A Royal Flush! (Perdomo Five Card Stud Sampler)

Photo courtesy of Pipes & Cigars.

Photo courtesy of Pipes & Cigars.

It took me quite a long time to work my way through the Perdomo Five Card Stud Sampler from Pipes & Cigars.  That was because I think I was savouring it.  Looking back, I would have to say that the smokes featured in this set were the most consistently highly-rated of any of the sampler sets I’ve tried thus far!  Nothing made five stars, but nothing rated less than a four.

I opened up the set in April of 2015 (so almost exactly a year ago) to start with the Perdomo Fresco Toro.  I called it “Quality Without Fanfare”:

The first few draws offered sweet sun-grown tobacco, a golden honey overtone, and yes, again that cedar taste. . . . I found it to be a delightful, uncomplicated smoke!  It is clear to me that Perdomo isn’t worried about bells and whistles; they’re just trying to grow quality tobaccos to blend into quality cigars.”

I found the Fresco to be a consistently enjoyable cigar from start to finish:

So I puffed away merrily on this smooth, easy to smoke stogie, chattering with the club, and before I knew it I was halfway through the cigar and 45 minutes had passed!  So much for an extended cigar; it was just too easy to smoke because it was so smooth!  Though I admit that by this time I had started to notice other things, like the faint oils on my lips and again, a hint – just the barest hint, mind you – of nutmeg or possibly cinnamon.  This point is where I usually begin to discern “second third bitterness” but there was none.  None at all.  I peeled off the large label at this point and just kept going.”

But it was stronger than I was expecting!

I didn’t realize until I decided to find the ladies’ room that it was strong enough (or I had smoked it quickly enough) to make me just a little dizzy!  So a stronger body than the flavours might suggest, which is often what you’ll find with a good light-wrappered cigar.  And have I mentioned anything at all about re-lighting, or a crooked light, or anything like that?  Exactly.”

I gave the Fresco four and a half stars.  This one was clearly the Ace in the Hole.  “It’s simple and uncomplicated and doesn’t go in for a lot of fanfare.  it just delivers a consistently enjoyable, smooth-flavoured smoke that was so unpretentious that I hardly noticed I was smoking it; and yet I enjoyed it thoroughly and it got my wheels (and my mouth) moving.”

I saved the Perdomo Ltd. Reserve 10th Anniversary Champagne Churchill for “Three Cigars and a Funeral Part 2,” on August 4, 2015.  I was attending a friend’s funeral and I brought along a few special cigars because he was the kind of man who advocated celebrating life.  Clearly with its gold wrapper, this was a cigar for a special occasion.

The initial draw was like golden hay and a sharp, bitter tea.  Really tasty!  Though it took me a while to determine whether or not I liked it because it wasn’t what I was expecting.  Other reviews I have read have described the Champagne as having a hint of sweet, but I found very little of that, although I did detect a sort of honey element.”

More specifically, I decided as the cigar went on that it was something “like a creamy orange pekoe that’s mostly milk, just like my mother used to give me when I was small.”  It ashed well and “I began to detect a buttered popcorn element near the conclusion of the first third and progression into the second that was not present near the beginning. . . . The final third lost the popcorn and regained the toast and the honey.  Maybe even a faint suggestion of marmalade; which tells me that I must have been detecting a citrusy-orange element that I have yet to acknowledge.”  With such a pedigree, this beauty was Queen.

My verdict: light-bodied cigars are often good starter cigars.  This is not one of them.  Most light-bodied cigars are sweet and easy to smoke.  The 10th Anniversary Champagne is not one of these.  It is complex, and a little bitter in a way that an experienced cigar smoker will deeply appreciate, but might not appeal to the beginner.  However, since I am an experienced cigar smoker, I love it, and I can find no fault save my lousy cut, so I must give it . . .

Again, four and a half stars.

I proclaimed that the Perdomo Habano Corojo was “The Next Best Thing to Cuban” on September 12, 2015.  I highly recommend this stick to my American friends, at least until trade laws change:

The pre-light draw suggested a faint nut element.  I lit it at 9:30 am and was immediately greeted by butter and terroire.

I was surprised; that terroire is unique to Cuban tobacco, it’s the thing that makes it so prized and distinctive, and it’s what no other soil, no matter how recently a seed was taken from Cuba, has ever been able to imitate.  This was pretty close. Really close.

