Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Herf 24 - Urban Campfire

May 3rd, 2009 - Lynnwood, WA

In attendance were Fernand, Robert, Pat, Joe, Bruce, Patrick, and Bob. As usual, we gathered to enjoy a good cigar and give our opinion on it by holding a 'group tasting' following dinner.

The seven of us dined on Bruce’s succulent pulled pork sandwiches, caesar salad, and asparagus before retiring to his back deck to conduct the cigar tasting and continue the evening’s relaxation and camaraderie.

Our selection for this Herf was the Pinar Del Río Habano Sun-Grown Double-Corona. A relatively new brand to the market, it’s made by Abe Flores and Juan Rodriguez at Tabacos Don Leoncio, S.A. in the Dominican Republic. This double-corona measures 6 1/4 inches long by a 54 ring guage. The Churchill size was our Cigar of the Week back on April 6th and received a “must try” recommendation from Cigar Press magazine.

Following Cigar Aficionado's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) we began the tasting while comfortably seated around Bruce’s natural gas-fed outdoor firepit.

Upon prelight examination, some minor blemishes were noticed. A couple cigars had cracks in the wrappers, one had a wrapper leaf which appeared to be coming loose, one had a pronounced lump under it’s cap, and yet another had a hole in the wrapper. We found this observation to be definitely out of the norm and somewhat disconcerting.

The roll quality in general seemed well-crafted with regard to firmness and uniformity, but a couple of the sticks drew too tightly. Unfortunately, the performance issues didn’t end there. A few had significant irregularities of burn during the evening.

Everyone commented on what a pleasurable flavor profile it started out with; woody & spicy at first, which quickly had us forgetting about the external defects. Once we were all past the first inch, the cigars settled into a rather mild, more subdued flavor profile. As we got further along, we found ourselves somewhat unimpressed. For some of us, the flavors fell a tad short of what we thought would materialize.

In the end, the superficial anomalies, the performance problems, and the mediocre flavors left us questioning if we’d be returning to this brand soon. The length of the cigars left unfinished in the ashtrays summed-up the impressions reflected in the scoring.

After throwing out the highest and lowest, then averaging the remaining scores, The Cohiba Club's official rating for the Pinar Del Río Habano Sun-Grown Double-Corona is 83.

Here's the points breakdown:
I. Appearance & Construction: 13 pts (87% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 21 pts (84% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 20 pts (80% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression: 29 pts (83% of the points possible)

All in all, a mildly enjoyable cigar that we’re just not quite ready to recommend yet. Still, a great herf indeed. Bruce was a fine host and everyone enjoyed our special guest, Bob (Fernand's Father-in-Law).

Thanks to JnJ Cigars in Shoreline for giving us such a good discount on these sticks!

See you at the next herf, June 7th.

Photo credit to club co-founder Robert.

© 2009 The Cohiba Club All rights reserved.

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