Origin : Cuba
Format : Lonsdale
Size : 170 x 17.07 mm (6.7 x 43)
Weight : 11.86 g
Discontinued in 2002
Price : N/A
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One of these cigars was initially sent to me by a generous BOTL as a result of a forum contest I had won. Coming with a specific request to review the smoke, I happily agreed to do so after it received some rest. Long story short, the flavor of the smoke was fantastic but it was unfortunately plugged to the point that, less than halfway in, it had to be abandoned or face the inescapable likelihood that my head would implode had I tried to continue. After informing the contest holder of the unfortunate occurrence he indicated that it was generally known about their construction flaws and despite my protests, he would send another. After receiving the second cigar and putting it down for several months to rest at 65% Rh I decided to fashion a follow-up attempt at the Ramon Allones 8-9-8.
The 8-9-8 sports the same band as other Ramon Allones products with a brown, red and white field accented by a wide metallic gold embossed boarder, lines and crest. The simplicity and ruggedness of the band ties into the wrapper’s style perfectly. Seams, small veins and some chipping are all visible on the earthen hued wrapper although none of them are a cause for concern. An almost undetectable layer of oil coats the wrapper down to its perfect triple cap. Pinch testing proves that the filler is firm with not a single soft spot that easily returns to its cylinder shape.
Cutting the cap reveals an opening void of stems. Soft and pleasant, it smells familiar and enjoyable; perhaps of leather. The prelight draw is mild with a grilled steak and raspberry flavor. Excitement builds as I recall how delightful the raspberry was in the first sample and toast the foot to a glowing red ember. Initial draws are rather restrictive but not as tight as the previous attempt and the hope is that the heat will help it loosen more. Incredible from the start, vanilla and leather work to make themselves known. A slight spiced tingle on the tongue brings them out further but does not dominate.
At about one inch in, the draw is still tight but appears workable. The same flavors maintain throughout and I cannot help but think this smoke would go perfectly with a nice cup of full city roasted coffee. Progressing into the second inch, it becomes apparent that the draw is taking a toll on the burn as one side is significantly faster than the other. Working to rotate, wet, and even out the burn rewards me with a cigar that extinguished itself. Tapping the ash, relighting and purging brings this one back from the dead. Here the spice becomes more complete and an apple wood undertone becomes evident. After a few puffs, progressing through the next inch proves even more of a struggle than the last. The canoeing returns and this smoke had to be relit multiple times. This was even after making a cut of the foot to remove about one half of an inch in the hopes that the blockage was further down in the cigar.
To my chagrin, I set the cigar aside and contemplate my experiences. Overall this is probably one of the more disappointing cigars I have had. It is not because it does not live up to any hype or that I expected something more. What made this so hard to stomach is the fact that some of the most balanced and enjoyable flavors were presented but on both occasions, were forced to be abandoned well before their pinnacle. If there were a way to guarantee that smoking another would yield a reliable construction, then I would not hesitate simply for the flavor alone. Unfortunately this is not the case and unless you have the money to risk it, I would recommend finding a more reliable cigar to spend your time with.
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