Cigar Review: RomaCraft Neanderthal HOxD

Cigar Review: RomaCraft Neanderthal HOxD

The tobacco blend of the RomaCraft Neanderthal line is strong in both flavor and nicotine. This particular stick was first introduced as a part of the RomaCraft “El Catador” sampler, but now the vitola can be found on its own in boxes of 15. The name as it turns out, “HOxD”, refers to a group of genes discovered in the DNA of Neanderthal remains (LINK TO ARTICLE HERE). They are instrumental in development of Neanderthal arm and leg dimensions — shorter but more powerful than in their Cro Magnon competitors.

Here is what two well known review-sites have to say about the cigar’s strength. The links will take you to the full reviews.

From HalfWheel: “While the blend may seem fairly innocuous at first glance, it’s highlighted by a Pennsylvania ligero affectionately known as “Green River Sucker One,” a potent double ligero that has two to three times the amount of nicotine as any other tobaccos used by RoMa Craft Tobac. The resulting blend is said to be one of the strongest in the RoMa Craft portfolio.”

From Cigar Coop: “The key to Neanderthal’s power is the incorporation of a Pennsylvania Double Ligero leaf in the filler known as Green River Valley Sucker One (GR-S1). This is a regrowth leaf from Pennsylvania broadleaf that has a natural higher nicotine level (between 9% to 13% – significant higher than the 5% – 6% found in Esteli, Ligero).”

These days, this stick comes in at around $8 at the box level. With a generous discount code, mine came in around $6.50, still over my now poor budget, but I had to give them a try…

OK, lets get to smoking…

Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.

Size: 4″ x 46 “Petite Corona”, but more to my mind a petit robusto.

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: U.S. Pennsylvania Double Ligero (GR-S1), Nicaraguan (Conega, Jalapa, Pueblo Nuevo, Esteli), Dominican Republic (Olor)
[Filler details courtesy of Cigar Coop!]

This is the same blend as all the Neanderthal line which has three Vitolas, the HN (a figurado 5″x52[head]/56[foot]), SGP (4.5″x52) and the HOxD (4″x46).

Cold aroma: Light barnyard, manure, hay.

Construction: I’ve smoked 4 of these now. The first was plugged most of the way along (even my good draw-tools didn’t work very well), but the other three had perfect draws and even burns all the way along. The wrapper a smooth dark brown, no veins, barely visible seams, firmly packed of medium density.

The most distinct thing to notice about this cigar (the whole Neanderthal line) is the completely flat head. I know smokers who like to cut this off carefully with an Xacto knife or single edge razor blade. I find a punch works fine if you wet the head a bit with saliva and let the tobacco soften up for a half minute. If you don’t do this (I’ve been through several boxes of the SGP in the past so I learned) the cap tends to crack when you punch it. Smoke production is rich and the stick smokes slowly. I get an hour from these little sticks, sometimes a bit more. By-in-large this is one very well made cigar. With that one exception (so far) construction is A+!

Flavors: The stick is very sweet from near its beginning. A little pepper on the back of the tongue. Retro-hale is filled with roasted nuts, sweet woods, leather, and a wintergreen like sweet mint. Most of the flavor of this cigar is in the retro-hale. The sweetness builds more into the first half of the stick. I can feel the strength of the cigar only 3/4″ into it. Nuts, woods, some leather and sweet flowers play around one another. At the beginning of the second half, the sugary sweetness dies back, but the nuts, wood, and leather remain. There is a bit more pepper. Still most of the flavor is in the retro-hale with this one, and the flavors are great an A+ here as well.

Down to the 1/2 these flavors remain, but the cigar is strong enough that sometimes I don’t get this far being dizzy by the last inch. Not always though. You absorb more nicotine through the nose than the mouth and I notice when I retro-hale every (or most every) puff that’s when the stick can dizzy me.

