Archive for March, 2012

The Hype:A novel concept in handmade cigars from Oliva….a substantive blend that will make you rethink the cigar experience.

Nub started as a theory. Born in the Oliva factory, a cigar maker was hell-bent on proving he could capture the essence – the core – of a cigar’s flavor immediately upon lighting and throughout the duration of the smoke. Well, they nailed it.

Click here for a quick reference guide to Nub.

Rather than wait for a cigar to develop and evolve, which typically occurs an inch to two inches in, the idea behind Oliva’s Nub was to specifically blend it to hit its sweet spot right off the bat and remain at its peak right through to the end. Each size is short and stout in stature. That’s by design – not for novelty – as blends and sizes were worked and re-worked a thousand ways from Sunday in order for Nub creator Sam Leccia and the Oliva family to capture the essence of each Nub blend. Anyone can create unusual shapes, each of the Nub blends and accompanying shapes was instead created to summon and deliver the blend’s sweet spot. Sample one today.

Nub comes in three varieties. Each variety shares three common sizes, as well as a special vitola specially crafted to accentuate the blend.

Cameroon – dark and leathery to the touch. A sweet, cedary smoke with an intriguing spice. The aftertaste is dry and toasty. Intense pepper through the nose. A medium to full-bodied cigar that’s toasty and complex, yet smooth.

Connecticut – smooth, silky wrapper. Mellow and creamy to start, with a rich, somewhat sweet core. The aftertaste is toasty, but crisp. Toasted cedar through the nose. Medium-bodied with a rich, milky texture.

Habano – glossy, milk chocolate-brown wrapper. Rich tobacco core with a smoky aftertaste. Hints of peanuts are supported by a baked bread component. Spice through the nose. Medium to full-bodied with a rich, creamy character throughout.

Maduro – dark, thick, and oily Brazilian wrapper. The smoke is rich and toasty with a deep series of chocolate and nuts. The aftertaste is spicy with natural sweet tones. Medium in body with a toasty, full-flavored finale.”

 

The Review: This is Oliva’s maduro nub. Prelight aroma is aromatic and pleasant: earthy and oakey with hints of leather. On initial light, this vitola produces copious clouds of white/gray smoke. The smoke is not harsh and generally pleasant, but quite as aromatic as the CAO Brazilia. Flavor hits you right in the palate after the first draw, it really lives up to its reputation of providing full flavor throughout. Flavor is definitely typical of most maduros; spicy, earthy, and peppery. Flavour of this stick is almost identical until right at the end where it mellows out and then begins to become ever so slightly bitter; but not unpleasantly so. This is a short cigar, so it does burn rather hot, almost unpleasantly so. I had to pace myself on the draw to keep the smoke smooth enough to enjoy.

Very nice cigar, but I wouldn’t keep it in my daily rotation. – Only for unique occasions.

Pyramid Discord IPAThe Hype: “Discord Dark IPA celebrates the marriage of two distinct styles, the Dark Ale and the IPA. The traditional bitterness of an IPA is juxtaposed against a black malt canvas, creating an ale that keeps your taste buds working to discover all the unique flavors imparted by the 5 different hops and 5 different malts.”

The Review: This is a very interesting beer; I enjoyed it with friends at a party tonight. The beer is dark like an imperial stout and pours with minimal foam. In the glass, it smells like chocolate, coffe, pine and has a mild hint oc citrus. First drink is like an imperial stout; but then the hops kick in and the flavor intensifies. Each sip seems to unlock more flavor complexity, especially coffee and yeasty notes. This is not an excessively bitter beer, with the hops accentuating the ale flavor. I think I like “dry-hopped” beers a lot more these days; they seem crisper and more aromatic. Aftertaste of this beer is very pleasant, not unlike a good coffee.

After the first two bottles, I enjoyed this beer with a Nub Maduro 460 Cigar and they make excellent companions indeed.

The Hype: The Excalibur 1066 is an extension of the popular Hoyo Excalibur line. The 1066 features an utterly smooth and complex blend of Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos along with absolutely beautiful true Cameroon wrappers.”

The Review: This cigar looks good, it is consistently firm and the cameroon wrapper is uniform and slightly veiny. There were a few water spots on the wrapper but they didn’t detract from the beauty of this stick.  I like the embossed band also, making it look like a gentleman’s cigar.

Pre-light aroma is grassy and slightly sweet with a faint hint of ammonia in the background.

After a good toasting, the foot light easily and glows red hot with a cedar aroma instantly noticeable. After the first puff, the stick begins emitting wispy gray smoke that smells like any other cigar of the type, nothing striking.

Mouth-feel and flavor is gentle to start, toast, coffee, and a faint hint of pepper.

This cigar burns well, albeit slightly ragged & unevenly.

Ash is medium gray with darker bands. It doesn’t hold ash for quite as long as I would like, averaging about 1″ before falling off.

After reaching a mid-point, flavor begins to intensify with black pepper becoming more dominant but not at all overpowering. The smoke color is becoming more blue and less voluminous.

Approaching the last third, the flavor concentrates and becomes slightly bitter – a short rest fixes the bitterness and the flavor continues as pepper with espresso. Mouth-feel is richer now leaving a pleasant aftertaste of toast and coffee.

Approaching the three-finger mark, the wrapper is beginning to even out on the burn making the ash look more aesthetically pleasing.

Smoke aroma is changing again, hints of cedar are becoming stronger and a faint sage smell permeates in the background – not unpleasant, but different…

This is a good cigar. I rate it in the medium-strength category for my palate. Not to mild and not too bold, just right for a daily smoke or one to share with friend new to the brotherhood of the leaf.

 

This is an interesting beer. Uintah touts it as a hemp seed infused Imperial black IPA. They describe the flavor  as “Toasted, chocolaty dark malts align with an astronomical amount of hops.”

I had friends over tonight, so I thought it would be fun to try some different Utah brews. Dubhe (Utah’s centennial star) pours much like Guinness with a creamy white head and very pleasant aroma. It is inky black and has a different aroma; grassy, piney, chocolatey and a hint of coffee in the background. This brew does indeed smell “hoppy”.

First sip is very bitter, almost astringent. Breathing and swallowing brings the next sip…chocolate, malt and hops. Mouth-feel is tight and bitter, full and heady. Drinking more and savoring the flavor accentuates the hops with an espresso aftertaste.

We were eating cheeses while drinking this beer and there certainly is a difference after a mouthful of Camembert! – each style of cheese reacted with the beer to enhance and detract from the flavor. I like eating Gorgonzola and Stilton while drinking this beer, but aged Gouda is simply sublime!

This is not a normal stout, it has everything an imperial stout offers; the body, fullness and slight bitterness, but it offers a more exciting taste and mouthfeel. It took a while to become accustomed to the flavor profile, but after a bottle I was ready for more.

The hops make this beer very different….the 9.2% ABV doesn’t hurt either…This is a very entertaining beer. I like it.

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