I don't see why me ordering an order of dry white toast needs to constantly be commented on by every server I order from ever. I mean, I didn't comment on your coffee being drek, latest waitress to quip "Big eater, huh?"
Although I suppose I just did.
Nevertheless, I cannot recall the last time I had an opportunity to smoke a Barber Pole. Therefore, I'm considering this a rare and somewhat festive treat.
THE CIGARCovadonga Cigars
Doble Capa King Corona
Habano Ecuador/Candela wrapper (Barber Pole)
Dominican Ligero, Nicaraguan Viso, Capote Ecuador
7 x 58
Courtesy of and big thanks to: Covadonga Cigars.
PRELIGHTThis thing is most likely big enough to be used as an actual barber pole. DYK: my actual barbershop does not have an actual barber pole; and this irks me to no end? I am nothing if not a traditionalist. Ah, but the cigar...
Hefting it, it does seem a tad on the lighter side for a stick its size. A quick Charmin test confirms a soft+ to -medium packing -- evenly so throughout. There are veins that rise up on the Habano and Candella portions of the wrapper, but none so egregious as to threaten a redirect of the burn. The Candela is evenly complected and as green as Kermit's deriere. The Habano is a deep chocolate with darker low-lights throughout, with just a trace of sheen and no tooth to speak of. Foot tobacco has a lively reddish note with strawberry blonde highlights and shows a less than dense packing.
Schnoz notes from the shaft are overall a mildly sweet tobacco with a bit of hay. Clean grassy notes and a light chocolate get added at the foot. I clip the well affixed cap and a cold pull is quite a nice dose of cinnamon and a deeper tobacco than I expected from the nose whiff. The grassiness on the cold pull is very crisp and might even have a sprig of mint growing up through it. Very clean and sweet overall.
LIGHTToasting the foot lets loose an aroma of sweet grasses and seasoned hardwood, a nice balance. First hot pull is a crisp hardwood and sunlit grass pull on a toasty wheat bread tobacco note off a -medium at best draw resistance. Second hot pull is retro-haled and gives a nice roasted black pepper zing that drops to the palate and into the finish. Said finish is gaining legs and is a good medium length now. The pepper fades as a dark chocolate comes in there. Third hot pull and the dark chocolate and a subtler version of the pepper are there, as well. Under notes of sweet grass taking on a hay vibe and some muted red spices which are mainly sweet.
Mouth-feel shows great moisture content and carries a bit of a sweet spice zing on the tongue, but nicely so. Profile is medium at this early point. Body is a slightly toasted light cream. Burn is even ribbons on a medium burn-line through both wrappers. Ash is a pale to medium grey and minimally flaky. The way this 58 RG fits in the smoke-hole is phenomenally comfy, and I'm no fan of anything larger than a 50, in general. The kind foot-smoke lets me dangle it from my lips as I type.
Overall smoke output is -medium and the room-note is creamy chocolate of a sweet hay backing with clean grassy note intermingling. A non-smoker might very well tolerate this offering. If they disagree, please simply ignore them. That's what they're there for.
ACT IBlack pepper mutes kindly on the retro-hale but remains flavorful. A white pepper comes in on the draw which consists of milk chocolate, toasted wood, and hearty toasted whole grain bread. Occasional sweet grasses bordering on both floral and herbal -- quite lush, really. Mouth-feel/body is medium+ on a thickening creaminess that is toasted and laced with cocoa. Flavors and strength are medium but I expect they will rise up to meet the body shortly. Finish is creamy chocolate and toasted note counter balance of hardwood and bread. There is a slight herbal vibe at the very end of its medium+ length. This is a very enjoyable and completely accessible sans boredom offering from Covadonga. I do believe they have a new fan in me, and I am already looking forward to their other sampling.
The two samples were sent with a nice note explaining their delay -- although I saw no delay -- it would seem Mr. Rolando Reyes leads an all familial staff and, well, G-d help him there. Or perhaps I inflict my family on his. I can't even get my clan to clean up after dinner. Ingrates.
