Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Tinker Coffee Co. Bayardo Reyes Nicaragua in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Tinker Coffee Co.
Bayardo Reyes Nicaragua

ORIGIN: Matagalpa, Nicaragua
VARIETAL: Caturra, Catuai

PROCESS: Washed
ROAST: Medium
BREW METHOD: Drip

WEBSITE: www.tinkercoffee.com

>>>

NOTES:
Light toasty sweet graham flour suede aroma to beans. Ground beans let loose a chocolate w/ bit of seasoned cedar bracing. Peaty to the nose, smoky to the sip. Brewed bouquet of cocoa & cedar earth, darkly-so. Looks inky-murky dense.

Tastes smoothly richly of chocolate | corner brownie piece. Leather, lushly. Barnyard compost earthiness. Slurps bring a supple yielding-somewhat rigidity... Black pepper, cedar. Ebbs and flows in the middlings: black cherry, anise, vanilla (in that particular order).

Robust yet refined. Bold yet subtle. Not overly complex but quite nuanced. Superb balance. Fleshed out & well-rounded profile. Could benefit from the addition of a crisper focus... somewhere. Barring that & sans failing there per se, reverts to cozy-comfy in an exquisite manner.

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

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::: very :::

Thursday, November 28, 2019

George Rico Cigars Miami STK American Puro in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Gran Habano Cigars
George Rico Miami STK
(Stay True Kid) American Puro

WRAPPER: Connecticut USA Habano
BINDER: Connecticut USA Habano
FILLER: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Kentucky fire-cured

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: GR Tabacaleras Unidas Co., USA
STRENGTH: Medium

WEBSITE: www.ghcigars.com/catalog

>>>

NOTES:
Smokey & surprisingly bright. Leather, hardwoods. Dusty attachments to the tangy bits. Particulars: Stiff leather, pale. Oak, nigh scorched. Grapefruit pith. Something of a toasted cocoa butter flows in to flesh out the ton'a-top-notes. Under-notes are comprised of honey graham cracker, honey malt, and sunlit earth, sweet hay. The last two drip then pool into the underbelly alongside a waiting clay. Sorta an up-side-down profile. Lots of over, itsy under, in terms of indy notes.

Finishes on dwarf legs on account of an almost too clean body -- odd for a KFC smoke. I write KFC, mean Kentucky Fire Cured, thing K. Fried Chicken. Taste it. Aroma is a simple earthiness with sweet/sour bits, fairly mute. Through the nose, smoke drops white peppercorn to the palate. A bit of cornmeal saltiness forms on cheeks.

The draw is somewhat problematic. Stiff. It does loosen some via progression, but I feel it robs me of some smoky-smoke. Also, off the foot, the smoke out-put is quite teeny. Burn is on a straight line, but a cone forms on the cherry. Ash stacks slowly but stiffly, although dryly (sans flakes). The firm roll loosens ahead of char -- still, the head of the thing remains rock-hard even after my massaging.

Simply delivered notes sans complexities and offering just a tick of nuance. Still, a nice manageable look at KFC 'baccy (of which I'm not a huge fan). Does offer a nice warm feeling in the chest & gut. Good. Very, even.

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

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::: very :::

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Portland Brewing Ink & Roses IPA in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Portland Brewing
Ink & Roses IPA
STYLE: India Pale Ale
SERVED: 1 pint 6 oz bottle

ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 65

WEBSITE: www.portlandbrewing.com

>>>

NOTES:
One & 1/2 beautiful fingers of rocky head that hang around a good long, long while. A bright amber complexion sits under that whiteness. Nice carbonation there, smoothly active. Drinks all floral hoppy and perhaps a bit minty, definitely crisp. Sweetly balanced with a good bitter bracing, some oak. A light tick salted caramel. Quite malty, as well, by IPA standards. A kindly durian note stands out under/after the citrus.

That citrus climbs clings to the finish where it becomes a bit tinny. Somewhat sharp in the beer-hole, but not outside of pleasantly. Quenchingly. A bit lightly toasted. Lively on account of carbonation & brightness. But even-keeled and (particularly summer) chillaxin' as well. There's a dullness to the nose; a far away sweet grassiness.

Not overly complex outside of its citrus realm which ain't always a pleasure. Surprisingly un-nuanced for all its surprising legginess. Also, surprisingly balanced for an IPA ('nuff to note again). All told, the drinkability is nigh high -- hampered only by a dwelling soapy mineral intensity on the tongue. One to slam more so than rigorously contemplate.

