Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nub Habano 460 - Cigar Review

"Considered one of the most innovative cigar concepts, Nub is a line of short, stout and well-filled smokes blended to capture the perfect essence of a cigar. These cigars are completely made by hand with densely packed long filler, allowing each stick to burn slowly while maintaining a smoking time comparable to conventional sizes ranging from Robusto to Presidente." -- from the Studio Tobac website.

As to the Habano Nub in particular, from the same source: "The wrapper of choice for Cuban cigar makers, the Habano has a robust, full-bodied flavor. Rolled as a Nub, the Habano’s bold spice softens to create a delicious new version of the famous leaf."

Might I read b'twixt these lines, gentlepersons? 

Firstly, let us discuss the point of magically fitting 10# of cigar in a 5# bag... except it is actually a rearranged 10# bag. Seeing the ring gauge here is a 60 and the mentioned Churchill and Presidente vitolas can be as slight as 46 and 52, respectively.

Oy vey, a 60 ring gauge. It's gonna be like sucking on a toe... maybe a D battery. Actually, only one of those things is completely without appeal to me. I digress.

Secondly, we shall address the 'softening spices' of the Habano wrapper in this vitola. Not a bad thing, but definitely not a good thing -- mainly a thing which proves the case against outrageously o b e s e ring sizes.

It would seem this particular Sam Leccia brainstorm is an accomplishment not of blending, but of marketing. The whole idea is to hit the 'sweet spot' final 3-4 inches of a smoke sometime after the halfway transition. The problem here is that this sweet spot occurs due to a confluence of oils, not a magic amount of inches. Bearing in mind that ratio, it would seem a Nub offers a solid 3/4" of heaven. True 'nuff that many people never do get that amount of time behind the Pearly Gates -- although my guess is the smoke will be hot as Hades at that point.

Let it not be said I am above reviewing, and enjoying, a good novelty cigar. Especially as it was kindly gifted unto me. 

Heck. I been wrong before, gentlepersons. Let us address

The Cigar:
Oliva Cigar Co.
Studio Tobac
Nub Habano 460
Nicaraguan Habano wrapper
Nicaraguan binder/filler
Let's eyeball the sucka: even rich chocolate complexion with an under-hue of brick red. Toothy. Visible and quite wide seam. Some veins, all but one are pretty. The ugly one might be a potential burn issue. Varying shades of chocolate peak out from the foot and are formed in a medium+ density. Cap is affixed nicely. Feels, all told, not as odd as I imagined in my hand. Nice suede feel and visual sheen.

Medium packing with a single soft spot.

Nosing the wrapper gets me a manure/barnyard note with some coffee. At the foot, a sniff of sweet and warm spices swirled in cocoa emerge. I stab through the cap with my Old Timer, and a cold pull mimics the smells at the foot. Leaves a nice tingling on my lips.

Toasting the foot lets loose visible oils and much woodsy smells. Sharp wood, bitter coffee at the forefront on the first hot pull, a dark chocolate follows. On a retro-haled second hot pull there are sweet and hot spices on a leather backing as the chocolate reappears in a creamier version on the finish. Not milky a cuban coffee viscous. Very full mouthfeel/body on the third hot pull. Spices, chocolate, Cuban Coffee, a sharp wood and leather mix -- in that order. On the finish: There's a sweet and more baking chocolate tandem with a toasted wood. Very lingering, but not very complex.

Thick and toothy white ash, somewhat jagged burn but not requiring of a retouch, medium+ burn-line thickness. Big thick white smoke from the foot and into my smoke-hole. Very hardwoodsy room-note.

at this point, our profile looks to be medium+ in body (with that viscous mouthfeel of Cuban Coffee) and flavor. Medium as far as strength, although I expect all to + up some -- especially strength. Draw is tight side of medium, with a pleasantly surprising resistance considering the ring gauge.
Act I:
Hotter spices subdue and the sweet varieties remain but do not delineate as of yet. A toasted cream separates from the Cuban Coffee, which remains. Wide ranging chocolates from baking to rich milk chocolate. Some warm earthy near nuttiness.

