Jamie recently drew my attention to a study. Apparently if you do something with your mouth while you’re reading, you read faster. The reason why is the way in which we learn to read. Because we are taught to speak the words out loud when first learning, part of our brain still tries to sub-vocalize. Moving our mouths derails that part of our brain from spinning its wheels on that task, and so we effectively have more RAM to work with.
Appreciating any excuse to smoke more cigars, I immediately tried it out in the process of doing a review for the magazine while writing an article for the Patheos Pagan channel, and for the purpose I selected the Acid Blondie Belicoso, in part motivated because I only had about an hour and a half in which to work and it was fat, stubby little cigar, five inches long and with a 54 ring gauge, with a tapered pigtail end and an inviting, almost seamless, smooth golden Connecticut shade wrapper.
The presentation is pleasing: the Acid brands are marked by a shiny metallic electric-blue label, and a stylish think black product label beneath it.
Acid is Drew Estate’s line of aromatic cigars. Again, you know me; an aromatic has to get up pretty early to impress me. But it is Drew Estate, and Drew Estate has an excellent reputation and has produced some award-winning smokes. Acid has become a popular brand among younger cigar smokers who enjoy the experience but have yet to refine their palates enough to embrace traditional cigars. They are one of the brands on the cutting-edge of the new wave of cigar aficionados, so Erin and I felt it was important to get a good sense of what was being offered, and we invested in a Drew Estate Five Card Stud Aromatic Sampler from Pipes & Cigars.
The Blondie produced a honey-sweet wrapper note. I clipped the end easily with the simple single-guillotine cutter that comes with my portable leather cigar case. It’s really not the best quality cutter – indeed, it’s just designed to be something handy in a pinch – but the cigar clipped easily. I love that pigtail end!
I lit the cigar with one of the Cigar Reserve cedar spills I was reviewing, which produced a full and even light around the fat little cigar. It offered up a beautiful sweet honey and clover first draw – delicious!
The first third was delicious, creamy, sweet, buttery, and friendly. I see why it’s a popular starter cigar. It was almost too sweet; it went perfectly with my sweet and blonde coffee. I found I could even smoke it while drinking fruit juice.
A little less than half an hour in, when the “Blondie Belicoso” label peeled off, the Blondie lost a little of that sugary taste and mellowed out quite nicely. Normally the second third is where a cigar passes through an inevitable period of bitterness and acridity; this is where the smoke started getting good.
The final third started when I had to slide the Acid label up and out of the way of the cherry end. The cigar almost went out as I worked – which, I suppose, demonstrates the effectiveness of a good smoke in getting the neurons firing – but purging and then puffing got it going again easily, even for me. Blondie also proved to pack more punch then its light-wrappered cheery little image would suggest. Near the end I was a little dizzy; though of course, that might be because I got a big plume of smoke in my eye when I purged it.
This was by far the best part of the stick and it lasted the longest. I could now taste the Drew Estate tobacco under the aromatics. It was very pleasing, that bitter-sweet combination. Now it reminded me of strong coffee with lots of cream and sugar. Forty-two minutes after I started the final approach, the Blondie went out, and it left a sweet, tingly taste on my lips that lasted for several minutes afterwards.
The total smoke time was just under an hour and a half; and wouldn’t you know it? I completed my work just as Blondie gave me a wink and called it a night. Not bad for a five inch cigar! Notice, also, how smooth the experience was? No peeling, no flaking, no cracking; not a single problem with the smoke itself. I like that.
I liked the experience so much, actually, that I can say I genuinely enjoyed this aromatic cigar, and I’m not saying “it was good for an aromatic” either. I see why it makes a good starter cigar; the flavouring does not try to mask the tobacco, nor make it taste like something else; it just adds to the tobacco, like a good pipe tobacco casing. Sweet and blonde is how I like it, just like my coffee!
As a matter of fact I liked the Blondie Belicoso enough that I am likely to add it to my rotation as a “change of pace” cigar to take a break from my hard-core maduros. In this lady’s perspective:
You can take Blondie out for a spin at Thompson Cigar for $6.85 USD for a single, $58.41 USD for a pack of ten or $128.19 for a box of 24; $126.95 USD for a box of 24 at Famous Smoke; or you can make use of Drew Estate’s store locator to find a tobacconist near you. (And they’ll let you order direct from the site if you can’t.)