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Old 04-03-2011, 05:08 AM   #1
Mad Dawg
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Man O' War Puro Authentico

OK, I admit it: I got sucked in by the blurb in a cigar ad. I know that the people who write these things can and do make rank dog rockets sound like The Best Cigar Ever Made, but this one had the brand going for it.

According to the blurb on Cigar.com and sister site CI, the Man O’ War Puro Authentico is A. J. Fernandez’ personal, everyday cigar. Since I’ve generally liked any cigar that comes with a Man O’ War band, I decided to give these a whirl. I’m glad I did!

Man O’ War Puro Authentico

Size: 5x42 (They call it a “corona,” but a true corona is 5-5/8” long.), unfinished “shaggy” foot, pigtail triple cap

Country of origin: Nicaragua (All Nicaraguan long fillers, Esteli Habano wrapper)

Presentation: Really pretty cool. They come in a roll of ten cigars, bound with a plain ribbon of coarse cotton cloth, in a pull-out box, padded with loose tobacco leaves.

Pre-light impressions: Medium-Dark colorado wrapper, slightly mottled, smooth with minimal veins. Understated black band embossed with the outline of the familiar Man O’ War helmet in gold. Construction somewhat rustic, not perfectly symmetrical – maybe a ribbon dent? Very firm bunch, heavy in the hand, but no hard knots or soft spots.

A conservative clip yielded a perfect draw. Flavors of earth and leather underpinned a distinct “funkiness” that I’ve come to associate with high-quality Nicaraguan tobacco, very reminiscent of Old Henrys. A slight sting on my lips and tongue bespeaks significant ligero content.

Initial impressions: Despite the shaggy foot, the cigar lit very easily and evenly. With the first couple of draws, this cigar served notice that I was going to be very glad I’d had a big breakfast! Solid medium-full body, with gentle draws producing thick, dense smoke. That thick smoke is a result of the dense bunch, and is a quality I really like in a cigar.

First impression is a creaminess underlain by a slight prickliness, with a bit of tannic dryness at the back of my throat…plenty of ligero in this stick! The flavors are of toasty tobacco, with an underlying earthiness and a touch of leather. No distinct spicy or woody notes to speak of, but there was an immediate impression of what I’ve come to think if as “richness,” a dense layering of flavor that is both elusive and gratifying. I’ve found this component in many high-end Nicaraguan puros, and while I’ve never been able to find an adequate descriptor for it, I really like it.

Mid-point: Burn is straight, with a nice “shoulder” at the edge. Ash is mottled medium-dark gray, slightly flaky, very dense. Tapped it off at the 1.5” mark. The body has deepened a bit, getting pretty strong, and I’m frankly getting a slight buzz. The flavors are remaining consistent: creamy, rich, just an overall impression of high-quality Nicaraguan tobacco. Slow, gentle smoking is the way to go – great smoke volumes with no excess heat.

End game: Purged the cigar at around 1.5” remaining, still hanging in there, still interesting. Burned it to a ¾” nub. Total smoking time just over an hour.

Bottom line: There are two kinds of cigars that I really like – those whose flavor profile changes as the cigar burns down, and those that don’t change but whose flavor profile is interesting or good enough to hold my attention. The Man O’ War Puro Authentico falls into the latter camp. Pretty potent little firecrackers, these would be nice for an after-dinner smoke. My choice for first cigar of the day was pushing it a bit, but I still enjoyed it start to finish. Highly recommended!

Helpful hint: Retail price on these is $59.95 at Cigar.com and CI, but you’ll also see them currently on CI’s Make Me An Offer. I have it on good authority that offers of $42.50 will be accepted.
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A.J. Fernandez, Cigar Review, Cigar Reviews, corona, CW Reviews Editor, Mad Dawg, Man-O-War, Nicaragua, Nicaraguan Cigars, Nicaraguan Puros, pigtail-head, Puro Authentico, shaggy-foot
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