Partagás 109 150th Anniversary Humidor

The Partagás 150th Anniversary Humidor: a bland wooden box, containing 150 gaudily banded cigars split equally over three sizes: a robusto, a coronas grandes, and an old school bullet tipped Nro. 109, one example of which will meet its maker today.

Partagás 109 150th Anniversary Humidor unlit

Produced in 1995 the Partagás 150th Anniversary Humidor is arguably the first of the official commemorative humidors. Yes, there were a few that preceded it, namely the 1492 (much more on that later), and the 1994 humidor – but these were created by the Cuban tobacco industry to celebrate the leaf itself, and not designed with a particular brand’s flavour profile in mind. Lost to the ages there were also probably some fairly special branded humidors – I’ve no doubt that in 1945 a few 100th Anniversary cigars did the rounds – but as far as official Habanos production, as far as the modern commemorative humidors, as far as things you could buy without a strong connection in the Politburo: this is the first. There won’t be any fucking around today, readers, no stupid stories of hedonism past or present. No, today we’re smoking history.

The day is mild, the coffee is warm, and the cigar is fantastic from the first puff. I honestly didn’t even want to smoke a cigar today, but I found myself with a few hours and thought I had better get the jump on a dusky beauty. One puff has completely turned me around. I’ve often described cigars as elegant, and this is a quintessential example of that: a light tobacco taste over a bucket of cream. More than anything it’s reminiscent of a well-aged Cohiba Lanceros. Smooth, smooth tobacco with a cake aftertaste. Vanilla sponge cake. More my grandmother’s than my aunt’s.

Partagás 109 150th Anniversary Humidor an inch smoked

Clouds of great heavy smoke hang in the air, fragrant and luxurious. I lay it down as long as I can between puffs, let it cool, let it burn at its own pace. Smoking this too quickly would be a crime. About an inch in there is a change, razor sharp between puffs. The cigar becomes fuller, with more of the dirty, woody note familiar to Partagás.

Handling it delicately I let the ash on this cigar get very long, over two inches. The long ash game is not one I usually play because it only has one ending (a pile of hot ash on my crotch) but for some reason I feel compelled today. The burn is a little uneven, and a long stretch of unburned wrapper on one side supports the column. I could even it up with the application of the tiniest flame, but I don’t want to interfere with this cigar at all, lest I spoil it. Cigars are much hardier beasts than they are generally given credit for – more than once I have had a cigar fall from my lips into a swimming pool to find it still lit and perfectly smokable when quickly fished out – but certain things deserve respect, and this is one of them.

Partagás 109 150th Anniversary Humidor half smoked

The ash eventually starts to crack and tremble a little way past the halfway mark of the cigar, and I apply a match for just a second and let it down gently. Fantastic construction: for the first time in memory I have played the ash game to its limit and had my pants return unscathed.

With three inches remaining the cigar goes out, and when I bring it back it has changed. A strength is evident now, although there’s no hint of tar or bitterness, but the profile is fuller, more tannic, robust mud and earth, some pepper and spice, dry dark cocoa beans, and just a hint of that drip you get in the back of your throat when you do a line of good cocaine.

Very notable is that more than two hours and five inches into this cigar I still have a quarter of a cup of coffee left. I am not at all drunk (alright, I admit that there was a small amount of rum in the coffee, but we’re talking two thirds of a shot over two hours here) as I was for some of the other very highly rated dusky beauties. I am sitting on a hard wooden floor. I am alone. My laptop is uncomfortably hot against my legs, but when I move it to the floor the Wi-Fi drops out (I think my body is acting as an aerial.) This cigar was sitting in my travel humidor for more than a week before I decided to smoke it. I didn’t even want to smoke a cigar today. So much of cigar smoking is about the environment – a Monte 4 can beat almost any other cigar when it’s paired with good drink, a warm night and interesting company – and everything about this environment is against the cigar, and yet it exposes its greatness with every puff. By far the best Partagás at this stage of the horizontal, and it’s up there with the very best cigars I’ve had the pleasure of combusting. I would love to have a cigar neophyte try this, preferably the kind of person that would make derisive comments about wafting cigar smoke at a social gathering, and see how they felt about it. When it comes to cigars I am as spoiled as they come: I smoke exclusively Cuban cigars, and more or less only exotic collectable ones. I’ve never claimed to have an especially sensitive or well-trained palette, but to me nothing is more apparent here than the excellence on the tobacco: utterly, obviously, and indisputably first class. I wonder if a non-smoker would feel the same.

