Diesel Unholy Cocktail

02 Apr

To get a new cigar talked about in 2011, it needs to be strong. There’s a whole cadre of pundits and commentators out there who won’t even look at a cigar unless it rates a 9 on the strength scale.

Well, the Cigar Sasquatch Strength Scale only goes to 5, and I’m here to tell you, there are more important things in cigars than strength. Namely flavor and balance. And burn characteristics. And draw performance.

As regular readers may know, I don’t assign a value judgment on strength. A cigar’s strength is what it is, and I can enjoy it whether it’s a 1 or a 5, as long as it has flavor and balance. And burns and draws well. I find those factors far outweigh the strength of a cigar in determining whether or not I’m going to enjoy it.

Photo of Diesel Unholy Cocktail Cigars

Diesel Unholy Cocktail (5x56)

Now we all know what flavor means. The thing has to taste good, and as there’s no accounting for taste, reviewers like me try to give you an idea of what you can expect for flavors when you smoke a cigar. But balance is an altogether different quality. For me, it means that if a cigar is going to make my head spin for the rest of the day from strength, it better deliver loads of delicious flavor to make it worth the strength. Further, if it’s got a diverse palate of flavors, those flavors need to be clearly defined, distinct and identifiable, not muddled together like a “Suicide” drink at a soda fountain. And finally, if it’s a straight-forward, one-dimensional flavor profile, that flavor needs to be smooth, rich, and highly enjoyable.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce you to AJ Fernandez.

We’ve seen his work before, as the blender behind the Reposado 96 (8.7). And the Man o’ War Ruination (8.9). And the Nica Libre 1990 (9.0). And now we see him in the Diesel Unholy Cocktail. All of these cigars have characteristics in common, including predominantly Nicaraguan compositions, excellent construction, and most importantly, flavor and balance.

The Diesel Unholy Cocktail (5×56) is a stubby torpedo featuring a core of Nicaraguan longfillers from Jalapa, Condega, and Esteli, a Nicaraguan binder and a beautiful, oily Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper. The cigar is seamlessly rolled, with a juicy, supple texture to the wrapper, but a rock-solid core underneath.

The initial flavors are of roasted oak, with a leathery texture and ample spice. It bites back a little, but after several months in the Sasquatch-a-dor, it’s considerably smoother than it was when it was fresher. Despite the firmness of the roll, the draw is open (1) from the smallest ⅛-inch cut of the torpedo tip, producing a nice smoke volume (0) of above-average strength (4).

In the second act, the flavors show layers of rich earth, with a tangy hint of caramelized sweetness. The spice moves to the back seat here, allowing the smoothness of the Pennsylvania Broadleaf to take the wheel. The burn is straight and slow, smoking to an inch and a half nub in about an hour, producing a light gray ash that’s solid and well formed.

I’m pleased to rate this cigar 9.2. It’s tasty, powerful, and exceptionally well made. It gets a little hot at the finish, (show me a cigar that doesn’t get hot at an inch and a half) but it’s a joy getting there. It is the essence of balance: satisfying in strength, but with smoothness and flavor in compelling harmony. I look forward to many more outstanding smokes from this rising star of the tobacco blending universe.

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

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Posted in Figurados, Maduro, Torpedos


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