Park Avenue

28 Feb

Blender: AJ Fernandez
Maker: K. Hansotia Cigars/ Tabacalera Fernandez
Filler: Nicaraguan/ Dominican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Flavors: Vanilla, Caramel, cedar → toasted wood, brown sugar.
Draw/Volume/Strength: 0 / -1 / 2
Rating: 9.1

We all have our little secrets. My step-mother has a recipe for Chicken Piccata that would make you positively weep. My brother got the recipe from her, but when he made it, it was missing something. Literally. She left something out of the ingredients. Oh, she won’t admit to it, but there’s something not there, and she’s not telling us.

She’s not the only one keeping things to herself. One of my favorite activities in California is lobster fishing. The season runs from October to March, and whether done with scuba gear or hoop nets, those of us who are willing to challenge the poorly-named Pacific can frequently pull in huge, delicious California Spiny Lobsters, with tails to rival anything Maine or Australia ever put out. Over the years, I’ve heard other lobster fishermen tell me all about the “secret spots” and massive caches of lobsters they “regularly” land. And every one of them is a lie. Oh, they land massive caches of lobsters at a secret spot, but there’s no way they’re telling where it is.

Photo of Park Avenue cigar

Park Avenue Presidente (7x52)

Hunters do it (the secret spots with consistent game), skiers and snowboarders do it (killer stashes of untouched powder), surfers do it (out of the way breaks with reliable surf and no crowds), and cigar lovers do it too.

Let’s face it, no one wants their favorite fishing spot to become fished out or crowded, and fresh powder only stays fresh if no one else skis it. And cigar lovers know that they’ll only continue to get that killer deal on the tasty smoke that they searched high and low to find if the whole world doesn’t know how good it is. I review many great cigars, but I’ll be honest, my very favorite cigars never get reviewed. Because I don’t want all you grubbers buying them up and jacking up the prices!

And the phenomenon has only grown with the prevalence of on-line cigar auctions. I don’t have to tell you that an Arturo Fuente Hemingway is a great cigar, but if I gave away all my secrets, I’d find myself competing with more bidders for the cigars I love, and paying higher prices as a direct result. That’s why I take customer reviews on on-line cigar retailers with a large dose of salt.

But today I’m going to pull back the proverbial curtain and present to you the Park Avenue from K. Hansotia, one of my favorite “secret” blends. I chose the Presidente (7×52), a big beefy Double Corona. First of all, most of the retailers are calling this cigar “Park Avenue by Gurkha,” or the “Gurkha Park Avenue,” but I want to be clear: no where on the box or band does this cigar say “Gurkha.” But it does say K. Hansotia. So I’m not going to call it a Gurkha.

The AJ Fernandez blend features a core of Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers, a Nicaraguan binder, and a beautiful, nearly veinless Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The cigar is smooth and seamless, a beautiful golden blonde color, tightly rolled and solid. Yeah, AJ Fernandez at the wheel, making a huge cigar with primarily Nicaraguan tobaccos, finished in an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper… let’s DO IT.

The bouquet is a delight, and the first flavors are smooth, rich, and buttery, with warm vanilla caramel over a layer of cedar. The draw is even (0) from a cap cut, producing a modest smoke volume (-1) of mild strength (2).

By mid-way, the vanilla and cedar flavors remain, and the cigar continues to be incredibly smooth and mellow, but it develops a toasted depth that enhances the palate and ads interest and texture. The burn is ring-straight; the one-inch ash is pale gray and nicely scaled, with perfect double cones. In the last act, it picks up a subtle taste of sweet brown sugar, a tasty goodbye kiss before a mild finish. The cigar smokes to a cool 2-inch nub in about 75 minutes.

Overall I rate this cigar 9.1. It’s a mild smoke to be sure, but flavorful and rich, smooth to the finish, and beautifully constructed. So there it is, one of my secret favorites… or is it?

Until next time, this is the Cigar Sasquatch saying, “Love what you smoke, and smoke what you love.”

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