Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

1/19/16

Kafie 1901 Sumatra Maduro - Cigar Review

PROLOGUE
My wife found my grey cabbie hat while cleaning. I'm so happy that as I type, I am wearing it with black shoes and I don't even care. I barely care. I'll change to grey shoes when I go out. Happy, though. I believe I have another reason to be happy --

THE CIGAR
Kafie 1901
Sumatra Maduro blend
5 x 50 Robusto
Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro wrapper
Honduran binder
Nicaraguan & Dominican fillers

Sample courtesy of Dr. Gaby Kafie.
(Many a thanks, sir.)
Read my interview with the good doc & gent HERE.

"All cigars are not created equal. The philosophy and methods used at the Puros Aliados Tobacco Factory in Danli, Honduras are legendary. We share a common goal with the late Don Rolando Reyes Sr., to create cigars that are a pleasure to smoke. This blend has an amazing wrapper sun grown in Ecuador. It is aged 4 years and is smooth, soft on the palate, with flavors of rich cream, almond, earth, and mild expresso [sic] notes. The blend really comes to life minutes after lighting. It has an amazing and mesmorizing [sic] semi sweet finish. Composed of all long filler tobacco from Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Cuban seed Habano binder really balances out the flavors and gives you that liveliness that modern connoisseurs are looking for. Smooth, balanced, flavorful and silky to the finish. This is a cigar that can be enjoyed any time of day." - from www.KafieCigars.com
PRE-LIGHT
Let's begin here at the beginning, gentlepersons. The band is simple yet elegant and too, somewhat untold exotic. Paper stock is nice quality and mildly embossed gold on burgundy. The color palette as mentioned in regards to the band, works well on this stick. I say that because it is no small feat it does so. Why? Because -- green undertones with an orange over-top support a main complexion of burnt sienna tinted chocolate caramel. Over-top of all that is a deep Maduro plum hue'd marbling. Over-top of the over-top, is a semi-gloss luster of somewhat thick oil sheen. Visually, there is a heckuva lot occurring here.

One thing not occurring, however, are any veins worthy of mention. Seams are tight, even, and nigh unseen. No lift at the well affixed cap; and at the foot a tobacco peeks out of auburn to brunette coloring with a couple ticks up to a dirty blonde. Looks packed to a medium+ density.

Hand-feel is well-balanced as a 5 x 50 Robusto should be. Lively viscous oils. Medium + packing and even throughout. Feels lively, but not excitable. Like an even money horse in the starting gate. I spin it in my hand and admire the looks of the thing. Then I bite the cap off.

What I get is a red fruity tobacco, inherently not overly sweet. Some chocolate. More chocolate. A little nutty cream underneath. Very nice. Medium+ draw resistance. I flip the Kafie offering around and sniff the foot. it's pretty close to the cold draw in what it foretells with a hinted at addition of greater nuttiness. A schnoz along the wrapper gets notes of sweet earth of a complex variety -- all that grows from it, not merely itself -- and a far away chocolate creaminess.

LIGHT
9:55am
Toasting the foot sets off an aroma of roasting espresso beans and dark, unsweetened cocoa. Those notes are primary on the first hot pull. They are accompanied by a ripe red to purple fruit mix, a fleeting note on the immediate draw. Also on board is a nice leather note which lies atop the sweet earth backing. Finish is a bit of seasoned hardwood and some hearty but sprinkled red spices. Second hot pull is retro-haled to a healthy dose of almond notes which roast quickly once dropped to the palate -- mingling nicely with red spices. Mouth-feel is a maturely sweet creamy cocoa with a shot of syrupy espresso. All that creates your finish, and it is a medium+ legg'd affair, that finish. Almond notes pick up a limb or two of its tree in a woody note that stems from the earth, poking through the leather. Third pull is static and we are off to the races on this Kafie Sumatra, gentlepersosns.

Draw is consistent thus far. Burn-line is a thin+ and evening out off a wooden match, carport light. Ash is salt (mostly) and pepper, and piles up quick. Construction softened a tick after a few hot pulls, but holds perfectly. We'll call it a -medium profile this early. Smoke out-put is medium+ and cumulus clouds-like. Nice pouring off the foot. Room-note is a sweet tobacco backed by leather and highlighting something like Raisinettes.
ACT I
A slight mineral aspect is apparent now on the lengthening and mainly sweet finish. It's a nice cleansing of the palate -- a scraping of barnacles if ya nautically will. Raisinets, yes. A mocha latte, yes. A bracing of seasoned woods and kitchen spice rack, yes. A kind and far back fully added dimension of sweet earth under tooled leather, yes. Very nice, yes. A retro-hale plays up the spice rack well and offers yet another clearly delineated dimension. The kitchen spices are reminding me of what you'd find in a chai spiced tea.

Burn-line has evened, new ash growth is salt complected. No flakes and a nice density -- I lay my schmatta across my lap purely out of habit; not ash-catching necessity. Smoke-out-put ramps up. Profile stays at a medium+ but fills out and flexes gently. Flavors have settled well and stay in consistent stride with one another. Almond notes ebb and flow and swirl. A very meditative smoke, this Kafie. I can close my eyes and almost see the notes. I can foretell them, as well. Complex and well-orchestrated. I sip from the cigar and contemplate my naval.