The most interesting pairing so far has been the Hamilton “Pot Still Black”. The rum has something of an over-ripe litchi-fruit note. It is a flavor I don’t really like in the rum, but it really brings out the nut-sweetness in this cigar!

Cigar Review: Foundation Charter Oak

Cigar Review: Foundation Charter Oak

I’ve made note lately of a few boutique cigar makers having introduced a lower-priced stick to their line. This appears to be Foundation’s offering, and it is superb! At roughly $5.50 (mid 2019 full retail) this cigar is full of great flavors and only occasionally presents some construction issues.

I link two other reviews below that will also tell you about the name “Charter Oak” (hint: there is a certain 900 year-old oak tree growing in Connecticut) and some more about the history of the stick. I’ll stick to the basics here..

I am reviewing the 4.25″x42 “petit corona” in the maduro wrapper. There are 3 other vitolas: a 6″x52 Toro, a 6.25″x46 Lonsdale, and a 4.25″x50 Rothchild (classic Robusto size). We are not told much about the composition of this cigar.

Rolled at the AJ Fernandez factory in Nicaragua

Filler/Binder: Nicaraguan, no other specifics given
Wrapper: Connecticut broadleaf

Construction: Some imperfections in the wrapper, a bump here and there, some vein, but well rolled. Medium firm pack, medium density. Closed foot, self-toasting when lit. Draw is light to medium but gets a little tighter as it goes. I’ve smoked four of these now. One plugged after being lit producing thin smoke and no amount of cigar tool really helped for long. Other three very rich smoke on a good draw all the way down. The stick has a tendency to canoe when first lit, but after one correction burns pretty straight. Construction is not bad for the price. Hoping the rest of the box is mostly better-constructed examples.

Cold aroma: I get barnyard, manure (sometimes called “earth”) and a strong note of black tea. A very rich cold aroma.

Cold flavor: Salty, leather, barnyard

Smoking experience: Little pepper, nice sweet wood, flowers, hay. A half inch in flowers, mint, leather, sweet wood smoke, cedar, barnyard and leather. There’s a lot of flavors in here, even something like a Melba toast sweetness on the retrohale. No pepper to speak of (tiny bit) at this early stage. Most of the flavor in this cigar is in the retrohale.

Second half.. a caramel sweetness and more Melba comes forward in the retrohale, maybe wintergreen. Still getting leather, cedar, nice sweet wood flavors and aromas.

In the last few inches flavors dial back a bit but still all there. Pepper comes up in the retrohale but not to painful levels. Nice smoke all the way to 1/2″.

Pairing with a Foursquare pot-still Bajan rum brings out the sweetness in the cigar. Coffee works well too. I am very impressed with this stick. Not as rich as Foundation’s Tabernacle blend, but damned good for half the price! Highly recommended!

Here are two more reviews. One from Stogie Review, and the other from Leaf Enthusiast.

Cigar Review: My Father le Bijou

Cigar Review: My Father le Bijou

I haven’t posted a cigar review in a while. I am smoking a few sticks not reviewed yet and there are literally dozens, probably hundreds of reviews of this cigar. So why am I reviewing a 10 year old cigar (the le Bijou debuted in 2009) that I’ve been smoking since 2010? The answer is that this cigar illustrates some of the subtlety in the cigar smoking hobby. Some tastes change, some do not.

My taste in rums has changed entirely in the last few years. Rums I loved as little as 3 years ago are now vanished from my collection. There are only 2 rums, El Dorado 15 and Dos Maderas (when I can find it) I drank in years past that I would even consider now. But cigars are another story. Sure my taste has changed. There are dozens of cigars I smoked back in 2010, even down to 2015 that I no longer buy. Some because they have become too expensive, but also many that I enjoyed, even a few boxes worth, and then stopped buying because they weren’t interesting any longer.

Yet unlike the rums, there are quite a few cigars I enjoyed back in 2010 that I still smoke today, or would if most of them had not become so much more expensive. The le Bijou is one of those I still like and while its price has gone up in 9 years, it hasn’t yet priced itself out of my budget.

