Many of you know how goofy I am for good, Indonesian-grown Sumatra tobacco. You may also know that I have a fondness for the appearance of "rustic"-looking cigars like the Fuente Curlyhead. But until now, I have not been able to bring the two together in a single smoking experience.
Enter this little number:
OK - the photo itself may be a little on the "rustic" side, too ...
A little back-story may be in order. Encouraged by this classic thread - Cigar Birthing - I attempted to grow a small crop of tobacco this spring, with the intent of eventually rolling a few cigars. Epic crop fail. But I happened upon a place that sells bulk tobacco leaf, and I bought a pound of Indonesian Sumatra seco leaf. I know, I know, what about ligero? Viso? Binder? Wrapper? Figuring it was all an experiment anyway, I determined to make it work. The cigar pictured above is the fourth I have rolled. It is the first with an actual cap rather than a pigtail. I will be going back to the pigtail, since I like the look of it better, and making and applying a proper cap is not easy.
This is the second of the four that was not rolled too tight to smoke, and the first that I left long enough (3 days in the open air, and two weeks in the humidor) to dry out to a really smokeable moisture level.
This was a 6 x 36 cigar, rolled entirely of Indonesian Sumatra seco leaf.
It actually burned very nicely - no canoeing, tunneling, etc. Even without ligero, the ash formed a bit of a cone, so I was pleased with that result.
The smell of the smoke in the air was to die for - rich, old-time cigar fragrance.
The flavor started off as I had hoped, delivering all the light, sweet, creamy, nutty essence of good Sumatra leaf, with just a bit of baking spice to add some depth. Obviously I would not expect this cigar to deliver a particularly complex flavor profile, and that was pretty much the case. The spicy notes picked up strength steadily through the hour and 45 minutes it burned, and an occasional hint of chocolate and light, sweet, wood sneaked in here and there. I have enjoyed cigars with more varieties of tobacco, and less complexity.
All in all, this is a cigar I wouldn't have offered a dollar for based on its looks. But, it definitely outperformed a lot of seven-dollar cigars I've tried. And not just because of the pride of making it myself, but also because it tasted really, really good.
I'm still getting the rolling method under control, but I see a purchase of other leaf varieties in the future, so I can experiment with blending. Not to mention using actual wrapper leaf so that the result might look less like something rolled on the spines of a sturgeon ...
I'm also commissioning a knife-making friend of mine to make me a custom chaveta. Good times!