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Providencia Cask Strength toro

The Nubbit Brothers light up a very limited, new, cigar and pretty much stay on topic. Providencia Prensado cigarDraw: Well, brother Punch, it’s a fine, sunny autumn afternoon to enjoy a premium cigar.

Punch: Or to not be doing honey-dos. But then, any day is a good day to not be doing chores – while enjoying a premium, hand rolled cigar.

D: Let’s do an evaluation of the Providencia Cask Strength!

P: This is yet another stogie from the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. We picked this one up at the Providencia booth and were also graciously treated to a three-count, wood, travel humidor. Providencia is a fledgling cigar company which only has this one, flagship line; and they aren’t even completely set on the name of Cask Strength for it, but rather refer to it as a “working name” for now. It is considered a small batch production – with less than 500 boxes of this line to be made from the limited stock of aged-tobacco it is comprised of. We intend to do a more detailed report on the company as well as some of the other vitolas in this line in the next few months.

D: Right out of the cellophane, I’m getting light chocolate and dirty sock. Warming it brings slight elephant pen and fresh straw. I’m also getting a hint of apple – ripe, green apple – and I kid you not: pie crust.

P: Mmm, my aroma (the cigar, not myself) reminds me of a dairy. There’s barn-yard, but that something extra that I notice in a dairy barn, which I assume is milk related. I’m not sure what causes it, but that’s definitely an evocative first scent that hits me. I’m getting your green apple on the dry draw, and my lips are burning/buzzing from the wrapper already.

D: This is a box-pressed, or prensado cigar with a 52 ring gauge, and 6 inches of length. Nice medium Colorado color, and slight dark burnishing bringing out a fine network of veins. Nicely constructed, with a triple-cap.

P: Dang. The punch cut well, but when pushing in, the cap split. That’s really annoying. I may be purchasing a “V” cutter real soon. The draw is real easy and includes a distinctive flavor – a Bengay™ sort of a menthol. I guess “wintergreen” would be a more appealing descriptor.

D: Agreed. I think menthol is more accurate because it has a medicinal note to it, while wintergreen implies a sweeter flavor. I’m also getting Ivory™ soap. The draw is on the tighter side of medium for me. A light toasting releases a lot of leathers into the dry draw.

P: I can see that – the fresh bouquet of Ivory – calling to mind a scene from A Christmas Story where Ralphie is sentenced to holding a bar of Ivory in his mouth for saying a bad word.

D: My first impressions lit: (the cigar, not myself) charry new leather. Mostly char. Something acrid – not bad, just sharp.

P: My Providencia Cask Strength prensado started off with a harsh, earthy, flavor and some black tea. After a quarter of an inch the harshness has left, leaving a general woodiness.

D: I agree, the harshness has left. It still has a sharp attack, and this has a sweet cabbage finish. The attack is an organic chemical taste, like the attractive odor of a smoke-bomb firework.

P: I’m calling this flavor very earthy. The Providencia web site says that the wrapper is an aged sun grown Habano Oscuro Ecuadorian wrapper around a blend of carefully-aged Honduran and Nicaraguan binders and long fillers.

D: I can go with earthy. I’m getting leathers in the middle and in the aftertaste. My burnline is doing weird acrobatic tricks, but so far it lands on its feet after each convolution. It’s a slight after-smoker, from both ends, and produces a fair amount of what I’d call a light-smoke in the mouth.

P: The ash is very flaky – my shirt and laptop are getting a light dusting of ash “snow”. The band is a rich looking gold on black – rather formal looking – with a crown floating on the black background. There is a “ribbon” that extends out on both sides at the bottom, and I keep feeling the points on the ribbon ends as I handle the cigar. It isn’t necessarily bad, but I do find it to be a distraction every time I get “poked” by the points.

D: I’ve noticed those little ends. They’ve not interfered with my grip, but I do find them visually interesting. I think, “oh, is the wrapper lifting? No…that’s these cool ribbon ends!” …and then I twirl the cigar, watching them twinkle in the sunlight.

Moving into the second third there is an overall flavor build. There is still new leather middle and some fruitiness it coming in. The acridity of the attack is migrating toward apple cider, or just apple tartness, and the menthol has mellowed or blended into a basil flavor. I just touched up another peninsula. The ash, for all its flakiness, does hold on for at least an inch. As I am house-sitting at the moment, I’m deliberately choosing when to drop ash.

P: For some reason – perhaps from the band, or the Web site, this Providencia Cask Strength gives me the impression it is for the serious, long time, no nonsense cigar smoker. No flashiness or fancy gimmicks…just a good, down-to-earth smokin’ cigar. At the half-way point I’m thinking this is a fairly smooth cigar, once you get past the initial harshness. I’d say, medium body? Not overly complex, but enough to remain interesting.

D: I agree. Medium body, and I’d say medium strength. I’m feeling this cigar in a pleasant way.

P: My burn has been rather irregular and I’ve touched it up several times so far. I just cracked open a Widmer Brothers Alchemy Ale. Mmmm… this is nice: a slightly fruity, floral bouquet with just the right amount of hops and a mildly bitter lingering aftertaste. That hits the spot and seems to pair well with this stick.

D: I’m into the last third, just under three fat fingers remaining, and it’s going woody on me. I’d say cedar, but it still has an apple flavor for me, so it’s an applewood smoke. The aftertaste is still very apple‑y; there’s also, maybe a hint of green walnut in the attack. A completely different flavor at this point.

P: Here in the last third it is clear that the flavor intensity is building, and I’m now getting occasional flashes of cedar, but it hasn’t come close to overpowering the flavors, yet. And there a kind of freshness that I’m picking up, but I don’t know why. Perhaps a bit of citrus is coming forward.

D: This has been a great cigar. At about two fingers, I’m getting mostly cedary-wood now (still a pleasant finish and aftertaste).

P: Here, nearing the end I am getting some cedar, too, as well as some pine – neither of which is overpowering.

Burn it or Spurn it?

D: Burn it! There’s flavor here to enjoy. Lasting into the two-hour range (your mileage may vary) this Providencia Cask Strength prensado is a well made cigar. Peninsulas formed regularly on the “sides” of this box-press stick. As usual, it may be my humidity control to blame. I’m looking forward to trying this in a different vitola, or two, or three…

P: Sure enough, burn away with this one. It is earthy, leathery, nutty, apple‑y…a serious stick. But don’t confuse “serious” with “boring” – the flavor is interesting and well worth checking out. I had a Negra Modelo with one of the three sticks I smoked for this review, and it pared well. I had to touch up the burn an average of three times with each stick. This was not necessarily detrimental to the smoking experience – in fact I rather enjoy watching and tuning the wrapper, some. In spite of this, I still recommend searching these out and trying them yourself.

While Providencia is in the process of working out distribution details, currently the only way to get this, their flagship line, is by ordering direct from the company.

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