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

###


::: very :::

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

ADVentura Cigars The Navigator in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


ADVentura Cigars
The Navigator "Pinzon"

WRAPPER: Mexican San Andres Maduro
BINDER: Indonesian Sumatra
FILLER: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Ecuador

FORMAT: 5.5x50 "Pinzon"
ORIGIN: Tabacalera William Ventura, DR
STRENGTH: Medium/Med. Full

WEBSITE: www.adventuracigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Sort of just lays there, but pleasantly. Languidly. Mocha latte top-notes, and that's a bit it. A nuttiness ebbs and flows at times atop, more often underneath. When it leads those underneaths (which happens more often as smoke progresses) it takes on a roasted chestnut vibe. Rest of middlings are leather & baking spices. Underbelly is a dry dirt trail earthiness w/ sweet toffee hints. Some looks at a graham cracker.

The main look-see at complexity is a neat one, the mocha top and earthen under each entrench to the point of enveloping at the midpoint. Well balanced but maybe boringly-so if you're looking to part-ay. At least simply-so. Nice nuances. A cigar for a lazily quiet Sunday. Easy. Uncluttered yet well-filled. Would be well-served by a bit more focus of notes. 

Performs admirably on all points. Excellent draw, excellent roll, excellent ash -- maybe the best ash I've seen in a good while. Great draw. Smoky out-put, culminating in a heavy & kind bittersweet aroma. Somehow the whole affair is rather a jaunty one.

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

###


::: very :::

Monday, November 25, 2019

Kaplowitz Media. Cigars of the Month (November 2019)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"


Kaplowitz Media.
CIGARS of the MONTH: NOVEMBER 2019
[Names are links to full reviews]


Ridiculously short list. 
Lettuce include:

Kaplowitz Media.
BEVERAGES of the MONTH: NOVEMBER 2019
[Names are links to full reviews]


That's 'nuff.

NOTE: this post, while published on schedule, bumps this week's "Notes on Notes" to 12/2. thx



::: very :::

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Hope This Helps! (Common Cigar Questions, Answered)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"


... To answer your question, however, leaving the cellophane on, or taking it off, is a matter of personal reflection & deep consideration/contemplation. The 'cello' does offer some added protection if you tend to fumble thru your cigars like a ham-fisted retard in utter darkness. If you're planning to age a cigar though, I would definitely recommend removing them from that 'cello.'

Lastly, you might decide that it simply isn't worth the added work of stripping them if they come dressed. Counter to that, and if you are amazingly bored, on meth, or generally dull -- I'm sure you can find 'cello' for sale, which you can use to house your 'sticks' which come dangerously naked. Hope this helps!

###

Another great question! There are, unfortunately, many scoundrels attempting to pass off counterfeit Cuban cigars as the genuine article. While there are some telltale signs of fakery, I'm afraid the only way to distinguish a Cuban cigar's authenticity is to purchase it yourself, in Cuba, & from a trustworthy tobacconist. Or, of course, on a Mexican beach. Hope this helps!

###

Fantastic question! So here's the deal. Unfortunately, it's most likely mold you're looking at. Plume or bloom (as it is sometimes called) is exceedingly rare to the point of possibly not being actually existent.

Here's the fix: remove & toss all moldy cigars. Quarantine the remainder of the unaffected 'sticks' in a separate humidor. Proceed to watch them in the same manner you fucking should have in the first place, you imbecile.

If you are hesitant to pitch more pricey sticks, examine them closely. If the mold is at the foot of the cigar, sorry -- that's a loss. If it is only on the wrapper, you might consider wiping it down with booze and dry boxing the thing. I sure as hell wouldn't.

As to the infested humidor, if it is something other than wood, simply wipe it out with booze or rubbing alcohol and leave it open to dry. If wood, do the same but do re-season after.

Remember, the 70/70 rule. That's 70 degrees & 70% relative humidity (RH). Although I personally prefer my cigars more toward 65%RH. Hope this helps!

###

... To answer your question, however, leaving the cellophane cigar band on, or taking it off, is a matter of personal reflection & deep consideration/contemplation. There is some thought out there, that a band helps keep a cigar from unrolling. For this exact reason, I like to wrap an additional ring of masking tape around the cigar, once at each third.

