The Evil Dr. Moki's Group Blind Taste Test #1

moki

el Presidente
Cigar #2, non-Cuban Ashton VSG "Round" Robusto, 1997 (5 ½" x 50) - premium/rare


Image courtesy of enerjay

bfreebern said: Nice maduro w/ a small vein. Great prelight draw. Cigar looked aged, was nicely rolled and had no soft spots. Lit up very quickly and produced lots of smoke throughout the entire cigar. Picked up some cedar, along with some cocoa. Ash was light gray. I'd say medium cigar.

bfreebern guessed: Origin: Dominican - Price: everyday - Age: 2 years - Marca: Padron - Rating: 6/10

BlindedByScience said: Cigar #2 is a nice looking, dark brown smoke. My trusty calipers show this one to be almost exactly ¾” in diameter, or a 48 ring. Length (sans cap) is 5 5/8” (~143mm). Small veins appear in the wrapper leaf, but it’s a nice looking cigar. The draw is almost perfect; not too open, but with some controlled resistance. First impressions of the wrapper and the pre-light draw tastes are “spicy”; maybe white pepper, maybe some clove..? I’m anxious to try this smoke; it seems to have the things going for it that I like in a smoke. Should go well with a fresh cup of black Killer Beans coffee; let’s hit the deck and find out.

What a difference putting a flame to this cigar made..!! The spicy flavors found in pre-light were far in the background and a smooth, buttery, maybe butter scotch flavor started to become very predominate. The progression along thirds went from a little spice, to almost no spice at all. The cigar finished with almost no spice discernable, with the buttery flavors very much in the forefront. Ms. B.B.S. joined me on the deck and even she commented on the buttery, smooth aroma that the smoke gave off. I really enjoyed this cigar, smoking it down to the nub. Taking my time and trying to analyze and taste the flavors mandated a slow, leisurely smoke; about an hour, total time. This will be a hard one to pin down….Moki, you got me on this one.

Based on the pre-light smells I’d have said this was a Nicaraguan cigar, but the smoking tastes were not what I’d have expected. I’ll guess this one to be a Cuban.

BlindedByScience guessed: Origin: Cuban - Price: premium - Age: 4 years - Marca: Juan Lopez Seleccion #1 - Rating: 7.5/10

Brickhouse said: No spice to speak of but I was getting a strong nutty flavor along the lines of walnuts. I enjoyed this cigar. It was pleasing to exhale through the nose from time to time. Loads of smoke. Not overly complicated to me, but flavorful. Profile didn't seem to change much as I went along. Very consistent throughout the smoke in all regards. Reminded me a lot of a DCM, which I why I went with Dominican and JC Newman.

Brickhouse guessed: Origin: Dominican - Price: Premium - Age: 5 years - Marca: JC Newman (Fuente) - Rating: 7/10

enerjay said: Very mild cigar,floral notes, canoed a bit

enerjay guessed: Origin: Nicaragua - Price: budget - Age: 3 years - Marca: Comacho - Rating: 7/10

insight said: Throughout the cigar there was a lingering cedar flavor, although it was certainly more dominant in the first third. The taste was very familiar so I am fairly certain I have had this cigar in some incarnation before, possibly several times. During the second third there was a slightly fruity flavor and a sweetness I typically associate with the sungrown rosado wrapper on the King B came through. The sweetness was not dominant, more of an aftertaste. The cigar was a bit spicy throughout as well but still cedar was the most notable flavor. At times it made me think of a VSG and at other times a Don Carlos. In the last inch and a half the flavor grew a bit acrid.

