Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Valacari NeoClassic in Robusto - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

I reviewed the Valacari Invictus a wee bit ago and was quite impressed. With this looksie at the co.'s NeoClassic, I've smoked its portfolio of blends and yeah. Lettuce delve...

A modern take on a classic taste is the catch-phrase employed in the hyping of this Neoclassic. Fuck if I know what that means but I guess it sounds superficially neat-O and in keeping with branding. About the branding, it looks good. A nice gold design & font on white and all that on nice stock (both primary and secondary bands). I never mention that sorta thing. Oh, well.

I should probably tell you that I pulled up a little bit of top-leaf while taking the band off. I was careless w/ my fingers while to myself debating whether I should put a fresh sweatshirt on, or another to cover-up this spaghetti sauce splashed one. Mia culpa, Mama Mia. Hasta pasta. It caused no down-the-road issue.

We commence/attempt to begin again.

Overtones hit a medium height'd crescendo of pale bitter notes led by toasted/salted sour (never acidic) notes. A softened sweetness bleeds into a rigid pepper-spice. Some savory grains swirl brightly about top-to-bottom and vice-versa. Each level mentioned has a nice bit of its own complexities, although all levels don't speak well to each other and this makes for a bit a' cacophony. Supreme balance is missed, but not by a full country mile and there is an awful lot to juggle in this bright and lively NeoClassic by Valacari... a brand well-worth looking into.

Medium bodied and smoothly-so with just the correct dash of tongue-tingle. Overall a creamy-soft texture but too, riding a rigid backbone. Finish is a changeable grouping of on-the-draw complexities giving a nuanced and medium-legg'd predominately sweet/sour finish. Ends cleanly -- even crisply. Stays cool gate-to-wire with some extra saltiness added to cheeks in 3/3. Strength is mild-medium.

Combustion saw a couple retouches of slightly lagging top-leaf. Nice pacing. Construction gave no bugaboos via zero hiccups.

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Habano
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Esteli, Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

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s/o Havana59 Distributors

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"Forty-Six" Kaplowitz Radio

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"Forty-Six" Kaplowitz Radio w/ Special Guest William "Cigar Coop" Cooper

My BIG thanks again to Coop for chatting with me.
Gentlepersons, just press play below & do enjoy...


As always, thank-you for the loaning of yer ears, Gentlepersons.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Illusione Cigars ~2~ & Crowned Thorns - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz (Audio)

Illusione Cigars ~2~ and Crowned Thorns


WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Rosado Oscuro Corojo
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: 5.5x52 Belicoso
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Whilst Illusione is a sponsor *buy a box* of mine, that in no way *buy a box* influenced my review. *Buy a box*.

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BUY A KAPLOWITZ MEDIA TOTE BAG

"Forty-Five" Kaplowitz Radio

Monday, March 26, 2018

"Forty-Five" Kaplowitz Radio

KR45



Wherein ^ I prattle on boy-O re:
  • Poetry (mine)
  • Spring Break
  • Mixed filler cigars
  • Poetry (form)
  • a Slaughterhouse cigar (review)
  • Boxing, wrestling, Pankration
As always, thank-you for the loaning of yer ears, Gentlepersons.

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"A poem is never finished; it is only abandoned." - Paul Valéry

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Review of Recent Grade A Cigar Offerings

[in which February/March are included in otder to make up for my Feb. writing hiatus]

"Sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit, these men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem. If no one else can help. And if you can find them -- maybe you can hire the A-Team."

Gentlepersons below is a list as shallow and pedantic as Lois Griffin's meatloaf. It is a list of recent (again,  2&3/18) cigar offerings I humbly found to be worthy of A (- to +) review ratings.

THE A-LIST
{Names are links to full review.}

Don Pepin Garcia Serie JJ (bonus content)

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"Forty-Four" Kaplowitz Radio

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Weekly Recapitulation Volume XL

TEXT
Nat Sherman Metropolitan Connecticut
Illusione Cigars ~MJ12~ Maduro
Torano Vault P-044 Green

AUDIO
"Forty-Three" Kaplowitz Radio
"Forty-Four" Kaplowitz Radio

VIDEO
Stick Men: Episode Twelve


NOTICE: "hidden" BONUS CONTENT in "certain" posts.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Torano Vault P-044 Green in Robusto - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

My final thoughts as to this Torano P-044 E-021 Blue brethren reads cleverly-so:
A 2017 General Cigar Co. addition to the Torano Vault line and one which makes me wonder if it were better off kept locked away. All-told, a bland offering controlled by an unfortunate cardboard note. Packaging/presentation-wise, the obvious lifting of the 'new' Camacho band design is nice -- wait. No it ain't.
You can read the rest of that Blue review HERE.