Wasn't it Perdomo who most recently posited this? Funny how a brand owner wants his bands left on as long as possible. There's prolly no reason for that, at all. Hope this helps!


What a great question! What I would do in the case of cigar beetles is to burn down your entire fucking house & move two (2) counties over. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CUBAN CIGARS NOW?! In all seriousness, While the internet is full of cures for this ailment -- "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Keep new 'sticks' quarantined for a week or-so after receiving them. A zip-lock baggie and Boveda pack will do the trick. Look for the usual signs, you know, destroyed cigars. Hope this helps!

###

Your question is not stupid. How do I know it isn't stupid? Because there are no stupid questions! However, there are stupid people and some do ask questions... I'm certain that is not the case here.

As to when you should stop smoking a cigar: whenever you damn well please. Whenever it is no longer a pleasurable experience. When the smoke heats up. When your fingers heat up. When tar builds up too much (make sure to first purge). Zino Davidoff (another cigar salesman) posited that a 'stick' should only be smoked half-way. That sure sounds like someone wanting people to buy two cigars instead of one! Just sayin'. Hope this helps!

###

Good news & an even good-er question! Yes, you can dry out over-humidified cigars. Simply cease humidifying them. Employ the 'dry box' method. Ask your wife about 'dry box.' Transversely, you can, indeed, resuscitate dry cigars. Simply humidify them. DO NOT over-humidify. Rotate them occasionally. A warning: some oils may not completely return. Meaning you can smoke them, but the bus might stop just short of Flavor Town, USA.

Hope this helps!

###


::: very :::

Friday, November 22, 2019

Villiger Export: Classic | Maduro | Brasil | Cigar Review(s)

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"


CLASSIC

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sumatra
Filler: Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Dominican, Indonesian, Italian
Origin: Switzerland

Leathery softness braced by campfire wood firmness. Fusty-toasty. Creamy & spiced. White pepper. Cocoa butter sweetness.

>>>

MADURO

Wrapper: Mexican Arapiraca
Filler: Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Dominican, Indonesian, Italian
Origin: Switzerland

Dark chocolate steered by smoky hickory. A bit of anise under a black pepper. Stiff leather, and espresso pull. Compost.


BRASIL

Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Brazilian, Nicaraguan, Dominican, Indonesian, Italian
Origin: Switzerland

Liquid smoke savory then potpourri. Peppercorn braced. Dancing sarsaparilla. Baking spices over woodsy compost underbelly, laid-out sweet into finish. 


The Villiger Export line is machine-made of 100% natural Cuban seed tobacco. All are 4x37 in size.

###

KLLR Coffee Sun Dried Ethiopia in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


KLLR Coffee
Sun-Dried Ethiopia
Single Origin

ORIGIN: Idido, Yirgacheffe District, Ethiopia
VARIETAL: Heirloom

PROCESS: Natural
ROAST: Medium
BREW METHOD: Moka Pot

WEBSITE: kllrcoffee.com

NOTES:

Hey! Who's the wiseguy that put Boo Berry cereal in my Moka Pot? That's the aroma of beans, brewing, & brew. The last one also involves milk chocolate sweetened earthen additions. The sip is that (with darker cocoa) & blueberry like blueberry is going outta style; this bit has its own undertone of mixed fruit.

Slurps add a warm black pepper and baking spices backing. A seasoned hardwood braces 'tween top & bottom notes. Brilliant delineation of sparkling complexities. Nice nuances in the barnyard underbelly. As the cup cools, BOO! (Berry.) A fun cup, & an accessible one for all its inherent & malty attachment dazzle.

For all the very berry, the cup holds to a quite nifty balance thanks to cocoa | earth/spice. Exceptionally rounded corners fulled to their brims w/ flavor. The dark murky complexion isn't blue -- much to my surprise. Less to my surprise, the long finish adds some walnut vibe, also a bit of black tea astringency. Comfy ain't gotta be boring, says this.

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

###


::: very :::

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Micallef Cigars Connecticut in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Micallef Cigars
Connecticut

WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Connecticut
BINDER: Nicaraguan Habano
FILLER: Nicaraguan, Dominican

FORMAT: Toro
ORIGIN: Nicaragua
STRENGTH: Mild-Medium

WEBSITE: www.micallefcigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Bright & airy. Tangy effervescence. Toasted lemony cream, white pepper, & nougat up-top. Undertones are sunny lemongrass & cardamom; then floral stuff -- dandelion, chamomile, white tea leaves. A bit of a bite there smooths out via progression. Pinewood & nuts ebb & flow. As does pale honey (Acacia).