The le Bijou is released in some eight or more vitolas. Five of them (7 x 50 Churchill, 6 x 52 toro, 4.5 x 50 Petit robusto, 6 1/8 x 52 torpedo, 5 5/8 x 55 robusto grande) are regular production, and three (at least) were special releases made for specific retail outlets (a lonsdale [6.5 x 42], corona gorda [5.5 x 54], and short Churchill [6.5 x 48]), released with varying wrappers. Of all these vitolas, I have smoked only one, this petit robusto! The reason? For one I shy away from larger vitolas generally, and second, all of the others are more expensive. The blend is Nicaraguan puro. Little is said about the specifics of filler and binder but the wrapper is supposed to be a Habano Oscuro which Halfwheel also calls “Pele del Oro”. This is rather confusing so I quote from the HALFWHEEL REVIEW (linked):

“The wrapper on the Le Bijou 1922 was particularly notable as it is known as pelo de oro, or golden hair, which is considered to be the father of the modern corojo wrapper. TobacconistUniversity.org explains that the name references a Cuban varietal that was popular in the early and middle 20th centuries but fell out of favor due to its susceptibility to disease. It was created by combining pelo de oro and Sumatran tobaccos and is regarded as being strong, flavorful and sweet”.

I do not find “Habano Oscuro” and “Pele del Oro” connected anywhere else.. Which is it really?

Wrapper: Habano Oscuro (??)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraquan

My vitola: 4.5″ x 50 Petit Robusto

Cold Aroma: Manure and barnyard. Rich and heady.
Cold Draw: Same notes as the cold aroma and a little leather

Construction: Always well made, the cigar is of medium weight for its size. Evenly packed, but not dense. With a simple straight cut the draw is always good. When smoked likewise, the smoke is rich and plentiful, though see below. The burn stays pretty even most of the time though I have smoked a few hundred of these and sometimes they do get a little wonky and require correction. These smoke pretty slowly. Takes about an hour to get down to the last inch of it.

Flavors: I have smoked many cigars made by My Father. Most are rich in flavors. The newer “La Opulencia” (see Review) is rich and sweet, but not this one. The le Bijou seems more like an A.J. Fernandez blend. Flavors of hay, flowers, black tea, barnyard, the barest hint of leather, perhaps an occasional hint of roasted nut. All of these flitter in and out of a general flavor of tobacco and mild pepper. The flavors first appear after the cigar is smoked for a few minutes. They come and go as the cigar progresses and do not change very much. They are never more than light hints at what should be a much richer cigar from a company like My Father. While the flavors here follow the cold aroma, that aroma is richer than anything in the flavor of the smoke. The flavors are good, even distinct, but they seem barely there.

My biggest gripe about this cigar is that the flavors often disappear completely in the last inch and a quarter of the stick and the smoke gets hot and flavorless no matter how slow I smoke it. An inch plus is a lot to throw away for a four-and-a-half inch stick. I can take any other My Father cigar and smoke it down to a half-inch before the flavors disappear. The flavors of the le Bijou vanish much earlier than that, though to be fair about one out of three of them remain flavorful down to about three-quarters of an inch.

See new note at end… a big discovery!

This is a big disappointment in a My Father cigar. Perhaps this has something to do with how I buy these cigars. I buy boxes when there are good deals and discounts bringing the price down to $5 or so. Maybe I’m getting boxes that have sat around the warehouse a little too long and this is not one of those cigars that gets better with a lot of age? I keep telling myself not to buy these any more and then another deal comes along and I forget my own advice. This has gone on for years and I’ve probably been through a dozen or more boxes in that time. I do like the way they smoke.

