This maduro version of the 2019 TAA release has a hard box press with a somewhat rustic wrapper. The foot smells a bit musty with hints of coffee and cocoa. A perfect v-cut reveals a perfect draw. Today’s beverage is a Clown Shoes Snow on the Maple Tree Imperial Stout.
The cigar begins with a light sweetness to the mostly full bodied smoke. The Stout turn out to be a perfect pairing, holding its own. This is a very strong blend. The burn is a bit off, probably from lighting with an Alec Bradley tabletop soft flame in a breeze.
The initial third settles down a bit with some bitters on the tip of the tongue. The retrohale has medium black pepper notes and is fairly strong. This is not a cigar for the finesse smoker. It’s among the strongest cigars I have smoked recently. The burn self corrected and is very even. The ash is firm and light grey, but dropped off at about the half-way mark.
Nearing the end of the second third the burn became uneven after the ash drop but self corrected again. There is a strange, almost chemical note in the retrohale that comes and goes. It seems to have passed. The strength of the flavor profile remains high, with little to no signs of the coffee nor cocoa notes I smelled in the unlit foot. The cigar went out almost exactly at the 2/3 mark. It relit easily and continues to burn evenly.
The ale continues to be a very good pairing with the cigar, not really affecting the flavor profile while providing a strong stout moisture between puffs.
Approaching the final inch I need to add that as strong as the cigar is, the smoke was never harsh, so if you like strong, this is a great flavorful stick. A quick note on the chemical flavor in the retrohale, the vintage of the tobacco would suggest against it being from ammonia pockets that often are found in cigars that are too fresh. Because I do like a good strong cigar from time to time, I will give it 8.9/10, reduced mainly to what I think are construction issues that caused the occasional uneven burn and the chemical notes that came in and out of the flavor profile. If you like them strong, Joe Bob says check it out, but eat first.