PROLOGUEI have this pal, see? This pal I have has a sense of humor, see? I go pro-Gurkha, he sends me this house brand as/of such. But he knows what's good for me. "Veggies: eat 'em." "Yes, sir."
We shall now commence with the non-inside joke portion of the evening's festivities with --
THE CIGARBlack Ops Habano
6 x 50 Toro
Ecuador Habano wrapper
PRE-LIGHTThere is blood-splatter involved in the design of the band. I'd go into further detail, but I'd proly talk myself outta lighting, if I did. Immature: check. Classless: check. Moving on: check.
Light hand-feel and not well-balanced in the ol' paw. That's what I note firstly, so we'll break with protocol and flesh out the rest of the hand-feel scenario prior to eyeballing notations. Smooth uneven oily grit. Not a satin-smooth, but smooth more than gruff. Packing is very spongy and of loose uneven density off a Charmin squeeze. Oils slick onto fingers.
Now the looksies. Chocolate hued wrapper, even (although tannish around a couple of the larger veins) and matte, albeit an almost even oil slick over-top. Underneath is more of the same complexion. I am gazing into a fudge-colored abyss. Seams are mainly tight, with a tick or three a notch looser. Very veiny looks, but no real hand-feel impediment, surprisingly. However, there is some crimping and sharp ridging which may cause burn issues; particularly in the first half of the Black Ops. Cap gets the job done sans hiccup or wow. Foot tobacco is a brunette with a singular high-light streak of dirty strawberry blonde. -Medium density there to the eye.
Schnoz-notes of cocoa, semi-sweet spice rack with a paprika front, and sweetly compost-led tobacco. More sweetness from the foot and a crisper note delineation, although each note is lessened. I Xikar Xi2 the heck outta the cap with a strangely out-of-context cold efficiency (full review coming, I swears).Cold pull is a medium resistance dose of chocolate and paprika pairing. Compost quite high underneath. Spice rack occupies the cold middling. Nice smoothly crisp finish.
Toasting the foot lets loose an aroma of paper with traces of hickory twigs and leaves. First hot pull is a sharp yet unrefined red pepper over-top the paprika, which peeks through at the pepper's end. Cocoa powder. Dry notes. A hickory vibe. Char. Top-leaf cracks at the burn-line. Second hot one is retro-haled to a far more kind dose of red pepper than I braced for. Notes don't differ from first draw. Still dry, although moisture level in my smoke-hole is perfect. LOTS of smoke. Third pull is samesies to the first two.
Profile is a medium now. Strength is almost there with it, already. Ash is white to light grey flaked sheath on a wavy burn which ain't aided by a new crack in the wrapper in the mid 1/3. Smoke leaks, but I'm still getting more than plenty. A dark bread note is on the finish -- toasted to burnt. Draw is smooth and even,
ACT IWarm spices are seasoning my lips. A dark semi-sweet tobacco comes on in the high middling and begins to steer. Underneath is black earth and burnt black toast; touch of hickory char. Over-top is a red pepper and red spices forefront, cocoa backfront(?). So much smoke. You could perforate this thing up and down and up again along its shaft, and still get smoky. White ash dulls a tad. Nice throat catch.
I smoke an inch into the Black Ops in not quite 15 mins. Package is a very soft sponge density. Burn is evening. I rolls off da ash, yo. Jagged cool powder, airy. The crack has been smoked through, and by all means, please to insert Whitney Houston joke [here]. More cocoa, less red pepper. Still, there's more red pepper than cocoa. Dig? Draw braces to a medium+ resistance. Ash picks up a charcoal tip. Cocoa picks up a dollop o' cream. Chocolate, then. Sweetness rises and extends to finish. A wetter and softer mouth-feel doth ensue.
All else holds. Steady rockin'.
(Mention made of schmatta. Streak continues.)
ACT IIA salted nuttiness starts in at the onset of the middle act. Some sweetness goes toward it. The sweetness, overall, is a bit erratic. A salty sweet tingle plays nice on my mouf. Black bread gets a tad less dry in the black topsoil backing. Cocoa and red pepper welcome paprika to the top. Middling is a less charred hickory, and a now sweeter still warm spice rack. Not a bad stick, at all. I hid the band from myself, so I got that going for me. Flavors intensify and delineate, but are not added to. Still, nice enough. Some malt tries in the sweetness, but the sweetness gives way to a stout tobacco, and ebbs -- malt falls.
Medium+ profile, medium but somewhat assaulting strength. Not smoov. Draw ticks back down to medium resistance. Notes dry up again. For a limited recipe, there's not a lot of stability in the ingredients. Burn-line is even, but a tick of top-leaf loosens a bit at that line. There's a shift in the primary notes, as a now dark creamy chocolate noses out ahead of the red pepper. Paprika falls to the middling. Both still influence the chocolate. Backing holds true to its form. Middling addition of paprika plays well with hickory and some coffee bean is roasting to Full City there.
As we head toward the final act, the creamy sweetness toasts and a nougat vibe is added into it. I am pleasantly surprised with this stick's flavor. My carport/HQ office cat pats the band around on the concrete floor. Smoke is noticeably warmer now. A cereal grain vibe is lacing the middlings.
ACT IIIDraw tightens back up to a medium+. Smoke out-put downs a tick. Perhaps a notch. I don't fully know what I mean by either of those vague measurements. Smoke cools a bit, slows. Flavors moisten and I purge the thing. Picks right back up.
A seam comes loose and a bit of top-leaf again peels up from the burn. Palate dries and tingle grows. All told, a very nice stogie + offering from Gurkha owner Kaizad Hansotia. I really believe, no knock against the fella, that's his wheelhouse. Maybe that explains my affections. Red pepper is now mainly on the retro-hale.
Smoke billows back up. Heats up. Room-note was always very reminiscent of a cigar being smoked. The band is NOW. The fat lady is singing. I'm grabbing a toothpick. A goiter is growing at the even enough burn-line. As ya were, gentlepersons. Or "at ease." Whichever is more correct.
NOTESThe foreman puts Wong in charge of supplies. Ten hours later, Wong is nowhere to be found. "Where's Wong?" Says everybody -- they form a search party. After an hour of searching, Wong jumps out from behind a stack of railroad ties, "SUPPLIES!!!" Yells Wong.
This Back Ops Habano was just as big a surprise. Less flinching, too. It looked fercockt, but I think ya could drive over the thing and still get a smoke-hole fulls. Completely serviceable offering as a budgeted option.
PAIRINGSAnything except the hard stuffs. Beer, even -- it works with Gurkha, too. Think malty.
LESS SCHTICK MORE STICK
Letter grades are graded on a scale of K A P L O W I T Z.
K being the least, Z the greatestAppearance A
Pick some up HERE at Cigars City. Knock around wit' 'em. Try to not napalm anyone.