Now lettuce look towards the Green...
('tis the St. Paddy's Day season as such)

Brightly piquant overtones ride tandem with a somewhat sharp sour-sweet note. Way-down under is a vegetal savoriness and 'tween layers is a separate pungent note coupled with a toasted acidity. Not overly balanced as it's skewed towards sharp bright sour acidity. Complexities do happen but in helter-skelter fashion and only hither and thither. Sharpness yields a rigidity that just won't allow much if any, depth -- thus nuances are lacking. Flavors sit middle a' medium.

Body is a rigidly sharp tangy remnant of rigidly sharp draw notes. A bit of a chemical citrus happens at the finish... a spray bottle of degreaser? Some hint of bright pungent-sour complexities there, underneath. Medium, barely -- on a sunny yet cool sandy mouth-feel.

Strength ain't no-thing, chicken wing.

Burns on an even line but ash clumps in a hard cone at mid-point. Nicely paced and plenty of smoke out-put yielding a tangy-sweet room-note which irritates only slightly-so. Ash makes an inch at times. Construction is nice with tight seams and no hard/soft spots nor softening. Draw offers a medium+ tension, pulls evenly gate-to-wire. 

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Sun Grown
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

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"Forty-Four" Kaplowitz Radio

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"Forty-Four" Kaplowitz Radio

KR44

I smoke and speak to a Victor Sinclair Bohemian Maduro in a ridiculously pornographic-sized 670 'Big Sur" Gordo. Also, Jedi are nothing more than space wizards and I can't even look at me. Also:
  • Breaking up
  • Ugly chairs
  • Poetry
  • Rude cashiers
  • Walking Dead
  • & I agreed to watch WHAT???!!!
+more
(I still can't recall why I jotted down "Comcast.")

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Illusione Cigars ~MJ12~ Maduro in Toro - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz + Bonus Content

"At IPCPR 2011, Dion Giolito, owner of Illusione Cigars, added a Maduro version of four vitolas, to his core line joining the ~hl~ Maduro that has already been out for some time. The four new Maduro sizes are the 88, 888, cg:4, and ~mj12~ ... The ~mj12~ Maduro is wrapped black paper, which distinguishes it from the original ~mj12~ which is wrapped in silver foil. The silver foil is, of course, a nod to aliens and the conspiracy surrounding the Roswell incident."  - Halfwheel
& now (w/ thx to HW) without any further ado, adon't or amaybe...

Overtones of a pungent nature blended well with a produce-not-confectionery sweetness -- braced solidly by high undertones of bitter bits with their own toasted sour nuances. Depthy in terms of depth. Salt is present on lips and tongue, adding to a rigid backbone for the softer notes to play on and about. Laced with a smoky & trimmed savoriness throughout. A supremely balanced flavor profile with lively complexities on a dark canvass. Medium-Full.

A medium height'd hunkered down smoothness of body texture, a sports car taking a winding road. Thick in a muscular fashion. Rigid but not drying. Softens as it works toward the finish -- a long-legg'd extension of the draw with a greater focus on sour notes. Roasts into neat-O complexities. Temp is cool and the end comes cleanly twixt pulls. 

Strength is a robust medium then back-loaded medium-full which bypasses head-swoon and/or schvitzing to land warmly in the chest. A sipping hooch. Challah-basket fills nicely.  Suddenly I became quite Jewy there.

Combustion/construction are cruise-control Sunday AM drives (again with the vehicular shit). Ash does err toward dryness but holds to an inch at a time sans flaking. The draw starts a bit stiff but come 2/3 and on-out, its smoothly even medium+ tension is very nice. Very much a smoky out-put which leave a sweetly-spiced meat room(carport)-note in its wake.

