Monday, August 13, 2007

My Weekend Cigar: Stradivarius Under the Stars


By Gary Korb

One of the most talked-about new cigars at RTDA was the "Stradivarius de los Maestros," a new three frontmark series from General Cigar. Stradivarius was created by a select team of tobacco "virtuosos" specially chosen by General Cigar president and master blender, Daniel Núñez, to create an extraordinary premium cigar. (At an average of $32/cigar SRP the price is extraordinary, too.)

Stradivarius consists of a specially selected, Dominican, Nicaraguan and Mexican leaf filler blend, a two year, tercio-aged Dominican Havana seed binder, and a pristine Connecticut Shade wrapper that General Cigar has had in their reserves for almost 15 years. The samples that were given out at the show were the 6 ¾” x 43 Lonsdale, which is the cigar I smoked last night under what I thought would be ideal conditions - and they were.

Every year over one million people descend on the little town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for "Musikfest," a 10 day-long music festival where you can hear just about every genre of music from obscure singer-songwriters to world-renown pop-stars. The festival closes on Sunday night with a spectacular fireworks display which I thought would be the perfect opportunity to "tune-up" my Strad'.

The wrapper color was light brown and even in tone throughout with an appealing copper-like patina. The cap popped-off in a perfect little circle and the cigar drew perfectly. The foot lit evenly across and the first few puffs, were soft, smooth and creamy with a wonderful aroma. The cigar also had one of the best ashes I've ever seen, hanging on for almost 2½ inches. The cigar was mild and mellow with a slightly nutty taste and a hint of nutmeg on the finish.

If I had to compare this new cigar with another fine Núñez creation, it would probably be the Macanudo Vintage 2000 series. As the cigar burned toward the center it improved in flavor, yet maintained its mellow character. I nubbed it, and between the rockets red glare and the glow of my Stradivarius, it made for a most harmonious evening.

Note: The word from General is that Stradivarius will be available in the U.S. in time for this year's Holiday season, which will also make it an ideal gift item.

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