Arsen Pink for Men

11 Oct

Maker: Arsen Cigars, Santiago
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Wrapper: Cuban-Seed Dominican Habano
Flavors: Spices, wood, herbs, anise, fresh tobacco
0-+2 / +1-+2 / 3
Rating: 9.0-9.3

Editor’s Note: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To highlight this important cause, Arsen Cigars is donating 10% of October sales of Arsen Pink for Men to Breast Cancer Foundations.

The Cigar Sasquatch cannot pull off wearing pink. Some men can, but it just doesn’t work for me. It’s not an issue with masculinity, it has nothing to do with any insecurities, and there’s no other meaning that can or should be attached to that statement. I just don’t wear pink.

That being said, there are a great many things which are pink in color that I’m quite fond of. Strawberry yogurt, for example. And I’ll fight anyone who says that pink is not the best flavor of Starburst (yes, when it comes to Starburst, pink is a flavor). And of course, who doesn’t love pigs? The work they’re doing with bacon is second-to-none!

Photo of Arsen Pink for Men Cigars

Arsen Pink for Men Vertical Selection

It is only in the last 90 years or so that the color pink has acquired its current association with femininity, and even so, it’s mostly a feature of Western culture (and, to some extent, certain Eastern cultures which have been heavily influenced by fashion and styles of the West). There is nothing inherently “feminine” about the color pink (or any color, for that matter), nor is there anything particularly masculine about the color blue. But of course that hasn’t prevented our culture from making those assignments, anyway.

Arsen Cigars has attempted to buck this trend with its recently-released Arsen Pink for Men line of cigars. No mere novelty, this is a serious cigar, a hand-made long-filler premium rolled in Santiago, DR. It’s not a cigar marketed specifically towards women (it’s even says “for men” in the brand name), and it’s certainly not one of those cheap (or even expensive) “It’s a Girl!” cigars.

I was privileged recently to enjoy a vertical brand tasting of Arsen Pink for Men, courtesy of the brand owner. The line features a diverse blend of all Dominican tobaccos, finished in a beautiful shade-grown Cuban-seed Habano leaf. For the record, the brand is available in 4 vitolas, though this review only covers the Robusto, Toro, and Belicoso (omitting the Petite Corona), and as such is not technically a true vertical tasting… but let’s not split hairs.

Robusto (5×52):
The cigar is tightly rolled, firm and weighty. The first impressions of flavor offer a smooth woody texture over a rich, voluptuous floral base. There’s a unique spice (not piquancy, but spice) akin to nutmeg or clove, which evolves into an enticing anise flavor in the first half.

The draw is even (0) from a cap cut, producing a hearty smoke volume (+2) of moderate strength (3). The second movement shows a tangy peppercorn aspect adding interest and depth, while remaining quite smooth despite the complexity of flavors. The salt and pepper ash is firm and nicely scaled, reluctantly giving way well beyond an inch. The cigar smokes cool and slow, finishing at an inch and a half nub in about an hour.

I rate the Robusto 9.0. It shows a true boutique pedigree, delivering complex and interesting flavors with subtlety and smoothness in fine balance.

Toro (6×58):
This beefy cigar is seamlessly rolled, veinless, and solid. The initial flavors are complex and highly evolved, with aspects of cedar, spice, and herbs. The draw from a cap cut is open (+2) producing an excellent smoke volume (+2) of moderate strength (3).

The first inch also shows a floral aspect similar to the Robusto, but with added roundness and depth. The burn is straight, and the light gray ash is firm and nicely scaled, holding to just over an inch, with well-developed cones which flatten as it goes. It smokes to a 2-inch nub in about 80 minutes, developing in richness and complexity towards the finish, when it picks up a roasted oaky quality.

I rate the Toro 9.1. The added depth and roundness make this a somewhat more eventful cigar than the Robusto, and will have a strong appeal based on the beefy ring-gauge and complex flavors.

Belicoso (6×54):
The cigar is tightly rolled, and firm, with light veining, and a very handsome leaf. Its opening flavors show a light cinnamon spice, and layers of other spices much like the Robusto, though with a roundness and depth akin to the Toro. A ¼-inch cut of the torpedo tip delivers a dead-even draw (0), producing an ample smoke volume (+1) of moderate strength (3).

The first half develops considerably in complexity and depth, picking up subtle nuances of flowers and herbs, over a distinct, Dominican-style background of fresh tobacco leaves and light wood. The burn is mostly straight, wandering slightly just before the finish, and the light gray ash is firm and nicely scaled, holding to about an inch, with well-formed cones which flatten towards the end. The cigar smokes to an inch and a half nub in about 75 minutes, finishing with layers of cocoa and anise, and remaining quite smooth and altogether enjoyable for the duration.

The Belicoso is the crowning jewel in the Arsen Pink for Men line. It is a delightful cigar with excellent burn characteristics and a remarkable palate of flavors. I’m pleased to rate it 9.3, an excellent pair with the finest Cognac or single malt Scotch.

I offer my thanks and congratulations to Arsen Cigars for this excellent new line, and I look forward to many more interesting smokes from this up-and-coming cigar maker.

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

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