Friday, August 20, 2010

Blind tasting experiments - Part 1

At the moment I'm doing another blind tasting experiment with a bunch of guys.... we'd this back in the past two times before and it´s always very interesting... I'll publish the results of the third one end of September but lemme show you know the results of the first two.

Let's start with the first tasting wich was made with Robusto sized cigars.

Within the scope of the blind tasting 3 different cigars have been given out in different combinations (each containing two cigars out of this 3) to 27 participants.

The following cigars had been selected:
  • Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2
  • Partagas Series D No. 4
  • Montecristo Open Master
The following combinations had been realized:
  • Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas Series D No. 4
  • Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo Open Master
  • Partagas Series D No. 4, Montecristo Open Master
Theoretically it would have also been possible to dispatch 2 identical cigars, in this case, however, this was not done. Due to the fact that nobody knew what cigar the others had it exchange of impressions was reduced to a minimum (which was intended to get a neutral impression of every person).

The participants knew that all cigars were classical Robustos from the standard range, no Hermosos No. 4, but they didn't know which cigars I've chosen.

At first you can find the summary of the results:

The Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 was
  • recognized by 3 participants.
  • identified by 5 participants as Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2.
  • identified by 3 participants as Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
  • identified by 1 participant as Cohiba Robusto.
  • identified by 1 participant as Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.
  • identified by 1 participant as El Rey del Mundo Choix Supreme.
  • not assigned by 4 participants.
The impressions of the participants who wrote some words down are as follows:
Candidate 1 , wrong guess:
No. 3 tasted like a very young Upmann and due to the fact that I didn’t measure exactly, I guess it is a Connaisseur No. 1 (I know that it is an Hermosos No. 4, cuz there is no Upmann Robusto in the standard range). After telling this guy again that I only took Robustos he decided that it was a Cohiba Robusto

Candidate 2 , right guess:
I guess that No. 13 is a Hoyo. The construction of the cigar is a bit worse and the taste wasn’t good also. But it was very light and due to this I guess it was a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Nr. 2.

Candidate 3 , right guess:
No. 4 is a HdM Epi No. 2. I know, of course, that this guess is wrong… I’m used to it.

Candidate 4 , wrong guess:
My guess for cigar No. 14: Ramon Allones Specially Selected Cabinet
Completely underfilled cigar which has been rolled so loose that the ash flew away in big pieces while purging. Due to this a biting and unpleasant taste, it seemed like they’d forgot the Ligero. No development during the smoke. Ugly aromas of wet card box and coal or pencil. Threw it behind an olive tree after two thirds.
Reminded me of some shitty, young Ramon Allones Specially Selected from 2008/9. Cabinet due to the impression of the silk band.

Candidate 5 , wrong guess:
Cigar No. 10
Cold smell: cacao, cappuccino
Visual impression: dark and rough wrapper, rolled well
Burn: ruler-straight, fine ash
Draw: nearly perfect
Aroma and taste: intensive aroma of spices, decent sweetness
Guess: Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill

Candidate 6 , wrong guess:
I smoked cigar No. 17, to be precisely I smokeda pp. 30 % of it. The cigar itself looked fantastic, had some smell of horse stable and during the smoke I had a very soapy taste in the mouth, it seemed like biting in a piece of soap. Maybe I had a bad day.... I guess it was a Juan Lopez Sel 2.

Candidate 7 , right guess:
No. 16: When I smoked this cigar the first thought which came to my mind was: this is no cuban cigar. Only some decent aromas... While smoking it some more aromas came up and I started to doubt... My guess is: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2.

Candidate 8 , wrong guess:
No. 05: Juan López Selección No. 2 (2005/2006); First I thought it is a Hoyo, but then I changed my mind, cuz I missed the decent woody flavor. At half way through the cigar some coffee aroma came up which is even more intensive at the JL’s that came to the market lately.

Candidate 9 , wrong guess:
No. 9: Juan Lopez - Seleccion No.2
My impression were: floral, coffee-like roast notes, mild to medium
I fit hasn’t been excluded I had guessed it was a Upmann 160.

