It’s 11am and I’ve just fixed myself a nice rum and ginger beer. I’m lying on a banana lounge in the lee of the house at the Groom compound, and have positioned myself so that the sun falls over exactly half my bare torso. I have done this because yesterday I smoked a cigar on the other side of the house about this time, and as a result one half of my body is quite pink, while the other remains its usual fish belly white. I’m trying to even out the pink.
Such is the life of the cigar aficionado; it’s not all high quality smokes and rum drinks in the sun, you know. Well, okay, that is all it is, but sometimes you get sunburned.
I estimate that in about an hour and a half the sun will have moved in the sky and my chest will be entirely in the shade, and so I have looked through my travel humidor to find the cigar that would most closely match that smoking time, and settled on this, the Montecristo Grand Edmundo. Also my harridan mother is expected to show up at 2:00, and I’d like to be done by then.
This is the seventh Montecristo to wear the EL band, and one of the best received, and as of this writing it is still available at a somewhat reasonable price if one sets one’s mind to it.
I light it, and it opens like a lily to the light; a rich, powerful cream, the froth from a cappuccino with a dusting of nutmeg. Wonderful.
It’s an ugly looking stick. There is a split part way down the side which is very probably my fault, but there is also a smear of what looks like glue about halfway down (probably Habanos’ fault, although I suppose it’s plausible that one of the middlemen whose hands it passed through before mind did it), and a discolouration in the wrapper near the end (definitely Habanos). I can’t say I mind: the cigar is perfectly constructed and smoking wonderfully; these blemishes are maker’s marks, testament to the hand wrought nature of the Cuban cigar.
The ash is a nice pale colour, matching with some exactness the weathered boards of my deck. I let it keep it a while, and it holds strong, the mark of good construction.
The eye of heaven has moved, and now only my arm is in his light. I inspect it, and it glistens slightly, moisture present between the hairs. Is that sweat, I wonder, or my jus, leaking out of me like it leaks out of a roasted chicken. I question for a moment the logic of this decision. I’m used to laughing in the face of mouth cancer, but is it sensible to bait melanoma as well?
The cigar is great, wonderfully rich, with sweet vanilla bean and cream dominating. I’m a sucker for an EL. A lot of aficionados don’t like them, and their criticisms – that they all taste kind of the same, that they cost too much, that the sizes are unimaginative, and that it’s a shame they have to come at a cost of so many discontinuations – are all perfectly valid, however, that EL flavour, that richness, the sweetness and notes of coffee and chocolate, I just love it.
The wind has shifted. Previously it was a hot wind, blowing from the landward side, and I was sheltered from it on this side of the house, but now it blows from behind me, from the ocean. It’s cool, and provides a nice relief for my roasted flesh, however, it is no longer possible to leave my cigar perched on the rim of my dark and stormy; now I must shelter it with my body, lest the wind steal my puffs, and set it to burning too hot. Sometimes to hot doth the cigar of Cuba burn.
Twelve forty five, and I wanderest entirely in the shade. I move my lounger over a little to catch the last of it. No sense in half measures.
Every fair from fair must sometime decline, and in the last inch the cigar shows its tar and nicotine. It’s not unpleasant, and what remains of the rum and ginger cuts it nicely. I like a little sweetness against a cigar, it offsets the bitterness, and especially at the end it… well, it cuts it nicely. Ginger too. Little tip when making cocktails: add a little ginger syrup to anything remotely fruity, and the reaction you get will inevitably be “mmm! That’s amazing! What is that?” Goes a lot way toward disguising a triple shot of gin, and even further to hiding a large amount of cheap rum.
I’m burning my fingers, a state I cannot brook, what with all the other burns that my body is enduring, and so this cigar must meet its maker; over the rail it goes, down, down, to the sandy soil.
Truly a delightful cigar, and by far the better of the Sublime I smoked recently. Perhaps not quite the equal of the possible Edmundo Dantes, but that speaks more to the quality of that cigar than any inadequacy in this one. Grab a box if you can.