Partagás 109 150th Anniversary Humidor final third

Even at the nub with my fingers close to burning there is no bitterness in this cigar, just the full heady flavour of wet earth and well charred whisky barrels. I have absolutely no inclination to spit. I don’t even want to take a sip of my drink. The smoke isn’t even hot! It’s practically refreshing! More than six inches smoked and if someone offered me another one of these right now I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. There is a salty taste on my lips, which might be an unusual quality of twenty year old tar build-up in the end, or more likely the jus from my scorched fingers has soaked into the leaf.

A little over three hours since I began, and the cigar is gone, reduced to so much ash and scattered on the lemon tree that grows under my balcony. At one time there were 7500 of these in the world, and now there is one less. Is the world worse off? I like to think the atmosphere was improved by the smoke.

If this is a cigar, I don’t even know what to call a PSD4. They’re not the same thing. If you have the means I highly recommend you pick one up.

Partagás 109 150th Anniversary Humidor nub

Partagás 150th Anniversary Humidor on the Cuban Cigar Website

Partagás Salomones

A hot-tub in Taipei, Taiwan. Lance Hendricks, a friend blessed with the intelligence to dream of an exceptional life for himself, but crippled, both metaphorically (by a pathological fear of an honest day’s work) and literally (by a genetic pre-disposition to hip injury), has dropped out of society and washed up here. My own life in China was always that of the Western imperialist; earning an Australian salary that was a factor of ten greater than that of my equally ranked local colleagues, I lived the high life: the best clubs, the best drugs, the prettiest girls – all of them were the exclusive domain of me and my deviant expatriate friends. My man in Taiwan is the first white person I have known to live the life of a typical Chinese native, not in the glamorous heart of Taipei where glass sheathed towers flank wide boulevards and girls with short skirts and debatably genuine Prada handbags dance with the wài​guó​rén​ and sip Johnny Walker Blue Label mixed with sweet green tea, but in Tucheng, a rat’s nest of blind alleys and rabid dogs two stations from the end of the line. Being a cripple, his one requirement of my visit was that I find a hotel not too far from his burrow and the only place I could book online was a suites only motel near the freeway, the kind of place frequented by the discreet elite: those with the money and the inclination to take their girlfriends somewhere they won’t be recognised. Let me put it this way: the main drive is decorated by a forty meter frieze of nude sirens bathing. I am fairly sure my visit marks three milestones for this establishment: the first foreign visitor, the first solo guest, and the first person to stay more than one consecutive night. The room is as luxurious as any I have encountered in my travels. The floor space runs about 90m², of which the bathroom constitutes at least 40m², containing a fountain, a wet massage bed, a six headed shower, the usual sink and toilet along with a spa bath that could comfortably accommodate eight. It is in this bath that I find myself tonight. It is next to this bath that my Partagás Salomones finds itself tonight.

Partagás Salomones unlit, next to a bath

I dip the cigar in the clean bathwater before I respectively light and enter it. It doesn’t seem to do it any harm. At first the draw is a bit tight, as is typical of perfectos, but within ten or so minutes it opens up. The flavour is a mild, milky earth and light tobacco. Delicious. Dear Reader, I would like to submit that from the inside of a spa bath is the ideal condition to enjoy a cigar. With good friends and strong drink is undoubtedly delightful, but one tends to lose focus on the intricacies of flavour in that situation. A spa, however, is fun in and of itself, and it’s relaxing, focusing the mind and the senses. An added advantage is that the heat will hopefully leech from my body whatever toxins the tobacco might deposit. I’m pairing this cigar with a Gold Medal Taiwan Beer, which I bought because I was in Taiwan, and it seemed sensible to drink the national beverage. I can’t imagine on what criteria this alleged gold medal was awarded, as Gold Medal Taiwan Beer is as tasteless a brew as I have ever encountered, being essentially mineral water with a hint of malt extract. It does the job, nonetheless.

Lance was once a promising boy with a bright future, raised by a good family in a pleasant middle class area, he attended one of Melbourne’s best public schools. In his late teens he met a nice girl, Natalie, and after a few years of tertiary education he got a decent office job in a technical field.  He and Nat moved into a comfortable suburban home together, they purchased cats, and to all eyes their future was laid out: a few kids, a lengthy mortgage, and the occasional international holiday, followed by the comfortable twilight of the working middle class.

