Monday, April 15, 2013

K. A. Kendall 7-20-4 1874 Series Robusto Especial

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Nicaragua
Length: 5.25”
Ring: 52
Cost: $8.50

Background Info: I picked a couple of these up at the Atlantic City, NJ beer festival a little over a week ago. After talking with the gentleman there manning the booth, I found out this comes from a brick and mortar up in New Hampshire. I’m always happy to buy from the “little guys” of the industry.

Appearance (0-20): With a lighter colored wrapper that contains some character, it’s intriguing to the eye. The banding also has an olden style feel to it, utilizing only black, gold, and red along the band. It caught my eye as being different among a number of other cigars at the beer festival. There were not noticeable major issues, no cracking or damage, etc, and no large veins.
                                                              Score: 17

Construction (0-20): Picking up the cigar gave one of the most striking first impressions as the wrapper was amazingly soft and silky. But even with a soft wrapper, it was solid and firm throughout. The initial cut had almost no debris and the prelit draw was nearly perfect, with just a small amount of resistance. It lit up easily and throughout had a moderate amount of smoke. The only concern I had at all was that it didn’t burn entirely evenly at the beginning, though thankfully it all evened out by about the midpoint. The ash held on for more than an inch and a half at a time.
Score: 18

Strength (0-20): Medium to full is the normal spectrum for this cigar and it hit it well. The nicotine punch was noticeable but not overpowering, and it seemed to build as things progressed through the smoke.
Score: 17

 Flavor (0-20): The first puffs set the tone of pepper, but there is something almost tangy and sweet that comes right in behind that. The mixture reminds me of chomping down on some trail mix with nuts and dried fruits in it. Its sugary, a slight bit nutty, but the mix of flavors works well together. The pepper continues to linger throughout the smoke, even when the slightly nutty taste subsides and gives way to the bit of sweetness with earthy undertones. It was really an interesting experience.
Score: 18

Value (0-20): $8.50. I paid a bit more than the listed price here while at the beer festival, but hey… you have to think you are going to pay a little bit of a premium there. Still it’s a solid price given the blend and quality, and support of a brick and mortar is always a good thing.
Score: 16

Additional Notes: Paired with water at in my garage during an amazing thunderstorm.

Overall (0-100):  Since I was completely unaware of this brand / blend, it was a nice surprise to find a diamond in the rough. The flavor profile is both unique and interesting and the price isn’t obtrusively prohibitive. Mind you, if this was a bit cheaper I could see myself buying a box without batting an eye. Still, it’s nice to support the brick and mortars out there and keep them in business, especially when they put out quality like this. Across the board, this is a solid buy.
Score: 86

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