Saturday, August 23, 2014

‘Have a Rose Croix cigar’

Don’t ask me where one might buy a Rose Croix cigar, but evidently a limited number of the sticks were released late last year by Singularé. Made in Estelí, Nicaragua, it is a Nicaraguan puro measuring seven inches with a 46 ring. Basically a Churchill shape.

MSRP on single sticks is $12.85, and a box of 15 costs $192.75.

The reason for the cigar’s name is unknown. There’s hardly any publicity on the product, except for quick announcements in January about its release. With a name that lends itself to rich and historic symbolic illustration, one would think the packaging would display some pizzazz but, again, the brand is mute. Reviewing the cigar, says:

At first appearance, the Illusione Singularé 2013 Rose Croix doesn’t offer any over the top embellishments or visual traits that make it standout, but that is in fact what makes it such an appealing cigar. It is a gorgeous shade of brown: what I would describe as between a colorado rosado and colorado maduro, with a good bit of sheen and some toothiness. The veins are prominent and the roll isn’t perfectly smooth, allowing for a bit of give when squeezed while also showing the occasional firm spot. The band is the same one that has been used on previous Singularé releases, white and silver with a black EL on the backside indicating that it is a limited edition. The pre-light aroma coming off the foot is slightly sweet, with notes of cherry and a touch of cinnamon stick at first impression, with a bit of leather in the background. The cold draw on two of the cigars is much too easy and shows hardly any resistance, while the other two are much more dialed in. Both deliver notes of chocolate with just the slightest hint of pepper, and even a touch of mint was found.

The first puffs are smooth with a pinch of white pepper and allow for an easing into the Illusione Singularé 2013 Rose Croix, but it only takes a few more and both some sweetness and more pronounced pepper notes start developing and the cigar begins to show itself. The first retrohale has plenty of pepper but manages to remain enjoyable, though in measured amounts. The burn line starts to go a bit askew in the first inch, while smoke production is average at its lowest levels and picks up from there. Notes of leather and wood are subtle but present on the palate while the pepper notes tend to grab most of the attention—particularly in the nose—yet are far from overpowering, earning this cigar a mild-plus or medium-minus rating as far as strength in the early going. It is very clean and balanced, almost to the point of being refined beyond what most tobacco tends to deliver. The intensity of the flavors begins to back off in preparation for the second third, remaining present but subdued and drawing the senses into them as opposed to reaching out for them.

The Illusione Singularé 2013 Rose Croix mellows out quite noticeable at the beginning of the second third, which allows for a resting and clearing of the taste buds and olfactory receptors. The nose is the first thing reengaged by the cigar, with a fairly light note of warm wood wafting off the cigar as it rests, followed by a touch of sweetness on the tongue and an increasing creaminess. It’s just a bit doughy at first before returning with a more pronounced wood note and very gentle pepper, giving it a mild-medium body and strength. Past the midway point, there is an increased amount of pepper on the retrohale and is now much tougher to retrohale just the smallest amount of smoke. The smoke seems to add just a touch of thickness as it moves into the second half, while the burn line has gotten itself corrected and is burning much straighter and evenly.


The final third proved to be the one with the most differing results. Among all four cigars, a very distinct but mild leather note starts to come out in the cigar’s aroma at the beginning of the final third, which starts to slowly morph into a chewy, chalky note that takes the burn line to the band. However, when it’s time to take the band of the Illusione Singularé 2013 Rose Croix off, things finish in a number of different directions. On the first cigar, a new note comes along that combines just the slightest bit of toasted wood with a thick, cherry sweetness that shows off a completely new side of the cigar. On another, it was just a touch sour and didn’t have any sweetness. Two cigars presented a much more vibrant wood note, almost sharp on the tongue that again hadn’t been found previously. The final third will either seal the deal that this cigar is a winner or leave you questioning its final approach, an unfortunate and unpredictable way end to what had been a fantastic cigar otherwise.

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