The Paul Stulac Phantom is my first of Paul’s, I believe, core line. I am a huge fan of the logo and banding on this cigar, and all Paul Stulac cigars really. The Phantom has a very nice, smooth, dark brown wrapper. The seams are also very smooth and clean, almost undetectable. As always, I love the torpedo vitola, and the Phantom has a sharp, clean point to it, and the shaft has smooth, rolling “waves” in it. Similar to the surface of softly rippling water. The Phantom smells of sweet tobacco & earth, with pleasant notes of chocolate. The cold draw is similar, with a VERY smooth draw.
The first third of the Paul Stulac Phantom starts off with white pepper and very earthy undertones. A little bite on the retrohale, but nothing too crazy. There wasn’t much else to say, it was good, but not blowing me away. The burn was good, only requiring one little OCD touchup, and the smoke was thick and white.
In the second third the Phantom’s spice starts to fade away, but then immediately returns, and this time stronger. The retrohale now has a nice sting to it, not surprising given the increase in spice on the draw. This third was very earthy with leather notes in it for me now and I got a few hints of smokey wood. Still a great burn and smoke production, which I love.
The final third of the Phantom started out much like the second, with earth and leather. Then I am surprised to get hit with very salty flavors for a few puffs. Then, something happened, that has never happend to me with a Stulac. It began to get very bitter. So, I did the usual measures to correct it and it worked on and off. But this wavering between decent and bitter was just too much. I had to put it down with about 2” left.
I am not sure what happened with this Phantom, or quite possibly just with me, but this is the first Stulac that I didn’t absolutely enjoy. But there is a first for everything. I’ll have to try the other vitolas and see what happens. To be honest, giving a Paul Stulac this score is going to hurt, but it is honest. It’s also worth noting that I tend to not like cigars with strong earth or leather notes, so it’s quite possibly my palette here. And I only had the one to review, so….
83 - I wouldn't pay money for them, but I'd try to weasel some or trade for some