The beginning of November I did an article where I had gotten 5 cigars from a friend with the bands removed and replaced with numbers. I then smoked them, gave notes of my smoking experience, and made an attempt at predicting the blend information and the cigar. That article can be found here. This is a fun, and educational, experiment to do from time to time. The issue lies in getting truly random cigars. I couldn’t just have my wife grab a cigar from my humidor and take the band off because that would immediately narrow it down to something I know I have on hand. A quick look over the vitola and appearance would quickly narrow it down further.
The best option I had, up until a couple weeks ago, was to enlist the help of a friend and have the re-band cigars from their collection and create an answer key, then send them to me. This works, but it is a bit inconvenient for both parties. Then I stumbled upon Standard & Twain, the answer to my blind cigar problems! Monthly cigar subscription services are not uncommon at this point in the market. However, this is far and away the most unique and exciting monthly service, maybe even cigar service overall, I have found in the marketplace. Standard & Twain provides 3 options:
- “The Standard Subscription” ships 2 unique, unlabeled premium cigars to your door each month for only $19.99.
- “The Serious Subscription” ships 4 unique, unlabeled premium cigars to your door each month for only $38.99.
- “The Gift Subscription” allows you to purchase 1, 3, 6, 12, months of “The Standard Subscription” for the cigar smoker in your life.
The cigars arrive in a beautifully rustic padded envelope. Inside you’ll find tasting cards for you to fill out as you smoke each cigar, another sealed padded envelope containing the cigars, and a Boveda pack. I love the packaging but probably my favorite part of the presentation is the way each cigar is tagged with a card that indicates the cigar number and a QR code to access the webpage with the cigar “reveal”. It is a simple idea, but it is done incredibly well and looks great. The QR code is also genius for the cigar reveals.
Lastly, before I get into the inaugural monthly Standard & Twain Blind Tasting, I would like to say that myself, nor Whiskey & Whitetails, gets anything from this article. I simply love the concept, love the packaging and presentation, and I have been quite impressed with the selection of cigars used in these packs to this point. Part of what I want to do with this space on the website is to bring attention to companies and brands I think are worth checking out. Standard & Twain certainly meets that criteria.
Now for the tasting!
Cigar No. 116
Appearance: This cigar appears to be a 6 x 50 Toro. It is quite light in weight, but firmly packed. The wrapper is fairly veiny and light brown in color. Next to the other cigars I received, this almost looks like a darker Connecticut Shade, but by itself I think it is a lighter Ecuadorian Habano.
Smoking Experience: The cold draw is very mild in flavor and smell. Maybe light tobacco and cedar. First light is medium-full in body with full flavored smoke. It’s quite woody and grassy with a bit of pepper. The finish is salty and holds onto the wood. The retrohale is pepper with a sting, followed by a bit of cream. I am pretty sure it is an Ecuadorian wrapper. There are some tannins coming in. At this stage it reminds me of something from the Oveja Negra Factory based on the tannins, wood, and the retrohale flavors and experience. An inch in and it’s burning well. There definitely seem to be some stronger tobaccos in the blend. The body is full now with the flavor. Draw has been a touch on the loose side but good. There is some nuttiness coming in near the end of the first third and a slight touch up is needed. The whole time there has been a note, sometimes in taste other times in feel, that keeps me going back to something from Oveja Negra. At the halfway mark things are still full. There's some general sweetness coming in with the main profile still wood, tannins, pepper, and a little grassy earth. Entering the final third the grass notes are becoming a bit more prominent. The wood is more distinctly like oak and there are still some pepper and tannins. The strength is at a medium-full. This ending is throwing me off of Oveja Negra a little bit but it is surely Nicaraguan and it is reminding me of some stuff from the My Father Factory. The finish is showing some pepper bite. Ending at about an hour and 20 minutes the cigar is getting pretty spongy and the flavors are wood with more tannins and pepper.
Predictions: I am confident in it being an Ecuador Habano Wrapper with Nicaraguan Binder & Fillers. There may be some other filler components. One that came to mind was some PA Broadleaf possibly because of the bit of saltiness, the tannins, and the bit of sting that came with the pepper on the retrohale. However, I get those things from some stronger Nicaraguan Ligeros as well. As for a particular cigar, I do not have a guess. I still would say I wouldn’t be surprised by something from The Oveja Negra Factory or the My Father Cigars Factory (or maybe this cigar uses some tobacco from My Father?).
Reveal Page: Standard & Twain Cigar No. 116
Parting Thoughts: I have not had this cigar before. There were some things I liked about the flavor profile and I could see myself smoking it again, however, it’s not something that I will keep on hand.
Cigar No. 115
Appearance: This cigar has a darker brown, splotchy wrapper like a Habano Maduro or Oscuro. The pack is quite firm and it is a heavier cigar. It looks like it is a bit longer than a standard Robusto, so I’m guessing a 5 ½ x 50.
Smoking Experience: This cigar smells like raisin bread. The cold draw is snug with sweet, cinnamon flavors like a Red Hots candy. First light is full of flavor and body. It’s cinnamon, sugary sweetness, and gritty earth. Right away I’m wondering if this is a Liga Privada. There’s some oily wood coming in. An inch in and the flavors are staying consistent. The draw is showing less sugar and cinnamon, but the retrohale amplifies it and adds a bit of cocoa on the back end. The second third is showing a bit more earth and there’s some citrus and bread in place of the oily wood. The cinnamon is also reappearing on the finish. Nearing halfway the oily wood is poking back in here and there. At halfway the performance has been perfect throughout, with just a slightly snug draw. The draw flavors are deep earth and some dark fruit sweetness. Wood and cinnamon build into the finish. The retrohale is quite sweet with cinnamon heat and there’s some tannins. Entering the final third it’s relatively unchanged except the tannins are amplifying. It is becoming slightly bitter and there’s a bit more pepper bite. Nearing the end it’s washing out the palate a bit. Some sweet cinnamon is back on the finish. Ending at about an hour and 40 minutes with the same flavors, the performance has been great throughout.
Predictions: I am pretty confident in this cigar having a Habano Oscuro wrapper, although I am torn between Ecuadorian and Nicaraguan. Based on the profile I am certain the Binder and Fillers are Nicaraguan. Some of the darker fruit notes combined with the earthiness made me consider that there could be some Dominican in the filler, but not as a major component.
Reveal Page: Standard & Twain Cigar No. 115
Parting Thoughts: I have not had this cigar before. A cigar that was a collaboration between the maker of this cigar and another manufacturer did cross my mind for what this could be, however, the wrappers did not line up. Until the final third, I did enjoy what this cigar provided and I will likely smoke this cigar again.
Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or via email at email@example.com.