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Viaje Zombie Antidote

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Viaje Zombie Antidote

     The first few puffs of this perfecto aren’t harsh, as one might expect. The flavor is hard to pin down , but as the cigar gets going, sweet earth is the first thing that comes to mind. Some flecks of spice between the sweet earth give way to overtones of grain. The retrohale gives one the impression of hoppiness, strangely enough, like the first quaff of an IPA, but not in an overpowering way. Further, the draw, though good, isn’t like sucking air through a straw. Strangely enough, I prefer it that way in this cigar because of the superb construction. The draw is smooth and produces plenty of smoke. Eventually, as I have come to expect from Viaje, the spice returns. I’m not talking about the black pepper zing one gets from a Casa Fernandez (another of my favorites), but the sweet chili zest on the back of the palate that one might expect from a Cuban Punch Churchill. This cigar has definitely taken me by surprise. My initial impressions, when they appeared on the counter of the cigar shop, were hopeful. Yet, it wasn’t until after my first ZA stick that I appreciated the complexity of the cigar. My first one was absentmindedly puffed, chewed on, relit during stirring conversation, enjoyed among the copious clouds of smoke from other cigars. I obviously liked it enough to buy another one, but the second stick from the jar was like a completely different cigar. As far as strength, I’m not sure whether to say that it’s medium or full bodied. I suppose one can say that it’s less overtly strong than the SuperShot or the Daisy Cutter (more of my favorites), yet the relentless, subtle, back-of-the-palate spice and nicotine cannot be ignored. The blend is evocative, too, of a Ramon Allones Edicion Limitada 2012.
     I hope I am not biased, because of the great weather and whimsical state of mind I’m in while smoking this cigar, but certain puffs bring to mind strong memories of walking through the lobby of the Hotel Nacional in Havana. That may be what comes to mind emotionally, yet logically, as I’m on the cusp of returning to Europe, I know that I will be inundated with Cuban cigars. If my readers can believe it, despite my undying love of Cuban cigars, after a few months, even weeks, of smoking only Cubans, I begin to fiend for Nicaraguan cigars. Yes, there are Davidoffs available, and even some Camachos given Davidoff’s relatively recent acquisition. Yet, in Florence Italy (where I have lived before and where I will soon return) there is a sad lack of Padrons, Viajes, or anything by Drew Estates found in the local cigar shops. Therefore, when I begin to be nostalgic for American market cigars (Dominicans, Nicaraguans, Hondurans) the Zombie Antidote will be a blend I will miss greatly.
     

     I am impressed, and was caught off guard by this cigar. The packaging, as pictured, is unique and (by the measure of some old schoolers) “gimmicky.” Despite the mixed impressions on presentation, which I happen to think is pretty cool and refreshing, I’m not sure whether different packaging would help sell more Zombie Antidotes. It would be hard to imagine this arguably new world blend in old world boxes with “revived” turn of the last Century artwork on the box lid. In conclusion, I recommend that if you decide to smoke this worthy cigar, that you do so while you have some time and the ability to dedicate some thought to the complexity of the blend; i.e. not on the golf course, or in the middle of some dubious Herf-a-thon where you’ll be plagued by the aroma of other cigars. Perhaps smoke this bad boy after a good meal or, counter intuitively, before the Zombie SuperShot, given the balance of the blend. In that vein, no pun intended, If you can appreciate the nuances of the Zombie SuperShot, you can appreciate this cigar as well, so buy them together, whether you smoke them in the same sitting or not. The second half of the cigar, by the way, is definitely something to look forward to: It becomes very leathery and the general spice becomes a zingy black pepper flavor. Now, it’s up to you to smoke it and find out how it ends.

Cigar Haul from NYC

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Yes, I have recently returned from New York City and I brought back plenty of smokable treasures, including MyFather Le Bijous, custom rolled Miami Cigar sticks from the Cigar Inn on the East Side, and, naturally: lots and lots of Nat Shermans!