Originally I thought the cigar was fairly young but the flavor for the first two thirds made me second guess myself. I would estimate this cigar is around five years old but I am not as confident as I usually am because of the bitterness at the finale.

insight guessed: Origin: Dominican - Price: Everyday - Age: 5 years - Marca: Ashton VSG Robusto with the the box press worn down - Rating: 7/10

grateful1 said: The iniital taste was SPICEY and acidic. Initial draw(post light) was rough and scratchy on the mouth and throat. A lot of smoke that was really just that - smoke. It felt like a sumatra or Nicauraguan cigar. Not tastless as it had a spicey/pepper notes (a lot). Note - after 1/2 hour....my lips still feel the pain!

grateful1 guessed: Origin: Nicauragua - Price: budget - Age: 2 years - Marca: Hoyo De Nicaruagua - Rating: 1/10

NorCalCigarLover said: 5 1/2 inch, 52 ring. Dark wrapper, smooth, suade like. Medium, sweet wood, clean taste. Pipe tobacco like aroma with a bit butter scotch/rum finish.

NorCalCigarLover guessed: Origin: Nicaragua - Price: Premium - Age: 2 years - Marca: Carlos Torano Cameroon - Rating: 7/10

sinnyc said: This cigar has a nice, even-toned, finely veined, cocoa colored wrapper and the body is uniformly firm. The pre-light draw is perfect and yielded some peppery spice. It lit easily and my immediate inclination is to say that it’s a medium strength Nicaraguan. As the cigar gets going, pepper is the predominant flavor but there is some wood there and touches of vanilla, too. There is also a tinge of chemically after-taste on the finish that I am not enjoying. The smoke is full but a little dry in my mouth although not unpleasantly so.

As the first inch-plus is smoked away, the pepper flavor fades into the background as the vanilla comes on a bit with a nougaty texture. The odd taste on the finish is almost gone and that is a good thing. A crack has appeared in the wrapper at about the 2/3 point and this further buttresses my Nicaraguan feeling as a lot of Nic cigars develop similar cracks as I smoke them in my very, very dry house. The ash is solid and firm, a medium gray in color with slightly darker bands throughout that lasted nearly 2 inches.

As I smoke into the halfway point, the taste has smoothed out into a medium tobacco with faint vanilla and an echo of the original pepper but the chemically taste on the finish is becoming more pronounced and definitely unpleasant. It is not ammonia but a sort of acrid flavor that reminds me somehow of burnt plastic. Not good. Although the construction and burn are excellent and the accent flavors are good, that finish is killing this thing for me and dropping its rating considerably. After more of the same I let it go with 2 inches left.

I’d give this cigar a 3 (and only because of the construction and burn) but the finish was terrible. I would only smoke another to confirm my impression in the hopes that I got a sick cigar because I cannot imagine that this finish was what the manufacturer was going for.

I don’t think it is strong enough to be a Pepin roll or blend. It has none of the characteristics of an Illusione or a Padron. Maybe it’s a Perdomo although I really do not think so? Honestly I haven’t got a clue.

sinnyc guessed: Origin: Nicaraguan - Price: Everyday - Age: 2 years - Marca: Perdomo - Rating: 3/10

Smokyballs said: Mild, tart start. Notes of buttered toast, orange peel. Young grass(under fermented). Dry sweaty taste

Smokyballs guessed: Origin: Honduras - Price: Premium - Age: 3 years - Marca: Edge Squared Robusto Corojo - Rating: 2/10

tone-ny said: Robusto sized cigar with a maduro wrapper. Clean draw on this cigar, its ash was black in appearance. Burn was even and consistent throughout and did not need touch ups at all. I must say these two cigars were well maintained and at a very agreeable humidity level.

Overall tasting of this cigar was that of a strong, bordering on bold taste profile. Overall taste was of tobacco/leather tang or tartness to it with a pleasing aroma. The cigar had a moment were it turned slightly flat which caught me off guard. It rebounded to turn into a nutty, hazelnut profile to it, which was unexpected. The nosing of this cigar was extremely potent and was slightly irritating during the first part of it. While still potent the irritation subsided and the rich overall strength of the profile became apparent. This cigar was a full bodied cigar that was an interesting counter point to the previous cigar in the tasting.

I would have preferred to have more time between the two tastings. I gave myself a 15 minute break between the two and drank cold water with both cigars. I typically enjoy a latte or a Spanish Café con leche, but refrained from this to focus on the task at hand.

tone-ny guessed: Origin: Dominican - Price: Premium - Age: 5 years - Marca: Casa Fuente or Tatuaje - Rating: 7/10

.....

