Upon further inspection, the appearance is quite stunning. An oily, dark, seamless Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is draped over Nicaraguan binders and Nicaraguan fillers. The box-pressing of the cigar is visually dramatic, as the corona appears to be a geometrically perfect rectangle in shape, with clean, distinct edges, and a pigtail cap. The pack of the cigar is firm with no soft spots or weak areas that would suggest a problem once the cigar is lit.
I clip the pigtail cap and test the draw. It’s perfect. A clear pathway with the slightest bit of resistance. As I roll my tongue back and forth in my mouth after each cold draw, I am delighted that the most predominant flavor is clean, properly aged tobacco, with a leathery finish.
I toast the foot of the cigar and take my first draw. Immediately, I notice that this cigar is full bodied, and rich, with a velvet like texture, and full on flavor. Notes of oak, cherry, and leather all hit my palate at once with a mildly spicy finish. However, the retrohale seems to be where all the heat is hiding. Red pepper lights up my sinuses and finishes with a pleasant, earthy leather on my tongue.
There is no harshness on the palate that would suggest this tobacco is on the younger side of aging or that it hasn’t been properly cared for. A cigar with a body this full, and such a supple mouthfeel is a testament to the blending, care, and craftsmanship.
The first third stays true to its introduction with heavy notes of oak, cherry, and leather. After about 1/2 inch there’s a warm, chocolate cake-like sweetness, with a salty finish. It’s a hypnotizing combination of sweet, savory, and earthy flavors — each one stealing the limelight from the other, but never allowing any one flavor to be overshadowed or become unbalanced. The body is full, but the strength remains manageable at medium, medium/plus.
The construction of FWTBT up until this point has been perfect. The draw remains at an optimal level, while the burn could not be straighter. The burn has created a small, evenly spaced stack of ash, which is a pronounced pewter in color with flecks of white and charcoal mixed throughout. On the next draw, the ash falls to the floor in a solid, one inch chunk — only breaking apart due to the force at which it hits the ground.
The second third hasn’t changed much from the first third in its beginning stages. However, with a profile this rich, and pleasing, I welcome the consistency. The warm chocolate cake from earlier takes center stage for a majority of the first inch into the second third. Right around the half way mark, leather returns with prominence, becoming the primary tasting note. On the back end of this there is a floral black pepper (not much in the way of spice) and a new addition of hard roasted coffee. I can feel the strength pick up to a solid medium/plus
The burn remains even, and sharp, creating chunks of ash throughout its progression to the final third. The draw remains perfect and cool with every reintroduction.
In the final third, the flavors of the beginning of the cigar loudly return. Smoky, smoldering oak, cherry, and leather. In the background, an earthy, roasted coffee, and malt. The flavors seem to take turns in the foreground, making themselves known directly, but in stages. Oak and cherry, then dark roasted coffee, then leather, then earth. These flavors play with one another interchangeably throughout the remaining inches of the cigar.
The burn remains even, consistent, and never goes out (even when I walk away from the cigar to take a necessary bathroom break). The draw remains cool, and as flawless as it was in the beginning. The strength never goes beyond medium/plus.
FWTBT is another great example of the palate Ernesto Padilla has for quality tobacco, and his steadfast determination to find it. While the novice’s palate may not find much in the way of complexity, a seasoned smoker will not be able to see past it. The flavors are consistent, but the way in which they present themselves is nothing short of nuanced and deliberate. This is a cigar worthy of being sought out or putting your name on a list for.