WRAPPER: San Andres Maduro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Whilst Illusione is a sponsor *buy a box* of mine, that in no way *buy a box* influenced my review. *Buy a box*.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

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"Forty-Three" Kaplowitz Radio

BONUS CONTENT:
"All of the sizes have been made and are aging as we speak. The official release is at IPCPR 2018. We will soft release them sometime before the show. The initial retailer buy will [be] offered in a pre-pack, consisting of 3 boxes of each size for a total of 24 10-count boxes. Only 500 prepacks have been made for the initial release. Once all prepacks have been sold, only the Retailers who purchased the initial pre-pack will be eligible for “fill-in” orders until we can get a scope on future production numbers, relative to specific raw materials at hand, used in the blend." Dion Giolito, Illusione re: OneOff.

He & me, we talked about it here:

Monday, March 19, 2018

"Forty-Three" Kaplowitz Radio

Whilst smoking/reviewing a La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black #58 Gordo, I offer up a bit of Kaplowitz Reads Kaplowitz. I don't have a bunch else to say. Do please give a listen, Gentlepersons.


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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Nat Sherman Metropolitan Connecticut in Churchill - Cigar Review Redux by Kaplowitz

I originally looked at this blend in its Petite Robusto "Union" iteration HERE.

As to this here Churchill --

Bright and deceptively rich, although starts off with a worrisome green note. Sour chugs ahead then a warm sweetness joins them overtones, surpasses. Pale bitter notes and lightly then darker savory bits form neat-O undertones particularly whenst poultry hits in 3/3. Pepper-spice is white & 'nuff to just register+. Flirts with acidic when that note lurches ahead a bit but sweet-bitters always tracks it down. Balance is good, except for when it's not and complexities are there but stealthily-so. Nuances are nice via the roasting vegetal savory depths. There are unfortunate hints of stogie wet cardboard along the second-half's way.

Whatchoo know 'bout fusty?
Whatchoo know 'bout malts?

As far as body, bite hints hither and thither. Not as smooth as you'd maybe assume a lighter profile to be. Creamy rich feelz with a slight hum on the tongue-tip. Soft, but braced far-back by a rigid spine. Finish is of -moderate length and a simplified sweetness.

Strength? What strength? We got nada to prove here, amigo. It's a classic, this Metropolitan. A museum piece, really. A blend of a time gone by.

Combustion is a fast-paced thing which threatens a canoe outta the gate then settles. Ash makes an inch by not much, about 50% of the silvery time. Sorta sparse output leads to faded room-notes of sour & library book. Picks up in second-half and we got full library shelf.

Lettuce gander construction. An excellent smooth draw with a medium+ tension. Satiating/saturating yes/yes mildly-so. Seams loosen a hair but hold. Shoulder needs to be trimmed away in 3/3 but ya don't need to bother a mohel. No hard/soft spots but thunks a bit hollow against my thumbnail never squishes though.

WRAPPER: US Connecticut Shade
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican

STRENGTH: Mild-Medium
FORMAT: Churchill
ORIGIN: Dominican Republic

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

"Forty-Two" Kaplowitz Radio

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Weekly Recapitulation XXXIX

TEXT
Cubanacan Cigars Habano  - Cigar Review
Odds & Ends at the Ides: March 2018

AUDIO
"Forty-One" Kaplowitz Radio w/ Tommy "ZMan" Zarzecki
"Forty-Two" Kaplowitz Radio

VIDEO
Stick Men: Episode Eleven
Montecristo Classic Churchill (Natural) Cigar Review



NOTICE: "hidden" BONUS CONTENT in "certain" posts.

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& join the Kaplowitz Media Group HERE
Subscribe to me on YouTube HERE

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Keep me GROWING.
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Odds & Ends at the Ides: March 2018 + Bonus Content

It's been a bit since a monthly Odds & Ends at the Ides state of the blog address. March is the most perfect of months in which to hop back on the bandwagon. So here goes...
  • Kaplowitz Media on Facebook, new url
  • The NEW Kaplowitz Media Group
  • Stick Men moves to a video podcast format
  • Welcome new sponsor Havana59 Cigar Distributors
  • Welcome new sponsor Gran Habano
  • Stick Men team with Nomad Cigars for cigar contest
Thems the bullet-points, lettuce delve...