NO, it is not the way I buy them. I have made an important discovery that I cannot believe in the 8 or 10 boxes of these I’ve smoked over the years I had not stumbled on until now.. I’ve often punched these sticks (they take a punch well) or straight cut only a small part of the cap as I do with other cigars. But it turns out if you cut them wide, almost to the end of the cap’s shoulders, they smoke much better, require no or very little correction, and retain flavors down to the last 3/4″!  

Cigar Review: Foundation Tabernacle

Cigar Review: Foundation Tabernacle

A while now since my last cigar review. Must keep my fan-base happy. Not everyone into philosophy?

So up today is the Tabernacle Corona (4.25″ x 46) from Nicholas Melillo’s Foundation Cigar. If you don’t know that name, Nicholas, along with Steve Saka were among the luminaries responsible for so many blends delivered to us from Drew Estate. Now his own company, this is one of his two first releases and it is nothing short of wonderful! I’ve smoked 8 of a box of 24 so far. All have been excellent.

The Tabernacle is rolled at the AJ Fernandez Factory in Esteli Nicaragua. They have the rolling skills to build a great cigar and they deliver here.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Mexican San Andres
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan

Prelight aroma: Sweet, nutty, hay, and mild barnyard
Cold draw: a little salt, perfect draw, light but something there to notice.

No soft spots, wrapper is flawless, let’s light it up.

Draw great and remains perfect throughout the smoke. No burn issues, nice even burn all the way down. Copius smoke output. Construction by the AJF folks is flawless.

First taste produces only a smidgen of pepper, sweet hay, light barnyard flavors, leather, and roasted nuts. Throughout the first third these flavors are all present, changing places in strength. The cigar is very smooth with little pepper at this point. Retrohale is amazingly rich and nutty. At this point the cigar is a medium.

As I get to the half-way point the pepper comes up just a little, the nutty sweetness dials back, but the flowers are still there and some mint and licorish makes its appearance. Slightly fewer transitions here, but the distinct sweetness is still present now transferring from nut to mint or wintergreen. Now we’re at medium-full strength.

In the last third the pepper gets stronger and all the flavors dial back but do not disappear. The mint and licorish still remain and become more dominant. All the way through the stick I’m smoking now (about 4 months in my humidor) the draw and burn stay perfect. This has been the case with all the Tabernacles I’ve smoked so far; kudos again to the folks at Tabacalera Fernandez! The cigar reaches its full strength in the last third, but it never becomes overwhelming. In the final inch the pepper gets quite strong and the smoke gets flatter, but the flavor never completely vanishes. Excellent smoke!

At about $8 (box level) the stick has become a little expensive for my retirement budget, but as these things go, that is an excellent price for a cigar of this outstanding quality. In the last couple of years I’ve discovered outstanding cigars in the “under $10” price range. If you can afford it, this is one not to miss!

The pairing here is the last of a bottle of Foursquare “Port Cask Finish” (link to the review). I notice the rum very much enhances the wintergreen sweetness of the cigar. I take note of this because this rum and cigar go well together, each distinctly affecting the flavor of the other. I’ve smoked these with coffee (also excellent) and other rums, but this one seems to stand out.

Not to be missed. I wish it was a dollar less expensive, but I will save my pennies for another box. Meanwhile I’ll smoke the rest of these slowly!

Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 2006 rum

Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 2006 rum

I seem to have missed reviewing this rum and thought I’d better get to it while I yet have some left. Edward Hamilton is a modern adventurer of the old school. He has been everywhere and done a lot. Eventually he found his way to the Carribbean and fell in love with rum, its history, and its making. Sometime later (2006) he started “The Ministry of Rum” website (and then taught himself enough computer coding to make it better). The sight is a fantastic source of rum information. A lot of its categories are inactive. If you look at his “rum of the month” you discover that only two were ever entered, the latest in 2006! But the forums are very active with hundreds of rum and whiskey subjects discussed, and his informational essays (dozens of them) about rum will always remain relevant. There is a lot of education to be had here. Membership, allowing you to participate in the forums, is free.