His decline started, as near as I can pinpoint it, about five years ago. I hadn’t seen him in a month or so when we ran into each other at a mutual friend’s art exhibition, and so, catching up, I asked how Natalie was. “Oh, she’s gone” was the response, surprisingly flippant for the announcement of the end of a seven year relationship. “I’ve got a new girl now. She’s over there.” The girl he pointed to was an unerringly beautiful seventeen year-old, doll faced Russian brunette wearing a short red cape. He leaned in and whispered “her name’s Natasha. She cost me twenty-five thousand dollars.” I’ve never been sure if he was joking.

From then on announcements came thick and fast. A few weeks later he got a new job. A month after that he bought a flat and one of the cats died. The next month he’d quit the new job and was collecting the unemployment benefit. When I first visited him in his new home where there wasn’t a lot of conventional furniture, just broken guitars he’d found at a hard rubbish collection. For reasons not entirely clear to me he’d demolished most of the bathroom, leaving exposed pipes and concrete. We smoked weed out of a bong he’d made from a large juice bottle and some rubber tube. He was very proud of it. We watched metal videos and he played the solos from Megadeath songs for me.

Partagás Salomones a quarter smoked, with a Taiwan Beer

About halfway through the Salomones a lump of ash falls into the water, where the jets instantly pulverize it. The flavour is very balanced, mid-tobacco with a sweaty, earthy note and slight peppery aftertaste, like a very light chemical capsaicin. It’s something akin the smell of freshly maced protesters.

Natasha lasted a year or so, and when she was gone he sold the flat (for a reasonable profit – he had someone come and finish the bathroom) and moved to Thailand to live in a kickboxing training camp. He returned to Australia three months later, lean and strong, with long hair and a beard. He moved back into the pleasant, middle class house in which he was raised and got a job driving a truck. It wasn’t a lot of work, a few hours a day at best, which left him with a lot of hours to get in his mother’s hair. He needed a retreat, and so strung up a heavy bag in the garden shed and would spend hours every day kicking it.

His family had always had weak hips. His father, only in his sixties, had had both replaced, as had his uncle and their father before them, but when Lance’s hip started to hurt him he was unconcerned. “It’s just the muscle growing” he told me. “Strength builds when the fibres in the muscle tear, and then grow back stronger. If I want to be strong I have to fight through the pain, keep kicking this bag.” After a month or so his body rebelled. He could no longer lift his leg high enough to kick the bag.

Even at his most lucid Lance always had a furtiveness about him, a hint of madness in his eyes that was considerably exacerbated by his permanently dilated pupils, a symptom of the weed with which he increasingly self-medicated his injury. In agonising pain and barely able to walk, with long hair, a beard, and dressed in ill-fitting athletic clothes from K-Mart, he went into a doctor’s office and was treated with suspicion; “It’s all psychological” they told him, refusing to prescribe anything stronger than Ibuprofen. “Go home and get some rest.” He tried a few different doctors with similar results, and grew increasingly frustrated by what he perceived as the uncaring system. Then one day he announced that he’d met a Japanese girl on the internet and was going to live in the suburbs of Tokyo with her for six months to convalesce.

Partagás Salomones mostly done

Into the final quarter, and the cigar remains largely unchanged. A slight creamy dairy note has emerged. Even more static is the flavour of the Taiwan beer, which remains as bland as ever.

Lance returned to Australia with his condition considerably worsened, now unable to walk without the aid of a cane and reluctant to drive. His once muscular physique was gone, and although he had no appetite, he was growing fat from inactivity. Most of his old friends had abandoned him, and he had acquired a new set, all much younger than him, but sharing the same circumstance: they were unemployed drug addicts living with their parents. Lance and I had always liked to go out for Indian food together, but now he was reluctant. He couldn’t eat without first stopping to smoke a jazz cigarette in a laneway, something I was loath to let him do. We fought over it, and drifted apart for a while.

When we reconciled he had found a new girlfriend, a twenty year old Taiwanese international student named Storm. A semi-professional basketball player in her native land, in Melbourne she played power forward for a bush league Tuesday night game, and Lance and I would go watch her play sometimes. I never saw her lose. She moved in with him, sharing his childhood bedroom. Once a Spartan cell, he covered the walls with egg cartons and miscellaneous fabric in order to make a better studio for recording self-composed rap songs to put on Youtube. Within six months Storm’s visa ran out, and within seven he had moved to Taiwan to be with her.

