titan de Bronze Vault blend
Vitola: Robusto (5”x52)
Rating (out of 10): 10
As I noted above, there's no band on these special sticks, so I've removed it from my scoring equation for this cigar. The wrapper is a rich milk-chocolate Maduro, with a subtle toothiness to it and slick with a fine oily sheen. It's neatly capped, and, as always, my Xikar XO makes a perfect cut.
Construction is flawless. Perfect cap, perfect wrapper, no cracks, tears, soft spots, nothing. Absolute perfection.
The barrel exudes a cedary aroma with a subtle hint of leather and faint musk. The foot is muskier and carries a whiff of something floral, as well. It's a lovely scent.
The cold draw is just a little (but not too) tight. I get a definite sense of cedar, and potentially a little cocoa hiding underneath, but we'll see where this thing goes once I light it up.
Oh, yes. Definitely some cocoa in there, as well as a soft citrusy undertone. Very sweet, with a faint hint of black pepper. I'd call it a medium body, but with a full flavor.
This thing is producing a crisp, even white ash. The burn is almost, but not completely, even, and not requiring any touchups.
The slightest spice on this thing rounds out the sweetness. I'm really liking it.
I'm about to break my own rule. Normally, I avoid pairing cigars I'm reviewing with drinks, but since this is really the only time I'm going to ever get to smoke this one, and because I feel like it would pair very nicely with a root beer (can't drink alcohol these days because it doesn't interact well with my medication), I'm just going to crack one open. Fight me, I'm not afraid of Hurricane Lane, and I'm definitely not afraid of you!
Oh, yes. That Barq's (usually, I prefer A&W, but Target was out of them this week) lends a beautiful vanilla note to the smoke.
After the first third, the burn is still even, the ash is still solid, and the flavor is still on point. A little more citrusy, something between orange and lemon in terms of flavor. Like a citrus and cream when paired off the root beer.
Jamming out to the Scorpions' “Rock You Like a Hurricane” as I wait for this storm, which appears to be drifting south and weakening. Come on, man. You had us all worked up, you're just going to back down now?
Gods, this is a great smoke. The cedar profile is returning and growing stronger as the second third winds down and the last third approaches.
The final third is cedary with a sweet tobacco finish that I had not tasted up to this point.
And still, keeping an even burn and a solid ash.
The flavor softens just the smallest bit toward the end, finishing with a soft, floral cedar.
I'm so glad that the first cigar I review in my return to this site got to be such a unique experience, and pulled a perfect 10/10. I'll hopefully be coming back to doing reviews more and more frequently, but it's a slow healing process, so... we'll see. But it's rewarding to at least start doing the things that bring me joy again.
At any rate, I have way too many cigars sitting around, and need to smoke more, so... maybe that will motivate me...?