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Cigar Federation The Collective 6.5 x 52

Punch and Draw collect their thoughts on The Collective, made by Ezra Zion exclusively for Cigar Federation.Ezra Zion Cigar Federation Collective cigarWrapper: San Andreas Cafe’ Claro (claimed to have never been used before),
Binder: Corojo & Crlollo
Filler: Nicaraguan Medio Tiempo

Draw: This soft press stick has a rich brown wrapper with a toothy leaf which almost defies tactile registration. Very dry feeling, there are wrinkles in the leaf which suggests it was applied wet. The seams are near invisible, a few veins running criss-cross suggest a roughness of character where there is no other implication. ..okay, except for the cap, which also looks wet-applied. Two bands, a Cigar Federation banner and around the foot, “The Collective”. The foot shows a core-bunch of filler ringed by another band of filler, quite solid, and the stick itself almost feels brittle. Be sure to read the inside of the bands…

P: Yeah — there is a QR code on the band that leads to a virtual herf video session with Rob and Logan; the hosts of Cigar Chat on, and the co-owners of Ezra Zion; Chris Kelly and Kyle Hoover (who were, at that time, the owners of the Cigar Federation online community web site.)

D: We would have liked to watch along with them while we smoke this stick, but are concerned that something they may say (have said) might influence our perceptions. For example, I might want to say that the stick has an apple-cider vinegar aroma with a particularly strong apple and pear aroma at the foot, also slight manure and straw, and a little yeast. This carries to the cold-draw where a moderately tight draw gives a touch more manure over fruit.

P: True — and they might say something like “this has a radish flavor on the finish”, and then we would taste that just because we heard it. In actuality, this has a nice start; some fruitiness and bubble gum flavor, with some pepper sneaking up into my sinuses, but not on my palate or throat. Mine has a loose-medium draw and very good smoke production, both on the draw and from the foot.

We had a great time with Kyle and Chris at the IPCPR convention back in July, and here is a video interview we did with them, talking about this cigar:

D: The initial flavor is much smoother than I’d expect, with notes of coconut and black pepper along with a fruity gum flavor as Punch noted.

P: After an inch in I’m noticing the pepper in the throat, now. I had to relight it after taking a moment to tweet/Instigram about smoking this thing — I had to send that out; the back side of the foot band told me to.

D: I had to relight mine too, and I have no excuse except it went out. First third, very consistent with the initial flavor. Maybe a touch more manure aire creeping in. My burn is very lopsided; I’ve touched it up once, and it’s keeping up decently with frequent rolling. My ash looks very wooly.

P: Second third: Mild-medium flavor intensity thus far. The flavor has intensified slightly and shifted to include some melon(?). And now, at halfway I’m doing another complete relight in spite of my regular draws.

D: Agreed. I, too, note that this doesn’t idle too well. I’m also going with black coffee – Columbian – which I think has been here all along, and I’m just putting a name to it. It is otherwise very consistent, both in flavor and burn characteristics.

P: Here in the last third the flavor interest has diminished as it has become simpler and blended to lessen the distinctiveness of all of the flavors. This would be the place to put it down… but I’ll stick it out a bit longer.

D: At about three fingers, there’s a little cedar starting, and a hint of munge. Purging relieves the cedar but does nothing to bring back the intensity of the flavor.

P: When you go to the Cigar Federation online store you will find the single stick price on these is $11. This has been the typical price range of many of the Ezra Zion lines, which has kept me from impulse buying these while hanging around my cigar lounge of choice, Big Sticks. But with the recent 25% price drop on Ezra Zion cigars they are now into the range that I’m comfortable buying on a regular basis. So, when you go the the Cig-Fed store, look for the “Name your price” button, and I bet if you make an offer that is in the range of 25% less than what they have listed you will be mighty pleased.

Burn it or Spurn it?

P: This Cigar Federation The Collective has good balance and complexity, and a unique flavor profile – although difficult to describe. Some flavors I could identify were fruit, bubble gum, pepper and melon. Unfortunately I needed to keep working it to prevent outages. I made a couple of touch-ups, and even with that, it did go out twice; once while I was distracted, and once in spite of regular puffing. Otherwise, this is well worth trying and highly recommended.

D: Smoke it. Mild-to-medium flavor intensity, mild-to-medium complexity with no major transitions. Mild strength. Coconut, black pepper, fruity gum, and black coffee. Good smoke production, but not huge volumes. Difficulty in keeping it lit and burning well did interfere in the enjoyment of this one. I’d like to have another to determine if this is typical or not. I’m still enjoying a slightly sweet aftertaste as I write this. A good smoke overall and a good exclusive for Cigar Federation.

This was based on smoking one sample each. We want to thank Cigar Federation and Logan and Rob of Cigar Chat for awarding these cigars to Punch as a contest prize, making this review possible. We are looking forward to watching the Collective herf video, now that we’ve made our notes.

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