My Fellow Gentlepersons,

Kaplowitz Media, now home to my cigar modeling career and a growing amount of LIVE broadcasts, has a new url. If you have not yet followed, please do-so now at www.facebook.com/KaplowitzMedia & REMEMBER: from yer lap/desktop, hover over "following" next to the like button and click on "see first." Otherwise, ya won't see much of anything.

Staying with Facebook news as pertains to moi, I just recently started the Kaplowitz Media Group. Only a week in, sees us at over 1.4K Gentlepersons strong. One rule of group engagement: Try not to be a dick. Many mulligans are available in the event you find yourself being, in fact, a dick.

Now for YouTube: the new home of Stick Men, that. Make sure to subscribe to my channel HERE. Each weekly (Friday) vodcast (video podcast) will be split into two roughly 30-minute halves. These will be labeled as .1 & .2 as well as linked to one-another in their YT comments. Please also like and comment. We're tapping a new platform and an immense one, so we very-much need YOUR help getting seen.
Cigar swag, to whom ain't that ear candy? One Mr. Fred Rewey of one Nomad Cigar Company has been nice 'nuff to allow Stick Men their/our own super secret contest. Just sign up HERE. with hundreds of entries already and still 16 days left to be in it to win it -- it really isn't a well-kept secret... whoopsie. A nomad hat, t-shirt, stickers, pair of cigar rests, and Xikar 5-ct. travel humi are up for grabs. GRAB 'EM. Carpe swagum!!!

Till the ides next,
Kap

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

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"Forty-Two" Kaplowitz Radio 

BONUS CONTENT

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"Forty-Two" Kaplowitz Radio + Bonus Content

Very much a primer of an episode. Brush-up on all things Kaplowitz & Kaplowitz Media/Radio + Stick Men. Why? Because on occasion my listenership increases and that maybe begs this need for a welcoming aboard. Also, it kinda just unfurled thatta way. I also talked some Star Wars and some Rasslin' small bits. A hint of Golden Girls but not really. All this while smoking a Hiram & Solomon Shriner cigar offering which I found to be as shallow and pedantic as Lois Griffin's meatloaf.

Please do give a listen:



thx

EDITOR'S NOTE: Did I sound glum and/or glib re: cigars and the cigar lifestyle? Then please allow me to extol their virtue on the upcoming Stick Men: Episode 11. Two keywords to watch: camaraderie, culture.

s/o Havana59 cigar Distributors.

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

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BONUS CONTENT:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cubanacan Cigars (2016) Habano in Piramide - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

From the Cubanacan co. site:
"As long as there have been people, there have been stories. From the stories told in paintings on ancient caves to the family stories shared around the table, stories make up our history and guide our traditions. Cubanacan cigars embraces not only tradition, but strives to tell our story in every cigar."

I got it from here, fellas...

Flavors are firmly into the medium-full end-of-spectrum, led by overtones of a bitter-sour coupling. Heavy, soft, rich... just like I don't like my women. Just a half-step underneath is a savory note which seems to steer from the rich Corinthian Leather (Ricardo Montalban voice) backseat. Undertones are a gentle but not shy sweetened pepper-spice, toastedly-so.  On end of finish is a sometimes off-putting acidic tendency which exhibits a bit of alkaline rawness. Finish itself is a long-legg'd extension of draw with nice complexities and salted addition. Through the retro-hale is a heightened pungency leaving deeper sweetness in its wake.  Excellent depth lends to dark nuances. The balance of flavors is good, not great.

Medium-full insofar as body -- mostly smooth and oily-creaminess. Still, that acidic lilt mentioned above does build a certain throatiness. Salted and spiced tingly cheeks and tongue stay nicely cool of temp. Again: heavy soft rich. As progression progresses, it does rigid-up some and when that happens (at the half) a tick of dryness hits the ol' palate. Bite threatens in the 3/3 but I'm shown the door on a welcomed emergence of mo' sweet heavy cream.

A stick back-loaded in strength you feel in the chest and guts, but the fun really sets in late when the swoon hits. It's a kind bully whom don't follow up an Indian Arm Burn with a swirlie. It too, comes on rather expectedly, not in an unforeseen lurch. Medium-Full there, as well (at its zenith). Excellent profile balance.

