Sunday, August 10, 2008

Devil's Weed Jerez (belicoso)

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A new cigar from the Molina Cigar Company. "Devil's Weed" sports an intimidating looking cigar band to go along with it's intimidating name, but it's actually quite an angelic smoke. I found out about this cigar from one of my favorite on-line retailers, Silo Cigars. The did an interview recently with Luis Molina, head of Molina Cigar Company. He talks about his young company and his debut brand, as well as plans for the future. There is also a Devil's Weed website which talks in detail about the history of the name, the cigar's attributes, as well as the sizes offered.

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One interesting thing about this cigar is it's packaging. Each cigar comes wrapped in food grade paper instead of cellophane. They claim that this allows the cigar to "breathe" better.



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In addition to the paper wrap, the cigars are boxed in Spanish cedar with the date that the cigars were rolled stamped on it. They say that most companies stamp the date that the cigars were packed. Devil's Weed cigars are aged a minimum of three months after they are rolled and before they are packaged.

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The cigars are made at the Don Leoncio factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic and overseen by Juan Rodriguez who has been in the business for thirty years. The cigar has an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper, a Dominican binder, and four different leaves of Dominican filler. The cigar is advertised as being mild, just shy of medium, and blended to be an "anytime of the day smoke".

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I like that all of the Devil's Weed vitolas do not exceed 50 ring gauge. I chose the "Jerez" which is a skinny belicoso measuring 46 ring gauge by 6 and 1/4 inches. The wrapper was easy to remove by simply lifting up the tape holding it together. The paper seemed to provide adequate protection and I would probably guess better circulation of humidity versus cellophane. It may not preserve the cigars mild flavor as well as cellophane, but if you don't plan on aging these cigars, then it shouldn't matter.

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The cigar does look a little rustic. While it does feel smooth to the touch, the cigar did have a veiny appearance. There were several dark brown patches interspersed throughout and I also noticed a spot of green discoloration near the cap. The belicoso cap was slightly off center and sloppy looking but did not pose a problem during smoking. The cigar did not feel packed at all and had a few soft spots. The pre-light draw was free and had a nice feel to it. The pre-light flavor was "raisiny", while the cigar itself had a very faint cedary aroma.

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The initial flavors were vanilla, smooth coffee and a little spice. The finish was short and clean. Eventually I picked up a little cedar notes to go along with the coffee which then transitioned into a honey finish. The strength is definitely in the mild range but the flavor is more mild to medium. This is definitely a great cigar for a beginner or as a morning smoke. The downside though is the cigar seemed to be burning pretty fast, probably from being underfilled. Maybe they wanted to avoid getting plugged cigars. If this was the case then they succeeded because the draw was perfect.

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The second third displayed a really nice nutty flavor in addition to coffee and vanilla. The cigar also seemed a little more spicy but definitely not harsh. The finish was still sweet like honey. The cigar shows a really nice smooth balance of flavor. The finish was still clean, lingering but not long.

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The final third surprisingly still showed a somewhat mild to slightly medium flavor. I guess I've just gotten used to cigars really intensifying in flavor at the end but this cigar just stayed consistent but still flavorful. The cigar also stays cool even though I feel that it was underfilled and smoking too fast. The flavor is still really enjoyable with just a slight touch of leather and an exotic roasted nut taste. Vanilla spice just hits you in the back of the throat but I still wouldn't call it harsh. At this point the spice overrides the sweetness on the finish but you can still tell that the sweetness exists.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this mild smoke. The cigar performed well with an even burn line forming a solid black and light gray compact ash. The wrapper did lift up in one spot but it really did not get in the way of me enjoying this cigar. The flavors are really smooth with no bitterness or harshness. I would definitely buy a box of these cigars to enjoy and to share with others. I think women cigar smokers will also love the smaller ring gauges and mild, yet flavorful profile of this cigar. This Devil's Weed will tempt you to smoke it quickly so watch out! I guess the name is appropriate afterall.

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