Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Reagan: 40th" by Ezra Zion Cigar Review

When you mention the name Ronald Reagan in mixed company you will get a wide range of responses. However, in circles of cigar smokers, who disproportionally are republicans, cigars are enjoyed in his name. While I can attribute qualities of leadership and intelligence to the fortieth Commander in Chief, to be honest, I find more in conflict than in union with his, and his party’s, ideals.  

From the rollers of Ezra Zion, regardless of party affiliation, cigar smokers can enjoy a pair of cigars bearing the President’s name.  A Nicaraguan, Cuban seed cigar, the blend comes in two offerings, the Churchill (54 x 6.75) sized “President,” and the 52 by 6 box pressed “40th” which I am enjoying today.  

The box press isn’t as exaggerated as other rollers’ interpretations of the vitola, but exhibits subtle squared sides that I enjoy holding in my fingers and between my teeth. The wrapper is expertly placed, camouflaging the edges of the exterior leaf almost flawlessly.  Combined with the oily, reddish brown hue of the tobacco, it is an example of the artistry that is the cigar.

 The talent of the roller acts as the introduction, an aesthetic the bridge to the blender’s complex and delicious crescendo of smoke. An earthy, sweet, prelight draw  is transformed into a peppery drum roll that gets my mustache twirling as smoke plumes out of my nose. A slight metallic backend shows itself around the edges of my palate, but evaporates from the cigar’s profile once about a half inch of ash is formed. 

As the pepper and spice notes temper with a nice leather backend, this medium full cigar remains enjoyable, avoiding any overly earthy or acrid off flavors that I feel sometimes persist in lesser Nicaraguan sticks.
This cigar was quite enjoyable, and I can only hope a cigar honoring Carter (perhaps a candela for his mild nature) or Lyndon Johnson can join the ranks of the “Reagan” series of cigars produced by Ezra Zion. 

I won’t hold my breath though. 

Happy smoking, to both sides of the isle! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

La Flor Dominicana Double Claro #50

It’s Black Friday, and Thanksgiving is just a fuzzy memory of a number of adult beverages, one dangerously warm raw turkey, an exploded Pyrex dish, and a cornbread stuffing that was accidently augmented by the addition of yellow cake mix. I am now trading in the crowds taking advantage of retail sales for a pot of coffee and a cigar.

Since I hope to enjoy another cigar this afternoon, and don’t want to obliterate my taste buds with a palate killer, nor do I want to make my empty stomach sick with a monstrous amount of nicotine, I select the lone candela in my humidor, a La Flor Dominicana (LFD) Double Claro #50. 

The green robusto, 50 by 5 inches, is free of any flaws or thick veins. Removing it from its cellophane, it has an enticing scent of sweet, grassy, fermenting tobacco. The cap comes off cleanly as I am forced to use a knife, as I cannot find a cutter or a punch to do the deed.  A prelight draw undermines the mild nature of the candela wrapper, exhibiting a base leaning towards spice rather than vegetation as anticipated.

The initial light offers the only detracting experience of the entire smoking experience, having a slight paper like flavor that quickly dissipates as the foot is toasted and begins to glow. Once the cigar gets revved up and burning like a champ, though, a full-flavored, delightfully spicy body graces the tongue, and leaves with a warm roasted nut backend.

As the cigar progresses, it becomes increasingly more mild, but retains the basic profile till it starts to singe my walrus like whiskers.  While little change occurs through the stogie, a complex blend of pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg offers enough interest to make this one of the best cigars I have smoked in quite a while.  With none of the metallic or acrid flavors that can develop in even the best non-Cuban cigar, this is a must try for the serious mild cigar smoker, and a must have for my humidor.

Happy smoking, and happy holidays!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yet more fun with Adobe Illustrator

Hello all,

I am currently working on a new theme for the blog with a somewhat comic book feel, and this below is the first jab. Nothing too exciting, I know, but it will act as the seed for a new look.

As always, please feel free to comment any opinions you might have. They are much appreciated!
Pope Crisco

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Deep Ellum Brewing Co. IPA and Farmhouse Whit

The celebration of a birthday or anniversary is twofold. It both recognizes and celebrates the past and at its best prepares the honorees for the coming year.

My own birthday, which occurred in the middle of this month, was such an event. Lots of food, beer, and a cigar or two was enjoyed, and when all was consumed, the icing on the cake was a much coveted Nikon D40, a nice, middle ground digital SLR camera that I have been wanting since the first few blog posts of Intoxico, a project that is working toward its third year in the making.  Finally I have a tool to replace the cell phone and point and click camera I have been working with, to offer a better aesthetic experience for my readers. My family gave me the gift of a better face to show the public, and for that I am very grateful.

This year my own birthday corresponded with the one year anniversary of Deep Ellum Brewing Company, an obviously new comer to the burgeoning Dallas-Fort Worth brewing scene. Joining the fray, this brewery has arguably brought a new pedigree of ales to North Texas.  As an offering of support for this brewery on its first steps into a wide ocean of craft beer in the state, this and the next post will explore four of their most widely available selections.

Deep Ellum IPA

Being the he most anticipated offering from this brewery to be sampled this weekend, their India Pale Ale decants into my pint glass as a very slightly cloudy, burnt orange liquid. The controlled pour shows good carbonation without worry of escaping the pint glass, and tiny CO2 bubbles climb through the pumpkin colored beverage to a somewhat thin, white head. 

The ale has a nice thick mouth feel that delivers one of the most well balanced, superb examples of this style I have enjoyed in quite a while. While the hop forwardness of the beer is not in question, it attacks the palate with a warm, orange zest profile without obliterating taste buds with bitterness. This beer is tame enough on the front end to really allow the nuance of the Pacific Northwest hops to be explored.  Only on the back end, carried on the back of a dry finish, does a shot of clean bitterness and malt sweetness peak.

