Blind Review 2016-03
Blind Review: Martinez "Pasión"
Welcome to 2016 blind review number 3 - another great cigar you've probably not heard of! With the IPCPR 2016 show coming up this next week, we're going to increase our publication frequency a little. We'll tweet out and post updates to Facebook as they come. And this one, you just have to read!
Background: Cigar Weekly has a tradition of doing blind reviews of new and/or boutique cigars whenever the maker asks.
Cigar Weekly's blind reviews are scored by a panel, and averaged using 7 criteria within a 50 point scale.
How it works: Cigar Weekly members volunteer for the task, and are asked to complete the review by smoking both samples within a two to three week window. They are requested to take copious notes, and then to enter their data into an online form. It's the 21st century, right? We used to use paper…
We do not require that the maker be an advertiser, nor do we charge a fee for these reviews.
We do ask the maker to send the cigars to a central location, and provide $35 to reimburse some of the shipping charges. All cigars are de-banded and shipped to the volunteer reviewers by priority mail.
The results are compiled, scores tabulated, and then the article is written up for publication.
Interested in participating? Well, you need to be a member of the forums! You can register – it’s always free – at http://j.mp/cw-reg
Ok - Enough of the background stuff, right? Let's cut to the meat of the matter at hand - the Martinez Pasión robusto!
You may recognize Martinez - we reviewed their FlatIron some months back. The folks at Martinez were so excited about our review, they asked us to do both the open review and the blind. Made in New York - yes, you read that right - New York City, in a factory at 171 West 29th street! You can read more about them on their website at MartinezCigars.com.
The Pasión is described as a 5x44, featuring an aged blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran long filler tobaccos and wrapped in a spicy Nicaraguan leaf. With a lighter draw, this medium to full-bodied cigar provides complex, spicy notes with strong peppery hints. Let's see what the panel thought. Ready? Let us begin!
Nathan Hale (NHale1300), Jeff Nichols (Jester), Tom Smitty (GrouchoM) and Jeff Slatton (Jefslat) formed the panel for this review. Our fifth reviewer was unable to finish the review due to personal reasons. My scores are included in the average, but I will omit any personal comments since I knew what the cigar was.
Appearance and Construction:
Color, texture, cap, and bunch are rated here. The consensus from the panel was:
Texture: Medium, one vote for rich
Cap and Head: Smooth (unanimous)
Bunch: Firm/even (two votes for soft)
Average Reviewer Score = 4.3 / 5
Pre-Smoke Comments: (Most positive and most negative)
Jeff Nichols: These are nice looking smokes to me. Maddy in Robusto is something I'm likely to buy on my own.
Nathan Hale: Both samples were soft and one went out twice. The other started unraveling at about an inch in. The seams were tight and almost nonexistent.
Construction was a little inconsistent, but not annoyingly so for the group over all to have garnered a 4.3.
The coal, ash and ash structure, as well as any burn problems, are rated here.
Overall Burn: Even (one uneven)
Coal: Flat (4 of 5 reviewers)
Ash Color: "Gray" to "Dark gray", one vote on Salt and Pepper
Ash Structure: Typical (this typically indicates good internal construction similar to other cigars the reviewer may smoke)
Problems: Two of our reviewers reported problems - unraveling of the wrapper at some point, and tunneling. Unraveling can be attributed to any number of factors, including our removing of the bands. Tunneling can be uneven bunch, moisture, or other.
Average Reviewer Score = 4.0 / 5
While they observed the burn, the panel also assessed the cigar during their smoke for draw and aroma.
Draw and Aroma:
Two of the most important parts of cigar enjoyment (and these are also fairly subjective, though a plugged cigar is a plugged cigar!) are DRAW – how well you can pull through the cigar (the draw) - and AROMA - how the smoke smells, feels and tastes. These are each rated on a 5 point scale. You might ask, "Taste?" Yes, aroma and smell have a huge impact on the overall flavors you get from a cigar.
