For the last several years one of the most popular week-long segments on television is “Shark Week.” Something I’ve learned from the ominous documentaries of these man-eating monsters is that they can literally smell fear.
Normally, the fear is detected through the substance commonly known as “shark sugar”. This, of course, is when the individual bobbing up-and-down haplessly in the murky shark-infested waters become so nervous about their fate that they essentially…well, you figure it out.
The key to survival in this precarious situation would be to remain calm (easier said than done) and not create “shark sugar”. By nature, sharks generally do not favor the taste of human meat.
On the flipside, we humans tend to dine on the fine delicacy of shark steaks and filets while finding the flavor to be quite rich and plentiful. Since we watch sharks on television and feast on them in restaurants, why not take our obsession of sharks into the cigar world?
I get it…ridiculous segue from sharks to cigars. But the Dark Shark is THE BEST moving bundled cigar in the CI Super-Store and I’m going to tell you why.
This blend is quite different than the other cigars which comprise “The CI Unsmokeables.” Many of the anonymous cigars that are categorized into the ‘Liga Unsmokeable’ I would describe as “vomit-inducing” or “capable of gagging a maggot”. However, regarding the Dark Shark, this is an obscure gem.
Let’s take a look at this Nicaraguan handmade. The Dark Shark has a solid midnight-black maduro wrapper that hails from Brazil. The “Brazilian Aripiraca” wrapper takes on its oily, dark characteristic during fermentation, where the tobacco leaves change from a light brown to a darker hue as the sugars extract from the tobacco. Typically, Brazilian maduro tends to have a full, peppery flavor although the wrapper on the Dark Shark possesses a smooth, natural sweetness. The shiny, Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper encompasses aged, Cuban-seed Nicaraguan fillers, giving the blend a rich, sweetness with just a touch of black pepper.
I hope you’re not looking for a quick smoke in this Nicaraguan-made cigar; the Dark Shark is only offered in a Churchill (7.0”x50). However, for a churchill-sized cigar, they don’t burn particularly slow either. Out of a bundle of twenty, you may find a few under-filled. Overall, the Dark Shark is fairly light in the hand, but, despite my criticism, has moderately good construction.
To put it bluntly, there are certain cigars for certain occasions. My Man O’ War Armadas, Puro Authenticos and Ave Marias are normally for the balcony with a glass of rum in hand. My 5 Vegas Golds, Rocky Patel Connecticuts and Morro Castles are the everyday “go-to” sticks. Then, there’s those grass-cutting, pooper-scoopin’, take-my-dog-out-for-a-walk-cigars. Inappropriately prejudiced toward the Dark Shark, I brought one with me to the “place where all bad nights end,” R-----‘s Pub in Bethlehem.
I’m with my friend (for sake of argument, let’s call him Qbert) and after a long night of striking out with the young ladies, we end up at R-----‘s (yes, I’m censoring myself because a good friend of mine works at said “Hell on Earth”).
Upon lighting up the Dark Shark with dirt cheap lager in hand, I’m pleasantly surprised as a giant cloud of white smoke fills the air and my palate is surrounded by a subtle coffee bean flavor. I know I had myself a few ‘Stoli and tonics earlier but I’m not even half in the bag so I confidently stand by my current notion.
Throughout the middle third and finish on the cigar the Dark Shark remained fairly consistent and I don’t notice much change in flavor. However, something notable about this blend is that, strength-wise, it touched medium bodied after about the first half inch. My pre-conceived thoughts were that this blend would be fairly mild.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised as the Dark Shark surpassed many expectations. The Shark was a solid smoke, decent flavor, above-moderate construction and dirt cheap. At a buck a piece, this is one of the best values CI has to offer.
Qbert was fairly confused as I declared the Dark Shark as “a tasty morsel”. Of course, he had loaded up on Vodka and Rhino Energy Drinks before we ventured about town so he was quite bewildered beforehand.
I reviewed the ambiguous Dark Shark because I can’t keep them on the shelves. Customers are buying them two and three bundles at a time! If you happen to stop by the CI Super-Store in Bethlehem and pick yourself up a bundle, you will be greeted with an uproarious "SHARK ATTACK!" declaration by the expert-friendly staff. Anyway, maybe there’s something I’m missing, but if you’re looking for 20 cigars for dirt cheap, buy these bundles and see for yourself!
Expert thought for the day: “Why do they call it a drive-thru if you have to stop?”