Edward eventually put together a collection of rums under his own name. Alas this is one of the moribund parts of his website, only 4 of his collection listed and described. There must be nearly a dozen now, but all (I’m not sure of that) limited bottlings some no longer easily found. The nice thing about buying any Hamilton rum is that you know you’re getting something honest, unadulterated, well made, and not on the mass market. His labeling is among the best in the industry. On the front of my bottle it says:

Hamilton St. Lucian Pot Still 2006
Distilled by Lucian Distillers batch 813-7CS Aged 7 years
63.8% ABV

Supposedly you can put that batch number in some field somewhere on his website and find out more about that particular batch, but I have been unable to find that entry point. Perhaps one of my readers here will have better luck. The back label says this:

Back label: Hand selected by Edward Hamilton for the Ministry of Rum collection from the cask aging warehouse at St. Lucia Distillers Ltd for its flavor and authenticity. Distilled from fermented molasses in a Vendome Pot Still, this medium-bodied rum was imported in the cask in which it was aged in St. Lucia.

As I understand it the barrels are imported in New York where they are bottled. Let’s get to the rum.

Color: Medium amber, copper a little organge rather than red. The rum in my glass is just slightly cloudy. Mind I opened this particular bottle about 3 months ago and I do not remember the rum being cloudy when it was fresh. I have one more bottle, I’ll try to remember to update this review when I get around to opening it.

Legs: Swirrled it forms the tiniest of droplets at the front of the glass that only slowly coalesce towards the back in thick legs that slowly drop down the glass.

The aromas of this rum are fantastic. Only a little alcohol (interesting considering the almost 64% ABV), no acetone, no “young rum notes”. It smells rich and sweet with ripe but not overripe fruit: apricot, orange, banana, allspice (or something like it), and a noticible “pot still” funk so up front in rums like Pusser’s and Appleton 12.

The flavor strikes me as nothing like the aroma. The contrast is jarring. This rum is not sweet; very dry. I cannot taste any of the fruit I get on the nose. There is burnt brown sugar that isn’t sweet, tobacco, and a meld of oaky smokey (as smokey as rum gets) notes I can’t tell apart but I can tell there is a lot of nuance here I am not qualified to reach. The alcohol makes its presence known. It isn’t in the least harsh, but it comes up across the mouth and down the throat with a medium finish that speaks of oak. The fire stays with you for a bit after the swallow slowly fading. The texture wants to be creamy but the alcohol cuts through the cream. There are lots of contrasts in this rum but they don’t fight, they get along and sum to something interesting and different.

Given the high ABV I had to see what a little water did to the flavor. Turns out not a lot! Adding 5 or 6 drops and then twice that to an ounce brings out a little fruit from the nose but only by a little. I get a little banana, maybe raisin but it’s hard to tell. There is less heat but not by much. All the melded richness, the flavors I can’t separate, is still there, the funk is even a bit stronger. The rum still isn’t sweet, but maybe not quite so dry. Perhaps there is a little less oak bitterness, and the aftertaste gets a little longer.

At around $50/750ml here I’m on the fence with this rum. I have one more bottle to try, but not sure I would buy more even if I can still find it. I think the price is very good given the complexity, depth, and balance of the rum. It is a very good rum if you like this kind of profile. I can enjoy it, and I can appreciate it because to really get in to rum you have to stretch your palate. But it isn’t something I sip and say “wow I love this”. I have to work at it.

There is a good review of this rum by Inu Akena at his website. Hit the link.

The cigar by the way is a “Cinco Maduro” from Rodrigo Cigars. Medium strength with wrapper, binder, and all the filler blend made from maduro (5 different) leafs if I recall a “lost creation” of Island Jim. Don’t know if there are any of these left but George has a lot of good cigars and frequent discounts. It’s worth getting on his mailing list.

