Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Man O' War Ruination - Cigar Review

It is April 13th. I am dressed in layers including a wool overcoat pièce de résistance. I am not amused.

Man O' War Ruination
5 1/2 x 54 Robusto no. 1
Ecuadorian Sungrown wrapper
Nicaragun binder
Honduran & Nicaraguan fillers
A velvety smooth eye, due to an oily sheen of good depth over a dark chocolate not-so-even-complexion. Some tan undertones come up to the top, more so in the 3/3. Hardly any in 1/3. Seams are tight and even, but that is occasionally belied by the contrasting top-leaf putting them on loud display. Minimal veins, but there are three which together span the shaft's length. They are narrow, but sharp on the hand-feel and crimp the leaf here and there. Cap is nicely affixed. Foot tobacco is a mousy brown with dirty blonde up-ticks. Medium density to eyeballing, and very lacking in luster. Not an amazingly pretty stick, but no egregious mishaps, either.

Hand-feel is thickly oiled with just the bare minimum of organic grit. A smattering of tooth is at the 1/3 particularly -- the darker leaf. Weight feels perhaps a bit light, though it thunks solid against my ring. Medium+ feedback off the Charmin squeeze and zilch as far as soft spots. Perhaps the apparent lack of heft speaks to a supreme balance here. Something of a stem lays against the underside of the wrapper through most of the 2/3. It's a nice-sized hand impediment, and ya gotta be a tick burn-concerned, as well.

Schnozzing the shaft, I get very smooth scents of hardwood and earth. Barn. Manure. Some dark toast. At the foot, there is a bittersweet addition with an underlying mocha. I Xikar Xi2 the cap. Cold pull, on a smooth medium+ tension, is very red spice braced by hardwoods. Mocha underneath. Further under is earth and barn and soil. Very bittersweet cold finish with some red fruit therein.

Toasting the foot lets loose an aroma of every bit of earth with oak and leather add-ons. Light catches quite well and evenly. First hot pull is sweetbitter, not bittersweet. Charcoal goes straight to my palate. Mocha to my tongue. Black soil mixes with dark toast everywhere including my throat and chest. -Full outta the gate profile. Hold all my calls. Soft notes of hardwoods hit the finish and it is a long, rich one. Second hottie is a retro-hale of nose hair vaporizing red and black peppers. Some cayenne. In their wake, full city plus roasted coffee beans and cocoa. Then the woods. Soil/bread concoction carries all along. There's a vibe of caramelized sugar now on the end of draw, as I take a third tug. The sweet is balancing the heat and that is saying a heckuva lot, gentlepersons. Rare level of balance here, this high in the stratosphere.

Full profile/Medium strength.  White sheath of ash, thin burn-line operating on a even-keel. Seam is a tick loose at burn. Packing softened none off the lighting. Draw tension holds static at a smoke-hole satiating medium+ tension. -Full smoke out-put. Syrupy dense room-note with much toast in it. So. Much. Flavors. I'm pretty sure I can find just about anything in  here, as the red/purple fruits ooze their juices. Mouth-feel is a fine thing mounting layers of toasted cream. Finish is long-legged and sweetens as it builds. Smoke is supremely velvet-textured.
Pack softens a tick now right at the burn, and a definite ruby red grapefruit flows into the dense profile. It lingers to the finish onset and cleanses build-up just a tad. Chewy. Thick. Flavorful. Velvety. Ash clumps at a half-inch in a complete surprise. I try to lift it from near my schmatta to tray, and it collapses warmly to my fingering. Very dry. Hardwood is an oak, is a wine cask now. Peppers subdue as flavor notes, but muscle up as smoke-hole heat. Palate dries a tick. I swish some seltzer.