Combustion occurred evenly-paced and at a nice rate of speed. Ash was an ugly thing but made an inch of growth a time or two. The line was a constant bit of jaggedness but only required my pink Bic twice. Room-note was a bit irritating via a pungent acidity. Construction was a cosmetic mess thanks to a top-leaf prone to fragility. Right outta the gate, it cracked when I snipped. The second-half saw substantial crackling, as well. The draw was a bit tight and coulda used another cut, but I wasn't about to tempt fate there. Humsoever, there were no hard/soft spots and minimal sponging-up against light and pull. Also, a seam plum flew-away in the 2/3.

WRAPPER: Habano
BINDER: Ecuadorian
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: 6 1/8x 52 "Piramide" Belicoso
ORIGIN: Tabacalera Cubanacan, Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: B-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Report a typo, win a No-prize.

s/o Havana59 cigar Distributors.

Enter the Stick Men hosted Nomad Cigars contest HERE.

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"Forty-One" Kaplowitz Radio w/ Special Guest Tommy "ZMan" Zarzecki

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Forty-One" Kaplowitz Radio w/ Special Guest Tommy "ZMan" Zarzecki

A Monday Kaplowitz Radio? Yup. It's officially a twice a week podcast thing now. Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays are for Stick Men. Wow. Special thanks to Tommy "ZMan" Zarzecki for the time and this oh so lovely interview. I think you'll enjoy it, Gentlepersons...


Check out ZMan's site @ www.TommyZMan.com 
& find out more about his soon to launch podcast HERE.

Enter the Stick Men hosted Nomad Cigars contest HERE.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Montecristo Classic Churchill (Natural) Cigar Review by Kaplowitz + Bonus Content

Montecristo Classic Churchill (Natural)

WRAPPER: Connecticut Shade
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican

STRENGTH: Mild-Medium
FORMAT: Churchill (754?!)
ORIGIN: Dominican

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

Perchance to purchase your own Montecristo Churchill at Cigars City.

EDITOR'S NOTE: No sooner did I make mention here of the acceptable headgear: dad hat, black [the one thing I totally forgot to mention HERE in my fashion manifesto] than did I find an even greater thing to tandem with the equally acceptable black beanie (cuffed or uncuffed) -- the cadet hat AKA patrol cap, black. Carry on. Three hat styles from which to choose, our caps runneth over.

BONUS CONTENT
Don Pepin Garcia Serie JJ in Robusto "Selectos" - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Archetype Axis Mundi in Robusto - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz + Bonus Content

Here's what Cigar Aficionado had to say about the cigar they chose as 2017's #13:
The creative minds at Ventura Cigar and Drew Estate have put their heads together and created the cigar of your dreams—or at least, the cigar of your unconscious. Archetype Axis Mundi is named for the repeating characters, symbols or archetypes said to recur in people’s dreams, items that appear in the myths of various cultures. So a cigar was formulated to appeal to the collective consciousness (and unconsciousness) of all cigar smokers. It’s a bit of a lofty, meta-cerebral concept, but the cigar is delicious. The Indonesian binder bridges Ecuadoran wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers to produce rich layers of coffee bean, caramel and nuttiness. A hint of cedar manages to manifest itself as well, making the Archetype Axis Mundi Toro a no-brainer.
Chasing this varietal of high-concept ultimately ends in NBC canceling your project. But 'nuff 'bout Heroes. Thankfully it damages our purposes nill, to ignore that all origin story and simply to focus on the stick...

Rigid overtones of a pepper-spice'd bitter-sweetness soften richly into a lengthy finish of great complexity with the addition therein of salted sour notes. Left in the wake of all that is a toasted acidic (kindly) note which ends clean as the proverbial whistle. That on a palate which whilst tingly, is too, cool as the other side of the proverbial pillow. Undertones of a separately sweetened savoriness chug along offering deep depths of deepness. Supremely balanced and at all times dazzlingly complex. For all the strength of flavor, it never trespasses into throatiness or bite. Even though it is gruff beyond smoov, proper.