As I continued to enjoy the smoke, I detected distinctive earthy tones: mud, nut, patchouli, and moss maybe.  There were some spicy elements near the end.  It smoked delicious and cold, producing bilious smoke. It has a strong body and a powerful nicotine jolt.  I found little variation between thirds, but it was complex enough that I consider this to be an advantage and not a detriment.”

I thought it a sophisticated smoke for the experienced smoker, possibly to be accompanied by an Island scotch, and I also gave it four and a half stars.  And quite surprising in that very Cuban flavour. Clearly the King of the hand!

The fourth cigar in the set was the Perdomo2 Maduro 2008 Limited Edition, which I described as “Aromatherapy” on December 12, 2015, when I smoked it for my celebration cigar for winning National Novel .  Interestingly this is the one I was the most descriptive of but it got the lowest rating of the lot; only a four-star rating:

2015-12-04 07.39.18What a remarkable first third!  What an amazing flavour profile!

When we talk about perfume, there are three types of scents that combine to form a complete perfume; a top note, which is a sharp scent and is the thing we normally smell first, but it fades the fastest.  The central pillar of a scent is called the heart note, and that tends to be the more rich and pervasive part of the scent, like roses.  Then there’s the base note, which is something woody or resinous.  That’s the one that we smell underneath all the other scents, but it’s also the one that we smell for the longest time; it’s why perfume that you put on in the morning when you go to work has a totally different character at night.

So this cigar . . . its hear
t note was of dark Turkish coffee.  Over that was a top note of spice and black pepper; delicious!  And it had a very distinct base note of peat and cumin.

Aromatherapy in a smoke.  A few draws in the coffee heart note also revealed elements of vanilla, delightfully sweet.  My roommate asked me what I was smoking when he came in the room, because according to him the room note was primarily of that vanilla and coffee.
About half an hour in the flavour profile transformed completely.  It blended into an outstanding combination of black pepper, Turkish coffee, nutmeg, and blackstrap molasses.  Again, totally unique; I’ve tasted nothing that resembles it in any way.  And it presented a long white ash, though my light was kind of awkward.”

It finished just as well as it started.  I can’t imagine why I only gave it a four star rating; because I remember it clearly, and fondly.  I guess I must have been thinking I’d been too generous in my ratings as of late.  That makes the  Perdomo2 a surprising Knave in this hand.

Last, but not least, was on Beltane; just a few days ago.  I smoked the Lot 23 Connecticut Robusto, pronouncing it “A Fresh Served Cigar Even After Long Storage”:

There was a unique white pepper and wood scent upon toasting the foot.  The first few draws were of rich, delicious tobacco with an undertone of wine and white pepper; a fairly consistent description of the first third.  About 20 minutes in it developed a nutty flavour as well, and some of the wine faded.  What an unusual flavour profile!  I wondered if that was common or if it was just the extensive aging that had allowed the combination to develop.

I also found that it stayed lit easily  I almost forgot about it at one point as I worked on writing, and it was still lit.  It didn’t maintain a good ash, however; the ash was flaked all over my desk.

About 45 minutes in it needed relighting.  After that, which I would judge to be about halfway through the second third, it developed a fresh-baked crusty bread flavour.  What a pleasant surprise!  I really enjoyed it!

It went out again an hour in; which turned out to be a real pain in the rear this time.  The dryness of the cigar began to tell.  It flaked as I tried to peel off the too firmly glued label.

But strong peppery elements with a very strong nut and wood flavour became apparent in that final third, while a touch of the bread taste remained.  I noticed a little bit of a head rush as I got closer to the stub.  It fell to pieces near the end; the cap tore off, cracked and shattered completely.  But by then I was happy.  It took two hours and forty minutes to smoke the whole thing, including about half an hour worth of time spent out and relighting.”

Clearly a tasty cigar with some construction issues, probably due to the long storage.  And that, along with the four-star rating I gave it, makes this one the bottom of the pack; it’s obviously got to be the Ten.  But, it’s still a Ten, dammit!

Yes; this was among the best bargains I’ve found for good quality smoke in a sampler yet.  I have to give this excellent sampler:

5 Stars

And the price point is right.  Only $22.85 USD!  Unfortunately it’s backordered at Pipes & Cigars because other people also took advantage of it.  Try informing them that it’s backordered and maybe they’ll stock some more.

That’s a lady’s perspective!

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