Man o' War Side Projects: Little Devil
Price: $24 for a 5er or $80 for a box of 20
Wrapper: Extra Fermented Nicaraguan Habano Sun Grown
Paired With: Boulevard Brewing Company - Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Construction & Pre-light: The construction of this corona sized stick looked fantastic! The seems are visible, but tight, there were only 2 small veins to speak of, and the pig tail double cap was placed and secured impeccably. However, a roll between the fingers reveals one small soft spot, just below the cap, and a significantly larger void, about 1/4" wide, starting at the closed foot and extending about an inch up the cigar. The aroma from the wrapper and foot is mostly sweet, rich leather, but also has a touch of barnyard, and a slight pepper. An easy cut with my Palio gives me an almost perfect draw with flavors of rich tobacco, leather and hay.
1/3: The closed foot lights very easily and produces tons of smoke right off the bat. Initial flavors are dark and rich, with cocoa, leather and earthiness. The retro-hale adds a searing pepper that fades slightly once the portion of the wrapper leaf covering the foot has burned completely. As the first third progresses the pepper continues to fade, but doesn't disappear completely, leaving a nice heat to the retro-hale. The cocoa does disappear, but there is still a nice sweetness, almost like macadamia nuts, that coats the tongue with each puff and lingers in the finish until the next puff. The earthiness is still there, complementing the sweetness well, and leather is still there, but mostly in the retrohale. The light grey ash crashed in my computer chair at ~1 1/4", at which point a light cedar joined the leather and pepper in the retro-hale. The room aroma is leather, cedar, and spice. The soft spot in the first third doesn't seem to have had any effect on the burn. The first third comes to a close with an excellent burn and medium body.
2/3: The second third sees a slight increase in leather and the pepper shifts to a sweeter spiciness, but retains its heat when retro-haled. Farther into the second third the spice becomes an obvious sweet cinnamon and a warm floral is added. Neither of these flavors are mentioned in Man o' War's description of the Little Devil, but they are definitely there and they are tasty! The ash falls again, just below the lower band and the cocoa from the initial flavors comes back. At this point I'm almost ignoring my beer because I don't want to wash away the wonderful, long, sweet finish. Since the first ash crash the ash hasn't held on for more than 3/4 of an inch, but who cares when the flavor is this good? The burn is still excellent, with one touch up necessary, just below the main band, only because of the high ambient humidity causing the wrapper to burn a touch slow. Close to the end of the second third I get my first hint that this stick is still young, with just a hint of ammonia, so I give it a purge. Success! Less harshness, more sweetness! The leather also perks up a little after the purge. As the second third closes the burn is still excellent and the body is still medium.
3/3: The sweetness shifts again in the final third. Less cinnamon now, but still spicy with a nice warm baking spice. The leather is still there. The pepper and earthiness have all, but completely disappeared. One more purge in the final third, just for good measure, brings back the floral, cocoa, and cedar a little more and smooths out the leather to a nice richness. Taking the last bit of this cigar slowly, so I don't risk heating it up too much and losing the great flavors, I'm able to smoke it down to a nub! At the end the burn is still great and the body has picked up a tad to medium/full.
Total Smoking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this Little Devil! At just a month of rest I was afraid that it would still be somewhat harsh and that the flavors wouldn't have melded well, but that wasn't the case at all! I have only smoked one Puro Authentico, but after this smoke I think I can safely say that I prefer the Little Devil. This cigar had loads of the spicy sweetness I love, mixed with some pepper at the start and rich leather and earthiness to keep it interesting. The base flavors changed, blended, and shifted just enough to keep it interesting, but not so much or so suddenly that I was ever shocked or caught off guard. I have already placed a bid for a 5er of these and plan to keep some in my humi from now on!