HDM Epicure No 1 - RPO JUN 01 (Blind Tasting)

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HDM Epicure No 1 - RPO JUN 01

A cigar group that I belong to is doing a blind tasting of 9 cigars over the course of the summer, this was cigar #4 in the tasting. All of the cigars came from Rob, and his team did a superb job of helping us put this tasting in place. There are 15 reviewers who are all seasoned Havana smokers and no reviews were released to the reviewers until all were submitted. Here is a short recap


96+ 0 votes

90-95 4 votes

86-89 2 votes

80-85 4 votes

75-79 3 votes

74- 1 votes

NA 0 votes

”The initial flavor was fairly strong, tannic, and with a bite, and I didn't like it much at first. After a few draws, a slight nuttiness began to develop that got gradually stronger throughout the length of the cigar”

“Started immediately with cedar, spice, and a strong tannic quality. The tannic quality continued into the first part of the first third, but then gave way to flavors of wood, white pepper, grass, flora, and a hint of burnt cinnamon and ginger. By the end of the first third, the woody taste became noticeable sweeter and a light cocoa flavor was noted. In the middle third, wood and cream came to the forefront, with a hint of grass and licorice. A pleasant tangy flavor was also evident. In the last third, however, the tanginess turned into a bitter harshness, and charred wood was the only discernable flavor. All in all, this medium-bodied one hour 20 minute smoke was very nice in the first 2/3’s, but did not stick the landing. Still a nice cigar.”

”Well rolled with a medium Colorado wrapper, few if any veins, slightly oily.

Good draw and feel to this cigar. Started woody and quickly developed a slight sweetness. It had coffee and leathery notes near the end of this third. Second Third: This cigar is pairing well with the coffee, woody, leathery and a spicy sweetness (not sugar) that I am enjoying more every puff. Final Third: Starting to get a little more spice, cinnamon which I now think is the sweetness? Not changing as much in the last third but has loads of smoke and a very enjoyable cigar. I burned my fingers more than once on this one.”

”The first thing that I noticed about this corona gorda was the beautiful prelight aroma it had.. Concentrated tobacco and barnyard aromas with an overall honeyed sweetness. One of the best smelling cigars I have held in a long time. The cigar provided an adequate amount of smoke, which was to some degree non descript. No flavors jumped forward nor was any significant concentration of flavor present. Slight hints of earth, wood and fruit appeared now and then. Little if any of the prelight honeyed notes were present. This cigar was medium in body, no harshness and easy to smoke. I found little in the way of complexity nor anything that kept my interest. The finish was quite brief. Overall I found this vitola was not disagreeable in any way but at the same time nothing emerged that really made it memorable. Sadly I found it’s prelight aroma more satisfying than it’s post light flavor. Very much like an adequate yet uninteresting table wine.”

“Spicy pepper and heavy earth with a small amount of sour fruit added for good measure. Second Third – The draw remains generous and perfect but does require a few burn corrections with the torch leaving a dark flaky ash. Tangy roasted tobacco and leather are the core flavors. This cigar is full bodied and stout, just up my ally.

Last Third – The strength increases and the tangy fades a little and dark heavy tobacco remains. This is the type of cigar I like. It has the right size, draw, and full flavor with that added tang.”

”Ist inch was spice less with earthy tobacco. I sneezed with nasal exhale. That's the way it finished....just like it started. Mild cigar in strength and short finish. I'd guess recent production with good fermented leaf (but flavorless). It burned and drew great. If I got struck by lightning while smoking this cigar, it would have been a horrible choice for a final stick.”

“Well made, no soft spots, firm to the touch, the color was the lighter side of Colorado...

Upon lighting there was a faintest herbal or vegetal taste. A real mild beginning. This herbaceous taste increased until the first ashing @ around 1 1/4"...unfortunately the taste never developed at all. There were no surprises, no flavor changes, no corrections, and little to no ligero...a lack of complexity would be an understatement.”

“A nice mild tobacco flavor was noticed upon first light. A smooth woodiness is also present. Tobacco flavor increasing from mild to medium. The nice smoothness of this cigar hints at aged tobacco, as there is not a hint of harshness. Slight uneven burn noted and a rumpled looking ash. The draw remains on the tight side. Second 1/3: Tobacco taste is now developing a richness, cancelling my first impression of this being a boring smoke. Burn remains slightly uneven. Cigar is still on the milder side of medium along with a mild/medium body. The faint woodiness comes in and out of play as well. A very faint spiciness is also developing, maybe nutmeg, and there is also a faint caramel sweetness. Last 1/3: The burn remains slightly uneven, but not something that need altering attention. Draw remains on tight side as well. Overall flavors remain the same with the cramel sweetness maybe now more evident. I find myself a little bored with this stick, as it is getting milder and the flavors are fading towards the end.”

” The cigar lit well and produced ample but not voluminous smoke. My first taste impression was that of herbal quality backed with a touch of citrus. Very pleasant. As the cigar progressed, I detected what I would call a soapy note. This is somewhat similar to the aftertaste of Jamaican Ginger Beer. I have experienced this taste in very few other cigars. Overall this was a very pleasant cigar that if a little less tightly packed would have been a star.”

”It started off with pleasantly sweet mild tobacco flavor. That was good. It also had a slight dirty/bitter background flavor that I commonly find towards the end of a cigar. That was bad, but it was subtle enough that it didn't keep me from enjoying the cigar.

A slight, mild red pepper flavor developed, which complemented the still present tobacco flavor. It would have been better if it hadn't had the slight bitter taste and if it had provided denser mouthfuls of smoke.”

"The package was nice and the aroma, though lacking that rich barnyard smell, was faint but showed promise. The cigar started with a strong taste of "toasted tobacco" -- and a distinctly different overall flavor. A tannic and slightly bitter taste was followed by what I can only describe as a "dry finish." The cigar reminded me of a tight wine, perhaps one with potential but one begging to be decanted and to open up. By the half way mark I became convinced that if there was a way to "decant" this cigar it certainly wasn't by smoking it, there was no improvement. I struggled to identify flavors, which seemed hidden by the over present tannic tobacco profile.”

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My thanks to cigarnv and his tobacco posse. I really like these group reviews, although I'm never sure whether the differing perceptions are the result of variations in the cigars, or in the reviewers. Still, you can discern the commonalities, and interpolate a concensus of sorts.

By sheer coincidence, I smoked an '02 Epi No. 1 last night that was pretty disappointing. It was rather bland, and a little bitter, with subtle woody and spicy notes, and a very, very slight sweetness in the finish. It didn't develop well, so I extinguished it at 2/3.

This was nowhere near as good as the last one I sampled, about a year or so ago. Could this cigar be over the hill this young? Or is it just going through a phase?

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Thanks again Reid. This is a valuable resource :ok:

The cigars your group are predominantly tasting are 2001. I wonder how much the variation in reviews is a reflection of the Habanos cigar industry at the time. This was a period of consolidation after the dreadful 1999/early 2000 years. Ligero was still short and quality of leaf was good without being exceptional.

This leads me to wonder what members thoughts on the finest 3 years of the past 10 were? Good topic for another thread.

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