Combustion sees the one slight bugaboo of this Archetype Axis Mundi, in a mascara line which appears drawn in place by Michael J. Fox -- yet requires only a single Bic flick redirect. Ash grows easily to a well-oiled and dense inch before I wrestle it off in my tray (empty tuna can). The pace is nice, tho perchance the hasty side of moderate. Room note off a cumulus cloud vision is a pleasantly sour pungency.

The draw is flawless, particularly if you prefer a tick of resistance as I do. Seams are invisible things and shoulder assemblage is the proverbial brick shithouse. I taste manure. No hard/soft spots and nary softening of pack density gate-to-wire. Gorgeously constructed.

$9.50 for a Robusto is somewhat hard to deliver on... this does.

WRAPPER: Ecuador Habano
BINDER: Indonesian
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: A
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

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"Forty" Kaplowitz Radio

BONUS CONTENT:

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

"Forty" Kaplowitz Radio

Kaplowitz Radio hits the big 4-0!!!



Wherein, over an Illusione Cigars Garagiste in the blend's Toro format, I discussed both it &:
  • The Star Wars Rebels finale
  • Forward-facing Simpsons characters
  • 35 seconds of Brock Lesnar (is well 'nuff)
  • Alberto del Rio (El Patron) coming back to WWE?
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE:
Most importantly, I laid-out my unabridged fashionista rules of engagement!

Truly, I must-listen presentation, Gentlepersons!
For your cigar comfort.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Ceron Sumatra in Belicoso - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

After this Ceron Sumatra posting, elaborate food-centic tasting notes are gonna see their way out for a tick. Sit out the next couple of plays, they. In their stead will be my much preferred 'basic tastes" of sweet, bitter, sour, salty, umami (savory) , and pungency (pepper-spice) -- which gets read differently by our brains, so is not technically a "basic taste." Just so's we're crystal, gentlepersons.

KAPLOWITZ SCALE
[K=least, Z=most]
(primary note)
sweetness: W (raisin)
sourness: O (lemon)
saltiness: L (on citrus)
bitterness: P (Brazil nuts)
savoriness: P (oats)
pungency: I (cayenne)
  • Peppers (Red flake, cayenne, chili)
  • Spice (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg) 
  • Fruit, (raisin, apricot, apple)
  • Citrus (lemon rind)
  • Honey, orange blossom
  • Nuts (cashew, Brazil)
  • Wood (apple wood)
  • Herbs (mint, lemongrass)
  • Chocolate, milk
  • Grains (raw oats)
  • Dirt, red clay
  • Leather, thin and pale
PERFORMANCE NOTES: (primarily-so)
combustion: low low-medium medium MEDIUM-HIGH high
(great pacing, line wavers a tick, stays cool)
construction: low low-medium medium MEDIUM-HIGH high
(no softening, sans hard/soft spots, excellent draw)

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Sun Grown Sumatra
BINDER: Ecuadorian
FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: "Senescal" 5.5x54 box-press Belicoso
ORIGIN: Dominican

FINAL THOUGHT:
Pungently sweet then sweetly pungent then back again. A salted sourness rides uninterrupted underneath all that. Complex? It's a darned cacophony! Cosmetically, this Ceron Sumatra is the bee's knees and performance ain't more than a half-step behind if that. Smoothly textured draw with a bright tingly finish. Balanced oh so nicely-so. "Please sir, I want more."

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

s/o Havana59 cigar Distributors.

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Monday, March 05, 2018

Villiger La Vencedora in Robusto - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

La Vencedora, which translates either to "a whale's vagina" or "The Victor," my Korean is rusty -- follows the La Flor de Ynclan into Villiger's premium portfolio. Each is a name resurrected from pre-Castro brands of the American Tobacco Co. Whilst the Ynclan is a milder treat, the Vencedora is positioned at the brawny-end of the spectrum. This Nica puro in my grubby hands currently, is actually a re-blend of that 2005 re-brand. 

As to that Nica puro...

Overtones of a sour-sweetness are followed closely by a front-loaded varietal of pepper-spice pungency. Then bitter notes dashed with savory salt in rich but somewhat dry undertones. At their zenith the flavors hit a med.-full. Up near its top-height in that aforementioned sourness, is a quite unfortunate chemical tendency I remember from the Ynclan I reviewed*. A fakey medicinal orange. This leads to an out-front and unavoidable acidity. 'Nuff out front to wonk the blend's balance. However, in this Robusto format, there are some nice complexities and tick more-so than wading pool nuanced depth. Could use a tick or two more savory bits as that dials back with pepper-spice via progression.

