Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Smoking Lounge Review: Juan Lopez Seleccion No 2

It is now time for the return of one of my favorite parts of this BLOG. My ongoing series on Cuban Robustos, "The Smoking Lounge Review":

Size: 4 7/8"(124 mm)
Gauge: 50
Weight: 11.66 grams
Vitola: Robusto
Tobacco Country: Cuba
Tobacco Procedence: Vuelta Abajo
Factory: El Habanero

This was a rather rustic looking cigar, toothy and there was a noticeable vein on one side. Not a big deal, I have had rather rustic looking cubans before and they have been some of the tastiest i have tried. What really drew my attention to the this cigar was the wrapper. With its rich reddish brown hue and oily sheen (there was even a light crystilization on the wrapper), it was the picture of inviting.

The smell of the wrapper itself was amazing. A beautiful rich brown sugar sweetness. Made my mouth water. Clip was easy and produced a clean hut. The pre light draw was just perfect, and it had notes of tangy sweetness, as well as cedar woodiness.

Burn/Draw: The light was easy and without incident, the burn was more of the same "light and forget" goodness, with only a few minor touch ups needed way down toward the end of the stick. The ash was mottled (which seems fairly common in habanos) and VERY firm, when I tried to knock at one and one half inches in length, it was actually a bit of a fight to get it off. As for the draw, it was just perfect, and the cigar burned long and cool and produce pleasant volumes of medium bodied, flavorful smoke. A very pleasant, meditative experience.
Flavors: Up until a recent gift by a very kind Brother Of the Leaf, I really had not thought much of the Seleccion No 2, which is a shame because this cigar was quite the revelation. Upon lighting, there was a nice little burst of white pepper. This was great because I could still smell the fragrant sweetness of the unburned wrapper at this point in time, and the dry spiciness contrasted the rich sweetness of the oily wrapper perfectly. The interesting part to me was, that the sweetness I smelled in the unburned wrapper never really came through in the smoke. This was a nice woody cigar over the first half, with notes of cedar and burning oak, while being underpinned by that great Cuban Horse Stable earthiness we all know and love. The smoke was soft and smooth and hung in the air, enveloping you in the experience. Over the the final third or so it did kick up in strength to a staunch medium and get a bit spicier, black pepper notes replacing the woody notes floating upon the earthiness. Overall a very nice medium/medium cigar. People who like, for example, the Hoyo Epicure No. 2, will most likely enjoy this cigar. I know I did!


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