Nat Sherman Bench Selection Cameroon Lancero

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This past Sunday, while spelunking the humidor of the Nat Sherman Store on 42nd, I saw some major changes: the back room, referred to as the vault, was no longer full of experimental blends known as the “Bench Selection” but rather full of unopened boxes of cigars. The time for trial and error for new blends is all but over (in-store anyway). Even still, the humidor is packed with hidden treasures available only there. The Bolivar Gold Medal (non-Cuban only – insert sad face) is one; another is the Bench Selection Cameoon. This is, I can guess, a Michael Herklots creation, or at least a Herklots suggestion. He told me, in an interview two years ago that his “end of the world cigar” would be a La Aurora Don Fernando Choix Supreme (which I had the pleasure of smoking 2 of this weekend as well – Kudos to Davidoff Madison for that one). The Choix Supreme comes only in the corona vitola and comes wrapped only in Cameroon tobacco. I must admit the flavor of the Bench Selection is quite similar, but also a tad bolder and a tad spicier. One tastes the flavor one might normally expect from a cameroon cigar: alittle bit of spice atop a core of smokey wood and subtle sweetness akin to raisin. The draw is a bit tough at first, but eventually eases up and produces a workable amount of smoke. Halfway through, some nuttiness really develops with some wheaty notes. Though the cigar doesn’t develop much, the flavor is good throughout and is satisfying if you’re looking for something with a dry, unique character rather than something leathery and in-your-face. I like it, and I would really like a gin and tonic with it. Especially now, at sunset, outside on a seventy degree day. Again, Nat Sherman has succeeded in making a unique cigar reminiscent of their old blends (which I thoroughly enjoy). One last observation: if they made this in a robusto size, I would love it.

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Alec Bradley Black Market Dirty Hooligan: An Honest Perspective

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one Upon first light, the Alec Bradley Black Market Dirty Hooligan tastes like a classic Connecticut cigar. There’s a creaminess accompanied by subtle but consistent spice. This spice comes from youth; I am exceedingly glad that this youth brings no ammonia flavors into the blend. The aroma is creamy and slightly floral as well. At moments, some acrid scents come from the burning cigar, like a quick whiff of a fish market, but more like a walk down a Manhattan sidewalk past a Sabrett hot dog stand – there you smell the burning salt meant for hot pretzels… a distinctive smell that only New Yorkers really understand. It doesn’t detract from the cigar however, it makes it sort of fun. To be fair, this isn’t really a serious cigar. It was released (presumably) as a novelty for St. Patrick’s Day. There are some vegetal notes but nowhere near the levels of grassiness and ammonia I detect on similar green cigars. The candela wrapper has been the object of disgust for me many times just as Honduran cigars have been so many times. Also, I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day considering that there isn’t a drop of Irish blood in me and I hate to play Crazy Taxi on my way home from work, avoiding a plethora of cops and amateur leprechauns pumped full of Guinness and Jameson on the roads. Despite my disdain for the latter three things, I was pleasantly surprised by the Hooligan. Maybe I was tempted by the allure of a new cigar, or maybe I was expecting the cigar to be so terrible that I smoked it out of curiosity… like watching a late night infomercial just to see how poorly produced the ad and product are. But, like a person who eventually says “maybe I can use that LaLane juicer” I said “Maybe this cigar isn’t that bad. It doesn’t taste like burning vegetables and styrofoam like other candelas.” Okay, closing thoughts: the wrapper is thin, so be careful when cutting the cigar and be sure not to bite down to hard. Also, I was throroughly unimpressed with the original Black Market and still am. Further, the draw on this cigar is great on one and acceptable on another. Inconsistency is okay with me as long as I can work with it. I don’t prefer it, but it’s part of life and it, sure as hell, is part of making cigars. So would I reccomend the cigar? Yes, it’s worth a try because it is unique and pleasant. End of story. Enjoy the pics. And thank you to the lovely Kaleela for showing off … the cigar.

