Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Herf 31 – Welcome Back, Jak!

January 3rd, 2010 – Snoqualmie, WA

In attendance were Fernand, Robert, John L., Joe, Bruce, Patrick (remotely), Peter, John D., and Daniel (10-7ha). As usual, we gathered to enjoy a recently recommended cigar and give our opinion on it by holding a 'group-tasting' following dinner.

Seven of the nine of us had dinner at Jak’s in Issaquah on the way to the herf. If you’ve never visited this house of beef, you are missing out on one of the true pleasures in life; ranking right up there with cigars, naturally. Just walking through the door virtually guaranties you one of the best meat experiences you may ever encounter. Best of all, you will leave with not only your appetite fully satiated, but also your wallet mostly intact. The popular dish of the night was their signature Cowboy Rib-Eye with Potato Pancakes. Incredible!

Our selection for this herf was the Xikar HC Habano Colorado Belicoso. This figurado was our Cigar of the Week back on December 7th. The current Cigar Aficionado rating for the HC is 92 (June, 2009). With dinner behind us, it was time to head down the freeway a few exits to Snoqualmie Casino.

Following CA's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) we settled in at Lit Lounge to begin this tasting, enjoying the respite from the cold weather herfs we’d been having during the previous months.

Upon initial examination of these HCs, a few of us immediately notice cracked wappers. Most were about an inch long and near the foot. The texture was toothy, velvety with a very nice roll quality featuring a skillfully tapered head. The veins that did jump out at us were moderate at worst. Only a couple of our nine samples were without flaws, unfortunately, which leaves one wondering about the state of Xikar’s quality control.

Most of these cigars drew and burned pretty well. A couple, however, drew too tight and needed continuous touch-ups or even re-lights. The quality of smoke and ash varied considerably, with some producing little or thin smoke along with ash that flaked and fell without warning. About half performed beautifully while the others were pretty poor.

The flavors were mild and enjoyable to start off, with very easy-going, mostly woody flavors. The first third seems to have faired the best, ultimately, with smooth, creamy impressions across our group of nine tasters. Some of us began to sense a little driness through the middle. A couple of us found slight notes of chocolate or vanilla bean, but not much more. The latter portion of these sticks seemed to get a little bitter for most of us. The common theme that resulted for our group was one of being underwhelmed. It just didn’t give us enough in the flavor department to consider trying it again.

After throwing out the highest and lowest, then averaging the remaining scores, The Cohiba Club's official rating for the HC Habano Colorado Belicoso is 80. A good, but not great, cigar.

Here's the points breakdown:
I. Appearance & Construction: 12 pts (80% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 20 pts (80% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 20 pts (80% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression: 28 pts (80% of the points possible)

At the end of the night our experience with this cigar was a bit off from the 92 awarded by CA. Actually, in all honesty, a couple of us did have that experience, but the majority did not. Most of us were left wanting more. Still, a very enjoyable evening spent in the company of friends! What's not to like.

Many thanks to Josh and his staff at Lit Lounge for catering to our every need! The humidor showcases many fine brands and the bar is well-stocked. You’ll be greeted with a friendly face and every effort will be made to ensure your comfort.

See you at the next herf, February 7th.

Photo credit to Daniel of 10-7ha.

© 2010 The Cohiba Club – All rights reserved.

2 comments:

Josh Weltmer said...

Thanks for having your herf at Lit! We enjoyed having you here and hope you had a great time.

Josh

Fernand said...

We sure did, Josh! What's not to love at Lit. We hope to be back soon.

--Fernand, co-founder
The Cohiba Club