And so I find myself in a spa bath in Tucheng. Two days ago I met my friend by the fountain in front of the Taipei Main Railway Station. His eyes have turned milky, and he’s put on a lot of weight (he lives mainly on fried chicken and Red Horse beer – his preference due to its 8% alcohol content). I haven’t spoken Chinese in three years, and even then my vocabulary never went beyond thirty words, and yet, whenever Lance and I are in a store or restaurant and someone speaks to us in Chinese he looks to me to translate. I think he finds the language offensive and refuses to learn it on general principal.

Earlier today I visited him at his home. He showed me the supermarket where he buys his groceries. We bought some beer and drank it in a park. On his recommendation I bought a bag of beetle nut. It’s disgusting, but it makes you feel pretty jazzed. A little toasted we wandered into a junk shop and purchased an arsenal of air rifles (banned in Australia), and tried firing them out the window of his apartment. The little yellow pellets were too hard to see, so we came back to my giant bathroom and blazed into the fountain and the marble walls, the pellets shattering and sending tiny plastic shrapnel everywhere. By dinner time he was tired from the walking and returned home, leaving me with an evening to myself and Partagás Salomones.

What will become of my friend I cannot say; like all fugue states, his must eventually reach some kind of conclusion: perhaps death, perhaps epiphany. I look forward to finding out.

In the last moments the Salomones becomes harsh, but not without due cause. This was not a small cigar. The final notes are bitter tar and earth wood smoke. An excellent cigar, considerably better than a PSD4.

Partagás Salomones nub and ashes

Partagás Salomones on the Cuban Cigar Website

Ranier Custom

An overcast but pleasant day at the Groom compound, where the ancestral lands are under threat; once a sizable pastoral holding, generations of divided wealth have whittled the family seat down to just a few blocks, and a dispute between my immediate forbears has led to the subdivision of those. Just off the deck I can see a line of new saplings cutting through the old front lawn, demarcating the new border of the property. Of course, that which remains is still very pleasant, but what’s the point of having a family compound if it’s not a vast fiefdom where your indolent sons can take drugs and throw parties without having to worry about the neighbours? The new neighbours are a long way from starting construction, but someday soon there will be a house just beyond those saplings, possibly even overlooking my smoking chair.

Ranier Custom unlit

Today I’m smoking a custom cigar from Ranier, a level eight roller at the Partagás factory, and brother of Hamlet, himself a level eight roller (and now a big wheel at the Romeo y Julieta factory). Hamlet is a darling of the custom cigar aficionados thanks to a period when he toured the world regularly, rolling in bigger cigar shops. Professional Cuban cigar rollers fall into four categories: the level fives who roll the domestic production, the sixes who roll your Monte 4s and whatnot, the sevens who roll the middle size cigars, the Corona Gordas, Edmundos etc, and the eights who roll the perfectos and the big cigars. Levels one through four are strictly amateur hour. At one stage there were level nines as well (and indeed, Ranier was one of them), but they don’t have those any more.

I never entirely got the point of custom cigars. There’d be a great deal of pleasure to be found in making your own brand, with custom blends and packaging, but few have the skill or the resources to do that, and as it stands the vast majority of customs are commissioned as singles. If you’re only buying one or two cigars you’re hardly going to get a petite corona (I’ve had difficulty even getting Lanceros rolled), and so custom cigars generally all end up the same: double coronas (although Hamlet has been known to make flying pigs, short fat little things from time to time). I didn’t measure the cigar in question, but it’s a double corona or something very similar. It does have a pig tail and a shaggy foot, I suppose, both things you’d be hard pressed to find in production double coronas.

Ranier Custom, three quarters left, with a rum and sarsaparilla

Of course, as is the cliché on A Harem of Dusky Beauties whenever I spend a paragraph tearing down a particular cigar, I must now admit that this one is delicious, with a light to medium earthy tobacco flavour and a little cream. It reminds me of a less refined Cohiba.