At the close of the opening act, cream is thickening on the mouth-feel and softer notes of chocolate and earth are drawn into it. They are in turn enhanced by it. Almond is staying aboard now through the still lengthening finish. Still a medium+ profile, but a very weighty one which remains lively on the palate. The ash of the first third clumps in my tray and it is dense and oily.

All notes to construction, packing, draw, etc., hold. Burn slows a bit and between puffs of ready clouds, the cigar sits smoldering calmly.

ACT II
The burn crackles a tad. A hard note limbers up like an athlete stepping off the bench. Whatever it is, it first makes itself known in the potentially bitter notes of almond and espresso. Sharpness is offset prior to occurring by the table-setting creaminess. Seasoned woods and chai spices soar. Earth underneath sweetens as the raisins rehydrate there. A spiciness rears up at the retro-hale, well roasted and not unkind. Powerful but nuanced.

Strength is up a tick. Cream is toasting and silky oils get released from there. Leather heats in the sun and sweats its own oils, as well. Mouth-feel is divine. Chocolate sweetens and thickens. An excellent chew sets in and I leave the Kafie in my smoke-hole as I type. The kind foot-smoke is un-irritating and the thing leaves a nice salt on my lips. Mineral aspects are greatly subdued but still noticeable. Plums are mixed in with grapes; all ready to bite into and let their juices roll down yer chin.

Ash picks up a brownish hue and a greater apparent density. Burn-line ribbons a tick, but quickly corrects, ribbons, corrects -- on a near razor thinness. More strength now, it always comes up in a gentlemanly manner, a respectful knock at the door, not an authoritative cop-knock.

I let the Kafie offering sit in my $0.99 Walmart ashtray as I duck inside for my wool overcoat and fingerless gloves. Two minutes or so. Without hesitation, it is ready to fill me with smoke. A greater out-put of the stuff, epus. With a blueish tint. Beautifully constructed, this. The burn ribbons slightly at times, but never threatens the need to be re-touched.

At the end of the second act, I kinda wanna shout "KAFIE!" from the mountain tops, but don't like hiking. Plus, this is their latest blend. I'd like to, and can't wait to, see what has come before -- prior to putting on boots. I do not own boots. To be clear: a good portion of this short paragraph has been metaphorical. It's an easy stick to be an enthusiast in regards to.

ACT III
I blow smoke rings because it's cool. I blow smoke rings because this Kafie is a thick-smoked offering (remember, I am outdoors). I also blow smoke rings because it helps me taste. There is a lot to taste. All notes from II are here in III, but they are closer to one another. Delineated but huddled in and envelope of the sweet earth/thinning leather backing. It's as if that backing is now rolled or folded up around the flavors. Interesting. This makes for a very clean mouth-feel to such a robust bit of notes. It helps retain a definite liveliness.

Such a well constructed stick with such a clearly orchestrated palate, can at times, become mundane. The good Dr. Kafie doth avoid this sorrow. I am contemplative yet happily so. I am entertained, but not by a comedy nor a melodrama. This cigar tells a heckuva tale.

Flavor-wise, there is a hint of malt in the chocolate and a slightly charred bone marrow savoriness encircling the note-bundle now. I hesitate still, to say full-flavored because I want to avoid the inherent weightiness in that sentiment. Strength is a good medium+, bearing in mind I'm a notorious light-weight and not in need of resorting to a pinch of sugar. Some musky bits are on the flavors now, but they remain sharp; salt ramps up to aid in this. Smoke warms nicely and I feel it in my chest. I feel as though I've been dancing and now, seated, I reflect on that happiness. There is a floral vibe on the retro-hale.

At the band, construction has held throughout. I can't find fault in an iota of this offering. Other than I know it will soon end. If you gentlepersons would be so kind, I will toothpick the thing and ride it on out...
NOTES
The LH Maduro offering made me rethink the beautiful potential of Maduro. Kafie 1901 has similarly un-bittered me re: Honduran tobaccos.

"I can't find fault in an iota of this offering." -me. I can tell you one piece of useful info, however -- smoke it slow, lest a bite threaten. I personally am a very slow smoker, so subjectively, I found no issue there.

Also, I realize not every (especially American) palate know what to make of mineral notes. Rest assured, there ain't a lot here.

In short, not a beginner's smoke, this Kafie.

PAIRINGS
None needed.

FINAL GRADE
****A+****

LESS SCHTICK MORE STICK
Mellow: Yes too balanced and un-boring
Coarse: Baby's bottom
Sweet: Inherently and maturely
Spicy: Yes too balanced and un-assaulting
Savory: Glimpses in 3/3
Strength: Gently and unsurprisingly
Draw: Perfect throughout
Burn: Ribbony at small tick, correcting of itself quickly
Construction: Bravo
Primary Note: Sweet complex earthiness and all which springs it forth

EPILOGUE
11:15-ish am
I need to change my shoes. I can't look at me! Horrible!!!