 

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The Opus Revisited

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Ahhhh, the feeling of having an unlit Arturo Fuente Opus X in one’s hand and the time to smoke it. This amazing combination is magical. Rarely do I smoke an Opus, but I am on the path to changing that. Many cigar shops only get the Opus only a few times a year, but mine has it year round thanks to a long friendship between the owner and Carlito Fuente. I started smoking Fuentes when I started smoking cigars… they were my go to smokes along with Oliva Serie Gs. The Opus was out of my price range until I got a decent job. Eventually I started working as a tobacconist and I could afford to smoke the Opus, but I still have the mindset that they are unattainable. I grind my teeth in frustration at paying thirteen dollars for my favorite Opus size, but have no qualms paying thirteen or fourteen dollars for Illusione Singulares or Liga Privadas… that’s stupid when I can just as easily smoke an Opus. Today begins my “smoke an Opus X instead” campaign. I love this smoke… it’s the original strong limited edition cigar. Honestly, it’s a shadow of its former blend. Old timers are constantly telling me how it used to be stronger and darker, but It still has a great subtle spice and comes in cigar-boom sizes rather than thick long vitolas like others.
This calls to mimnd the bad rap that Dominican smokes are getting today. So many smokers think of Nicaraguan cigars when they want something of the Opus’ caliber. So many smokers who, in the cigar boom days, would reach for a Dominican cigar, now choose some boutique Nicaraguan… which is not bad… just surprising from guys in their 40s 50s and 60s. Meanwhile, I, at the age of 23, love these oldschool powerhouse smokes. They’re what I was raised on (in terms of learning to smoke great cigars) and they’re a great thing to reach for when I can’t take another Nicaraguan puro. I suppose somewhere along the way, I just took advantage of their constant presence, but when I hear how people in other states scramble twice or thrice a year to smoke these, and when I think of how much they cost at Casa Fuente, I feel stupid for not having one once a week. These cigars are so impressive that one of my good friends, a sometimes reticent, leather-jacket-wearing badass who teaches martial arts, smokes Opuses exclusively. That’s commitment.I sometimes wish I could have a go-to smoke, but the lure of every other stick is usually too strong.
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The Return of Life Less Common

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Okay, It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sorry, but this will be the first in a string of regular new posts, so stay updated. I have begun wriring cigar reviews for http://www.robbyrasreviews.com, http://www.mattsminutes.com, and http://www.thedignifieddevil.com. Please visit the latter few sites see my more polished material. Visit here to see my off the cuff cigar comments and some musings on fine timepieces. I also plan to post some other content that will help you escape the monptony of everyday life: hence Life Less Common. This will by no means be The Art of Manliness or anything – I’m not interested in helping you become a better man or teaching you how to properly tie a bowtie or get out of a traffic ticket. My goal is to show you some good cigars, some nice watches… maybe some art and architecture… maybe even some culture. It’s my goal to provide all original content; so many other sites recycle pictures videos and articles from others – not me. Stay tuned. Also, make sure to check out my tumblr at http://www.lifelesscommon.tumblr.com. Again, thanks for reading.

Most humbly, Joe Lordi.

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My Father Le Bijoux 1922 Short Robusto Review

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The My Father Le Bijoux is a good cigar. It’s balanced, filled with all the familiar flavors of Nicaraguan tobacco we’ve all come to know and love in a modern day premium cigar. It’s filled with well aged tobacco, lacking any hint of immaturity, and well blended to perfect balance. Lots of of chocolate notes with a tangy dusty core. Great draw, even burn. Fortunately, for regular to heavy cigar smokers, the industry has stepped up the competition. The cigar fits right in with the rank of Tatuaje red and brown labels, and wouldn’t be out of place with some Illusione cigars, but having said that, it does not distinguish itself. It offers no unique flavors, no heavy spices or citrus, no consistent sweetness. What is good about it? Everything. The format is a good one for an evening smoke or a morning complement to a cup of coffee. The price point isn’t bad either, around 7 bucks.

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