I don’t have a very specific taste in cigars. My mantra is ‘smoke what you like, like what you smoke’, and I have very rarely met a cigar I couldn’t enjoy. The only cigars I’ll pass up if there’s nothing else available are sticks that are too heavily sweetened, with a sugary cap. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these sticks, and I’m definitely not the kind of guy to say they’re not real cigars, but they’re just not my bag. I prefer heavy stuff. Strong stuff. Mineral and earth and dark chocolate and black coffee. I had a cigar the other day that tasted like motor oil, and loved every second of it.
I’ve had a sample of the new Lars Tetens Steam Punk on my desk for a few days now. I’m a little too young to remember Lars and the cigars he made in the ‘90s, but I knew that he pioneered some popular infusion & conditioning processes used by a lot of the brands that are too sweet for my palate. I also know that his cigars were somewhat polarizing, seeing that many loved them and many… felt differently.
Now I try not to judge based on other people’s opinions, preferring to formulate my own as objectively as possible, and it wasn’t the reputation that was keeping me from firing this stick up sooner (but the crazy bands certainly didn’t help). Instead, it was a misguided assumption that it would be very sweet. Au contraire. From start to finish, I really couldn’t tell if this thing was infused. It’s definitely different. Wood forward, slight pepper, some leather, a few papery notes, on the surface not a particularly unique profile. But there’s just… something extra. An extra bit of spice most noticeable if you breathe in through your nose while puffing, and in the retrohale.
Lars doesn’t say much about the cigar & its blend on his website, describing it as a ‘medium-bodied palate stimulator’ and a broad statement on the site claims ‘Lars Tetens is recognized as the authentic and original cigar maker to reintroduce the world to a unique conditioning process technique, using essential oils and botanicals.’ I don’t taste any essential oils & botanicals. Or, at least, I don’t think I do. Certainly not anywhere near as heavily as ACID.
I can say that I enjoyed the Lars Tetens Steam Punk. The description is accurate, this is a medium-bodied cigar with a full-flavored profile, with varying strengths and abundant complexity. The flavors are fairly run-of-the-mill except for that very interesting savory spice note, which is its redeeming factor. If not for what I assume is a result of the proprietary ‘conditioning’ process, it likely wouldn’t stand out a whole lot. By the end of the cigar, I’m impressed. And left with a nub that’s too small to hold. This is absolutely a cigar worth at least a fair shake.