10/5/15

Fratello Bianco II - Cigar Review

Prologue:
6:20pm
I'm starting a bit later than I'd hoped. You see: yesterday I reviewed a Three Stooges short, "Sing a Song of Six Pants." In that go-'round, Moe cooks up Larry and Shemp(<3) some pancakes. This natch made me want to cook up some pancakes. (You can read the review of that short HERE.)

Long story short, the fire caused no real damage. One plastic mixing bowl was lost. A drip pan singed. No biggie. Clean-up was begun and will continue on the morrow. I'm OK, thanks for asking. Although my house stinks to high heaven of melted GI Joe action figures.

NOTE: this is the follow-up offering of Fratello Cigars; to the cigar that remains my sole and lone A+ review. You can please read that review HERE.

The Cigar:
Fratello Bianco
San Andres Negro Maduro wrapper
Dominican Republic binder
Peru, Pennsylvania, Nicaragua fillers
II: 6 x 50 
Pre-light:
The now famous Fratello band sees its colors inverted. I have been conditioned by conditioning to equate white, the basis of this color scheme, with light. Light as in not heavy. The dietary "Lite." This offering, I have been assured, humsoever -- ain't light. Full profile across-the-board, is the word on the street. 

I should say I'm still buzzing from last week's Neanderthal...and ain't never been a'scared.

Manure and hay. Oh, I should have prefaced that with "I am smelling the stick and..." Cocoa. Cuban coffee. Add to that some dark but somewhat sweet chocolate coming from the foot. Cold pull post cap bite-off is of red spices and a peppery blend. Another cold pull shows the sweetness emerge closer to the forefront. 

Packing is moderately firm with one or two soft spots. Seams are quite visible but not egregious, there is a somewhat troubling vein -- thick and extending through the first third. The wrapper is a dark, not entirely even complected brown, with a nice toothiness that is there but not aggressively so. The feel is not oily, but a hearty sheen exists.

Light:
Cedar escapes off the foot as it toasts. A certain pale nuttiness, almost breadiness. Mechanically, a decent light -- no complaints. First strong pull is of chocolate and cream, not milk chocolate. There is a clearly delineated dark chocolate and whipped sweet cream. A second hot pull is retro-haled and showcases a strong white pepper note which is chased from the palate by a sweet marshmallow finish (hello, San Andres). A third hot draw evolves that pale nut, near breadiness into graham crackers.

We are roasting S'mores over a cedar wood pile, gentlepersons. Which is all fun and games until some less than gentleperson shows up with an acoustic guitar.
Act I:
Very marshmallow finish. Very S'more flavors. Full City roasted coffee notes. Cedar weaving in and out. Hearty white pepper stays on the retro-hale and on occasion the very start of finish immediately off the draw.

Burn is even, ash piles on grey to charcoal in ladder rungs that don't seem overly dense. Burn is hot and fast and alive. The ash drops off shy of an inch and powdery into my lap. A red pepper emerges on the draw and hangs around to balance the marshmallow finish just as I was about to have my fill of sweet. Nice timing, that.

Draw is a hair to the tight of medium, but nothing insofar as construction is problematic, currently. The very hot burn has me on guard against over-smoking into a tunneling out. The one low spot as of now is butt ugly ash.

Foot smoke is a sweet affair and to the light of medium as far as output.

Act II:
A slight mineral saltiness appears here. This is an offering whose draw flavors don't change to the finish. With that noted, too, a cumin appears on the back of red pepper flakes -- both roasted and savory.

At the half, there is an addition of smoked meatiness. A jerky that enhances the salt and does away with the mineral notes. The burn slows and the all around smoke output heightens. The cigar dries to a robust simmer. Cue sunset. Less sweet, but still sweet -- now savory in equal parts. All flavors hold (sans mineral flirtations).

Body, full. Flavor, full. Strength medium/full and rising. The latest inch of ash is colored the same, but shows more density. Construction holds. Burn holds. There is an occasional catch in my throat, but I'm allowing myself to pull more freely as the burn is no longer a hot hazard.

I was served desert prior to supper. Carpe diem, gentlepersons. 

A mineral, near tinny note appears at the second act's closing. Leaves a bit of a cotton mouthfeel. I sip an overwhelmed weakly brewed pour over French roast. I purposefully allow the cigar the leading role. Cedar notes rise burnt and savoriness overtakes sweetness by a nose. Charred steakburger.

Act III:
Burnt remains of S'mores. Everything is smoldering calmly. Strength is now full, but in a non-combative manner. Raw sugar near molasses notes. Very dark tobacco. A meaty foot note. Minerals again abate as salt heightens. Dark, dark chocolate now. No cream, so long, marshmallow. Red pepper takes a backseat to cumin and too, there is a sort of red clay earthiness attached to the tobacco. There is a yeastiness on the horizon.

Construction: near perfect. The burn speeds up a tad, but nowhere near the onset's hotness. Charred bones. and a kind black pepper come in. Red pepper gets back over top of cumin on the retro-hale. I no longer sense that cumin on the draw.

Profile-wise, the strength dips to full medium. Body and flavor stays at full. 

A sweetness returns to my palate, but in a more mature manner, as a very dark tobacco note. Very nice. I slow my pulls as a slight bite seems to threaten along with a rising black pepper. A black leather note sets in. A black Wiley Wallaby licorice sets into the finish in an oily manner which coats my lips.

I pull my hat down over my eyes for the last few pulls. They turn my French roast Cuban, and are sweetened with raw sugar and molasses. That, and full across-the-board profile.
Notes:
A sequel which takes the maturing of the smoker into account. This is the dark aging of the Harry Potter cast; when they are young adults and no loger kids. When they grow from elementary school to junior high and smoke joints with the janitors.

Wait. That was me. 

Pairings:
Bold coffee. Hooch. Fortified desert wine. I think root beer. Not that popular-in-certain-circles boozey root beer, though -- that stuff is more childish than root beer. It fits well in 'man' caves which sport Lego sets and video games. Feh!

I did not see that rant coming on.

Final Grade: B+
A for a surprise or two, A+ for a start minus rapid burn.

Epilogue:
7:53pm
Go HERE. Say shalom to a fellow reviewer, cut from the same cloth as I.

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