What is a post about Cigars doing on a Chief’s blog you might ask? Well, my attempts so far to find my niche on AP have failed miserably. My football expertise is limited to OL and DL play. I have attempted my own articles on those topics, but they are rarely met with a lot of favor and they NEVER stand up to the quality that Kalo and Bews deliver on a regular basis. So I have relegated myself to being a smart-ass commenter. I feel like Peter Gibbons (Office Space), constantly trying to find my place in this world. If you think about it, we have our Bill Lumberghs (Joel and Chris), our Bob’s (Kalo and Bews), our Tom Smykowski (H2E), and even our very own Milton(s) (Kray, Ups, and RNGB). Where do I fit in? The only other topic that I am as passionate about as our beloved Chiefs is cigars. My gameday experience is never complete without a ritual cigar and that is what I decided to share with AP, my weekly gameday cigar.
If there is enough interest in this topic, I would like to make it a weekly series to pass the time at the end of the week and distract us from the heated Cassel/Haley/Charles/Fluke discussions that are sure to plague us all year. I will divide the season into four quarters where each quarter has a theme. This first quarter will be 4 cigars that are the type that I would smoke (both new and familiar to me). This will not only provide me the opportunity to write some reviews, but will also allow me to add in some tips and tricks to the whole ritual for anyone who is curious and may want to try a cigar sometime.
The second quarter will consist of 4 starter cigars, great milder cigars that will put you on a solid footing if you choose to pursue this habit. Third quarter will be slightly more advance/popular cigars. For the fourth quarter, I am going to take suggestions from anyone who would like to submit a cigar for review and discussion. Each week I will announce the gameday cigar for the following week. I hope that for the experienced cigar smoker or just someone curious about it we can enjoy the same cigar and come together to talk about it during the week.
With that, I give you the Week 1 Gameday Cigar: La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Maduro (DL700-M).
The Cigar: This is, by far, my go-to cigar of choice. Its 6.5 inches long with a 60 ring gauge. This is one hefty smoke that usually last a good hour and a half. All of the LFD Double Ligero Maduro cigars will contain this blend of tobacco while the shape and size generally determine the smoking time (its more complicated than that, but it’s a good rule of thumb to start out with). The DL700-M contains two ligero leaves in the filler and has a dark maduro wrapper. I will get into cigar construction and the types of leaves later. In general, the darker the leaves are, the spicier the flavor. Ligero leaves are usually slow burning and give a good roasted, nutty flavor. This one contains two of them!! It does not disappoint.
**Caution** This is a heavy (strong) cigar. Do not smoke it if you have never tried a cigar before. Do not smoke this on an empty stomach.
The Review: Although there are many cigar review sites out there, this review is entirely my own and reflects the flavors that I experienced during my smoke. I used a simple guillotine cut on my cigar. After checking the pre-light draw (and tasting some peppery spiced flavors) I gently toasted the tip of the cigar and lit it with a cigar match. The initial draw was absolute heaven. The cigar produced a large volume of thick delicious smoke. The initial flavors were strong and peppery, but crisp. They left a delightful tingling sensation on my lips and tongue. This flavor began to mellow after smoking approximately an inch into the cigar. The smoke became cooler and smooth, velvety, and the flavors only more complex. The strong pepper-like flavors morphed into a woody, nuttiness, with bitter coffee-like overtones. Not a regular run of the mill coffee though, but a good strong black coffee or espresso. The ash on the cigar was dense, tight, and a nice light grey color. I probably had a good two inches of ash on the cigar before I ashed it. With about a third of the cigar remaining, the smoke began to heat up and the mellow coffee-like bitterness changes back into a woody-peppery flavor. With about an eighth (1/8) of the cigar remaining, the spiciness of the cigar became a little too much to handle. This evolution of flavor profiles is normal for any good cigar. The flavors of this cigar were wonderful and lingered on for quite a while. This cigar lasted me a full hour and fifty one minutes which is about on par for a cigar of this size.
Tip(s) of the week: Because this is the first week, I give you two tip important to cigar smoking.
1) The Cutting: There are many types of cuts that you can use to open up the end of your cigar (bullet, punch, V-Cut, star, guillotine, etc.). I choose a guillotine cut on this because it is probably the simplest and most basic one available. The idea with this cut is that you want to cut off as little as possible to get a good draw on the cigar. The appropriate cut and the amount to cut come with experience. Start by cutting off an eighth of an inch, check the draw on the cigar, and make a second cut if it is unsatisfactory.
2) Toasting: Don’t like a cigar like a cigarette. Remember that you are about to smoke a hand made piece of art here. Hold the cigar at a 45 degree angle to the flame and lightly toast the entire tip of the cigar by moving it slowly through the flame. Only then should you actually light the cigar. Take your time when lighting to ensure that you get nice embers and the entire tip going at once before you sit back to relax and enjoy. I have found that toasting the tip makes the cigar easier to fully light, burn more even throughout, and produces a better initial flavor profile.
I know this post ran on a bit. Subsequent ones will be shorter once I put the basics out there.
The Week 2 Gameday Cigar: The Oliva Cain Maduro Robusto.