The body presents itself smoothly, in a ground powder texture, not as heavy as the draw notes might imply. Not rich but almost, and more-so rigid would be an apt descriptor. Its finish builds in both sweetness & complexity as the smoke progresses, then the same progression leads to a 3/3 unclean and rather bitey diesel end. The temperature of smoke-hole rises at that mark. This "Whale's Vagina" seems not to have the strength the remainder of its profile would need. In other words, it's outta balance in flavors as well as delivery. The strength-o-meter barely budges, in fact.

Combustion behaves in a moderate nature till burn goes plum out at nigh mid-point. This may be the blame of construction humsoever, as from re-light on-down -- the draw becomes notably hollow and hesitant. Seams hold, ash grows. Cap/shoulder assemblage remains solid to deliver cool smoke through to the nub. Pack density dryly softens. Smoke out-put is cloudy then clear, cloudy then clear.

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Med.-Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Joya de Nicaragua factory, Esteli, Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

*I reviewed the Villiger La Flor de Ynclan HERE.

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Hiram & Solomon Master Mason in Robusto - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz + Bonus Content

Ah, the red-triangle engulfed Illuminati world of Free Masonry which controls the government and media from them Bushes to that Beyonce. No, I do not think that, but it writes well. Maybe. Alas & but fuck, the Hiram & Solomon Master Mason. Lettuce delve into and unto its secrets...

Firstly and I shall now do away with any hopes of future secondly, thirdly, et cetras insofar as a formatting heads-up -- a straight-forward cigar. Verily earthen backed by thick leather notes with cocoa whirls stirred in. Cedar stiffens the profile with a pungent attachment of red pepper flakes and cayenne lilt which appears predominately on the finish. Said finish is short-legged in spite of a moderately bold draw. Lacking perhaps in some depth of notes, therefore nuance. Linear flirtations, but that ain't bad per se. It ain't bad here, say. Simply... simple. A tick thin. A half-tick hollow. There are some fleeting and toasting bits along the merry way:

The first third features a certain yeasty creamy thing like a plain cookie that grandma disappoints you with but that I hear many an older gentleperson may admire. I'm getting to that age. This mixes with savory bits and gives the feeling of a heaping truck-stop plate of warmed comfort. Toward the end, I get some hint of pine nut cookie. The second half carries on mainly in absence of these notes, without any new bits supplanting 'em. The final act hums along the best of all and gets delivered via a more excellent draw, coolly-so. Some opening-third bits come back around. Plus malted buckwheat honey, espresso, mo' meat, and something like a cherry cordial but less syrupy. Again, all these notes are rather fleeting and often hinted at more than delivered upon. The profile is vastly well-summarized at the onset of this, my fanciful drivel. If I must say.

Balance is nice but a line is technically in perfect balance -- but that's awfully too math-y for me to say in any academic surety. I'm more a language fella. I'm a taste fella, too. Not a fella of taste, mind ya. That distinction covered, I'd call this Hiram & Solomon Master Mason a tasty 'nuff treat with primary notes of the bitter/pungent varietal. This top is damn nigh on perfect par with a quarter-hair lesser sweetly sour melange featuring a saltiness that clings to the cheeks and lips. A beefy and leathery savory aspect is nice, but down below in a compost and 'baccy nether region. Not at all a tall profile, but it does sit rather high in the saddle.

Burn-line is a tick+ errant throughout and keeps my Bic flicking. Particularly, there is a canoe threat in the 2/3. Draw itself is somewhat inconsistent insofar as tension and palate saturation. That there burn, for all its not overly egregious behavior, offers up a great aroma of seasoned cedar and deep 'baccy. Funny, how that same depth is lacking in my smoke-hole. Perhaps the quirky draw of the opening two-thirds is to blame?

Aside from the aroma, another high-spot of the Master Mason experience is in its cosmetics. A beautifully dressed and presented thing with ornate band and nice secondary one to boot. A deep dark and even complexion with many a vein, but all slight and un-bothersome. One thing is soiten: there is a LOT of tobacco in this stick, and it's packed in there evenly as can be sans hard/soft spots from gate-to-wire.

