Having, at the time of this writing, just posted my weekly Monday Mailbag and recognizing the fact I am getting more 'What would Kap do?' questions than 'What should I do' questions -- I've decided to somewhat indulge myself.
I too am aware this is not a new angle for me to be working, this hubris-driven one. I pen a cigar/premium tobacco blog as a personal playground for stuffs I likes. Three Stooges, horses, barbershops, dog racing, have all been covered. But this is a slightly different self-indulgent. This is one within the confines of the cigar industry.
My love affair with AF Curly Heads is a well documented thing, considering it's been mainly documented herein. Therefore, we shall use "well documented," but agree to do so in a loosely defined manner.
I purchased this Candela stick at my local B&M and had no plans of reviewing it. Then I thought, "Why not?" Then a quick search via Google showed that no one really cared to review this offering. Snooty reviewers. Do I still have readers on-board here from my humble beginnings of not long ago at all? I got my start in cheap-o stogies, reviewing them as others reviewed a small batch ultra-premium boutique blend. Tongue-in-cheek? Making a social class statement? Flat broke? You decide my motives. Feel free to not let me know your ruling.
It seems then, that I can't even be properly self-indulge. It's most likely on account of my Jewish neuroticism and generally bland tastes. I can't stand a hot bath, nor sit still for a straight-edge wet-shave.
Allow me then, to simply keeps it real, yo.
THE CIGARArturo Fuente Curly Head
Connecticut Claro wrapper
Dominican binder/medium filler
Lonsdale (<3) 6.5 x 43
PRE-LIGHTVeiny even for the usual rugged good looks of a Curly Head. Rustic, in a Little Joe Cartwright sense. Very green coloring, natch. Too, there are some near Obscuro colored markings that say "blemish" more than high/low lights. Rolling it around in my fingers, I really do love the Lonsdale size, especially midday. The foot is unfinished, as is the case across the Curly Head line. Seams are visible to VISIBLE. Cap looks well 'nuff affixed.
As I near gleefully finger the Fuente through the don't squeeze the Charmin test -- I notate soft packing and downright spongy center-shaft.
It's a candela, but I'll tells ya anyways: there are grassy notes to the shaft nose. Add in some tea to the nibbled off cap. A cold pull consists of both and add into that a light floral note. Draw itself is medium.
LIGHTNice easy light that began with a toasting of the foot which released grassy notes with a bit of a minty backing. First hot pull is grass and a mellow tobacco which shows hints of both lemongrass and mint. On the second hot pull, which is retro-haled, we get the added flavors of a very mild white pepper and a delicately brewed white leaf tea. Dainty. A third hot pull is all that and leads to a nice floral grass finish that is a tad minty insofar as a clean mouth-feel. Short legs, there.
Ash piles on quick and light to dark grey in a mottled sort of manner. Some flaking and completely lacking of smoothed outer walls, but rather denser than I would have thought. Burn is not even, but not problematic, either. It's a stogie, gentlepersons. A stogie with a burn-line ranging from medium+ to thick.
ACT INotes of very green tea now, sharp and mellow. Lemongrass and mint undertones ebb and flow and never intertwine, a nice delineation. Floral notes sweeten as a bit of very light honey comes on. There's a certain airy biscuit mouth-feel; almost a yeasty hay.
Shall I do the profile? Fine. Light+ to -medium (as I dare peer into the future). Burn odds and evens rapidly and constantly. Another 3/4" of ash is rolled off and is consistent with the first specimen. Plenty of easy smoke to the smoke-hole and off the foot. Room-note is a simple mellow tobacco which highlights that aforementioned airy yeast and a spot of tea. It's a bloody tea party, chaps!
I'm somehow mesmerized by the tobacco peeking from the cap. It's a reddish thing with a surprising depth and nice dirty blond highlights. Packing holds firm, by which I mean loosely. Unchanged, savvy?
Dammit, I adore these Curly Heads.
ACT IIThat yeasty hay is somehow mingling in with the grassy notes and sweetening as if left in springtime sun. Tea has gone to a more mature, less sharp and more earthy green which balances and greater compliments that growing sweetness. That combination lasts through to the finish which has lengthened all the way to a short+. Moisture level moth-feel remains light yeast and spot-on. Lemongrass is flowing more than ebbing. White peppers have muted and are only on the very start of a retro-hale. Some near woodiness comes on, which I shall call bamboo. That light floral honey is very nice and I am quite glad my palate is so far developed as to detect its subtle beauty. Hashem has truly bless'd me above most.
Burn is fast but sans both problem and prettiness. Smoke is very cool and while there is much, it is dainty. The thing just wants to be smoked, which is good, because I wanna smoke it. That soft spot I spotted in the Charmin smokes at the same rate as the rest. The chew is phenomenal.
One should never be led so far down the ultra-premium boutique blend road, as to no longer find joy in a simple cheap-o stogie.
At the half, white peppers softly reassert and are now roasted. The burn slows as does the smoke off the foot. The aroma of that foot-smoke sweetens and deepens -- but deepens only in comparison. On the draw, that deepening hits the grassy and lemongrass notes. The mintiness stays nicely there. It's as if I'm kissing the neck of a lady who doth don essential oils there. There's now white sugar on the retro-hale.
A decent Candela never fails to put me in touch with my feminine side. I might or might not be batting my eyelashes.
The draw tightens a hair. The burn-line has thinned some, and it's slower rate takes its self-correcting wonkiness a tad longer to self-correct. Profile has hit that -medium mark and there is a toasted white bread maturing from the yeast. It's there in the aroma, too.
As we approach the final act, the wrapper lifts some at the seam, but is cosmetic only. I say it's darn near part of the charm of the thing, Little Joe's tussled pink bandanna, replete with just the right amount of ranch dust. I do know I say that as a fan, not a connoisseur. Ash flakes off into my lap and lands on my expertly placed schmatta/handkerchief.
ACT IIIThe tea takes lead here and in a nicely sweetened and soft way. As far as Candela offerings, this Fuente is rather manly, albeit in a very Pinaud Lilac Vegetal manner (If the Little Joe analogy don't float yer boat). For instance, I am still in menswear. Finish is quite honey, Honey.
The wrapper lifts a touch more, but I accidentally bumped it. It's as thin as you'd expect from a Candela. HEY! It went out brb...
On a re-light, it bitters a moment then returns. A bite threatens if you over-smoke now. It's an over-brewed tea thing -- imagine taking a sip from a mug made with half a dozen Lipton green tea bags. So don't over-smoke.
The construction does not lend itself to being set down and rejoined. That said, and seeing as though I see no new developments developing, I shall see you in the following segments, gentlepersons.
NOTESSimple is good. Good is often simple. All the real complex folks are in hell.
PAIRINGSLemonade. Blonde coffee either over ice, or hot with plenty of cream and sugar. Cheap white wine.
I shall recuse myself.
A better every midday smoker, gentlepersons, I cannot be made to believe exists. Why not head on down to my good pals at Cigars City and grab up a box?