Primary is espresso, dark chocolate (mocha has separated), with a lacing fruity vibe... dry and fresh... raisin and plum. Middlings are hardwood smatterings and wine cask, pepper heat mixed with a red spice rack, leather, and dark bread. Underneath is the tail-end of the dark bread mixed into thick rich black topsoil over barnyard. Some manure. Bittersweet vibings dance in and out and throughout. These are noticed particularly on the finish, with spiced cocoa and heavy creams which warm and release oils. Immediate draw is now a that charcoal note, it fills too, the retro-hale. Ruination is more than simply a name -- it is also an action -- me wobbly-leg'd running to the sugar bag.

I prefer my palate tested, not my nicotine tolerance -- both are tested here; nic far more so. Molasses sets in and pulls back up the muted caramelized sugar. All notes to construction, hold. Smoke is a bit thinned in the smoke-hole. Off the foot, it ramps. I'd say strength is -full. I'm not amused; especially in tandem with the now thinning notes. I'm beginning to think AJ blended this for someone else, entirely. The very nerve of that man! Cream is dissipating and heat is decidedly not.

Spice now falls back to in-step with cream. Charcoal lasts longer off the tug. Leather and black soil/earth begin to steer. In all honesty, notes are now becoming as pedestrian as Lois Griffin's meatloaf. Wine cask is gone. Nic soars. Oak is back all the way to generic hardwood. Nic soars. Espresso and cocoa fall and become again, a now muted mocha. Nic soars. Bread is struggling.

As the half, smoke thickens back up to my smoke-hole. Fruit notes thin. Bittersweet is OK. Burn-line wobbles a bit; ash is near fully white and sheathed nicely. Spices and heat-feel fade, then spices come up a bit. Throat catches. I ain't having much fun, here. Just not my bag, this. Hardwood gets an interesting sweetness as it toasts.

We stay static through to the end of 2/3. Then the leather notes start to hide. Something sour takes their place. This sour vibe dries the finish. It isn't unpleasant per se, but dry ain't ideal circumstances for spotting nuances. Bittersweet there, some hint of purple fruit. Mainly woods. A sweetening dark earth/barnyard. Strength seems to dial back a notch.

Again, leather and earth up-top. The rest of what's left is middling and rather helter-skelter. Underneath is the at times erratic earth/barn. Construction just plugs along admirably. Combustion is groovy. Burn is at times wonked, but too, self correcting. Smoke blues. Draw tightens a tick but remains medium+.

Settles here a bit. Vastly unchanged on the final act's onset from the middle act as far as menu -- settle nonetheless. Oils replace cream and a saltiness is on my lips and cheeks. Isn't Don Peppin about half the price a' these? Just sayin'.

Wait -- we are humming again, gentlepersons. Somewhat. Flavors begin to delineate again and pile back on as they do. We are, in the interest of saving time fully describing -- back in the first act. Almost. Leather and black earth are on-top here, too, they wrap around to the underneath. Betwixt there is a simpler version of that nigh remarkable opening act. Charcoal and sour notes continue on the front and back, respectively. Each serves to strip notes of their previous nuances and lead to that simplification. I'm glad I didn't walk away, but not joyously so. Syrupy espresso, nigh Cuban coffee-esgue with a once again rejuvenated caramelized sugar note, soars at the band. Burn wonks to a wave and temp of smoke up-ticks noticeably so.

If you aren't particularly flavor-hunting past the 1/3 and looking for a zetz in the tuchus -- this Man O' War Ruination is for ya. Construction and combustion? I ain't got a bad thing to say whatsoever.

Spartan helmet. Buddy system. No sudden movements.

Appearance W
Construction I
Combustion I
Flavors/Body T
Strength T


Yes. "n/a." The ultimate "Yer mile may vary." Not my bag -- but maybe yours. Insofar as less subjective, if not objective, dalliances: please to see the K A P L O W I T Z SCALE a few ticks up from here.

The nic-bomb is a market driver, for sure. Folks want it. AJ Fernandez gives it a lot. But I can't help but wish he'd lend his brilliance, and what he's capable of, elsewhere and to a far greater extent. Leave the over-ligero'd punishments for lesser blenders. I mean, I have stated this before.