Candidate 10 , wrong guess:
My guess: Ramon Allones Specially Selected (the ones from HK tasted the same in the beginning)
I put No.12 aside after smoking it for 15 minutes, cuz it was totally bitter. I smoked the cigar at 1 pm but the taste of the Montecristo No. 2 I smoked in the evening was still influenced….Draw and burn had been perfect.

Candidate 11 , wrong guess:
Prolly No. 18 (Candidate wasn’t sure about the no. cuz he threw away the ziplock with the no.): Ramon Allones Specially Selected
The first cigar I smoked was very bitchy, it was plugged and hard to smoke. In the second third it had a very acid-like touch so I put it away.

Candidate 12 , no guess:
No. 2: The cigar tasted aweful, I put it aside after 3 draws. I have no clue what it was

Candidate 13 , wrong guess:
For No. 8 the decision was very easy: it is a Juan Lopez Selección No. 2.
Impressions: woody aromas dominate and every time when I smoke this cigar I dislike it in the end. It gets a bit bitter.

The Partagas series D No. 4 was
  • recognized by 1 participant.
  • identified by 1 participant as Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2.
  • identified by 3 participants identifies as Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
  • identified by 2 participants identifies as Cohiba Robusto.
  • identified by 1 participant as Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.
  • identified by 2 participants as Bolivar Royal Corona.
  • identified by 3 participants as Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2.
  • identified by 1 participant as Montecristo Open Master.
  • not assigned by 5 participants.
The impressions of the participants who wrote some words down are as follows:
Candidate 1 , wrong guess:
Cigar No.20 was the nicer one of the two that I had. Perfect construction, very good rolled and a marble head.
The colorado colored wrapper is fine and a bit oily. (My other cigar with No. 49 has nearly the same color but the wrapper is more rough and matt)
The cigar seems to have nearly no box pressing, but there are two slightly flat sides. The cold smell is intensive and leathery, added by a spicey note, that I cannot explain. I always think of „overfertilized“ – like Cameroon wrappers on NC’s.
The draw is pleasant, a bit on the light side. The best description for the draw during the smoke is effortless, the burn itself is perfect.
The taste is very leathery creamy and present. Nearly like a mature, pleasant taste in the nose. Added by some malt coffee and vanilla. Every now and then I get the impression of some grassiness, but I’m not sure if it is really grass….
After the first third the cigar shows ist youth. The grasiness is now more the harshness of a young cigar. Although it is a bit bitter the smoke and the smell is still very pleasant.
It doesn’t change more and stays pleasant to smoke until the end... smoking time is app. 1 hour.
I still stick to my first thought, even if the cigar tells me that I loose the joy of smoking cigars.
Maybe I’m wrong but I think it is a Cohiba Robusto. Of all Robustos that I smoked the last years (and which are nearly fresh) it fits the profile best. Esepcially the creamy malt coffee flavor proved this impression.
I miss too much that I could say it is another one. A black box is still for me the Montecristo Open and the RyJ Short Churchill. I could have smoked the last one as a comparison, but I didn’t want to.

Candidate 2 , wrong guess:
stick #31: the mere weight of this stick was telling me it was over-filled. i was hoping it was just my imagination as i can't remember the last tight drawing robusto i've had. clipped cap and cold draw told the same story.
i put my trusty draw poker (aka bbq stick) to use and fired up. needless to say, this cigar was a certi-fied dowel. i'd normally pitch it but decided to struggle through it in the spirit of this review.
i'd hoped it would open up at some point but no luck. tight the whole way through and burned especially hot and bitter towards the end. in lieu of the construction issues, i cannot fairly rate this cigar. it was unable to present any part of it's true personality and i have absolutely no guess as to what this cigar's marca was.

