Today Punch and Draw pharm-out at Big Sticks Fine Cigars in Mesa, Arizona and “medicate their minds” with a PSyKo SEVEN toro from Ventura Cigars.Psyko Seven cigar

Draw: This is one whacked-out cigar. The PSyKo SEVEN toro has a most innovative band, covering about half the cigar. Actually, there’s a second band under that bearing the Ventura “V” seal of authenticity. I wonder if they use the same prescriptive label on the smaller vitolas?

Punch: Intriguing question. The PSyKo SEVEN is currently available in four different sizes: gordo, toro, robusto, and the pill-popping-size “gordito” at 4.00” X 58. It was released by Ventura Cigar Company at IPCPR in July of 2013, part of the company’s image shift. But enough talk; let’s “press while turning to open” and punch these sticks.

D: The cigar feels good, though it is otherwise difficult to assess its construction. The “Dominican hybrid” wrapper is smooth, and has a natural Colorado appearance. Mine punched well. I taste raisin and straw on the dry-draw.

P: Yeah, I’ll go with raisin. I was thinking asparagus, but the raisin description is better. Lighting up is quite easy. Starting off, the attack and middle are mild, with a slightly sweet, mild tobacco finish.

D: Agreed, mild and slightly sweet. I taste raisin in the finish, along with a hint of jalapeno for depth. The pepper is a complimentary foil to the sweetness of the raisin. On the attack, it’s very clean – maybe some hardwood – carrying into the middle. The lunatic is on the lawn.

P: Yes, I’d go with a general woodiness. Woops! I almost tasted some flavor of burning label. The way this large, diagonal over-label is placed allows the burn line to sneak up on the leading corner.PSyKo SEVEN cigar with label corner near burn line D: I notice after an idle that I really need to stoke it to catch the wrapper, however it is ready at idle for that stoking. And, the ash doesn’t hold on for very long. Fortunately I have on a pocket-shirt which has protected the sofa here at Big Sticks.

P: The profile, starting the second third, is quite complex – presumably as a result of the seven different tobaccos from six different locales it is comprised of. And the flavor intensity is well past medium. PSyKo SEVEN cigar label

As you may be able to read on the photo of the label, the SEVEN tobaccos listed are: Hybrid from Dominican Republic, Sumatra from Mexico, Ligero from Nicaragua, Pelo de Oro Viso from Peru, Holancha Seco from Honduras, more Hybrid from Dominican Republic, and Pennsylvania Ligero from USA. (Did anyone notice that “Hybrid from Dominican Republic” is listed twice? I guess the name “PSyKo SIX” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

D: Agreed. The PSyKo SEVEN toro’s flavor is strong, while staying smooth. And not a staggering array of flavor – to my palate – despite the variety of tobaccos, which suggests to me a very targeted pairing to create depth instead of a broad-spectrum overkill.

Here in the middle the flavor has tuned a bit toward kitchen spice in the middle, and the raisin-jalapeno finish has faded a bit, maybe migrating toward a mango-green-chile chutney, but still milder finish. The lunatic is in the hall.

P: I was just going to say that.

Starting the last third the overall flavor level seems to have dropped significantly, and it is shifting to that more homogenous melange which is typical near the end of many cigars I’ve had. And not surprisingly, the strength continues to build – I’m getting buzzed.

D: My earlier comments about idle-time must have induced some performance anxiety – in the cigar – as Punch and I both suffered an outage just entering the last third. Upon relight, the flavor went, well, psycho!

I’m detecting more jalapeno on the attack – a lot more – and mango-pepper-cream on the middle. The finish has become rather weak, surprisingly; the aftertaste is all cream. I am also having more trouble keeping the wrapper lit, and the burn line is beginning to roam the ward. This is true to the PSyKo SEVEN marketing: the last third is intense!

P: At two fingers left my medication is complete and I’m dropping this PSyKo SEVEN like a bad habit. It’s interesting: in browsing many reviews online, including Cigar Craig, Tall Paul on Cigar Pass, Patrick at Stogie Guys, and Jon at Cigar Tipsters, only Nathan at Brew and Burn made a solid reference to Ventura’s “distinct transitions”. I think both Draw and I found the transitions fairly distinct, particularly the last third.

D: Oh yeah. Nathan’s review was in late September; a few months later than the other reviews. Perhaps the transitions require some aging to develop? A Cigar Smoker’s Journal and Cigar Assessor do describe flavor changes, and are also both September reviews, but they still don’t point to Ventura’s predicted final kick as we experienced.

Son of a gun!! This PSyKo stick just tagged my pocket again!! … just after stoking AND relighting the wrapper. I’m definitely feeling this cigar! Beyond the scars on my chest, I have numb lips and tongue-tip. Add to the label: DO NOT APPLY EXTERNALLY. ORAL USE ONLY.

Burn it or Spurn it?

P: Light with delight. This Ventura PSyKo SEVEN toro is a very distinctive cigar,  unlike any other I can remember smoking before. This smoke, while somewhat schizophrenic, is good – full flavored and interestingly complex. It is not wild and “way out there” like it’s brother, the Project 805, but I’d still put it in the category of novelty smokes which are nice for variety but not necessarily something I’d put into regular rotation. But as such, it is very good and one I’d like to keep around.

D: Burn it. Refill. Burn it again. No construction woes, moderate to full strength smoke. Consistent draw. I really liked the flavors in the first two-thirds – very smooth despite the strength, allowing the flavor to appear boldly. However, I might consider NOT completing the entire dose every time, unless I’m wanting the lunatic in my head! …Watch out for the crazy ash.

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