by J.S. Holland
Last night I was at Ernesto's sippin' Blue Moon with my usual crew of East-end oddfellows. The lively bar-talk included such topics as Zachary Taylor, Zachary Taylor's daughter who married Jefferson Davis, Jefferson Davis' Inn, Pass-a-Grille, Valkyrie vs. Inglourious Basterds, and Steve Nunn avoiding the death penalty. Finally I wandered out into the night, and decided to confer with my friend Drew Estate under the starry skies. I slapped my shirt's breast pocket; it was empty. I'd forgotten to tuck a cigar into it when I left the house.
It wasn't that late, but it was late enough that Cox's was closed. I didn't feel like tootling all over the city looking for a noctural tobacconist, so I ducked into Walgreen's. I'm less picky about my cigars than my pipe tobacco - some of the drugstore junk I've discussed here, like Red Cap and Prince Albert and Middleton's Cherry, were so nasty I won't even smoke them. (You want them? Contact me, I'll give them to you. Only one briar bowl smoked from each.) But cigars? Eh. I'm easy. The only stogies I've really crushed out and walked away from are ones that are stale and taste cardboardy, and ones that were rolled so tightly it's like trying to smoke a roll of electrical tape.
Which brings us to last night's drunken drugstore selection: It's called Blender's Gold, and I got a 4-pack of 'em for a mere $9.99. Now, I firmly believe you get what you pay for, so I had every right to expect a $2.50 cigar to be a disaster, right? But me and the Blender had a real good time, and I daresay I'll invest in another pack of these after I exhaust my supply here. They're leathery, simple and no-nonsense, like something a boxer would smoke in 1921, or maybe like the boxer himself. Oscuro addicts would call these things unsmokeably mild; bland even. There's a disconcerting rubberiness to the texture, and there is a certain sensation at first that you're actually smoking cabbage or lambskin or something, but this passes quickly. The bulk of the cigar was fairly consistently tasty all the way through.
I know you'll probably never buy one, at least not in a 4-pack and at least not after I said "lambskin". C'mon over to the plantation and you can bum one of mine. You'll see. It ain't that bad. Check it, it really is gold. Especially for the price. As my bud Tom says:
This was an OK low to mid medium bodied cigar. Sure, it was one dimensional and this particular cigar had some burn issues, but as a whole they give you your $2.00 worth. It’s not like every one you smoke will have issues. If you are on a budget, I say give these a try.
I did, in fact, suffer the same burn issues he spoke of. Although I lit it precisely and evenly and it burned just fine for the first half, it began to get drastically sidegoggledy and falling apart in my hand by the end (as you can see in the photo.) Weird thing is, though, the ad copy on the packaging says "The rich maduro wrappers have been selected for consistency of taste and area found only in the best of the world's fine cigars." Maduro? Really? Uh.... guys, these wrappers are pale as Chai tea, what're you talkin' about Maduros?