Reviews by Steve R

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Steve R

The weather is changing and I love it. The days have been hitting mid to high 70s, allowing ample time for work - which warrants a cold reward (read: beer) in the end, while daylight still allows enough time for a nice cigar. Lately, I’ve been hooked on one full-bodied combination: a big 22oz bottle of Stone Russian Imperial Stout paired with the new, Nicaraguan-made Diesel. Believe me when I say it....a match made in heaven.

Diesel is new to the market and due to hit our docks very soon. It is hand-crafted in Nicaragua and made in just one size: a stout 5”x56 Torpedo called the ‘Unholy Cocktail.’ I like the name but have to disagree....this cigar is indeed holy, and has made me ever thankful for the fruits of well blended, full-bodied tobaccos.

What makes Diesel truly unique is its use of a rare Broadleaf maduro wrapper from Pennsylvania. The PA Broadleaf wrapper is used by just a few makers - most notably Rocky Patel - and offers a rich and chewy flavor that’s true to the maduro name. This leaf is exceptionally thick and oily, and represents a perfect complement to the bold tobaccos within. These long-leaf tobaccos are Cuban-seed ligeros grown in Nicaragua.

The cigar is heavy in the hand and just plain dense. Not a soft spot to be found anywhere throughout this generous frame. The prelight aroma has a slight barnyard influence and rich sweetness. The thick ring takes some time to light with a soft flame, but it’s worth the wait. This cigar is worthy of a slowdown period.

Diesel opens with a warm toastiness and subtle spices on the exhale. The spices are much more prevalent through the nose - be careful. The aroma is rich and oily, filling the room with a robust charcoal aroma via thick clouds of heavy, gray smoke. The smoke is velvety, creating a chewy character that sits heavily on the palate. I pick up a dense, earthy core followed by a long series of spicy-sweet nuances. Midway through, the full-bodied nature of these tobaccos kicks in. I also take note of a sweet oakiness. The finish is long and robust. A hint of cedar develops after each puff, challenging the spicy aftertaste, but gracefully loses. The earthiness grows more intense and the aroma becomes quite zesty as I approach the final third. My head is swimming, but I can’t get enough of these dark flavors. Just when I start thinking the cigar can’t possibly become more robust - about the 3/4 mark - the smoke mellows, allowing me to fully appreciate the rich core of earth and black tobacco goodness. I feel like it’s toying with me....tempting me to light up another.

For those interested, some notes on the beer itself. Stone Russian Imperial Stout is my current favorite when it comes to big beers. ‘Big beer’ is a term used for high alcohol content brews. The Russian Imperial Stout weighs in at a hefty 10.5% - that’s borderline hallucinogenic! However, the micro-brew is purely stout. It’s thick as mud and black as night, producing a thick, creamy froth that looks like a chocolate shake. The flavor is dark and chocolatey, with heavy roasted notes and a coffee grind influence. There’s some oakiness in there, and a strong sweetness on the finish. There’s a ton of hops, but the bitterness is masked by the heavy roasted notes. It goes down easy, especially compared to most big beers, but it must be savored slowly. Russian Imperial Stout packs a lot of heat (strength) and it will be felt before the bottle is finished....I notice it before pouring the balance into my pint glass. All you need is one, and it’ll be tough to resist opening a second, but for the sake of continuing your evening, I suggest you quit while you’re ahead.

Without its companion, Diesel is delicious and I highly recommend it. If you’re on the prowl for a satisfying, full-bodied, and full-flavored won’t be sorry. If you dare to try the two together, make sure your evening is free of chores and responsibilities. Upon completion, you’ll want to make a b-line to the couch to watch my Phillies hit homeruns like over-aged man-children in the Little League World Series.