First Tasting (Matt)
Date Reviewed: March 4th, 2011
Cigar Date: 2009 Jar Release (on shelves 2010)
Alright, this is admittedly a strange way to start a cigar review, but has everyone seen that cheesy Extenze commercial with the “husband and wife”, and one of them says in a particularly gullible voice “This could be interesting!” Yeah? With that, let me introduce the Partagas Serie P No 1.
As soon as I brought a flame to the foot, there was a strong aroma of dried hay and heated, melting chocolate. “This could be interesting!”
The Serie P No 1 started out predominantly with hay and grass notes, but it had a sweeter element that tasted much like chewing on sugar cane. It delivered the raw sugar taste (think of those packets of Sugar in the Raw), but retained the grassy elements of the stalk.
Despite the plant-laden flavor profile, that chocolate note from the initial light jumped in and out all the way to the nub. It created an unpredictable element for the cigar, which aside from the chocolate was more consistent than anything else. At times, the chocolate flavor came in like the liquid form found on those fondue-style chocolate fountains; heated, melted, and maybe slightly burned.
Construction was pretty solid, as one would expect. The draw was moderately tight, but not too tight to prevent drawing sufficient smoke. The ash hung on for at least an inch and half before falling off for the first ashing. There was one burn issue, where one side seemed to miss the train while the other side was down a station or two… but this might have been due to a gentle breeze. I didn’t think that breeze was strong enough to cause this issue, but I’m willing to chalk it up, as after a touch up the burn was even til the end.
After the halfway point, the cigar highlighted its youth, to some degree. From the beginning the flavor had been a bit disjointed; it really didn’t meld well, which isn’t to say the flavor wasn’t enjoyable or particularly atypical for a Partagas cigar… it just hadn’t meshed together yet.
Final Thoughts: The flavor profile picked up a couple of the typical Partagas flavors, and showed promise. The notes consisted primarily of dried hay, grass, cane sugar, and periodic chocolate. Construction was up to expectations, as was performance.
Aging Thoughts: Let ‘em sit. While this was enjoyable, it was clearly in need of a bit more time. In fact, I’m inclined to think that the proper course of action is to seal these in the jar they came in and let them sit til they’re at the five year mark or so, and then revisit them. The flavors were defined and strong, but they didn’t quite work together. Plus, there was a bit of youth after the halfway mark. Would it hurt to smoke a couple now? No, but if you have a jar, try to hide them in the back of the humi for a pleasant surprise sometime down the road.
Second Tasting (Jim)
Date Reviewed: March 5th, 2011
Cigar Date: 2009 Jar Release (on shelves 2010)
After reading Matt’s review this morning… he solidified my afternoon smoke for me! I actually ended up getting three of the Partagas Serie P No.1 (PSP1) jars when they came out. One was done on a split and I raffled the jar away… I gifted a ton of them off… smoked a few… and am now down to just over a jar’s worth! So much for “I’m gonna let these puppies age,” right?!
The very first thing I noticed when they started coming in… was how stinkin’ large the jar actually is! I’m not sure what I expected, really… and I had seen the pictures… but given the size of the smoke (petite piramides), I guess I wasn’t expecting this 8.5 x 6 x 6 box!
[btw - forgive us for our photography... we're not pros... and we don't steal imagery...... just using our BlackBerry camera phones - will try to get better and have already gotten some great suggestions how!]
The ceramic jar itself is equally magnificent! Inside the box, it’s held in place pretty well with styrofoam and comes with its own humidification device. The jar is lined with cedar and the sticks are pretty well packed in… which is why one is tissue-wrapped with a sort of tissue-pigtail to grab and pull out first.
I ended up with a little bit of foot damage on a couple sticks because I wasn’t initially smart enough to just take them out and stick ‘em in a humi. As I started gifting sticks away… the ones left ended up slanted and moving around quite a bit…… oops; lesson learned, right?
It was in the mid to high 70s out here this afternoon (yeah… I know… sorry guys…), so I felt too warm for wine…… and too lazy to mix up a cocktail of some sort. Beer it is then! I snagged a Hoegaarden from the fridge and headed to one of my back patio tables to smoke and watch the dogs run around.
I gave her a whiff and the wrapper smell actually seemed very faint today… definite leather, but that’s about it. Before lighting, the draw was fantastic and actually already tasted a little bit like that signature Partagas earth with a tad bit of spice on the lips.
As I lit up, that eartiness was certainly apparent… but was somewhat overpowered with some grassy notes that just immediately signaled the need for some more age in my opinion. I was getting a lot of that leathery taste on my lips but that spice only seemed really present toward the back of my throat at the beginning.
As I progressed onward, the spice seemed to disappear and give room to a little bit of sweet cedar flavor and some hints of cocoa and coffee. All of the flavors were really hard to pin down…… it felt like it changed with every puff; the whole smoke was a rollercoaster ride from leathery earthiness to sweet cedar with cocoa and coffee… and then back again (all the while that grassy flavor hung on and the spice never came back)! That might sound great in writing… but, in reality, it just tasted like it needed some more time to refine into its own character.
I did have one slight burn correction to take care of, but the cigar generally drew very smoothly all the way to the nub… and had a sort of toasty character in the back end!
Final Thoughts: The flavors did carry some of those signature Partagas notes we all love… but were very inconsistent thoughout the smoke. I guess sometimes it’s a fine line a cigar can walk between “inconsistent” and “complex,” but this one felt like it simply had the former characteristics alone. The draw and burn were some of the best I’ve had in a while, though… and the flavors WERE good… just all over the map!
Aging Thoughts: I think age is EXACTLY what these little fellas need to really come into their own. I really can’t wait to see what happens with all of those flavors once that grassiness is gone and they’ve had some time to get to know each other… there’s some real potential for this to become a killer smoke a few years down the road!