I roll the ash off at an inch and its quite powdery and loose. The newly growing ash seems a notch paler. There is a burn-line bugaboo involving the Habano, but I'll wait as long as possible to allow it to self-correct. The Candela burns a good bit easier.
At the end of the opening act, there is no change to report as to flavors. Zing has left the palate and again was never unkind. A slight dryness has set in on the mouth-feel, but nothing requiring a sip. Profile is a medium+. Output and room-notes are unchanged, and I do believe the burn issue has resolved itself. A small dose of cedar sets in and I do again believe that to be the somewhat drying aspect. It's a nice added flavor dimension which finds and enhances the creaminess.
ACT IIThe Habano hits a second bugaboo and the ash is a bit ugly on account of the two hiccups, but holds. The construction softens a notch or two and the smoke output pours liberally. Ash begins to flake here, there, and everywhere. My schmatta/handkerchief begins to kvetch at its workload from my lap. It's becoming a -full smoker but remains a kind one. The good news is if a non-smoker were to complain, you might not see them through the chocolaty sweet clouds.
Cedar has really amped up and too, a leather appears and the flavors have noticeably deepened on the back of an increasingly earthy tobacco. Chocolate is dark now, and richly so. Floral notes hide, but grassy ones come in occasionally. Bread is darker and heavier. Sweet spices are quite nice and are maturing well. Finish lasts well to the next pull and is bordering on chewy with notes of cocoa and bread and sweet cream.
I roll off the inch+ of now more oily ash in order to address an increasingly sloppy burn. The new ash is a tick darker and even denser. Still, it's as big a flake fest as an off-Broadway production. Construction-wise, the packing has ceased its softening. The near reset has been accepted nicely. Fun smoker, this.
I'm on my porch and decide to yell out "KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD." A car honks back at me. I realize my jeans are unzipped. I sit back down. Fun smoker, this. Also, I'm not in Portland.
Dry grass, that's hay right? It's sweet and now plays a larger role. Coffee beans come on and my mouth is a bit dry. I retouch the Habano before it goes too far astray. I realize it's hard to take burn notes too seriously on a barber pole offering. Sweet spices mute. Notes are of earth, wood, cocoa, and coffee. Healthy black pepper on the retro-hale. Finish has simplified but not shortened -- well, perhaps half a tick -- and is less chewy bread topped with creamery butter (no more cream) and a hint of chocolate. In that particular order, thank ya.
A smoke which begs for company and makes me wanna tell a story. A funny one. I know of none to tell in mixed company. This Covadonga would pair great with a Three Stooges short. Profile teases and tickles at full. I giggle and ash flies around me, dancing in the dense smoke.
ACT IIIToasted bread backing that showcases primarily notes of earthiness and cocoa. Coffee is in the underneaths with a bit of remaining hardwood and less sweet hay. Moisture level moistens to a -medium. Mouth-feel is a pat of butter. Black pepper ebbs and flows on the retro-hale. Construction holds. Smoke remains full and cool. Room-note is the same as mentioned already. I'm approaching the band and don't foresee more to report. I'll enjoy it to the nub and already have a toothpick at the ready.
Did I mention I had lunch out today? Oh, yes. The toast and drek coffee. My wife and I met up at a diner with her brother and his lady friend. I was told I behaved well. I can always tell when that's the case -- because I get bored. This cigar was a welcomed bit o' fun. A sugary note hits as I grab the toothpick.
NOTESStogie done right.
Cuban coffee, hot cocoa, Three Stooges, accordion music, Rum, Rum poured heavily into hot cocoa.
Today was the close of the Bing Cosby season at Del Mar and also the last day of the Churchill Downs fall meet. (Or yesterday was, as I'll post this tomorrow). I'm wearing two layers of thermal underthings and I need to find some warmer weather. Or, more likely, another layer. Ruby Vondella, my Dachshund, is wearing a sweater and keeps barking about a southern road-trip. Poor thing.
Time marches on, a fun cigar eases this truth.