My Weekend Cigar: The Vice, the Moon, and the Spider
Last weekend it was rain. This weekend the heat came on, and a sticky steamy heat it was, too. But by Sunday night, the weather had cooled down, and I sat out on my deck by the light of an almost full moon for one of the most relaxing cigar experiences I've enjoyed in quite some time. The cigar was the new MAXX by Alec Bradley "Vice" sample I received at the recent RTDA show. I had planned on smoking it last weekend, so soupy weather or not, I was determined to smoke this very tempting-looking, ample-sized cigar.
The MAXX Vice weighs in at a formidable 6½" x 62, but unlike the rest of the MAXX line, the cigar is box-pressed and comes in a luxurious, multi-tray humdior cabinet of 50 cigars. What's nice about that is, the box-press makes the extra-wide ring gauge much more manageable. And speaking of weight, this cigar has quite a bit of heft to it. It was perfectly packed; no soft spots, and the wrapper was drop-dead gorgeous. Perfectly tanned to an even, dark chocolate color, and the rectangular shape made it look even more like a candy bar.
The pre-light taste was extremely enticing. It was basically earthy with hints of nuts, cocoa and coffee. So I repaired to the deck with a glass of Cockburn's Special Reserve Port, which I thought would make a good pairing, settled into my chair, and fired-up.
The cigar lit perfectly and had a perfect draw. Gobs of thick creamy smoke came through the head with a rich, woody-earthy character dominated by a hazelnut flavor on a long finish. In-between sips of Port I eased back in the chair and looked at the moon rising above the trees. Every puff was full-flavored and exceptionally creamy.
Then something from the corner of my eye caught my attention in the flickering light of my tiki torch. From the tree that stands in front of my deck I saw a spider silently weaving his web for the night's catch. He was a sizeable little devil, too. He would drop down out of sight. A few moments later he would crawl back up to the branch he was working from. Then on his way back down, he would traverse left and right like a floating sailboat quickly changing tack as his deadly net began to take shape. I found this little miracle of nature under the moon & stars both entertaining and even more relaxing as I puffed away on my Vice.
It was just about at the end of the first third that the flavors really came alive. One thing I like to do sometimes, especially with a complex cigar like this, is to just hold the cigar between my teeth and let the smoke rise up toward my nose. A little smoke also swirls into the mouth, and between the aroma and the flavor in the smoke you can really "taste" those subtle nuances. In addition to the earthy, hazelnut flavor, I detected notes of almond, cocoa, coffee, white pepper, anise, and a little whiff of caramel. I should add that although I would classify the cigar as full-bodied, the smoke, was consistent in flavor and strength all the way to the end and was never overpowering.
An hour and a half and two glasses of Port later, I had put a very stressful week behind me and came back in the house extremely satisfied - just in time to catch the new episode of Entourage. Meanwhile, the spider kept diligently working away.
So here again, have another winner from Alec Bradley, a promising young cigar company that continues to top itself each year. Which reminds me; you may want to check out the new Alec Bradley Cigars website. They did a great job on that, too.