I've been eager to try this little beauty since I first saw it announced. It's obvious a lot has gone into the development of this limited edition, which was initially meant to be an April Fool's gag, but Punch's sales department convinced the brand management to make it a reality. Lot of exciting stuff to get to in this review, so I'm just going to push ahead with it.
Cigar: Punch Egg Roll
Vitola: Rothschild (4 1/2” x 50)
Wrapper: American Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Rating (out of 10): 9.9
The Egg Roll is a neat little shorty, with a shaggy foot that extends about a half-inch or so out past the dark chocolate-colored wrapper leaf. There's some extremely faint veins, nearly invisible seams, and a nice, light, oily sheen. The band is a white and red Chinese-stylized design, featuring the Chinese character 击 (Jī), which means “to attack,” probably a translation of the Punch brand name. On the reverse side of the band is one of five fortune cookie-style messages. This one reads: “The fortune you seek is on another cigar.” Adding to the appearance factor of the Egg Roll is the box, which is a stylized Chinese food takeout carton. They really pulled out all the stops for this one. Can't wait to burn it down.
Neatly capped, evenly rolled... perfect cut using the ever-trusty Xikar XO, and a smooth cold draw with just the right amount of resistance.
The barrel smells of cedar, with a hint of leather. Bit of sweetness at the foot, something sweet and fruity.
The cold draw offers notes of cedar and some kind of a sweet fruit, almost like a jam or preserve of some kind. It's unique, and very tasty.
After lighting, I get a more predominantly cedary flavor, with a black pepper zing on the finish. Trying to detect that fruitiness, but it's not there now. Maybe once I get down past the shaggy foot.
The shaggy foot leaves behind a light grey ash column of ash, which is a little loose around the outside. Tapping it off as the burn line reaches the wrapper.
Just past the edge of the wrapper, the flavor becomes slightly meatier; not a heavy meatiness like a steak, but something a bit... “gentler,” like... pork. Faint undertones of pepper and other spices, too faint to really discern right now.
The burn line is nice and even, and the remaining ash is nearly white, and distinctly more solid than before. Maybe something about the lack of a wrapper made the shaggy-footed end burn a little more loosely.
Getting something of a hint of ginger underneath the main flavor. Some bold notes of peanut coming through on the finish, too. It's not just the design and appearance... it's like they've managed to nail down the flavors of Chinese cuisine in this cigar too. I love it.
There's some black pepper creeping in again as we roll into the second third. Starting to get the slightest hints of sweet fruit here. Bit of garlic I think, too.
I'm not used to such complexity in so small a cigar, but this shorty is thoroughly impressive.
The cigar seems to be burning down quite a bit faster after the first half, and I'm already on the last third. Primarily tasting cedar and pork still, with a complex range of nuanced undertones that continues to change and surprise.
I am extremely delighted by this little cigar; it's surprisingly complex for its small size. To think, it was only ever intended to be advertised as an April Fool's joke! Now, if only we could get some of these other prank announcements to become reality... I'd really love to see a second season of Firefly!