This week had me smoking through some Gran Habano offerings that I hadn’t smoked before. Gran Habano has been around a long time, although I don’t see them in a lot of my local brick and mortar shops (CI might have them, I never thought to look, and their website indicates a couple nearby shops, I’l have to look again!). I’ve enjoyed many cigars from George Rico and his father, Guillermo, and their Honduras factory. I started out this week with the corona gorda (5-5/8″ x 46) sized ZuluZulu Mas Paz White. This tasty cigar has a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper with a Nicaraguan Habano binder, and Nicaraguan fillers. This is part of the S.T.K. Miami line, but all indications are that they are rolled in Honduras. I really don’t care where it was rolled, it was a damned fine cigar. I thought it was smooth and creamy, with some earthiness, coffee and caramel. The cigar comes in a full sleeve, I don’t know what to call the material, glassine paper, maybe? It is translucent to a point where one can see the band underneath. The artwork featured on the packaging is by Colombian-American artist, “Mas Paz”, a friend of George Rico. The S.T.K. Line was originally George Rico’s private blends. This one was very good.
The next cigar I smoked was also from the S.T.K. line was the Black Dalia Robusto. I was drawn to the beautiful band on this one, it was striking, although I’m not certain what exactly it is. It looks like maybe some sort of headdress with gold leaf, a black flower (presumably the Dalia) and light pink. The band shouldn’t matter, but first impressions do play into the perception of a cigar’s quality. I’ve smoked many great, premium cigars that have bands that look like bundle cigar bands and it did take away from the experience for me. I suppose I’m a snob in some ways. Anyway, this Black Dalia smoked very well. It was a 5″ x 52 robusto with a Nicaraguan Shade Grown Corojo wrapper, a double binder of Habano and Nicaraguan and fillers from Nicaragua, Columbia and Costa Rica. Gran Habano lists Habano often in their literature with no indication of where it’s grown. The wrapper is beautiful, the cigar has nice flavors of coffee with some spice and nuts. I think I liked this less than the Zulu White, but it was still very tasty and left me satisfied.
The next cigar that was new to me from Gran Habano was the La Conquista, presented with a cedar sleeve. Again, I smoked the 5″ x 52 Robusto with a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan, Colombian and Costa Rican fillers. This and the Black Dalia are listed as Full Bodied, but they were solid mediums for my jaded palate. The cedar sleeve seemed to impart a very woody flavor to the first half of this cigar, it’s a flavor I don’t much care for in a cigar, but just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean others don’t. When it comes to food, there are a lot of normal things I don’t like the flavor of, potatoes, for example (unless they are crispy), lots of vegetables, I’m weird. Once the wood note faded eventually and I really did enjoy the cigar. It went from woody to leathery, which I guess makes sense. It lacked the sweetness I like in a cigar, but it burned well. I’ve been shying away from robustos lately because I seem to need a little more time with a cigar lately, but the Gran Habano offerings I’ve smoked in that size seem to last a good amount of time, maybe an hour and a half? Impressive.
I still have the S.T.K. ZuluZulu Black to try, as well as the staple #5 Corojo and # 1 Connecticut to revisit, but I had to go Maduro for yesterday’s cigar. The Gran Habano No. 5 Maduro was my kinda cigar! This is presented in the style of the Havana Partagas Serie Edition Limitadas, with the red band and the gold secondary “LE” band. I often fantasize about being the kind of cigar smoker who has a rotation of 8 or 10 staple cigars, and this would probably be among them. If I were able to be that kind of smoker it would save me a lot of time with selection and taking pictures and stuff, but it would be very boring for you. Anyway, this is listed as the strongest in the Gran Habano portfolio and I tend to agree. It’s espresso and dark chocolate all day long and like Maxwell House, it’s good to the last drop. I think I put this one down with less than a half-inch left. This has a Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper (assuming it’s a Corojo, as the band says “Corojo No. 5”), Habano binder, and Nicaraguan and Costa Rican fillers. This is a really tasty smoke and I don’t think they break the bank price wise. Great cigar, for my palate, at least.
I need to vent a little. I got a mess of press releases this week, and my fellow bloggers and cigar media brethren are orders of magnitude better at posting news than I am. That’s not my area of expertise, and I’m happy to point people to other outlets that excel in that area. Cigar-Coop, HalfWheel, Developing Palates, BlindMansPuff, Cigar Dojo, the list goes on. One “news” item that mystified me this week was that Crowned Heads was releasing a line of new…..hats! OK, when Rocky Patel announces that he’s got 8 new lighters coming out, that’s weird but cigar related. Granted, I’m neither a fan of hats for the most part, or Crowned Heads (I fall into the apathy category about the brand if I’m honest), and maybe this is why I don’t care much about the brand (although I apparently care enough to bitch about it). Hats….seriously? This is worthy of cigar news? Macanudo is celebrating its 50th anniversary. News. Famous Smoke Shop upgraded their Cigar Monster auction site. News. Gurkha has a new lounge exclusive cigar. news. A company that sells good cigars adds to their baseball cap line? Are they a cigar maker or a hat company? People will argue that they make great cigars (they have great cigars made), and they are “cool”, but I don’t get it, and it doesn’t interest me. That’s enough of this edition of “you kids get the hell off my lawn”, until the next time,