I have had a craptastic weekend. This, and other contractual obligations, are why you haven’t seen much of us recently and we’ve been lagging on our commitment to “daily content.” I don’t really want to get into the details, but needless to say, after the weekend I had, I really needed a good smoke! It seems that smokers are happier people and I needed something to dispel my depression. So I finally got into a stogie I have been saving: the Alec Bradley Tempus Imperator Maduro Torpedo.
Steven sent me this one about a year ago; we intended to do a video review of it together and never got there due to our bizarre schedules (which perhaps gives some indication of how busy we’ve been.) Given a 94 rating by Cigar Aficionado, this Honduran and Nicaraguan blend with a unique San Andres wrapper, specially fermented by “an old Cuban technique,” promised to be medium to full bodied and delicious. It was in amazing shape considering how long I’ve had it, especially since it has only been stored in my mini-humidor until just this past Yule. It was dry and it smelled leathery after all this time, with hardly a wrapper note to detect. Still, it was intact (no cracking at all) and had maintained its solid pack, which I think speaks to its construction quality.
I was pleased with its attractive silver label. The wrapper itself was still slightly oily, and it was a dark cocoa colour; leathery and almost smooth with very few veins. It felt meaty. The stick was dry but clipped easily. Other reviews have claimed the same and I think this must be a common trait. The pre-light draw didn’t tell me much – again probably due to aging – but I didn’t let that discourage me.
I lit up at about ten minutes to seven, and after a few puffs to get it going I was greeted with a delicious meat, leather and smoke flavour, probably diminished over time but outstanding and really tasty! Smoke plumed delightfully into the air. After a few minutes a touch of sweet became apparent and I found it hard to place, though it was deliciously familiar; not the usual chocolate or cocoa elements I’ve come to expect from Nicaraguan maduros, nor honey nor floral nor butter. It wasn’t until I happened upon this review on CA’s forum that I placed it: root beer! It was root beer. (Thanks, Bruce Pierson, for putting your finger on it.) Immediately the tensions of the past several days drained away and I began to relax and puff contentedly as I worked.
At about ten minutes in I discovered that the light was skewed and tried to correct. A piece burnt and burst into flame! I had trouble putting it out. But nevertheless the smoke was undamaged and I continued to enjoy it as I listened to some relaxing music and caught up on some blogging.
It took almost forty minutes to make it through the first third; certainly no drawback in my opinion! And for such a firm pack there were certainly no problems with burn or draw. I found the Vitamin N content to be on the high side of medium and the delicious flavour kept me puffing steadily enough to give myself a mild buzz. It’s worth noting that it has a strongly dehydrating effect however; drink water as you smoke, especially if you only smoke stogies occasionally!
The second third offered a little more barbecue, pepper, and something spicy; ginger maybe? Delicious and invigorating. The root beer never diminished and there was no “second third bitterness” at all. My only complaint is that the light continued to be off-kilter, perhaps because I was smoking it slowly and leaving it rest in my skull ashtray, so I tried to correct again about halfway through that second third, and damned if it didn’t crack right down the middle of the wrapper. Fortunately I had left the label on, and fortunately the Tempus is well-constructed, because it still held together! How cool is that?
I would say the final third started at about five after eight; which was an hour and ten minutes into the smoke. A nice, long, relaxing cigar experience! I purged it about then because it was starting to get bitter, and rather than peeling off the label, I kept it until it slipped off the other side to reinforce the crack. It probably didn’t need it though; its construction was really such that it held its own – literally.
The Tempus held out to the end, which was hardly “bitter” despite the figure of speech, and I managed to breathe life back into it twice before it gave up the ghost completely. The Imperator finally went out and refused to relight at eight-thirty, for a total smoke time of an hour and forty minutes: outstanding!
I think this is a new favourite of mine! I must thank Steven for a truly enjoyable and unique experience, even for a dedicated maduro smoker such as myself. And it’s a bargain at $46 USD for a five pack at Cigars International; though in Canada it runs $285.11 CND at Cigar Chief (however, it does come with a lovely wooden box!) If you prefer a little more variety throughout the smoke, this is not the cigar for you; but for me, I loved its original taste and its consistency and especially considering age and mistreatment, I must give it:
A Latin proverb was tempus fugit, amor manet “time flies, love stays” with the implication that time is easily wasted, but love is not a waste. So I say “tempus fugit, nicotina manet!” And that’s a lady’s perspective!