Candidate 3 , wrong guess:
Cigar No. 35
Cold smell: Leather, coffee
Visual impression:very nice Colorado colored wrapper, rolled firm
Burn: very light ash in the first third
Draw: cigar is plugged, nearly impossible to smoke it.
Aroma and flavor: nice aroma from a certain earthiness to coffee and notes of nuts
Guess: Bolivar Royal Corona

Candidate 4 , wrong guess:
No. 36... My guess: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2
My impressions: interesting development during the smoke with increasing intensity towards the end, very sweet in the mouth (maybe also the consequence of the Hoyo Margarithas that I smoked before),in the end it was really “meaty”.Young stogie (not older than 2 yrs.).
Additionally I have to say that I thought both are cabinett versions (cause there was no pressing at all). The color of the wrappers was nearly identical, they could have been outta the same box. Due tot he fact that I tasted something like cat piss in cigar No. 47 (the other one), I decided that they are different. I’m not sure how the cigars got this wet cardbox smell after I received them. After 2 weeks in a Tubo it seemed that it has gone.

Candidate 5 , wrong guess:
For No. 25 I guess it is a Bolivar Royal Corona.

Candidate 6 , wrong guess:
No. 28: RyJ Short Churchill, but I have them in mind to be better
Why? A bit flat, boring and tasteless in the beginning. But during the smoke it improved. A certain sweetness, lot of true tobacco flavor, some pepper. Seems to be very young, maybe sick at the moment?

Candidate 7 , wrong guess:
No. 22: Montecristo »Open« Master; didn’t taste like Cuba and had light spicey bouquet, like the ones that I tried before. Unfortunately no development during the smoke.

Candidate 8 , right guess:
No. 29: Partagas - Serie D No.4
My impressions: fruity, a bit green, moldy tobacco
I fit hasn’t been rolled so tight and burnt so hard, maybe I had changed my guess to a Monte Open - Master.

Candidate 9 , wrong guess:
My guess: No.24 is an older Ramon Allones Specially Selected or maybe a JL No.2
Maybe it was a mistake to wait with no. 24 one more week after the first one, maybe my constitution was different. I smoked the cigar until the end and in the last third it it had some bitter notes, but the mouth taste was very pleasant. Draw and burn also perfect.

Candidate 10 , wrong guess:
The second cigar (no. 49), is probably a Ramon Allones Specially Selected
After the first inch very decent woody notes, which get more intensive during the smoke. Sometimes some chocolate peaked up but without covering the wood and tobacco flavors. Unfortunately it “exploded” in the second third and I smoked a smoked a feather duster until the end.

Candidate 11 , wrong guess:
At first I tought that No. 26 is a RASS but then it got very grassy. There was an impressing bouquet of roast flavors, I only knew this from old Montes.... The development was fantastic, the roast aromas got more intensive based on a background of herbal and grassy notes. Completed by a decent honey sweetness which came from the wrapper for sure. Very intensive aromas which lead to one decision: this was a Cohiba Robusto. (or just a RASS....)

Candidate 12 , wrong guess:
For me the cigar was very light, nearly no aroma, very even burn – to make a long story short: Juan Lopez - Selección No.2

The Montecristo Open Master was
  • recognized by 4 participants.
  • identified by1 participant as Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2.
  • identified by1 participant identifies as Ramon Allones Specially Selected.
  • identified by3 participants as Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2.
  • identified by3 participants as Partagas Series D No. 4.
  • identified by1 participant as Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill.
  • identified by1 participant identifies as Vegas Robaina Famosos.
  • not assigned by 4 participants.
The impressions of the participants who wrote some words down are as follows:

Candidate 1 , wrong guess:
No. 44: The visual impressions leads to the conclusion that it is a cigar outta a cabinett ("long leafes", not "boxpressed", ...), the head is perfectly round, th wrapper very fine, a lil shiny / oily and has a slight shine of red.
Directly after firing up the cigar I thought: “I know this cigar, I have smoked it regularily.” The cigar is light, creamy and isn’t biting, the rolling is very loose, the burn a bit uneven, the ash is not very firm.
To make a long story short: Romeo y Julieta - Short Churchill.

