COVERING YOUR ASH: PAUL STULAC SKULL MADURO

Paul Stulac’s cigar odyssey is an impressive one – from cigar store owner to cigar maker – and his initial offerings clearly make an impression, from presentation to taste. His first line comes with distinctive names (Skull, Angel, Ghost, Phantom, Cross), label designs (think “goth”), and shapes (box press). In short, you will have no trouble recalling a Stulac stick if you try one. For this exercise, we tried the Skull Maduro.

Cigar Stats: This is a big, beefy cigar, a Salamone weighing in at 7 x 58. Made in Esteli, Nicaragua, it features Nicaraguan filler and binder with an Ecuadoran Habana wrapper.

Appearance: The wrapper is a rich, dark brown, with a vein or two. The stick has a springy feel with some lumps, giving it a fresh, rustic attitude. It may not be the most elegant cigar you’ll lay eyes on, but it’s inviting nonetheless.

The Smoke: The pre-light aroma is quite rich, and the taste is on the sweet side, with a hint of cocoa/coffee. And that’s what the Skull delivers when the flame enters the equation. There is plenty of rich smoke from start to finish, accompanied by a sweet taste with strong notes of coffee. As the smoke progresses, woody flavors – cedar, predominantly – come to the fore. Throughout the 90-minute or so experience, the Skull delivers a consistent combination of taste and aroma on the medium- to full-bodied range of the spectrum.

Verdict: At prices ranging from $9-13, you are going to expect a lot from these cigars. And they are going to deliver. As the temperatures rise and brighten the outlook of all New England cigar smokers, you won’t go wrong adding a Stulac to your to-do list. For more information on the Stulac line, visit paulstulac.com.

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