Saturday I was in Glasgow’s city center for some shopping and walking past my local tobacconist I decided to go in and see if they had anything new or tempting. I didn’t find any cigar that really caught my imagination (it is a really small store) but I saw they had a copy of the European Cigar Cult Journal which I grabbed straightaway. Later I noticed it was not the latest issue (I got no.3 of 2009) but I had been looking for this for a while to see if it is any better than a certain lifestyle magazine dressed as cigar lovers read of choice, so I didn’t mind. Although it does have a slight Teutonic feel to it (it is after all a German-English bilingual magazine) it certainly concentrates a lot more on cigars and I am seriously thinking of subscribing.
I was ever so slightly shocked by some of the reviews though. The main cigar feature of the issue is a nice look at everyday smokes, with 9 pages of reviews, both Cuban and non (of which there seems to be a much better choice in Germany and Austria then we do in the UK). Some of the cigars in there are frankly too expensive to be in my list of everyday smokes, but I guess that prise is subjective depending on the size of your wallet. What left me with my jaw dropping and head shaking was the review of the infamous Montecristo Open Junior.Not only ECCJ rated it higher than things like the Monte no.4, Partagas Mille Fleurs, Camacho Corojo and more, but thet rated it as high as the Partagas Serie D No.4. Seriously, one of the most vilified cuban to come out of the Habanos range is as good as one of the most loved Cuban Robustos? If you, as one of my mates, don’t believe me, look below (click to enlarge).
The CigarChick suggested on twitter that maybe the guys at ECCJ are smoking something more than cigars and another friend asked me to see if there was a Montecristo Open advert in the review (there is). Still, after reading this I felt I needed to check my sanity and light a Partagas D4.
Partagas Serie D No.4
Length: 4 7/8″
Price: Around the 180$ mark for 25 on the usual “foreign” sites, 290£ in the UK (LOL!)
Smoking time: 65 minutes
Body: Starts Medium-Full and slowly becomes richer
The cigar I smoked came form a 3 Tubos pack. Not sure about the age, but judging from the package I would say these are pretty young, not before 2008.
Appearance and pre-smoke
I have heard many people say that the D4s can be a bit rustic looking at times and this is no different. The wrapper is very oily and has a nice milk chocolate color, but it is a bit veiny and the cap is not too neat; the price of success and high production. (Even though the Tubo does not really add anything to the enjoyment of this cigar itself I love the way it looks and couldn’t help adding the pic above). On the other hand there are no wrapper blemishes or cracks and the cigar feels nicely supple, packed and with no soft spots. The pre-light draw is slightly tight but nothing to worry about and has a nice rich tobacco and cinnamon taste.
Not much to note on how this smokes. The draw is slightly tight to start, but opens up after the first 5-10 minutes and is perfect from that point on. It produces loads of very creamy smoke and the ash is pretty long if slightly flaky. The burn would be great too if it wasn’t for the vein mentioned above; in places it slows the burn so the cigar tends to canoe a bit and needs a couple of touch ups, but nothing terrible.
The first part of the cigar is all played on earthy tobacco notes together with lots of sweet spice (cinnamon) and pepper and finishes on lovely honey and citrusy nose after puffing the smoke out. Personally I really enjoy light acidic, sweet or even bitter notes in cigars as they add a counterpoint to the more “dark” aromas of tobacco, so I really enjoy the start. The spice is very clean, without rough notes so the smoke remains very smooth throughout.
A bit simpler than the start but very classy: the predominant notes are again earth, sweet spice and pepper but now they are wrapped up in a smooth old leather aroma. The finish continues to carry hints of honey but the citrus is gone. The smoke becomes even creamier, a real treat.
The last part of the cigar shows some hints that this is still a relatively young stick. The flavour is earthy and woody with very little spice and a sweet finish which is more caramel-like, but some green slightly grubby notes appear too. Having said that I still feel sorry when I have to put the last inch out.
Oh yeah baby! This gets a smooth 91 without effort. OK so I have reassured myself I am sane and the Open line still sucks. The only thing that the Open range does better than this is construction from my experience; yes the Open has a neater wrapper and cap, burns better and draws effortlessly. To bad it is more boring than watching someone else watch paint dry. Maybe ECCJ grades appearance a lot higher than me, then again maybe Habanos is sending special boxes (containing mind altering drugs) to the main media and leaving us with the crap, given how high all the big magazines out there rate the Open range.
The D4 is certainly a cigar I’d happily buy a box of (once my finances recover from my recent cigar related expenses!). It is spicy without loosing smoothness, complex and downright enjoyable. I see why quote a lot of people over at UK cigar forums love these.