Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fratello Cigars - Review


You say “Nicaraguan small batch boutique cigar.”
I say “How high?”
You say “About seven bucks.”

Unless you have a pal like I do over at Cigar Reserve, who has taken to spoiling me. Many thanks again, and please Dear Reader, to peruse their fine selection.

I smoke tonight’s offering in a solitary reminiscing of friends from years ago. The nicest friends are the ones who disappear from view for years -- but ne’er from your heart. Always, it’s a treat upon their return and too, it saves a load on most year’s Christmas shopping.

I smoke tonight’s offering as autumn hints at my porch. I smoke tonight’s offering in thermal undies. One of the treats of the Pacific Northwest is that for 11 months of the year, thermals are a definite possibility.

Let’s get us some warmth...

The Cigar:
Fratello Cigars
Nicaraguan Habano wrapper
Ecuadoran Sumatra binder
Nicaragua & Peruvian fillers
5 ½ x 52 Robusto sized

Nutty nose with a good note of cinnamon upon a leathery back. Pack is soft end of medium and not entirely even. This offering has a rather rustic appearance, but well maintained. A garden of assorted ornamental grasses left on casual display -- not me “forgetting” to mow my yard for a few weeks.

Appearance-wise, it’s most striking and memorable feature is the near newly-minted iconic design of its band. It brings to mind the art deco slumming of diners and bowling alleys of that era. I’m totally alright with that conjuring.

[I would place an image HERE of the band, would Blogger fix their technical issues.]

A cold pull puts on display a lively and warm cinnamon, with a deep coffee brew, frothed milk atop.

The light itself performed with ease, because as I like to say, cigars are flammable.

Toasting the foot let loose a bouquet of hardwoods and leathers. A first warmed pull indicates spices both sweet and peppery and a second pull adds to that the inherent sweet headiness of Nicaragua.

The head of the cigar turns an apt reddish hue when wettened by my smoke-hole. The draw nice and smooth, as too is the burn. The ash has already now shown itself quite dense and I believe it is safe to say we are in the

Chocolate comes in as we kick off and since the coffee and cream stay, I am tempted to say mocha, but it is a more layered affair than that, with the balances of peppery bite adding to the overall maturity. There is a complex blend at play here which makes hard to delineate. It settles on the palate to an almost umami sensation of layered savoriness that leaves me wanting to pair this stick with a chunk of barely cooked cow.

This leads me to believe that it is a smoke that while medium-bodied undoubtedly, would work well with a Merlot. Although I’d recommend jumping up to a nice Tawny Port (as I oft do but in this case I would say break out the Cockburn). I’d also deem it well deserved of a Vintage Port.

At the end of the first third, a deep sweetness, a thin yet bold molasses sets in. It is thinned not by lack of quality, but additions of cinnamon and milder leather notes. The tobacco stays clearly recognizable as dark yet with enough light to let through these nuances. A very, very nice blending, here.

I believe one could smoke this sucker down to a nub and keep intact every bit of ash. Alas, that is not my kink. I flick a couple of puffs into the second third. I am not the showy sort, as excuse me, I must theatrically dab my forehead with my big and bold white handkerchief.

The molasses intensifies here, as does its counter-balance and we are on the threshold of full-bodied and hold all my calls.

I have discussed prior the difference between solitary and collective smokes -- hide away alone with this treat, good gentlepersons.

The smoke output is moderate and peppery, but warm and not aggressively so. Mahogany paneling and a leather chair -- notes which appear within -- would work wonderfully as ambiance. As would a solemn quiet, with smatterings of self-told fart jokes on the back of devilish sweet spiced cinnamon notes.

Does anyone know a good Limerick?
Some Dark Cabaret is in order and works so very well in the background.

Halfway through the stick, a herbal note comes in the shadow of a headier earthiness.

(Crap, the wife is on the porch. She brought out the five year old. I love them dearly, but they pair here as well as -- well -- I cannot think of a pairing on par with this terribleness.

“Bedtime!” Junior yells.
“Bedtime!” I back him up like a Pip to his Glady Knight.)


This stick is consistent and all notes there since its dawn, too appear come dusk. There is simply a warm night of deeper notes looming here at the first sign of a setting sun. Too, the sun is setting through the trees beyond my porch and Giraffe Cat, named so by my son, sidles up to my leg and sighs.

The stray that stayed. I find a bond there between the fluffy tailed tabby and myself. I almost pet him. I just might, but it’s nicer this way.

[imagine an image -- a fleuron]

This stogie has made me a failure as a critic. I have nothing bad to share with you as per its performance and/or manufacture. Keep this cigar in mind come my birthday, and my birthday occurs often -- just ask a bunch of Dennys waitresses, they’ll tell ya. Or don’t. I’d hate to risk my free Grand Slam(s).

I’ll squeeze in here that a lovely chew is also involved in this cigar.

A cup of Mysore nugget coffee = friggin’ divine. The aforementioned Ports. A cow. Solitude.

Final Grade: A+

Lost track:of timePM
Leave me alone already. 

Although that sentiment should maybe be saved for my eventual epitaph; many a smoke and many a rekindled friendship from now.