The cream ties it all together, w/ its own lemony attachment. & when it does smooth after the opening third, it's quite pretty. Gently if not subtly complex. Nuances are deep for all the bright & airy notions already noted. Aroma is a high-point of sweet citrus carried on natty 'baccy & suede notes.

The draw begins snug & loosens at the half (via a toothpick assist) to a still stiff but more easily acceptable/accessible level. The burn operates on a tick of a wave but falls shy of any mandated retouches. Cap assemblage holds admirably against earlier hard tugs. The dry ash flakes a bit, making to a 3/4" build at a time. All told, this is a fairly jovial stick with a somewhat serious side, to boot.

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

###

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Illusione Cigars Singulare 2019 Seven Horns in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Illusione Cigars
Singulare 2019
Seven Horns

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Diadema 6.75x52
ORIGIN: TABSA Esteli, Nicaragua
STRENGTH: Medium-Med./Full

WEBSITE: www.illusionecigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Spicy, sweet, creamy. Intricately, inherently, robustly (respectively). Ginger, coarse-ground white pepper, nutmeg. Orange blossom honey, cocoa butter. Buttery cream with its own suede backing which lines the smoke-hole softly. Undertones of leathery oils, light brown sugar, pale nuts, dandelion. Finishes long & with a new cayenne, giving the lush vibe a decent back-bone kicker.

An ornate profile, but more subtle than ostentatious. Complexities in the spice-sweet then sweet-spice play. Again in the floral/honey aspect, particularly when oak is added there, after the 1/3. Excellent nuances stick to the ribs in a manner in which heavier profiles oft fail. Superb delineations. Supreme structure. The nose picks up an orange pith, a lemon wedge -- adds that to the cream, heightens spice. Clean as a whistle.

Draw has a nice bit of resistance, evenly-on-down. Burns on a crisp line. Ash makes it to an inch build, does show some loose flake, however. Zero hard/soft spots, cap and seam assemblage show no woe. I'd like a higher smoke out-put into the aroma but the job gets did in a sunlit earth manner, with sweetly spiced citrus attachments. Great Scott! Good shit. Passable as a Revelation (5:6).

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

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::: very :::

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Beer Valley Brewing Co. Scottish Life Ale in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Beer Valley Brewing Co.
Scottish Life Ale

STYLE: Scottish Ale
SERVED: 12oz. can

ABV: 7.5%
IBU: 75

WEBSITE: www.beervalleybrewing.com

>>>

NOTES:
But a mere -finger of aerated hastily dissipating foam off the pour. Head complexion is a quite lighter (barely)beige than I'd expect in comparison to the inky tho crisp darkness of ale. While so very temporarily there, the head was mainly composed of large-sized bubbles.

Sniffs of fruity forward malt & surprisingly bright/thin. Zero smoky or peaty nuances. Straightforward and maybe a tick boozy. Drinks refreshingly-so & quite carbonated to the point of some sharpness. Malty (lightly roasted), natch, as well as a bit mineral ashy and metallic tinny. No nuances there, either. Unlike on the nose, the ABV mostly hides in the beer-hole.

Caramelized sugar is the lone sweetness other than that inherent to the grains. A bit of a coffee vibe added bitterness. Some structural seasoned hardwood, traces of nutshell. Peppercorn. Rigid stuff. The body, like the head, is fleeting. Light. An alcohol warmth finishes after that short sorta bitey extension of gulp. Seems curiously strung up & out in Bum Fuck Egypt 'tween bad session & worse sipping brew.

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

###


::: very :::

Monday, November 18, 2019

Notes on Notes "Nuance v. Complexity"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"


"Complexity. Delineation. Nuance. Those three words are the interwoven topic of a future Notes on Notes, so we'll not delve much further here [NOW'S THE TIME!!! - editor]. Just for the record -- nuance can, in fact, be found in a thing laying "broad across the tongue." Just not complexities, & definitely not delineations. Nuance is the simplest of the trio, gained by a mere piling on of notes... even a singular one... until palate-entrenched deeply 'nuff to be seen from varying angles." (Me, Notes on Notes "Broad Across the Tongue")

More background? WATCH >>> Defining Complexities, Nuances, & Transitions in Cigars | Cigar Smoking 101 w/ Kaplowitz



[for a written transcript of this &/or other videos &/or podcasts from Kaplowitz Media, please learn to writereallyfast]

NUANCE: the depth, evolution, & development of a note or notes. The same note or notes, sans the entrenching mentioned in the written excerpt above, become one of two things... linear or fleeting. Linear is a straightforward & unchanging thing that breeds boredom or even tedium. Fleeting is a thing that just dissipates. Also, there is such a thing as an untethered flavor that simply flies away like a helium-filled balloon let loose at its string. Anything not those things is a thing of nuance (of varying levels).

Varying levels? Yes, of goodness. Goodness levels. Levels of deepness. Of the complexities inherent in its own self & other neighboring nuances (if mixed together). Much like transitions, nuance is not simply an inherently pleasant thing. How would you like to see charcoal or asphalt, as a tasting note, from many different angles? A cloying sweetness? My guess is about as much as you'd like seeing your chocolatey note transition into something like salty urine or spicy bile. 


So what then is --

COMPLEXITY(?): Nuance, firstly, is under the umbrella of complexity. Nuance is a way for a thing to be complex. A (one of many) WAY(s). As is the way a pair of nuances can see there underneaths intermingle (mentioned prior). Transition? Sure, that's complexity. having more than a tandem or-so of primary flavors? Now you're talking complexity. A bunch of varied undertones? Yup. Essentially, complexity is on a scale of anything more than nothing to a fucking cacophony, and all/any point 'tween. The 'tweens are preferred over the opposing ends of the spectrum. The fun is in the middle -- quite unlike American politics. 

A word on consistency. Many a consistent stick can be seen as lacking under the spotlight of review. (re: our scale --- barely more than nothing.) It is then of great import to get a sense of the craftsperson's intent. If it was/is to offer a smooth mellow EZ meditative affair, they've succeeded & must be graded as such. If their offering simply-sadly fell flat in trying at complexity, it must be graded as such, as well. How do we know? We learn about their portfolio. We also learn the characteristics of the ingredients employed in their recipe.

Speaking of portfolio, thanks for taking another look-see into & at mine, via this installment of "Notes on Notes." Till next time, meh.

PS: lol at reviewers rattling off a dozen flavors then deeming something shy of complex.

PPS: Delineations? Structure? Go read this: https://bit.ly/331oVaW

###

For an index of these "Notes on Notes" entries, go HERE.

If you don't appreciate this "Notes on Notes" series, please blame its sponsor, the Dapper Cigar Co. You can contact them at dappercigars.com


::: very :::

Friday, November 15, 2019

Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters Yirgacheffe Kochere Ethiopia in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters
Yirga Cheffe Kochere Ethiopia

ORIGIN: Kochere District, Yirgacheffe
VARIETAL: Wild/Heirloom

PROCESS: Natural
ROAST: Medium
BREW METHOD: French Press

WEBSITE: papertigercoffee.com

>>>

NOTES:
A focused chocolatey earthen goodly bit. Whimsical berries. Rich, bright, respectively. Shadows land in the cocoa, thrown by the berries. Some compost lilt to earth. Deep. Nuanced. I'm ahead of myself. We'll circle-back. Foggy complexion. Brick-reddish tint around the rim and in the depths. 

Noses to chocolate & pepper-spice notes. Black pepper, a cinnamon hint. OK! Chocolate | earthen delineations are made on the sip via pepper-spices. Very well structured, that. There is a savory element to the middlings which slowly rounds out that section -- albeit in a vague and nigh singular manner. Some pepper gets down there. A hint of a hint at licorice.

Finishes in a lip-smacking beefy manner I just don't see in most Ethiopians. Well-structured, yes -- & tethered by way of deep nuance. Complexities are somewhat lacking. Balance is quite nice. An excellent body remains the selling point -- velour throw-pillow. It's red no burgundy, the pillow. It's a kinda sexy fancy pillow... a pillow for a sexy fancy room. Unfortunately, the rest of the room is mainly unfurnished.

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

###

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sinistro Cigars Mr. White in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Sinistro Cigars
Mr. White

WRAPPER: Dominican
BINDER: Ecuadorian, Cameroon
FILLER: Dominican; USA (CT & PA) Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Robusto
ORIGIN: La Aurora, Santiago, Dominican Republic
STRENGTH: Medium

WEBSITE: www.sinistrocigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Cocoa butter, caramel, nougat. Coarse ground white pepper lifts those notes and braces them atop burgeoning & billowy undertones of toasted cream & buttery cedar. Meanderings of pale dried fruits permeate the profile. Light-roasted coffee beans come in at the half to give lush middlings a decent back-bone.

Oh, spices. They present as a nuance of pepper -- white ginger, cinnamon (& sugar). Some vanilla extract. I get a sense of French Toast. Ooh-la-la. Finish is long-legged but a somewhat disappointingly simple sweet cream, leathery oil. Malt. OK... not disappointing. Long-unfurling. Body smooths & moistens after a tick gruff & dry onset.

Combustion & construction, however, each suffer some to the tune of effecting the final grade. Ash aerates & flakes, burn-line blisters. Wants to peter-out @ mid-point. Pack density softens unevenly via progression. Draws a tick hesitant/hollow hither/yon. B I G smoke out-put offers a dense room-note akin to finish. In terms of true nicotine strength, becomes sneaky-strong in 3/3.

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

###

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Eco-Cha Tea Dong Ding Oolong in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Eco-Cha Tea
Dong Ding Oolong

ORIGIN: Yonglong, Nantou, Taiwan
TYPE: Oolong, roasted

FORMAT: Gunpowder
METHOD: French Press

WEBSITE: eco-cha.com

>>>

NOTES:
Leaves are rolled a tick uneven of uniform & err a bit toward the large end of size. Upon steeping, they unfurl toward the other end of size & darkly-so. Smoky (natch) appearance w/ a moderate amount of stems. The liquor's aroma: a toasty-malty herbaceousness, fungi savoriness, seasoned pinewood. 

Sits dimly-lit in the cup; foggy atop, but clear in the underneath where a slight greenish hue peers up from. The sip is very roasted wood up-top, savory underneath. A single black pepper mill twist braces the delineation twixt w/ an autumn baking spice attachment. A sweet nuttiness replaces wood as it sits on the palate.

Slurps add a tick of sweet starch to the mix. A separate-from-prior pine note which reads more lively. Light syrupy mouth-feel lingers into a cleansing/drying astringency. Finishes in a complex sweet wood manner with burgeoning earthiness. Very nuanced via firmly entrenched & well-structured notes. At once crisp and heartily satisfying. Soft and meal-ish in the belly.

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

###

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Left Hand Cigar Co. Blurred Lines in Review

“Have you Kaplowitz’d to-day?”


Familia Rodriguez Tobacos
Ohana Cigars
Left Hand Cigar Co.
Blurred Lines

WRAPPER: Habano & Habano Maduro
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

FORMAT: Toro. Barber pole. Closed foot
ORIGIN: Nicaragua
STRENGTH: Med./Medium-Full

WEBSITE: ohanacigars.com

>>>

NOTES:
Sweet & sour; bright & shadowy. Like Lucy, I got some splainin' to do. Sweet notes of table sugar and Acacia honey (pale, mild, floral & vanilla lilts) ride in on the back of lemony sour bits. These primaries are braced high by a blonde roasted java note acidity. Under that is a white pepper & chocolate caramel. Then some exotic spice melange which dips into a clay earthen underbelly. I taste daisies.

Shadowy? Yes... bright notes cast their effects on lesser-bright notes. A layering effect which is nuance build upward, not downward. This gives the profile an un-tethered feeling. Complex in a simple sweet/sour manner yet not in any other way. Transitions occur via crisp imbalance in a sweet-sour. sour-sweet, sweet-sour, so on & so forth manner.

Aroma is noted pepper-spices carried on a buttery suede which gets added to the draw come mid-point. Smoke out-put is a tick less than moderate. Burn-line is puckered at times but even most often. The Maduro leaf combusts lesser/slower than does the Habano.

The Habano portion is also more delicate and chips some. Ash builds that really doesn't -- read: flaky. Draws somewhat hesitantly at times. No hard/soft spots, cap assemblage gets dinged a bit, seams don't. All told a light-hearted smoke with heavy feet.

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

###

Monday, November 11, 2019

Notes on Notes "Fusty, Musty, Dusty"

"Have you Kaplowitz'd to-day?"