Burn trues itself enough to be labeled even. Burn-line remains medium+ thickness. Now the strength comes on and I'd say we are full- profiled across-the-board. Ash is the same as it was and most likely ever will be, there is a speck of flake, but no more.

A hint of cinnamon distinguishes itself on occasion. This seems to always be on a warm bread note, which puts me in mind of a cinnamon toast. Very nice moisture level in my mouth and on my lips, no drink needed. Aside from all the coffee notes, I'm almost tempted with a spiced tea pairing.

Profile is full. Finish last from wire-to-wire and is surprisingly low-key with rich chocolate, sweet spices, and a toasted cream -- lasting in that order. Very nice but as complex as the girl on the side. Smoke amps up much but is as kind and not irritating as the girl you marry. It's a bit sweeter of a room note than prior, but still quite the woodsy affair. Like sitting over a campfire of seasoned wood,

Density of packing is unchanged. Draw is a hair looser but still offers some resistance. Nice enough opening act, but might prove somewhat laborious if unchanged in

Act II:
The burn lags a bit in one spot but nothing horrible at all. At a good inch, I stand the cigar on its ash for feces and facial gestures. I want to say the profile has dipped to a straight full-, perhaps I've grown accustomed is all.

Flavors remain unchanged and at times mottle then separate. I roll off the ash at an inch and a 1/4 or so, in hopes of evening the burn. Very dense. Very white. Very fat. Isn't it time Rush Limbaugh said something dumb? Been a while.

The toasted cream vies with wood for the lead, but it's always the wood by a nose and sometimes a head. Leather is in show and tied there with a rich chocolate. I'm thinking ponies but still riding high on the Mets taking game one from the Cubbies. Surprisingly easy, that win, as I thought we were out-gunned.

I am unsurprised by this Nub offering, however. It is a solid enough smoke, yes -- but is thus far leaving me wanting of more. Flavors are the same as described and I retouch the lagging spot of burn. Construction has softened and the burn is heating up a tad. Foot-smoke is less kind than it once was, but not an irritant. Draw is unchanged. The retouch works, but another spot now lags.

A heartier smoker than I might prefer this as a midday affair. I am stuck under the stars, sans the complexity to contemplate my navel or the glaxy or to pull my hat down over my eyes. I actually feel quite stuck. Mired. I watch the clock.

The burn-line thins but too unevens. Foot-smoke is as kind as it once was, again. I shift in my seat. I shift in my seat again. Again. How 'bout them Mets?

Medium+ profile now. The heating up has caused a bittering, although slight, of the coffee -- which is not met by a further sweetening of cream nor chocolate. Wood subdues slightly. Sweet spices also subdue. Near straight dark tobacco sans the guts or nuances for a proper solo effort.

A sweetness from the chocolate tries now, we shall see in

Act III:
Strength rises to a low full. The burn is pretty badly off but I wait. The chocolate rises but its sweet falls. Leather overtakes wood, but both subdue. I try to roll off an inch of ash and laugh as it holds on. Nice. I try again and harder and it lets loose. Very dense and now oily. Should the ash be the highlight of a cigar? I shall leave that for other philosophers.

All is unchanged. Or perhaps all is transition. I suppose a Buddhist and a Judeo-Christian would debate that for hours. I laugh again and wonder at my Reconstructionist Rabbi's response. I'm gonna go eat a handful of pretzels, gentlepersons.

I should note the cool slowing of the burn (which evens out some). It leads to a mellowing and a less than inferno end than I saw a-comin'. Too, the draw tightens. The chew is good, considering the fat gauge.
Nice stick. Better schtick. More schtick than stick, that is to say.

Spiced tea, sweet tea, syrupy cola. Coffee is too on-the-nose. I almost want to say a ham sammich -- and my Reconstructionist Rabbi might approve. (I believe cold cuts and the wanting of, speak to a lack of savoriness in this offering.)

Final Grade: C+
(B for a better burn and the + is to signify that I'm all about the ash -- yours, mine, whomever's.

A nice Baked Virginia ham with a good Swiss...

& thanks for reading.