Results Summary

Origin: 1 Cuban, 9 non-Cuban

Price: 2 budget, 3 everyday, 5 premium, 0 super-premium

Age: High: 5 years, Low: 2 years, Average: 3.3 years

Marca: All over the map, only Insight and Brickhouse got it correct with Dominican/Fuente!!

Rating: High: 7.5/10, Low: 1/10, Average: 5.45/10

Cigar #2 was actually a: non-Cuban Ashton VSG "Round" Robusto, 1997 (5 ½" x 50) - premium/rare

Who nailed it: Insight, (sorta) Brickhouse

....

Commentary

What can I say?? WOW!!! All over the map in terms of the marca on this one, and the rating! The most common rating was 7/10, but they were weighed down greatly by the 1/10, 2/10, and 3/10 from people who panned this cigar. Once again, our testers did really well in terms of picking it out as being Cuban or non-Cuban -- well done folks!

Insight absolutely hit it out of the park guessing an Ashton VSG that had "lost its box press" -- amazingly well done, Phil! Brickhouse get a nod for getting the manufacturer right (Fuente).

No one was really too close to the age (about a decade old), and although the wrappers on these can be dark, it is not a maduro. NorCalCigarLover came closest (except for Insight, of course) in terms of guessing the wrapper, he described it as being "suede-like" which is exactly what I think VSG wrappers look like.

What I find amazing is the range of "very strong/spicy" to "very mild" that we're seeing from these cigar reviews! Very interesting, no?

Interestingly, people who tended to give it a lower rating also tended to state that it costs less... what does that say about our perception of cost and value/enjoyment? :)

Damn gents... I actually love these cigars, I think aged VSGs (which is what Rounds are) can be fantastic. Sorry to hear some of you hated it, but hey... at least it's an interesting cigar!

Now I'm REALLY looking forward to cigar #3! :)
 

sinnyc

Tibi ipsi esto fidelis.
Wow, that's crazy. I smoke VSG's with some regularity and have at least a dozen in my humidor right now. That cigar was not like any other VSG I have smoked :)

Moki, it tasted so horrible that I thought it was tainted with something - no joking. I only smoked as much of it as I did because of this test. Had I lit that cigar up on my own I would have tossed it within an inch of lighting it.

If this is how VSG's become with age I better smoke what I have quick :laugh:
 

Strayvector

Like what you smoke, smoke what you like
Excellent reviews! This is truly turning out to be a very informative and entertaining thread. You're really making me feel sorry for myself for missing out on this tasting, Andrew.
 

moki

el Presidente
Wow, that's crazy. I smoke VSG's with some regularity and have at least a dozen in my humidor right now. That cigar was not like any other VSG I have smoked :)

Moki, it tasted so horrible that I thought it was tainted with something - no joking. I only smoked as much of it as I did because of this test. Had I lit that cigar up on my own I would have tossed it within an inch of lighting it.

If this is how VSG's become with age I better smoke what I have quick :laugh:
Dunno what to tell ya -- all of the cigars in the test are from the same box/cab just to ensure things are as uniform as possible, including those VSG "Round" Robustos. Welcome to the variability of taste!

It wouldn't be the first time I've had people incredulous to the point of not believing what the cigar is in a blind taste test, though! ;)

That's the fun of it... we're generally not as good as we think we are when it comes to taste (myself included!). Funny to see this aged/rare cigar get panned by some... but hey, at least you guys are getting your $100 worth (so far! ;) ).

This is where people who had remarkably different experiences with this cigar (check out the "very spicy" and "very mild" comments) turn to each other and say:

Are we smoking the same cigar?!?!?