I've never been and doubt I will be, a Mason. I side with Groucho's sentiment, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." They sure seem like a nice bunch'a folks though. The more adept and higher-ranked among them proly deserve a better stick.

FINAL GRADE: B
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

WRAPPER: Dominican Maduro
BINDER: Dominican
FILLER: Dominican

STRENGTH: Full
FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: Ventura Cigar Co., Dominican Republic

NAME DROPS: Ed Kashouty, George Dakrat

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BONUS CONTENT:
Montecristo White Series in Churchill - Cigar Review Redux by Kaplowitz

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Stick Men EXCLUSIVE Nomad Cigar Co. Contest



ENTER TO WIN HERE.

Weekly Recapitulation XXXVII

Hi, I'm 43 years-old. Welcome to Jackass.

A short dose of a recapitulation of an abbreviated week coming off hiatus. Or -- or -- lettuce just pour ketchup all over ya and go back to the previous dose of recapitulation, Feb. 4. Yeah. That. Agin, the 14th-28th was my [writing] hiatus. I tried for full hiatus, alas failed.

I did write a ton of pulp meta-fiction of a post-apocalyptic absurtist nature with all intentions of posting it here. Then I decided against that. Not sure what I'll do with it meow.

TEXT
Torano Vault E-021 Blue - Cigar Review
Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva - Cigar Review
My Father Cigars The Judge - Cigar Review
Valacari Invictus - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

AUDIO
Nick & Jim's P.B.E - Cigar Review (Audio)
"Wrong Places?" Kaplowitz Radio: February 14, 2018Stick Men: Episode Seven"Grand, or More" Kaplowitz Radio: February 21, 2018
Stick Men: Episode Eight
"Thirty-Nine" Kaplowitz Radio
Stick Men: Episode Nine

VIDEO
Stick Men: Outdoing Dear Abby & Smoking Illusione Cigars
Padron 1964 Anniversary (Natural) No. 4 - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz
Gran Habano S.T.K. Black Dahlia - Cigar Review
Stick Men: Programming News & Nomad Contest

Thanks for having me (fully) back. It remains good to be had, Gentlepersons.

NOTICE: "hidden" BONUS CONTENT in "certain" posts.

BONUS CONTENT: 

ENTER the Stick Men super secret contest HERE.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Valacari Invictus - Cigar Review by Kaplowitz

My writing hiatus: over.

A pleasantly surprising stick, this Valacari Invictus. A new name to my ears.

Says the company's rather sparse internet digs (apparently a new site very-well may be live by the time you're reading this), "The Invictus is our medium-full bodied offering ... Both spicy and earthy, a cigar for the true aficionado." Dammit, and I left my True Aficionado ID card home & laying next to my lacy-frilly panties. I'll try to hang, Gentlepersons. Sin Promisio.

Even though its predominately darkly dry notes do on occasion lead to a gruff throatiness, 'tis a smoothness akin to talc (not cream nor oil) which takes up most of the smoke-hole cool-temp'd texture. Add to this a somewhat tingly tongue and you've done built a solid medium-full body. The long extension-of-draw finish is somewhat pedestrian. Ends cleanly tho. A robust medium-full height of flavorful flavor notes. Quite nice on-the-draw complexities twixt the bitter & pepper-spice overtones and sweet-sour undertones.

The depth of nuance has a slight issue in failing to fully dig its heels into a rather rigidly siff or stiffly rigid profile delivery. Balance could be better, but ain't egregiously woeful. It gives the feel of a purposeful wobble toward aforementioned overtones. Too, there is a ever-present and flexing via progression toasted-scorch attachment which dries the palate a wee-bit. Strength is a medium -- you know yer smoking, you're just not fish-eyed fool swooning.

Even and flat seams. Rolled into a density tighter than a nun's cunt from gate-to-wire with no hard/soft spots along the way. There still is a lovely smooth draw with just the right tick a' tension. A continuously wavy burn is the lone combustion gripe I can muster. A pleasant surprise, yes.

WRAPPER: San Andres Maduro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Medium-Full
FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Esteli, Nicaragua

FINAL GRADE: B+
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59


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