Format: 6″ x 50 (measured at 48rg) so a smallish toro.
Appearance: Dark brown smooth, slightly toothy, no veins, visible seams, medium weight, firmly packed all the way along.
Cold Smell: Dark Tobacco, barnyard, bitter chocolate, coffee. The richest cocolate cold smell I’ve experienced!
Draw/Smoke: Perfect for me from the beginning. Tightens up a little too much in the second half. Lots of smoke, very creamy.
Initial flavors: Cedar, molasses, roasted nut, coffee, and yes pepper!
Smoke output is great as is draw. Burn line stays even all the way down. I had to make one correction in the last third, and I also used my draw tool to free up a draw that got tighter in the second half of the cigar and became too tight in the last 3 inches.
I smoked the first inch before trying the rum I chose to pair with this, my Pampero Aniversario R.E. This is a rum I haven’t reviewed here yet, but I will get around to it soon as it is one of the good ones. Before the rum I was getting all the flavors above and along the way some sweet spice like cinnamon crept in as did leather and a bit of mint. After I sipped the rum the cigar took on a strong licorish with sugar flavor, wow! I rarely experience such a dramatic flavor enhancement this way, but the licorish kept coming back every time I sipped the rum until about the last third when it faded away.
As we get into the second half the flavors fade back, but never go away. The pepper seems to mellow for a while, but then roars back in the last third. Smoke output stays strong even when the draw tightens up but eventually I had to loosen it with a draw tool. I was still tasting the leather, sweet charred wood and other flavors down to the final inch. Not as strong as in the first half of the stick, but then perhaps my palate was just getting tired out. A good smoke time of 90 minutes, about right for a small toro like this. Construction was great. Clean burn all the way along to the last 3 inches where I had to make a little correction and loosen up the draw
I bought a box (10) of these some 18 months ago. Was not impressed at the beginning. I thought the EPC core line was better (and less expensive). I let half of them sit for a year and they got better, but still not worth their price (IMHO of course). Now at 18 months they are better still, sweeter. Perhaps this is their peak? I have one remaining and will smoke it sooner rather than later.
Smoke on BOTL & SOTL. Your comments always welcome.