Candidate 2 , right guess:
Cigar No.49: Colorado colored, rough and matt wrapper with some big veins, one vein is cracked at the foot of the cigar. Slight pressing at both sides.
The cold smell is surprising and pleasant, leathery sweet after a few days in the humidor. Hints of dried fruits (fig).
Constructions seems to be good, rolling also looks well. Draw is medium, that’s fine, a bit better than cigar no. 20.
Interesting: very hard to light it up
From the beginning a hollow, blank, cardbox-haylike taste. A bit biting and mouth covering. Taste is very bad, burnt cardbox.
The cigar is hollow and biting during the whole smoke, burn and ash is perfect over the whole length.
With some good will I can taste some bean flavors, but it is very, very, very…. Ok.. somewhere in the background (something like vanilla flavor which can be found in really good Montecristos).
After halfway through the cigar I realize that the cigar covers my palate very unppleasently – not oily but mouth drying, maybe tannin.
I take a lil drop of my Ardbeg to clean the mouth but it doesn’t reach the tongue. Normally this Whisky is very intensive but now it is tasting like a cheap Schnaps, no peat just some fruitiness.
I’m thinking all the time to quit this cigar but I smoked it until the last third where I’d been honored with 3 or 4 draws of a real creaminess.
On the whole the cigar has no noticable aromas. The very unpleasant after taste of this cigar is very intensive.
The smell in the room is also very unpleasant, only biting. Hot air, nothing else.
In the beginning I thought for a moment of an ugly Dic07 PSD4 which I had a while ago, but this cigar was even worse.
Guided by these negative impressions I guess that it is a Montecristo Open "Master".
Maybe it is prejudiced thinking but the cigar was to light to take others into account. Even strength wasn’t there...

Candidate 3 , right guess:
Stick #37: the wrapper on this was lighter than the first with a smoother sheen to it. this cigar seemed light and true enough, cold draw revealed much less than resistance than i'd like. if smell of the cigar itself is any indication of it's flavors - i expect this cigar to be bland.
once lit, i was met with copious amounts of smoke - the only upside to this robusto. flavors were unlike anything i've had before and actually tasted like a hybrid nc/cc cigar. it was truly one dimen-sional the whole way through and tonight was one of the few times i got bored smoking.
my guess is this is the Monte Open.

Candidate 4 , wrong guess:
No. 47... My guess: Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2
My impressions: During the first puffs it was a Hoyo. But then the typical hints of cat piss came up which I only know from JL’s between 1 and 3 years. Later on this animalish note faded away and the cigar came up with some wood aromas. Due to the fact that the JL Sel. No. 2 is one of my favorite cigars and that I liked Robusto #47 (better than #26) II decided myself for this cigar.

Candidate 5 , wrong guess:
No. 46 reminded me of this years HEW-cigar (contest in Germany). Due to the fact that the VR Famosos is no Robusto I have to guess: Partagas D4

Candidate 6 , right guess:
No. 50: Montecristo Open Master
Why? Very light draw, on the whole a light cigar, tasted a bit green. In the beginning some pepper and some hints of cinnamon, which faded away very fast. Later on some notes of bread, but all boring. I didn’t smoke it before but that is how I would expect this cigar.

Candidate 7 , wrong guess:
No. 54: Much better than the first cigar.... Wow... intensive flavors, more complex, but also a bit biting, unbalanced. A bit harsh. I only know this from D4’s, but I don’t think of this cigar due to the taste. I think it is a Vegas Robaina Famosos.

Candidate 8 , wrong guess:
Smoked no. 42 at the beach. Although it was windy the burn was perfect and even, very good con-struction of the ash, good and firm draw. Pleasant and intensive taste, enough spicyness. I would describe the aroma as very good tobacco with leathery and slightly woody taste added by some pepper and curry. Smoked it down to a 1/5 inch, at the end it got biting.I think it is a Hoyo Epicure No. 2

Candidate 9 , wrong guess:
No. 05: Juan López Selección No. 2 (2005/2006); First I thought that it is a Hoyo, but I took another decision cuz I missed the woody flavors. In the second half there was an intensive aroma of coffee which is more intensive at latest JL releases.

Candidate 10 , wrong guess:
No. 51 was a Partagas Serie D No. 4

The result was interesting, especially regarding the impressions about the Montecristo Open, which was really liked by some of the participants.

One of my intentions was to get a neutral impression about the Montecristo Open. The result shows to contrary opinions: some said it was boring, flat, like a Dom. Rep.... others said it was strong and tasty.