...and the answer is... YES! (except for the variability in any handmade product, of course). The difference is the smoker, and a number of things that affect the taste of a cigar!
 

sinnyc

Tibi ipsi esto fidelis.
It wouldn't be the first time I've had people incredulous to the point of not believing what the cigar is in a blind taste test, though! ;)

That's the fun of it... we're generally not as good as we think we are when it comes to taste (myself included!).
Oh I agree completely and of course I believe you that we all have the same cigars. As for taste - just read the descriptions - already we have some people panning or praising certain cigars and the flavor descriptions bear no resemblance to each other at all - as if they were describing completely different cigars. I love this stuff. It makes you wonder if anybody truly understands what another person really means when they describe anything at all.
 

moki

el Presidente
It wouldn't be the first time I've had people incredulous to the point of not believing what the cigar is in a blind taste test, though! ;)

That's the fun of it... we're generally not as good as we think we are when it comes to taste (myself included!).
Oh I agree completely and of course I believe you that we all have the same cigars. As for taste - just read the descriptions - already we have some people panning or praising certain cigars and the flavor descriptions bear no resemblance to each other at all - as if they were describing completely different cigars. I love this stuff. It makes you wonder if anybody truly understands what another person really means when they describe anything at all.
Well, there is some variance from cigar to cigar of course, even if they are from the same box. However, I agree with you regarding taste being rather... elusive. ;)
 

insight

Making friends everywhere!
Heh while I was smoking it I told Evan I was 99% sure it was a VSG round robusto but I left myself some room for error in my prediction. I knew it had a familiar taste!
 

locodoggy

New Member
MOKI.... you are a genius.

These blind tastings are really the best way to figure out what you do and do not like. Also a good way to train ourselves into focusing all our senses into a singular task to get a fuller experience.

I am really loving how the guys are not holding back and just saying exactly whats on their mind about each cigar. Its fun to see opinions ranging from amazing to horrible on the same smoke. Sure makes me wonder if any of us understand what "leathery", or "earthy", etc. really mean. Think in the end it all comes down to what we like at that particular moment.

Good job fellas.
 

Brickhouse

J.C. Newman owes me royalties.
Wow, great stuff Andrew. I knew that I recognized that cigar! Glad to hear that my assumptions weren't far off. Thanks again for the opportunity to smoke such a cigar. I enjoyed that one very much.

Looking forward to #3!
 

BlindedByScience

Proud Father of a brave U.S. Marine
A good time, Andrew. Man you really had me going with this smoke. The wrapper smelled almost Pepin like, but the smoke.....so smooth, so tasty..!! I really enjoyed this stick. I went with a Cuban origin based on the buttery flavor and silky smoothness of this stick. Just fantastic. A ten year old Ashton.....sheesh. Yep, I can believe that to be sure...... :thumbs:

Thanks again - looking forward to #3 - !!!

Best Regards - B.B.S.
 

enerjay

Active Member
Moki,

You are just killing me. Thanks to you I have smoked cigars I most likely would not have the chance to.

So if you are planning and electrical remodeling around the house, give me a call. I am sure we can work out a trade :sign:

Will work for cigars... :thumbs:

Nice. I could not have found a better way to enjoy such a smoke.
 

grateful1

Oh My!
Friggin' dog rocket!

I trudged thru the cigar only to put it down with just under 1/3 left.
I've never had a VSG burn (my lips) like that....although the ones I've smoked have been of new vintage.

Hmmmm...I may have to try another. :whistling:
 

moki

el Presidente
Friggin' dog rocket!

I trudged thru the cigar only to put it down with just under 1/3 left.
I've never had a VSG burn (my lips) like that....although the ones I've smoked have been of new vintage.

Hmmmm...I may have to try another. :whistling:
What's interesting to me is how strong it was for you (and some other people), and yet a number of other reviewers stated it was very mild. Interesting indeed!
 

Ginseng

Banned
Perdomo? Ouch. ;)

Very entertaining concept, Andrew. It's been a pleasure spectating. :thumbs:

I look forward, with great anticipation, your overall summation and analysis at the end of this whole process.

Wilkey
 

moki

el Presidente
Perdomo? Ouch. ;)

Very entertaining concept, Andrew. It's been a pleasure spectating. :thumbs:

I look forward, with great anticipation, your overall summation and analysis at the end of this whole process.

Wilkey
I was going to leave that up to you, Dr. Wang. ;)
 
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