Apparently, variety still very much is the spice of life. That, or spice adds variety to life. Either way, I dig it. Especially when it comes to the cigars I smoke.
So when a premium cigar blend oddball comes out of left field and kabongs me in the bongos, I immediately take notice.
This was precisely what happened when I encountered a delightful little Drew Estate "belicosa" by the name of "Leather Rose."
This tough little torpedo is the third vitola to come out of a joint venture between Drew Estate and one of the first cigar shops to stock their wares: Deadwood Tobacco Company.
Being that I am a huge fan of the TV show based upon this historic South Dakota town, I was immediately captivated by the blend.
So with adult-oriented fun in mind, I hitched up my mule at the local watering hole late one evening and strode inside for a splash of whiskey and some quality time with ol' Leather Rose herself.
The moment I removed her from the cellophane, I knew that this lady was not meant to be enjoyed by any old tobacco tootin' wrangler.
Spicy and sweet infused pipe tobacco aromas are punctuated by a riot of rich maduro mish-mash of fermentable flavors almost sent me sprawling.
A quick unlit pull provided more of the same, plus a notable vanilla bean note. All packaged up with plenty of baking spice, and a borderline overbearing sweetened torpedo tip.
As for aesthetics... let's just say that she tastes a hell of a lot better than she looks. And that she's called "Leather Rose" for a freakin' reason.
Set Rosie's footsie on fire, and you'll be blessed with a flavor that is almost identical to the nose.
There's a lot of fermented and infused tobacco skullduggery going on behind the scenes here, so if flavored maduro sorcery isn't your thing I'd suggest that you steer clear. (Bovine jokes anyone?)
There's a time and a place for an infused cigar, and the first twenty minutes of burn time will always serve as a reminder of this fact. Lucky for me, I was ready for the wild ride that "Leather Rose" offered that evening. At least, so I thought...
Where she started off with more of a black cavendish-like pipe tobacco tone and toasted vanilla beans, her first third soon evolved into a much more nutty, toffee-like taste.
Hear ye, hear ye... I hereby decree that this is a cigar for fans of Christmas cookies and caramel praline pecan pie.
Another intriguing attribute in the first half was the cigar's mildness. Both upon the palate and via retro-nasal exhales, smoke was mellow, sweet, medium-bodied, and well-balanced. There also was very little sign of any of the overtly maduro-forward flavors that one might expect.
Talk about one wild start to cigar time with this wench...
As time went by, the familiar maduro notes that I presumed would be present upon light-up eventually began to emerge. Together, with all of those infused darker tobacco tastes, spice box sensations, and irrepressible sweetened tip, this flavorful vixen ventured on.
It was about this time that some cedar stepped onto the scene, along with a tannin touch, and a playful slap of strength.
Feisty and filled with flavor, I poured myself a double and readied for our final round...
Muddled maduro flavors aren't something that most people would describe as enjoyable. Personally, I don't mind them just as long as there is something else thrown into the mix to keep things interesting.
"Leather Rose" made damn sure that I felt satisfied, even all the way up until our parting puffs together. Toasted nuttiness, maduro chocolate chewiness, and a fresh splash of spices highlighted by nutmeg and cinnamon kept me coming back for more.
Was it a tad intense toward the tail end of the cigar? Hell yeah, it was. But when it comes to climaxes I wouldn't want it any other way.
Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw
Whereas I may have found the taste of "Leather Rose" to be extremely enjoyable, her looks and overall performance left something to be desired.
With her tattered torpedo tip, heavily veined wrapper, and saggy mid-riff, this dame definitely looked like she had seen one bachelor party too many.
Adding further fuel to my frustrations was the fact that the impeccable ash from the first third was little more than a window tease. Flaking and infrequent touch-ups took place from the second third onward.
And while it may have not helped her regain enough points to offset her disheveled looks and lackluster lines, the quality of the smoke produced was quite good. With a clean draw and sticky sweet mouthfuls of chewy smoke in spades, the saloon sweetie still managed to show me a really good time.
I sure am glad that I met up with "Leather Rose" for some late-night debauchery on National Cigar Day this year. For on a day that is intended to celebrate all that this hobby of ours has to offer, one must indulge in a cigar that is truly memorable.
I definitely won't be forgetting "Leather Rose" anytime soon.
But I also won't be paying her any more visits for a while. Partly because I don't want to get too attached. But also because I need some time to recuperate from the wild ride she gave me the other night...
Drew Estate/Deadwood Tobacco Company "Leather Rose"
Brazilian Maduro (likely Mata Fina)
Secret Nicaraguan Medley
La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Estelí, Nicaragua)
5" x 54 "Belicosa" Torpedo
Woodford Double Oaked Bourbon Whiskey