In this IPA Deep Ellum Brewing Company has produced a wonderful beer, and probably easily rests in my top 5 contenders for the style.

Farmhouse Wit

The Deep Ellum Farmhouse Wit stared me down a few weeks ago and dared me to buy it as I was collecting beer for the weekend convergence on my mother’s house.  My brother, the Belgian drinker of my crew, obviously would enjoy the opportunity to imbibe the saison, while I opened the window to be disappointed with a style of beer that usually fails to excite my palate. Subject to his frequent generosity, I took a bullet for the team and picked up this apparent farmhouse whit whose label indicated a bit of rye in the mix. 

Despite trying to maintain a slow and controlled pour, the beer’s kinetic potential was released, and resulted in a good 5 inches of head. Even as the head would dissipate, the cloudy, creamy, orange-yellow beer is a host to a copious amount of carbonation that races to the heavenly froth atop the beverage.
Aided by the pillow like head of the beer, the beverage has an enjoyable, wet, creamy mouth feel that leaves a nice, not too sweet, and refreshingly moist coating in the drinker’s mouth.  This provides an excellent vehicle to deliver a lemon profile accented by coriander, generic spice, and funky yeast flavors consistent with the style of the beer. 

In addition to being both complex and well balanced by malt and hops, the brew maintains a somewhat mild presentation on the tongue, making it drinkable even to this detractor of the style.    


I hope I have whetted your appetite for these beers, as well as the continuation of these reviews to come shortly.

Until the next keg is tapped, and the next pint poured, happy drinking!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dark Truth Stout by Boulevard Brewing Co.

When you work a shitty job, and have a shitty schedule, a lot of people express pity for your employment predicament. While I do enjoy to some extent the idea of having a regular nine to five job with the weekend off, I also must say that having one’s downtime when the majority of other people are working has its benefits as well.

For instance, while other people are watching the clock till 5 o’clock Friday for the weekend, my Saturday begins at 12 am on Thursday morning. This leaves me the freedom to, without any guilt what so ever,  pop a top after lunch while the majority of my peers sit in their cubicles with another day of toil before their own opportunity to enjoy a weekend beer.  

Today, for example, in celebration of International Stout Day, I am enjoying a bottle of Dark Truth Stout, an imperial stout brewed by the wonderful people at Boulevard Brewing CO.

The beer pours out rich and blacker than Texas Tea, with a lovely mocha head that, despite my best effort to control the pour, is quite aggressive, and towers a good inch above the rim of my pint glass before dissipating to a height agreeable to consumption of the beer below.

Knocking back of the pint glass, the first mouthful is a creamy wash of dark chocolate and coffee bitterness with agreeable roasted malt sweetness. As the drink mingles on my palate a not unpleasant alcohol hotness develops, rounding out a moderately dry finish with a slight spice and the slightest suggestion of vanilla.  

As the beer continues to disappear into the abyss of my gullet, the stout's bite mellows out and becomes more drinkable while still being bold in flavor to keep things very interesting, while the healthy 9.7% ABV of this beverage succeeds in rinsing away the week’s headache.

My only disappointment is the lack of a second bottle to enjoy.

Happy drinking!  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trinidad Paradox Churchill Review

Happy Election Day my fellow smokers and drinkers!

I know it’s been a while since the last time I posted any new content here on Intoxico as life showed its not so pretty head around the corner just as things started to pick up. I will avoid going into great detail, but my mother had some persistent health issues escalate after a relative defrauded her of a nice sum of money. This has required a bit of additional assistance and vigilance from my brother and me, as well as our spouses.

Thankfully, things are settling down, and slowly my new space is getting squared away, so I have taken the day off to build some shelves from IKEA and do a touch of cleaning, as well as light up a cigar while results from the Obama and Romney dance are being tallied.

 The cigar du jour is a Trinidad Paradox Churchill. Wrapped in a a Cuban seed Crillo wrapper grown in Mexico that is an oh so nice reddish brown, Dominican binder, Nicaraguan filler, and with dimensions of 54 by 7, this boxed pressed stogie is heavy, even for its not so small size.

 Taking a prelight draw to avoid trying to light a plugged cigar, the raw tobacco offers a slightly earthy body accented by gingerbread notes.

First light has a dry finish with a slight acridity, and offers a mild spice and generic, woodsy body.

At an inch and a half the acridity dies down considerably, and the spiciness becomes more medium full in body, with notes of oak and cedar balancing the smoke. A slight burning issue started, but without any aid from myself corrected itself beautifully.

Half way through the smoke the cigar maintains its medium full profile, with wood and earth notes pulling ahead of the generic spice, accented by a slight nutmeg aspect. A nice, natural tobacco sweetness begins to round out the finish, adding a little something extra to the experience.

With the ring of glowing red tinder inching closer towards the band, the nicotine of the cigar is starting to throw a few jabs, and landing them squarely on my stomach and noggin.

Putting the cigar to rest, I must say that the cigar was enjoyable, albeit not an earth-shaking smoke. I would recommend it to anyone with the inkling to try this solid stick, and I might buy another on a whim, but I am not persuaded to stockpile the Trinidad Paradox by the box.

Well, a nice pork tenderloin is in the oven, my wife is waiting for me to join her as we watch the returns, and I have drinks to partake in. Regardless of the outcome of this election I hope that whoever wins will be honest and diligent in leading this country, and I hope that we all can continue to imbibe as Americans across party lines.

Happy Smoking!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...