Friday, October 24, 2008

Cigar Review: Punch Rothchilds

I'll have confess before I start this review: I'm a cigar novice. I smoke one roughly once a month or so, to keep health concerns to a minimum and to keep my own budget under control. I like mild, toasty cigars that aren't too large; I can't imagine having the time to devote to a full corona.

Fortunately, I hit the jackpot with this one.

In the best circumstances, I like to dawdle over a cigar with a class of cheap (but good!)wine. This time, however, I smoked it while walking back from the restaurant. I reek of grease and salsa when I finish up work, so to say that my palate was a bit off is an understatement.

But this beauty had some nice, clean, crisp flavors that shone through. Let's start with the light and the draw. Some dense cigars take their time to light, or need to be relit halfway through. This beauty lit easily without feeling hot, and had a strong, easy draw. Pure white, clean ash, and soft white smoke. I immediately noticed a sweet, slightly vanilla note to this cigar that mellowed out quickly to mild spice note that hovered somewhere between cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemongrass. There was a juiciness to the finish made think of fruit (and crave that cheap wine even more). About halfway down the cigar, I noticed some strong tobacco-shop flavor - not the scent of a spent cigarette, but of a large, well-kept humidor. A mild black pepper note finished the cigar as it finally became too hot to hold... but I would have smoked this down to the nib, if I could have.

A lot of pleasure from the finer things in life - wine, cigars, bourbon - come from context. A mediocre wine takes on a lot more character at your best friend's wedding; a good Scotch becomes dull at your brother-in-law's wedding. Walking home from a long day cooking in a smelly, old commercial kitchen is not my ideal context for a good cigar... but this beauty's true character shone through without any help from the other pleasures of the day.

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