I’m considering this cigar in my Partagás horizontal because Rainer rolls at the Partagás factory (or at least the La Casa Del Habano store at the site of the former Partagás factory, which is being converted into a museum), but really it doesn’t belong there. In 1980 an outbreak of blue mould wiped out virtually the entire Cuban tobacco crop and with the factories sitting idle, a massive reform and rationalisation of the industry occurred. Many small factories were closed, many small volume sizes were discontinued, and the big factories all began to produce each other’s cigars. Partagás cigars today are mainly produced at the El Rey del Mundo Factory, at the same benches that put out Bolivar, Ramon Allones, La Gloria Cubana and a much else besides. I didn’t commission this cigar myself – it came to me though a friend – but it would have been rolled with whatever tobacco happened to have been issued to Ranier that day, and so the blend could be absolutely anything. A roller may ask you what sort of cigars you like as a bit of lip service, but in the main the only thing you can get by way of an altered blend is if you tell him you like strong cigars and egg him on until he slips an extra ligero leaf in there.

Ranier Custom, final third

I have built a little fort out of my various bottles to protect my cigar from the ocean breezes, although it’s hard to say with surety how effective it is. About halfway down the cigar is still very earthy, and a little bitterer than I’d like.

With two inches to go it extinguishes itself, and when I relight it does not come back well, bitter and ashy with a lot of sulphur on the nose. Ten minutes later it starts to tunnel something hard-core. I touch up and persist, but it gets worse. I’m sorry, Ranier, you’re a good roller, the problem here is all on the smoker, but this cigar is quickly becoming very unpleasant.

The last few centimetres are awful, just bitter, bitter tar. I’m sipping on my sarsaparilla often, but even with that cloying sweetness on my palette, or perhaps because of it, I can’t help but spit between each puff, my saliva falling onto a section of the deck that is sheltered from the rain where it will petrify, a white indelible stain on the wood. It’s mostly my fault, I’m sure of it. I let the cigar go out and then left it to sit for a while, and the smoke pooled in the nub, ruining the tobacco there. One could make the argument that a good cigar is balanced and that Ranier should have balanced this one, rolled the cigar such that the meat, the heavier sun ripened part of the leaf, was at one end so the accumulated tar would be lessened overall. One could also make the argument that double corona cigars are not supposed to be smoked down until you burn your fingers. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the level eight roller and blame the smoker on this one. I take the cigar down as far as I am able and let it go. Disgusting.

All told the Ranier custom was a good cigar, and had I extinguished it after a PSD4’s 4.9 inches it would have been by far the superior of that cigar, but unfortunately I let it go too far and paid the price. As it stands, with the last forty-five minutes tarnishing the memory of the first hour, I have to rate it worse than a PSD4.

Ranier Custom, nub, and many spent matches

You won’t find a Ranier Custom on the Cuban Cigar Website.

Partagás Serie C No. 1 Colección Habanos 2002

Saturday morning at the yacht club and the sun is shining. The upper deck restaurant is busy with middle aged foursomes eating oysters, and at the jetty out front a small skiff comes and goes, ferrying eager seamen to the larger boats moored a little ways offshore. On the beach a clutch of small children run and scream, the older children’s game of beach cricket intersected and interrupted but the younger children’s tag. The clutch of tables on the grassy lawn between the clubhouse and the beach, however, are empty save for a few bags, and so it’s at one of these that I settle myself and begin to pick at the cap of a Partagás Serie C No. 1, Colección Habanos 2002. I’m not a member of this club, but I am wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Clubmaster sunglasses, so I doubt I’ll be questioned.

I have high hopes for this cigar. Regular readers may recall that the Montecristo Maravillas No.1, the 2005 entry in the Colección Habanos series, topped the leader board in my final summation of all the exotic Monties in the last season of A Harem of Dusky Beauties. Will the Serie C No. 1 (which at 48 x 170, is sized the same as its historical counterpart) be able to do the same thing for Partagás?

Partagás Serie C No. 1 Colección Habanos 2002 unlit

I set it ablaze and see, accompanying it with a cappuccino purchased from a pair of surly teens manning the galley bar. The cigar’s draw is a little on the loose side, not a Cuban draw. The first puff is bitter, over hot from the lighter, but on the second it mellows, and a nice tannic spice over mild, first rate tobacco spreads over my palette. There is a sort of sharp aftertaste that I can’t put my finger on. The wrapper is a bit dry and has been manhandled at some point (it made the journey over here loose in my breast pocket), and is peeling a little. Nothing I can’t deal with.

