Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Herf 45 – It’s What’s for Dinner

May 1st, 2011 – Woodway, WA

In attendance were Fernand, Robert, Joe, Patrick (in AZ via Skype), John D, Tom, and Chris. As usual, we gathered to enjoy a recently recommended cigar and give our opinion on it by holding a 'group-tasting' following dinner.

Herf-45_089_400It’s always a real treat when we’re fortunate enough to herf at Tom’s house. He’s our club’s undisputed grillmaster. This man can do things with Kingsford that most backyard ‘chefs’ only dream about. The New York Strips that we enjoyed at this herf were incredible, and Tom knows how to lay on the side dishes too; baked potatoes asparagus, and garlic bread (all complimented with a delicious cabernet).

IMAG0084Our selection for this herf was the La Aroma de Cuba Lancero. This beautiful panatela is distributed by Ashton, but produced by Don Pepin’s My Father Cigars in Nicaragua. It features a dark, rich looking Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a tasteful pigtail cap, and one of the more attractive bands out there. The current Cigar Aficionado rating for it is 91 (Dec, 2010).

From the Manufacturer’s website:

“We are very proud to introduce to you the new and improved La Aroma de Cuba! Now handmade in Nicaragua by Pepin Garcia, the new LADC features gorgeous chocolaty Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers and a rich, spicy blend of Nicarguan tobaccos. For the past 18 months, we have been working very closely with the Garcia family to bring this new cigar to fruition. We believe we have successfully improved the flavor and quality of the cigar without compromising the richness and spiciness that loyal LADC smokers have relished for years.“

Following CA's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) we relaxed out on Tom’s back patio for a clear but crisp evening with friends.

This was a cigar that several of us had been hoping would eventually get selected for a herf and those guys finally got their wish. The appearance and roll quality was a little lower than some of us would have expected, seeing as how this was a Pepin product. That said, lanceros are among the more difficult cigars to roll. The scoring has the final word, however, and our seven tasters gave this cigar 80% of the points possible for category one.

A decent performer, these cigars drew well. Only a couple were too fast, which corresponds to the number of comments regarding loosely-packed rolls. The burn was great for most of us, while a few did need relights around the mid-point. The smoke output was noteworthy for a cigar of diminutive diameter. Admittedly, a cigar’s ash has little to do with it’s smoking enjoyment, but it can impact the experience in subtle ways. As it happens, that was where the most derogatory comments were heard.

Several of us attributed the peppery or spicy flavor characteristic we found to Don Pepin Garcia. There were little complaints in the flavor department, as we have come to expect with most of the products put out by ‘El Maestro’. The mid-section mellowed nicely, along the lines of a pepper-to-wood flavor transition. The ending was similar to the beginning, but that was ok by us, as it was pleasurable both times around.

After throwing out the highest and lowest, then averaging the remaining scores, The Cohiba Club's official rating for the La Aroma de Cuba Lancero is 87. An ‘excellent’ cigar.

Here's the points breakdown:
I. Appearance & Construction: 12 pts (80% of the points possible)
II. Flavor: 22 pts (88% of the points possible)
III. Smoking Characteristics: 21 pts (84% of the points possible)
IV. Overall Impression: 32 pts (91% of the points possible)

This is an easy recommendation for us to make. It may not be the most complex cigar out there, but any fan of Don Pepin’s work will feel like an old friend has stopped by for a visit. Invite him to your next cigar outing and you won’t be disappointed.

See you at the next herf, June 5th.

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