Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Argiolas - Costera - Isola dei Nuraghi : 2006


Still considerable tannins, but pleasant--and a good sign, as we'd like to have some of this around for the future. Liquorice, some mint and a nice mineral tease toward the finish, which turns somewhat salty and ought to go well with darker chocolate. Very strong aromas of sun-warmed strawberries and cherries. There is a delightful pepper presence, as well: a bit of spice in the nose when exhaling with a mouthful, and some spice in the back of the throat. Very juicy, a bit of tobacco--but dark, possibly aged, like an Amsterdam blended rolling tobacco, not like a Turkish blend. Well done. We're fans.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

J. Fuego "Delirium" [Robusto]

Brazilian Habano maduro; Costa Rican Corojo binder; Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers.

Good, solid construction. With some veins, a mottled appearance (similar to the contrasts in dark-stained, well aged mahogany) and a hint of plume, this cigar is rather attractive. In a couple of instances the veins keep the wrap from disappearing and creating a "seamless" effect. However, the jagged & somewhat rustic look that results is not without appeal. The triple cap is decent.

Starts out sweet with some truffle and grass. A refined and distinct introduction--less hay and grass than something I'd rather be eating. Moving on, as this cigar gains body and momentum it becomes primarily sweet. Cherry and other dark fruits move around and create an undertone. In the smoke, a nose of bread pudding, so I'd say caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, custard. On the finish, at this point, are a handful of minerals. The finish is also lively on the sides of the tongue, as coffee beans would be. Some Irish cream settles in after the 1/3. Then I get a gleam of espresso rubbed steak--not so much the meat itself (though smoked meats do creep in and out of this cigar's profile), perhaps more the espresso grounds with cooked fillet juices. So, the refinement keeps up. Good, solid ash. Very nice burn, as well, though at halfway there's a bit of tunneling (apparent after ashing) that eventually relents. Overall, a dry mouthfeel. The nose gets leathery around 2/3 and hints of Maryland-style crab crop up as an undertone. At this point the cigar is going from semi-sweet to mineral in no time flat, which is very interesting, and at the end the smoke's texture caresses much like nicely cooked, moist & flaky fish.

Very nicely balanced. Well-managed acidity all the way through, with subtelty that one can't often find right out of the box.