Standard & Twain Blind Tasting: May ‘22

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This is my fifth month with this subscription and I have to say that I continue to be pleased month to month. I haven’t loved every cigar that I have received, but that’s kind of the point. You can’t possibly like everything you try, but you have to try different things to better understand what you do enjoy. The biggest concerns for me with monthly cigar subscriptions are: Are you getting a good variety of brands, vitolas, and types of tobaccos? Are you getting value? The answer to these questions is emphatically “Yes.”

Cigar No. 139

Appearance: At first I thought this was a 6 x 50 Toro, but it seems a bit heftier, like maybe a 52. It's a firmly packed, dense cigar. The wrapper is medium brown, slightly lumpy, and a bit veiny. The wrapper resembles Ecuadorian Habano. 

Smoking Experience: This smells a bit like molasses and spices, and there is a very slight bit of ammonia. The cold draw is near nonexistent, but there’s a slight baking spice and maybe a fruity note. First light is medium-full body with medium flavor notes of a mushroom like earth with a very slight bit of cocoa. That mushroom earthiness made me think Dominican right off the bat, but quickly the cigar dropped that and replaced it with some toast and spices. The finish has some charred wood and pepper. About halfway into the first third the profile is relatively the same but the toast is more of a toasted nut and there is some general earthiness returning. The retrohale has some nice citrus, vanilla, and some floral components. Besides the first light, I haven’t gotten anymore indications of Dominican tobacco, however, I also haven’t gotten a strong indication of anything else. I think this is some multinational blend. Entering the second third the toasted nuts and general earthiness are primary. There’s some baking spices that go into the finish. The retrohale still has vanilla and some floral notes, but has traded the citrus for pepper. Crossing the halfway point it is starting to remind me of something I smoked a little while ago. That cigar does have Dominican and Nicaraguan in the filler, along with both the wrapper and binder being Nicaraguan Habano. The citrus took over the pepper again on the retrohale. The draw is becoming more like bread crust with a little savory earth and wood. I’m really digging this right now. Into the final third the only change in flavor is a bit of earth and pepper bump. The wrapper has split, but it hasn’t really caused an issue yet. Coming to an end at an hour and 51 minutes. The earth and pepper settled down a touch and a little cocoa came in. The cigar performed well throughout with only a minor touch up to the split wrapper in the final third.

Predictions: I’m guessing it’s a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and binder with Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. I think it’s a specific cigar from the Pichardo Factory. The cigar I am thinking of had some real similarities, from what I recall, to this one. 

Reveal Page: Standard & Twain No. 139

Parting Thoughts: I enjoyed the cigar quite a bit, particularly the second half. I always like toast, nuts, citrus, earth, and peppery blends when they’re done with nice balance and nuance. This cigar didn’t have crazy flavor changes or super unique flavors, but it delivered a profile I like with medium-full flavor and body. There was no noticeable strength. As for my reaction to the reveal - I have smoked this cigar several times in a different vitola and always enjoy it. I was surprised to see the reveal, as this size smokes quite differently than what I am familiar with. I had some aspects of the blend correct, but am still a bit surprised by others. All in all, I would strongly recommend this cigar and I will certainly smoke more of these. 

Cigar No. 140

Appearance: This a fairly dark brown, splotchy wrapper with some prominent veins, cracks, and other imperfections. It feels like a 46-48 ring gauge and maybe just under 6” in length. The cigar is pretty firm and feels densely packed. I’m guessing this is a Habano Oscuro wrapper just by looks.

Smoking Experience: The wrapper smells meaty and the foot smells like baking spices and cocoa with some meatiness as well. The cold draw is light, but shows some dark sweetness and earthiness. The cigar starts off with full body and flavored smoke with lots of charred oak, some tannins, and some dark, sweet earthiness on the finish. Right away I’m pretty sure I smoked this cigar the other day. A half inch in and the flavors are holding constant on the draw with the addition of some pepper. The retrohale has some raisin-like sweetness with some wood and pepper. Closing out the first third I am still fairly confident I smoked this recently. It’s keeping the core profile but is becoming sweeter and more peppery. Into the second third here it is drying my palate out as some baking spices join the wood. If I’m correct on what the cigar is, it is an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper with Nicaraguan innards. Nearing the end of the second third this cigar has performed perfectly so far. The final third is seeing the pepper heat and flavor coming up more. There’s a bit more sweetness in the profile too. As I approach the end, the sweetness and pepper heat is becoming more of a cinnamon candy, what I always called Red Hots. Ending at an hour and 21 minutes the cigar has maintained much of the same flavor and is maybe up to medium strength. The performance remained perfect to the end. 

Predictions: I have to go with an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. That is what I thought it looked like ahead of smoking it, and that is also the wrapper on the cigar that I think this is. I am going with a Nicaraguan binder and fillers. Again this is the blend for what I think this is, however, I am at least confident in the presence of Nicaraguan tobacco in this blend even if I am wrong.

Reveal Page: Standard & Twain 140

Parting Thoughts: Overall, I would call this cigar average to slightly above average. It’s a fuller profile with lots of charred wood, earth, and pepper but there is a balancing sweetness and some baking spices. The performance was top notch throughout. It got a little too wood and pepper forward in the final third for my taste, but it wasn’t off putting. I would smoke this again, but I won’t buy more to keep on hand. However, I think this is a recommendable cigar for someone that enjoys fuller, peppery Nicaraguan-like profiles. As for the reveal - this was a shocker to me. I was certain this was a cigar I smoked the other day, but I guess since it was fresh in my mind, it had me convinced. However, I have never had this and it has been on my to smoke and review list, so I’m happy I got to smoke it and blind review it.

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