JANUARY’S a long, dark month, isn’t it?
It feels like the sort of month you really have to chew through to get down – like that meal your mother in law makes that you’re too polite to leave untouched.
It’s no wonder that we’re often at our lowest ebb at this time of the year – pale, tired, stressed, cold; all we want to do is hibernate.
As ever, cigars have an olive branch to offer us. For while walking in the door to the warm, welcoming fug of beef and ale casserole with dumplings is a thing capable of bringing joy the hearts of the winter-jaded, a cigar to look forward to at the end of the day can also be a beacon to you in this month of northern hemisphere gloom.
Hearty, rib-sticking meals tend to be the things we crave; perhaps your cigar tastes might follow suit? If you have the stomach for it, then a beefy cigar after a beefy dinner is about as good as it gets. And it doesn’t get any beefier than the mighty Partagas Serie E No.2.
It’s a truncheon of a cigar – as if custom-made for Sautter El Jeffe Laurence Davis – a five and a half inches by 54 ring gauge chomper. It’s strong, too, so don’t expect an easy ride.
Loaded with dark roasted coffee and topped up with spice, it’s a cigar to warm the cockles of your heart for sure. It also has a claim on being one of the best current production cigars coming out of Cuba. You owe it to yourself to check it out if you haven’t already.
On a similar theme, the Bolivar Belicosos Finos is another beast to be conquered. Back in the day, this was arguably Cuba’s strongest cigar; a real tough customer. You’d need a full belly and an iron constitution to be able to puff this one down. Over the years, the blend has undoubtedly been pared down, to the extent where this is now much more in line with the strength profiles of similar brands. It’s still a corker though and a lovely size in the hand.
The legendary marque of Cohiba is easy to overlook on the power scale. Because these ultra high-end leaves tend to be blended to a seamlessly crafted smoke, their power can sneak up on you. The Robusto, for example, is often overlooked because it tends to compare unfavourably with other cigars of the same size when it comes to price. But it’s worth ‘keeping your eye in’ with this one every once in a while.
It’s an incredibly rich, grassy, buzzy sort of a stick, that may well get your head spinning a little without ever tasting like a super-strong cigar. That’s the secret horsepower it’s carrying under the bonnet.
Whatever you choose – monster smoke or a light touch – looking forward to it through the long, cold days of winter makes life just that little bit more bearable until daylight comes back into our lives.