Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Indian Tabac Cameroon Legend - Cigar Review

Is it gauche to pair a lunch-time stogie with Manischewitz Concord Grape? I mean more gauche even than drinking Man, oh Manischewitz, that's good wine! after 5pm? I suppose what I'm asking is, if there is a cap on gauche? I feel, as a p/t etiquette writer -- I should know.

I digress and introduce with a flourish afterward...

The Cigar:
Indian Tabac Cameroon Legend
African Cameroon wrapper
Dominican Republic binder/filler
5 x 52 Robusto
Subtle and surprising toothiness in a very small amount. Green-tinted amber hues. Pleasing veins with quite “leafy” appearance -- I know, it’s a silly thing to say, but I shall say it. It looks like autumn. Packing is considerably softer at the foot than head. At its firmest, it is of medium to bordering on firm, well shy of rigid, density.

Nose is of a lower end of medium tobacco potency which when sniffed at the foot is none stronger than at the wrapper, which I find odd, given it's ingredients. On the wrapper and foot there too are notes of light coffee, a nutty caramel with a distant backing of a raw almost wet cedar.

Cold pull is of very slight cinnamon on the back of as of yet nondescript sweet spices.

A rare actually troublesome light, the high/lowlight of which was only half of the foot wanting to burn aglow. Once warm, the pull was of fresh hay and grass and very nice enough. On the back of that initial green, came notes of mildly brewed coffee flavored sparingly with a caramel syrup. Upon retro-hale, a tepid cinnamon chimes in, whispering.

Draw is quite firm in a more lethargic than too-packed sense, and the burn requires a touch-up even before

Act I:
...and the burn refuses correction. Incorrigible! A menace! Aye carumba! Half the burn is slow (the one not proving flammable from the onset) the other faster burning half features an even faster speck that trail blazes ahead up the stick’s side in an expedition which would make proud both Lewis and Clark..

In hopes of un-muddying the tight draw, I Old Timer a hair more of an opening at the head. Not much of a reward there.

Flavor notes remain the same, although the cedar ebbs and flows.

At the close of the first act, a somewhat creamy (or at least creamier) mouthfeel amps up in a vague vanilla introduction.

A nice enough stogie for a coffee break or lunch mate. Absolutely nothing spectacular, but too absolutely nothing putrid, flavor-wise at least. Profile is on-the-nose medium, with perhaps its strength showing a tendency a tad lower. The uneven ash holds to just past an inch when I roll it off in my tray. It is shown to be heavy and dense, with the familiar Dominican medium grey to charcoal complexion. Much more near black than grey.

Another touch-up attempt at the burn fails and I find myself marvelling at how densely bogged down a medium profile stogie can seem. I feel as though I am strolling through the park and my leg is asleep… and low-hanging clouds, heavy with rain, are rolling in. Wasn't it just sunny?

Act II:
This cigar simply does not wish to be smoked. That is the overwhelming sense I get, at least. Construction has softened noticeably, the burn is bad and laborious.

Flavors of a cedar Adirondack left in too many a rain in a grassy pasture. A white pepper is introduced at the draw into that watered down caramel coffee drink. The flavors mostly linger unchanged to the finish, where a varying degree of vague cinnamon meets them. A retro-hale highlights that cinnamon and adds a pinch of salt to the caramel.

There’s no “pop” to the flavors, though. A bogged down feeling permeates throughout. Vanilla weaves in and out, drizzling on and off like a repeated sun shower.

At the half, I think I solve my problem, as I wrangle from the head a solid 2” stem. The draw eases, flavors border on popping. Magnificent clouds of smoke encompass me and I first realize how limited the smoke was prior.

Full of hope and somewhat less full of patience, I slow my pulls to allow a resettling and prepare to address any upcoming transitions or fuller, more delineated notes in

Act III:
In mid-flight, the stick suddenly fizzles and reverts to its previous bogged down quagmire. I am left with the cold realization that the most interesting component of this cigar is its frustrating characteristics.

No nuances, complexities, dimensions, transitions. Just thems low hangin’ clouds full o’ rain. I will say this: it’s a better chew than a smoke. I too will say this: a negro spiritual would pair wonderfully with this offering.
"I spent a year in that town, one Sunday." Says George Burns, and I solemnly nod in agreement. I personally spent spent a year in Spokane, Washington, one Sunday. and the weather there matched the feels of this stogie. I can only reiterate: Bogged down. At least Spokane featured a nice enough Gentleman's Club, which  shared a parking lot (if not clientelle) with a Buddhist Temple.

A thought: if this is all about the wrapper, as it seems to be, why a 52 ring gauge which serves only to showcase the Dominican guts?

Overshoot the cigar with a Colombian sweetened coffee, or undershoot with a black tea, milk and sugar. Sweet iced tea might give the illusion of a break in the clouds.

Final Grade: D+

For those who mayn’t know, Rocky Patel discontinued this, its Indian Tabac line at the beginning of this year (2015). Marking the end of a very decent 20 year run. If you didn’t know that, did you know this: I have never been anything other than underwhelmed by Patel offerings.

He seems to have much the same philosophy as does AJ Fernandez, in that they both simply allow the leaf to do its thing -- I’ve used the analogy of Phil Jackson in regards to AJF -- he’s brilliant for NOT coaching Jordan, Bryant, et al. He simply allowed them to shine unimpeded by the tinkering and nit-picking of a lesser coach. Unfortunately, I feel as though Rocky Patel is coaching the Clippers.

That should require a different philosophy.
As always, thanks for reading, gentlepersons. If you enjoyed this post, hey -- maybe someone else would, too. Why not sure it via social media? I’d be forever indebted to your gracious generosity.