Just a Good Solid Smoke (Argyle Maduro Robusto)

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Photo by Sable Aradia. All rights reserved.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a review.  I’ve been a little overwhelmed with a summer job, then a lot of extra hours at work, then a fall vacation.  And it always takes me a while to resume a routine once I’ve broken it.  But I’m back now.

One of the best ways I find to get back into the swing of things with sampling good cigars is to get together with our local Okanagan Pipe & Cigar Club.  We purchased the Buzzards Banquet 3 variety pack from Holt’s Cigar Company (which is no longer available, but you can get the Buzzards Banquet 4 here,)  We put them all into a coffee can and every month at our meeting we each draw one blind from the can.  You would think that you might be able to discern one from another by size (since you can get everything from a perfecto to a robusto in the Buzzards Banquet – and by the way, Holt’s, that’s poor grammar; it should be a possessive, so you need to include an apostrophe, before the S if the Banquet belongs to one Buzzard, and after the S if the Banquet belongs to all the Buzzards) but the key is to make sure that the diameter of the inside of the coffee can is larger than the diameter of all the cigars put together, and then they slouch against each other.  Then you put them above the person’s head to draw from so they can’t see, and then they might be able to discern a torpedo-shaped cap but that’s the best they can do.  Add in a couple of random high end cigars, and you’ve got an experience that’s a little like trying to eat Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.  The fun is in not knowing exactly what you’re going to get.

What I got this time was an Argyle Maduro Robusto; a 5 inch, 50 ring gauge smoke with a rich, chocolate-shaded Connecticut broadleaf wrapper on the light side of maduro, barber-pole wrapped with a matte finish, containing Dominican fillers.  It had a surprisingly well-constructed double cap and a scent like Folgers coffee.  The cap punched easily with my bullet punch.

Photo by Sable Aradia.  All rights reserved.

Photo by Sable Aradia. All rights reserved.

Argyles are considered to be one of the better “value brands” that you can get.  These might be ideal for the more casual or the more regular cigar smoker, since it keeps the price point low and the quality relatively high, without the “prestige markup” that, admittedly, sometimes comes with a Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year.  It’s rated as a mild smoke as far as strength goes too, so this might be something you’d be inclined to give your cigarette-smoking friend when they come over in attempt to entire them to improve their tastes.

I can’t really tell you about the room note, since I toasted the foot in a room full of other people who were also smoking cigars and pipes, but the faint impression I got when I wafted the smoke near to my nose was of extra dark Squirrelly Bread toast.  The first draw was pleasantly bitter, with an oily aftertaste.  It was a bit like dark coffee and burnt cedar.  The first third lasted about half an hour, though I had to relight it after the first ten minutes because it was initially a little hard to draw.  That’s probably just fine for the real smokers out there, who might be inclined to draw deeply enough to inhale (though I wouldn’t recommend overdoing that; still, it was a very smooth tobacco that might be more forgiving to inhalation than most cigars); and it probably would have gone unnoticed entirely if I’d clipped instead of punched.  Be that as it may, it smoked easily and evenly enough after that, though it didn’t leave an enormous plume of smoke, as dedicated cigar smokers tend to prefer.

Argyle wrappers have been described as “sweet and nutty,” but this is something I noticed more in the second third than in the first, which lasted about 25 minutes.  More of the sweet taste asserted itself after purging the cigar.

The final third lasted about 20 minutes, and I found it to be the best part of the cigar, mingling those value coffee elements (which were good, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t fair trade organic, if you see what I’m saying) with the slight nut and cedar campfire suggestions, blending into a very pleasantly bitter texture that still, even at this point, left oil on my lips.  I smoked it down to the nub.

So, Argyle isn’t going to win any awards from guys in $1000 suits.  But it’s just a good, solid smoke.  I give it:

4 stars

You can get a variety of Argyle Maduro options at Holt’s Cigar Company, starting at Robustos and Coronas for $39.95 USD for a box of twenty, up to the Treasurer 2-Fer, which is a box of forty five and a half inch, 60 ring gauge cigars, for $84.95 USD.

And that’s a lady’s perspective!

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