What better to smoke during CigarChat with 7-20-4, than a 7-20-4 Hustler. I weaseled this particular one off Logan a couple weeks ago and he had gotten it at IPCPR 2012. So it was plenty rested and ready to go. And you couldn't ask for a more well crafted cigar. The barber pole was done exceptionally well. I was amazed that the width and alignment of the two colored wrappers could be executed so precisely. To drink on this evening was a Vesper. Which, in case you don't know, is gin, vodka & Lillet with a large, thin slice of lemon peel, and served like a martini.
Upon lighting this Hustler I was hit with a huge amount of citrus! I wrote that in bold in my notes, it was so strong. There is a slight spice on the retrohale, but subtle. I also start to notice a bit of saltiness. And as I am smoking I keep trying to place this flavor, then it hits me. BEER SALT! I put that in all caps because that's how I wrote it in my notes. Never expected that, but the citrus flavor melded with a bit of saltiness and the result was nearly identical to the flavor of beer salt. You know, that tart, citrus flavored salt, meant to be sprinkled on your beer. Different, but good and it paired with the citrusy, herbal flavor of the Vesper perfectly. There has been a nice smoke production, and the burn is dead on.
As I entered the second third, the salt & citrus start to fade. And the spice picks up, as I can feel my tongue start to tingle just a bit. The beer salt is gone now, and the cigar turns creamy with a coffee note. Not brewed coffee, but more of a bitter bean flavor. The cigar isn't bitter, but the flavor note is, if that makes sense to anyone else out there. As with the first, the burn is perfect here as well.
The spice kicks up just a bit in the last third, and it starts to leave my mouth a little dry, but it's not bad. Along with the spice the creaminess picks up and I start to notice what seems to me to be a leather note. Almost, akin to what I would imagine chewing on a piece leather would taste like. Again, not as bad as it sounds. As a side note, I got a little hungry at this point and decided to have a small snack. Spicy Red Pepper hummus and sea salt pita chips. PERFECT flavor combination!
About halfway through the last third it starts to get a bit harsh, so I purged it and let it sit for a couple minutes. This usually fixes things for me, and when I went back, the Hustler was still lit and burning great. I took a few more puffs, but the bitterness just got too overpowering for me and I had to lay it down.
This has got to be one of the more complex cigars that I personally have had. I wasn't able to smoke it to the end, but it was a Toro (6x54) so I still got plenty of enjoyment out of it. I would definitely buy one to smoke again, give it another chance. As I stated earlier, the flavor profile of the Vesper complimented this cigar very well, a definite winner.
Wrapper: Brazil & Ecuador