Rum Review: Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend

Rum Review: Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend

In the closing months of 2016 I discovered 10 delicious rums all new to me. Three of these were from Foursquare distillery of Barbados under the direction of R. L. Seale. I reviewed two of these, the “2004” and “Port Cask Finish” last year calling them possibly the best rums I’ve ever had. At the time of their discovery I learned about this third member of the group but until recently couldn’t find any. That changed a few weeks ago and this offering is even better than the others!

So what do we have here with this Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend? Aged 11 years in bourbon barrels and then [dry] zinfandel wine casks, bottled at 43% ABV. The label says clearly that there are no additives in this rum just like its cousins.

zincask1

Color: A beautiful medium amber
Swirled: Forms tiny droplets a few coalescing into thin and slow running legs.
Aroma: Brown sugar, maple syrup, raisen, and only a little alcohol. There are no burnt notes in the aroma, only sweetness. This perhaps the best smelling rum ever!

Sipped it is very smooth and creamy. There is a nice warmth going down the throat, but it comes up gradually and never burns. Every sip has hints of brown sugar, dried apricot, coffee, raisen, and maybe a little chocolate (or I imagining that?) along with the maple syrup I noted in the aroma. The finish is a bit short, but still sweet with no bitterness. Like the aroma the flavors have no burnt notes in them.

As I finish the glass the creaminess grows richer, the sweetness and other flavors fade back a bit, and the aftertaste gets a little longer. All in all this is one hell of a rum and with no sugar or other additives must get its sweetness from its time in the zin barrels. It is my understanding that these are dry barrels too imparting flavors only and not mixing the rum with a little zinfandel remaining in the barrel.

zincask2

At $45 here in California, this has got to be one of the best rum deals in the world! I cannot recommend anything more than this. It isn’t always easy to find R. L. Seale’s work here in the U.S. and this group of three rums seems to have popped up in California fairly recently. Seale is a well known name in unadulterated rums these days and I’m very glad to have discovered his work at last.

Zinfandel cask blend, as good as rums get!

Rum Review: Pusser’s Navy Rum

PussersPic

This rum has a real history. The British navy used to issue a “rum ration” to all its sailors starting way back in 1655. Before this the navy issued beer rations and also tried wine and even brandy, but none of these spirits fared well exposed to the temperature variations experienced in different parts of the world. Rum, by contrast, just seemed to get better with time. The ration ended in 1970 (and British sailors held many a mock funeral for it) , but the formula for the rum was preserved and the makers of Pusser’s bought it from the British Admiralty on promise of never disclosing it. There are (I believe) some 7 different Caribbean rums in this blend making it one of the more complexly blended rums around. What the sailors actually drank, at least in the early days of the ration, was distributed at a higher ABV (56%) and tested by pouring a bit on some gunpowder. If the alcohol content of the rum is less than 56% the gunpowder will not ignite, but at 56% and above, the gunpowder burns.

In the glass: Medium amber about half way between my lightest and darkest rums. Nice color. Swirled makes fat legs that start slowly and then speed up as they drift down the glass.

On the nose: If you take a deep whiff when first poured you get a tremendous hit of a sort of vegetal funk that some have called putrid. I am not a scotch drinker, but the aroma suggests to me what a heavily peated scotch smells like, though scotch drinkers tell me its not. But it does smell a bit like old socks or the moldy undergrowth of a wet forest. There is also fruit, apricot, orange and rich caramel, a lot of complexity on the nose. As the rum breaths the funk drops off a bit but it remains the dominant aroma throughout.

In the mouth: One of my creamier rums, but the cream comes along with some fire. At 42% ABV this rum has a little more alcohol than the others I’ve been drinking (although the Pusser’s “Gunpowder” rum at 54.5% ABV is supposed to be available in the U.S. sometime this year and I will certainly try it). It has a little fire going down, but just enough to remind you it’s an alcoholic drink. Sugar content is low, 6g/l according to the measurements.  Note that the rum is listed at 40% ABV on that list, but that is not correct. Overall the rum is thick feeling, perhaps more so than any of my other rums except for the El Dorado  which has a lot more sugar.

