IT'S ALL ABOUT FORGIVENESS....
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Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero
From the Oliva Cigar web site:
"Serie V is a complex blend of Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos. Blended with specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero, and finished with a high priming Habano Sun Grown Wrapper.
This cigar is blended to deliver full body taste while maintaining an unparalleled smoothness. This flavorful blend exhibits complex tobacco with rich coffee and dark chocolate tones.
A subtle and well balanced spice is present throughout."
Skip and I were sitting in my kid's basement. I picked a couple of Oliva Serie V robustos. I had been letting them age as long as my willpower would let me.
This was Skip and Diane's second day in Chicago but they were staying with us. Skip was attending as little of the symposium he could muster since his company was paying the bills.
We had a big breakfast because this cigar is chock full of ligero. A very strong leaf from the plant. There are some cigar companies that specialize in heavy ligero blends. You gotta' be a real toughie to smoke those. Falling on your knees and placing your forehead on the ground has to be seen as part of the enjoyment of the cigar.
The stick has a triple cap giving off a sweet floral aroma. And it had a natural brown wrapper which is a little toothy and with a few visible veins.
The prelight aroma on my cigar had some dark cherry at the foot. I also get a dark chocolate with some various spices. I also get some nutty aromas.
I user my Xikar back stop cutter. It makes the cut foolproof.
The first few puffs are full of black pepper. The cigar sweetened up as it moved into the first half inch with a hint of clove. I picked up a hint of caramel. I grabbed my Xikar Enigma lighter.
As always, we reminisced. I reminded him of an event he'd like to forget. Me too. It was totally humiliating for him. It was 1974. I had just joined an English band that would morph into Curved Air. Our manager decided to build a band around the violin player. I played bass. Mick Jacques played guitar, Stewart Copeland played drums and Butch Hatcher was our lead singer.
Mussolini on the left. Me on the right.
We got a couple remedial gigs to see how the crowds would like us. Our first gig was in Nottingham. A few hours north of London.
We only got paid a few quid each but our manager, Miles, said we needed another roadie. I immediately suggested Skip. It was horrible work as he would only be working with one other guy.
The other roadie was a friend of Butch's. Another American. Skip was directed to drive the lorry full of equipment to Nottingham. The only problem was Skip had never driven a stick and had never driven on the left side of the road.
Naturally, he and the other guy got lost on their way up and spent a lot of time going through the same roundabouts over and over.
As we approach the second third, the primary note is wood, with some dark chocolate moving to the background. The cigar now has some bitter chocolate, coffee, and leather notes which gave it a strong full body. The spice is still present in the background.
The band got to Nottingham around 7pm. Skip plus 1 got there shortly before us and were still unloading. The band was supposed to go on at 9 and we needed a sound check. The violinist went nuts. This guy made Mussolini seem like a good natured waiter.
We all helped with setting up. Butch worked in the Carny circuit in the South and could breath fire which he planned to do during the encore. His buddy knew what to do for the prep. We watched as he smeared vaseline on his moustache and beard, and then lit a torch. The torch was a good 2 feet long. He then squirted half a can of lighter fluid into his mouth and blew it into the flame of the torch. It was like fireworks and was absolutely startling.
We did a sound check as people were coming in. No big deal. Skip was completely drowning in his own sweat trying to do a good job...a job he had never done.
We did the gig and Butch did his thing with fire breathing stunning the crowd, and us.
As soon as it was over, we all sat down in the measely dressing room. Skip plus 1 joined us to relax and shoot the shit. Mussolini screamed at them to start breaking the gear down. I was horrified that he treated people this way but said nothing. Shame on me.
About an hour later, the boys were only half way through packing up. Mussolini suggested we go get something to eat. We started to walk out and I will remember this until the day I die.
Skip was on stage, spewing sweat. He asked where I was going? Sheepishly, I said I had to go with the band. It was expected. His head dropped in utter disappointment. "You're not coming with us on the road home?"
He turned around and continued his job for which he got paid 5 Pounds Sterling. The band made 10 each.
I was miserable the whole way home and said nothing during the jubilant pat ourselves on the back ride. I betrayed my best friend. How could I ever make this up to him?
The last third crisply builds with distinct flavors of dark, unsweetened chocolate and black coffee.
Thoroughly satisfying. This is by far the smoothest full bodied cigar I've smoked.
Thank God Skip is a forgiving soul.
***All photos by Katmancross