I love this time of year. Allergies are in bloom and people freeze their asses off trying to squeeze in a few early rides on their motorcycles. Oh yeah, fresh cut grass and Baseball too. I am not going to get into the big debate over what team you like, that might be worse than asking your political affiliation. Personally I am a fan of the other team from NY (yes the Mets) (inset insult here). The excitement has been building here for weeks over opening day and a great Red Sox, Yankees rivalry; whatever your thoughts are, it has to be one of the best ones in all of sports. Because of my childhood in Brooklyn and the ragging I took for being a Mets fan, I am morally opposed to supporting the Yankees in any way, so I will take the Sox side in this one. This all has a point I promise.
The cigar I did for review was only appropriate for a few reasons, one being that it is our featured cigar of the month on Pipes and Cigars. As opening day approached, I sat down with a new El Tiante Oscuro Robusto. I was a little skeptical at first about smoking this cigar because of all the things I had heard about the original being, well, horrible. After a revisit with a new blender, Don Pepin Garcia and My Father Cigars, I thought about giving this one a shot. I don’t know if I was more excited to try a new cigar, or an excuse to do little baseball research too while smoking a new cigar.
First, I want to remark on the band itself, I love what it represents. Aside from the obvious picture of Cuba, where Luis Tiant is from, there are 3 numbers and a T crest with a blend of the Cuban flag and American flag. One of the numbers was apparent and one was easy to figure out. The 23 was his jersey number in the bigs and 229 represents his career wins as a starting pitcher. The 75 took some research that I was glad to do. From what I can determine, the 75 represents his appearance in the 1975 World Series with the Boston Red Sox were he started 3 games winning 2 and pitching 7 innings for a no-decision. I would call that an impressive World Series.
Now on to the cigar:
The look of is great. Nice dark wrapper, a little veiny but not too much, and a well put together triple cap. The feel is not overly firm, but not soft either. It is very consistent with no soft spots. The foot has a neutral grass/hay smell to it. The draw pre light is easy, but consistent with the density of the cigar, and has a sweet and slightly spicy taste to it.
Light and first few puffs: Right away you will notice the richness of this cigar. Along with that, there is also a good hit of spice, nothing overwhelming, I would say so because I am not a big fan of huge spice, but definitely a nice blend of what I will call black and red pepper. I was reading one of Russ’s reviews on the Viaje Super Shot and he used the word flint to describe a flavor. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, I thought he had gotten a little too much Vitamin N that day, but I think that after the initial light on this El Tiante I understand what he meant. It surprised me that I liked it that much. I am typically a girly man about the cigars I like. Into the first third I am getting a lot of black coffee notes. I say black because there is a little bit of that sharpness that you would not notice had you added milk to the coffee. I prefer my coffee black, so I did not mind the kick. There is also a subtle hint of cedar coming though as well. The draw is easy and the smoke is plentiful, this is shaping up to be very relaxing.
Further down the line, I am really enjoying the richness that this cigar has. I am quite surprised actually about how smooth it is. I have tended to shy away from Don Pepin’s brands because he is famous for that punch in the face spice that I am not a fan of. This has some but it is not off putting like I had assumed. I am glad, so far, that I had gone for this one. The burn is slightly off at this point, but not big enough to care and still too early to matter. There is also a sweetness that is coming though at about halfway.
As I reach about the 2nd third richness is building and the cigar is remaining very easy to smoke. The coffee notes have also picked up a little. I did have to make a slight touch up during the first third that has evened out well and seems to be giving me no problems currently. The spice has returned after falling off a little. I got up to refill my water, which was the point where I realized the body was bigger than I first anticipated. I felt a nice little buzz on my walk over to the water cooler.
The final third was similar to the 2nd third in that the flavors continued to intensify. I did have to touch up another time which was a little disappointing, but more of a simple annoyance than a detriment to the experience. I have smoked so many cigars over the years that a touch up here and there is nothing I even really notice anymore. The cigar is starting to get a little hot and gain bite towards the final inch. I will let it go at this point to not detract from the full experience.
I was surprised by the, lack is the wrong word because it was definitely there, but not huge amount of spice that this cigar produced. The aftertaste is quick to dissipate which is always enjoyable. I am not a fan of the taste hanging around for hours. The body, in my opinion was medium to full, with a lighter start and a steady built to the finish. Ultimately, I was pleased with this cigar and I would defiantly smoke another one in the future. I am actually quite curious as to the Rosado too.
I would also be curious to see what people thought in comparison to the original.