Draw: Easy (3) with two votes for perfect.
Draw Score: 3.8/5
Aroma / Room smoke: Fragrant was the predominant choice.
Aroma Score: 4.2/5
The “Smoke” is the next category, and it's rated on a 10 point scale. The Smoke includes judging some more subjective categories like flavor, body, strength and balance. Remember, these are subjective – you may not agree, and every palate is different – so we’ll provide as much detail here as we can.
Richness: Medium (3) or ample (2) was the dominant appraisal of our judges
Balance: Perfect (4) and unequal (1) were the opinions voiced here, and it seemed that the judges enjoyed the profile of the cigar.
Strength: The consensus here is Medium Full, the judges feeling that most smokers would find this cigar on the full end of the strength scale. In cigars, strength is one of the most subjective and debated characteristics. One felt the cigar was Medium in strength.
Body: Medium was the consensus our judges tallied here, with one judge counting the body as "generous". A generous body means he felt that the cigar smoke filled his mouth in a very satisfying way.
Flavor: The following key words were selected by our judges to define the flavor of the cigar as they smoked it:
|Nathan||medium, earthy, grassy, woody|
Over All Smoke Score: 7.8 (out of 10)
The next category goes right after the tastebuds, as our ju39dges are asked to frame the taste and aftertaste of the cigar. I always find this part most interesting! Hope you do too!
Sweetness: Medium (3) and Light(2) were the scores here.
Bittterness: Light was selected by 4 of the reviewers, with one detecting none.
Burn on tongue: Light was the unanimous decision of the review panel here.. The cigar provided a smooth smoke on the tongue.
Sharpness: Light. Sharpness is usually detected on the back of the palate
Saltiness: None was the consensus score here, with two judges saying medium. Saltiness represents a mineral component taste in the cigar.
Score: 7.8 /10
Smoke Comments: (Most positive and most negative)
Jeff Nichols: Really enjoyed both of them. While not overly complex I detected enough pepper, cream, sweetness and dare I say molasses? It was enough to take me back to the cigar when I drew on it. I like that. I want a cigar to ask me to pay attention, to gently intrude on my smoking reverie.
Nathan Hale: Floral and adequate output.
(With a score of 7.8, not much negative to say!)
Finally, we ask for a summary / overall impression of the cigar.
In the summary, we ask for the reviewer to judge the 'character' of the cigar. Character, just like with people, is subjective… It’s like, "Would you hang out with that guy?" or, "What do you think about that person?" Reviewers select from key words like common, coarse, elegant and/or pedigreed to share their impressions.
Our consensus leaned very much toward the favorable end, with Agreeable, Elegant, and Distinguished being the selected responses.
They also scored the overall 'body' of the cigar as medium. Over all "quality rank" was Great or Good, with one reviewer rating Fair.
Summary score: 7.9/10
The reviewer’s closing summary comments:
|These cigars are soft, loose, but flavorful. The balance is good along with the body and strength. I'd like to try it again with some age and see what that does.
Very pleasant medium-body cigar, well constructed.
To sum it quickly I would say that after I find out what this one is I will buy some and add them to my humi. This stick hits enough of my sweet spots that at the right price point I would probably invest significantly.
I was bothered a bit by the construction issues that were present. Flavor profile was not complex and to be fair I expected a lot more.
It appears from some comments that some issues bothered our panel, but based on the over all score not horribly so. How did it rate?
Total Score 39.8! An EXCELLENT on the verge of Outstanding!
Cigar Weekly’s 50 Point Scale
|Av. Score||Stars||Rating description|
|0 – 9||1||Not recommended|
|30-34||3 1/2||Above Average|
So there you have it, Followers and Fans - Blind Review 2016 number 003 is in the books! And it's a good one. Seems like the folks over at Martinez have some very tasty cigars. Perhaps we'll be treated to another one later in the year!
Enjoy a few photos shared by reviewer Tom Smitty: