It’s done! I’ve finished my Big Brand Showstopper Full-Bodied Sampler from Pipes & Cigars. Now that it’s finished, I will be considering the set as a whole unit.
There are four similar samplers available from Pipes & Cigars. As you might expect, they come in full-bodied, medium-bodied, and mild-bodied; and also aromatic. The purpose of these samplers is to introduce smokers to some of the best-rated, and best-selling, cigars out there without requiring them to buy a whole box of just one brand; or a single, which is usually more expensive per unit. Honestly for the purposes of review, it was a good idea, and I like trying new things so it gave me an excuse to do so! The set arrived in this attractive and sturdy box and were only a little squished (which had to do with the other things packed with it; not their fault!)
My sampler set came with a Moretti torch lighter and a Moretti guillotine cutter. To be honest with you, the cutter was crap and I have since replaced it. But I didn’t have a torch lighter and I’m enjoying the better smoking experience immensely. I light badly with a match at best and in my opinion (and that of most aficionados) Bic lighters completely ruin the flavour. The lighter is reliable and lights properly every time.
From right to left in the photo I took when I opened the box, the full-bodied sampler contained: a Cohiba (Red Dot) eXtra Vigoroso 652, a Gurkha Crest XO, a Legado de Pepin Toro, a Cu-Avana Intensus Toro, a Rocky Patel “the Edge” Battalion Corojo, a Hoyo Excalibur 1066 Dark Knight I, a CAO Brazilia Gol!, a 601 La Bomba Napalm, and a Punch Bareknuckle Belicoso, with a La Perla Habana Black Pearl Morado Torpedo along the bottom (which has since been replaced with a Belicoso).
I began with the Rocky Patel “the Edge” on July 5 according to review dates, though my text confused me in review because I said I was “continuing” (I actually smoked the Cohiba Red Dot first, but that review didn’t come out until July 17). Talk about starting things out with a bang! One of the strongest cigars I’ve ever smoked, and I gave it four and a half stars. I was less impressed with the Cohiba Red Dot eXtra Vigoroso because it was packed so firmly I couldn’t smoke more than the first third before I couldn’t draw it at all. I gave it three and a half stars “due to the crushing disappointment of near-gasm”.
I dubbed the Black Pearl “A Rare and Precious Gem” on July 19. I gave it a four and a half star rating and I think it’s probably now a favourite; though it’s hard to get! Then on July 27 I extolled the virtues of the Dark Knight I, which managed to win this lady’s favour and a five star rating.
On August 2 I expressed my opinion that the Cu-Avana Intensus was “Nice, But Not Intense” and I gave it three and a half stars for being completely unobjectionable. But I praised an old favourite, the CAO Brazilia Gol!, on August 15 for being “on its game” – five stars again!
While the old-fashioned triple cap of the 601 La Bomba Napalm resulted in the most beautiful punch my bullet had ever achieved, I thought the cigar itself was meh; I gave it two and a half stars. A little more than a week ago on September 10, the Legado de Pepin performed better, and I thought its four-star rating was “the taste of success.”
I finished the set with the “hard hitting” Punch Bareknuckle, which took away a four-star heavyweight championship belt on September 15; and the experience “crested” with the Gurkha of that name in a four and a half star rating on September 17.
So, keeping in mind the purely subjective nature of cigar reviews, and in particular the subjective nature of any sort of numerical ratings system, overall I ended up with one two and a half star rating, two three and a half star ratings, three four star ratings, three four and a half star ratings and two five star ratings. Out of ten cigars in the set, I rated seven to be of “exceptional” quality and enjoyment. And I have to say that the price point, at only $34.95 USD, simply cannot be beat! But perhaps I have written myself out of cigars, because since I began reviewing the sticks in this set, each and every single one of the Showstopper Samplers at Pipes & Cigars has gone to “backordered” and stayed there.
This fine sampler is exclusive to Pipes & Cigars. I suggest you put in your order now before they go to “out of stock.” And that’s a lady’s perspective!