First Smoke of the Summer
Here in the Pacific Northwest, summer has been late in its arrival. A wet April transitioned into a worse May, and before I knew it June arrived with my patio yet to be christened with the first cigar of the summer. You see, though northwest winters are mild, they are wet, causing fellow aficionados to bundle up under covered patios or wait for the occasional warm and dry day. As a result, that first stretch of hot, dry weather is to be cherished. A Connecticut on the patio with a coffee. A nice Churchill while mowing the lawn. A glass of small-batch Japanese whisky with a maduro-wrapped corona in the evening, enjoyed with the setting sun.
In previous years we’ve written these posts much earlier, sometimes as early as April or May, but this year hectic work travel schedules combined with mother nature conspired against that first day of outdoor living, hence this post finds it’s home in July, with the fall sadly in sight.
As mentioned above, it’s often hard to find the time (or, more accurately, the place) to enjoy many cigars in the winter, so I typically ease into the summer with a few easy-smoking panetelas, perhaps a Por Larrañaga or Rafael Gonzalez, but this year I had to step things into high gear, so I dug into my humidor with three conditions:
- The cigar must have been resting at least 6 months. I didn’t want any ammonia surprises
- Robusto. Don’t know why, but it always feels like the right size to accompany a coffee
- Bold flavors. Let maduro and ligero kick off the summer with a bang
The final decision: Warlock, a cigar Altadis had sent me in the fall, had spent the summer in the humidor preparing for this important as inaugural summer cigar. Hand-crafted in Nicaragua by Omar Ortez, the Warlock gets its tobacco from a variety of sources, with an Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. This is a beautiful looking cigar, with oily wrapper and minimal veining, with an understated if perhaps overly simple band. After a quick cut and light, this Warlock Robusto pulled smoothly with initial notes of cocoa and a surprising amount of creaminess for such a bold cigar. Flavours then became stronger, with roasted nuts and charred oak coming through — balancing the coffee perfectly. Burn was consistent and slow, with a razor-sharp burn line throughout. All in all, a nice cigar, and being from Altadis, should be widely available. So next time you’d looking for a cigar to complement your coffee, give one a try.