Flavor: Funk! Yes that aroma of old socks or wet mold comes through loud and clear in the flavor. I am told by another rum aficionado that this vegetal taste comes from the distillate of a very old fashioned wooden pot-still used in the blend. This flavor rides on top of everything else. The rum is sweet but not very sweet and the funk cuts it anyway. There is molasses in there and brown sugar, caramel, and raisin, maybe some banana too. There are a lot of flavors to tease apart here, but everything starts with the funk.

Pusser’s is one of the world’s great rums thanks to its history and staying power. It is not a rum every rum drinker likes. Either you like the funk or develop a taste for it, or you just won’t like this rum. One reviewer who didn’t like it called it “putrid”. I’ve noticed this same funky note in two other rums, Appleton 12 year and El Dorado 15. It is pretty up-front in the Appleton though not as strong as the Pusser’s while it presents as a background note in the El Dorado. I’m sure there are many other rums, any that have a wooden pot-still component in the blend, that have it too, but I haven’t found them yet or they are too expensive for me to try. That’s the other amazing thing about Pusser’s. At $25 for a 750ml bottle in California it is among the least expensive rums I have, the Barbancourt 5 star and Gosling’s Black Seal being the other two that are really good. Will I buy this rum again? I’m on my 4th bottle now and I’m sure there will be more to come!

Drink hardy my sailor and land lubber friends!

 

Rum Review: Mocambo 20 year Aged

Mocambo bottle picture
Mocambo 20 year aged

In the glass: Very dark, rich burnt mahogany red perhaps the darkest single rum I have, a little darker even than the Gosling’s Black Seal! Swirled it produces thin fast legs.

On the nose: A little alcohol at first and acetone but minimal and disappear quickly letting the rum breath for a while. There is also dark molasses, burnt caramel (treacle), raisin and a rich clove-like spice, some chocolate, in rich combination that varies as the rum is rested and then sipped.

Mouth feel: Creamy but not overmuch. Smooth with but a little fire going down in a medium long sweet finish that keeps the cream.

Flavor: Wow, a burst of flavors in many dimensions but hitting high notes in molasses, treacle, dark brown sugar, tobacco, coffee liqueur, and milk chocolate. What I really like about this rum is that the flavors aren’t all squished together, you can taste everything and something different seems to pop out with every sip. There is oak in there underlying it all, and a lighter caramel seems to float in there too. The rum is sweet but only enough to be pleasant. I cannot find a sugar test for this rum, but I’m going to guess it will fall in the lower to mid range for added sugar. It is distinctly sweet, more than some, but nearly as much as other rums in my collection.

Cigar pairing potential: Superb! Goes with everything with the possible exception of very mild and lightly flavored cigars. I don’t think this would pair well with a “yard gar”. But do check this one out with a good medium strong and full flavored cigar. Brings out a lot of sugar, roastings, and leather in the smoke.

I think this is a very under appreciated rum. There are few reviews and no results in the sugar test lists that I have found. The bottle says “20 years aged” but I don’t know what that really means. The rum is only $35 at my retailer which puts it into the low-middle price bracket for me and I doubt it is all aged 20 years for that price. It is likely a solera style rum and so perhaps has some 20 year in it.

This was one of the first rums I really got into. My retailer eventually ran out and I was without it for a couple of years when I found it again. I wondered if I would still like it as much and I do! The one independent review I’ve found claimed the rum was “unbalanced”. Perhaps the reviewer did not appreciate the heavy notes in the flavor profile but I think they are great flavors and make the rum stand out. Especially as you can taste them all! It reminds me of the more expensive Dos Maderas 5+5 without the sherry notes. As usual I liked the rum originally because it went well with cigars I like and that continues to be the case. Among my less expensive bottles I will definitely keep this one around!

Highly recommended for cigar pairing!