My uncle was a member of this club when I was a boy, and he kept a little boat named the Sophie-Lou moored off this very jetty. He took me out on it precisely once, when I was about eleven. Readers may be surprised to learn that I was a sulky, contrarian sort of boy, and not much for sports or the outdoors, and wasn’t impressed by my uncle’s proposal of a day out on the water. I think I mainly went because my cousin had told me that they saw a seal when they went out a few days earlier. My father and another uncle came with us, and we cruised out into the bay, where no seals were in evidence. I quickly lost interest and started reading my book. Eventually we stopped in what my uncle considered a likely place for fish. He cast my rod for me and then left me monitoring it while he went to drink beer with the others, and I promptly wedged it into something and went back to my book. A few beers later for the others, and a chapter or so later for me, and my uncle declared that the fish weren’t biting here and that we should reel in our lines and move the boat. I hadn’t been reeling in long when I began to sense that perhaps there was something more on the end of this thing than just a hook – the line didn’t fight me exactly, but it dragged like it had snagged some seaweed or something. I pulled and pulled, my uncle’s attention now fully on me, laughing at the idea that this disinterested, surly boy might have caught the only fish of the day. As the line neared the surface it became clear that there was something there, there was a fish, a fish that a large squid as in the process of eating. I had it just beneath the surface, my uncle reaching for the net, when the squid realised what was up, fired his ink jet, and disappeared in the cloud. The weight released the line jerked out of the water, and I reeled it in to inspect my catch: a half-eaten, ink covered fish. We threw it back.

Partagás Serie C No. 1 Colección Habanos 2002 a quarter smoked, with some Ray-Ban Clubmasters

A little beyond the halfway point and the cigar is still going beautifully. Somewhere between mild and mid-strength, a rich spice still dominates. I’ve returned to the galley to purchase Australia’s favourite snack, a Golden Gaytime, a treat of caramel ice-cream, coated in chocolate and honey cookie crumbs. They’re usually a little sickly sweet for my taste, but it accompanies the cigar well, taking the edge off the tobacco.

I spent New Year’s Eve in Monaco one year. My parents had holed up in a little village in Provence someplace, and I’d joined them there for Christmas, but come the 31st I was going a little stir crazy and I decided I’d better head somewhere a bit more lively for New Year’s Eve, and what better New Year’s town is there than Monaco?

It was everything I hoped it would be: I arrived at four o’clock in the afternoon, and the first thing I saw when I walked out of the tunnel at the station was a man throwing firecrackers out of a Ferrari. I found my hotel (the cheapest hotel in Monaco proper, which wasn’t all that cheap), had a quiet dinner alone, and then changed into my tuxedo. I set out about nine, wandering the streets with a Siglo VI between my lips, admiring the traffic jam of three hundred thousand dollar cars. I sat in the park behind the casino for a while and admired the twenty million dollar boats. Monaco is a nice city to visit in any capacity, but it’s really designed as a destination for people with twenty million dollar boats. For a while I watched an impossibly beautiful girl in a sort of sailor’s uniform chase three small children up and down the four decks of a giant boat in the marina, presumably a nanny left to mind the children while the parents went to some party in the town proper. At midnight there was fireworks and dancing in the casino square. I saluted a man who was standing on the casino steps, surveying the scene while puffing on a Romeo Churchill. It was about one AM that I found Roger Moore. I was walking back along the waterfront, and there he was, on the rear deck of a boat named The Miss Moneypenny, drinking cocktails with four beautiful girls who looked young enough to be his daughters but I don’t think were. “Happy new year, James Bond” I yelled to him. He scowled, and called “Happy new year, young man” before going inside. A little further around the bay I ran into a clutch of French girls who were screaming and cackling uproariously at their friend who was throwing up in the gutter. A Monegasque woman appeared in an apartment window and yelled at them in French. They yelled back for a while and then staggered off into the night.

Partagás Serie C No. 1 Colección Habanos 2002, a bit more than an inch left, with a half-eaten Golden Gaytime

The cigar grows bitter before its time, with almost two inches remaining. There’s an earthy taste beneath the tar, and a slight coffee. The spice is gone. I’m a bit light headed from the nicotine, which is odd as the cigar seemed mild throughout. I nub it nonetheless.

All things considered, this was a great cigar, and better than any Partagás that I’ve smoked this season. That said, as great as it was, it doesn’t come close to the Monte Maravillas. It may be partly down to my personal taste – I’ve always been a much bigger Monte fan than Partagás – but to me the Monte was in a whole different league. Not that this wasn’t great though. It’s certainly better than a PSD4.

Partagás Serie C No. 1 Colección Habanos 2002 nub

Partagás Serie C No. 1, Colección Habanos 2002 on the Cuban Cigar Website