Origin : Cuba
Factory Name : Lonsdale
Size : 170 x 17.07 mm
Ring : 43
Weight : 11.86 g
Price : ~$15 each
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Partagas 8-9-8 was one of my major discoveries in 2010; I found it so good that I even decided to integrate it into my best Cubans of the year list. After releasing the list I decided to take one every month from the 2008 box I had. I felt that it was the perfect cigar to relax and think about what would the next month bring. One year later, I almost finished the box and the Partagas 8-9-8 is again among the best smokes I had this year.
This cigar has a 5-star presentation, I have rarely seen such an oily wrapper covered by small quantities of plume. Not too hard to the touch and slightly bumpy, it exhales an irresistible sour (barnyard) smell.
Although the pre-draw was usually tight, none of the cigars were plugged. On a couple of sticks from the box the draw was tighter than usual, but no big deal. On the other hand, last time that I talked to a seller in my B&M, he told me the construction can be hit or miss on these ones. A good idea may be to open the box before buying if you have a chance to do this.
The pre-draw is pleasant and announces some spice with butter notes. Time to light the cigar! It's rather easy, thanks to a small ring gauge. First puffs are not that powerful, but the flavors soon become much more complex (lovely leather and spice notes). The intensity is growing as well, although retrohaling remains possible. The second third is very well balanced, with earthy flavors trying to dominate the bouquet and offering a very rich smoking experience. There is also some subtle sweetness in the second third, something close to cocoa and chocolate. The "sweet spot" is at the beginning of the last third, where the cigar is nothing short of full-bodied and the mix is very rich in terms of flavor. The finish continues to deliver, a dram of Scotch might be a good idea at this point.
Partagas 8-9-8 is not a cheap cigar by any means, but considering the format and the smoking time (around 1 hour 20 minutes in my case), this is not too expensive either. I'm currently hunting a pre-2007 box to see whether they can be any better than this.
Overall Rating :
This is an excellent cigars for these long evenings where you can find an hour and a half just for yourself. These occasions are very precious for me and I always want to have a reliable cigar to help me plan things for the month ahead.
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