"Oh, I love trash!
Anything dirty or dingy or dusty
Anything ragged or rotten or rusty
Yes, I love trash" 
- Oscar the Grouch, I Love Trash

... But one man's trash is another man's treasure. Ever think you'd take a manure tasting note as a whetting of your interests? It's not a bad thing entirely, in & of itself, & not for nothing -- to read that descriptor in say, a cigar review. I can make a case for spotting buffalo chips in coffee, too. It really rounds-out a profile; fills in its corners, does feces. While granted, I've never snacked on the stuff, much of what we (I) do is metaphorical. Much of what I do is poetic. Much... I smell manure. I digress.

The topic of this Notes on Notes installment is Fusty, Musty, Dusty. They were a Borscht Belt comedy team of the 1930s, born Irving, Moshe, & Sidney Moskowitz... fuck if I don't need another digress. Why do I bring "manure" to the table? To illustrate that none of the notes mentioned herein are inherently bad (mostly). Some are quite good (mainly). A malty note is most excellent (subjectively) but rarely ever seen sans at least "Fusty, Musty, Dusty."
  • fus·ty /ˈfəstē/ adjective smelling stale, damp, or stuffy
  • mus·ty /ˈməstē/ adjective having a stale, moldy, or damp smell.
  • dust·y /ˈdəstē/ adjective covered with, full of, or resembling dust.
So, is that it? Yup. Thanks for coming out! Although, "Just one more thing..." - Columbo. Well, lots (some) more things. Tell ya what, I'll just dig deep & delve into some keywords from the definitions above. It'll be a hoot! A pedantic hoot under the guise of jocular verbiage. I already can't wait, so why wait? ...


SMELLING:
"Olfactory receptors (ORs), also known as odorant receptors, are expressed in the cell membranes of olfactory receptor neurons and are responsible for the detection of odorants (i.e., compounds that have an odor) which give rise to the sense of smell." - Wikipedia

Fusty, musty, dusty happens predominately in the nose. Actually, in the order, top-to-bottom. It's the aroma, but also it's there through the schnoz via retro-hale. In the latter, mainly post-pepperiness in cigars. In beverages (former), when you stick your nose in the cup/glass. Off the fresh pour or a steamy cuppa, in the background or underneath -- dependant upon your linguistic orientation.

STALE:
(Again) not an inherently bad word (I Love Trash). Ever hear of malty notes? I feel this is where those reside w/in Flavor Country. Particularly look toward sweet attachments -- ie: honey & chocolate. Or (perhaps more frequently), as vice-versa attachments to them notes.

DAMP:
Less of a not inherently bad thing. It could be "spitty*" & often is. Let's talk astringency in beverages. Dry notes in cigars. Those bits balance -- if not -- there is an imbalance. Imbalance is inherently bad. If sought-after by artisans, this is a sort of novelty... Pepper-bomb smokes; over-hopped IPAs.

STUFFY:
Typically caused by the fatiguing pummeling of linear offerings. A bombardment of singular note. Nuances dug so deep as to suffocate canaries. A building of barnacles on the palate. Cloying-so, in such sweet cases. Ain't no sunshine (when she's gone.)" OK, inherently bad.

MOLDY:
Cigars: "Toss out all moldy sticks. Quarantine non-moldy ones stored with them, in a separate & different humidor. Wipe infected humidor guts w/ 90%+ rubbing alcohol. Leave propped open to dry. Then reseason. Expensive moldy stick? If foot tobacco is moldy, ditch (sry). If only wrapper is, wipe with booze, dry box, smoke; I would not. Epstein didn't kill himself." [used with the express written consent of myself via my Facebook profile.]

Coffee: "Baggy." Beans stored incorrectly or for too long.
Tea: leaves not roasted regularly as aged.
Beer: "Skunky."
Wiminz: "Skanky."

DUST:
I spoke to dusty notes in Notes on Notes "Pepper: Flavor or Body?" pt. 1: https://bit.ly/2X0mq7i
This is a thing which breeds at its best, a refrain... a restraint. At worst, mottling, muting. But, again, when delivered well, it allows the light of other flavors through stronger notes. It then can be seen as responsible for a greater amount of complexity.

I am too tired from exploration to wrap this installment up well. Will the last one out please get the lights? thx

FOOTNOTE

*Covered in "The Taste of Water" https://bit.ly/2X0khsg

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