Gotta love it when the cigar guy at a store doesn’t know a thing about the cigars he sells.
I went to a Friar Tuck, a large liquor store which carries a wide variety of spirits and related offerings. They don’t have a proper walk-in humidor, but they do have a humidified display cabinet with a modest selection. The Peoria location usually has Punch, Macanudo, Romeo y Julieta, and a rotating selection of other brands, so in a pinch I’m happy to shop there.
This time I spotted the Revolution, a brand I hadn’t heard of before. I like trying new brands and the price was right, so when the cigar guy came over with his key, I asked him, “What can you tell me about the Revolution?”
“It’s good!” he said.
I gave him a moment, he said nothing more. “Do you know what kind of tobacco it’s made with?”
Then he says, “It’s got a medium body?”
Argh. The wrapper looked a bit dark for that, but he clearly had no idea.
There’s another chain liquor store in the Chicago area called Binny’s. They have full, walk-in humidors and they hire people who actually know cigars to manage them. If Friar Tuck can’t do all that, fine, but why not at least post similar display tags as Binny’s? Something with a description, the blend, maybe even cigar ratings from popular review sources like Cigar Aficionado?
So I bought four anyway. I’m an adventurous guy, and two of the three friends I was shopping for aren’t all that concerned about brand and blend.
I’ve since learned the Revolution is part of the Altadis Te-Amo brand from Mexico, and it’s made with a blend of Nicaraguan and San Andres tobaccos, primarily Corojo. It’s box-pressed, but it’s more of an flattened oval than square, and is labeled “Ovalado.” It has a sturdy feel and a slight coarseness to the wrapper.
I smoked two before writing this review: one while hanging out with friends and one while doing some writing. I used a simple punch cutter on the first and had a difficult draw. With the second I did two overlapping punches to create a wider hole, and this worked much better. (I didn’t know if it would hold together after a scissor cut, and I don’t have a V cutter right now.) Both lost their oval shape as I smoked, which I thought was odd, but it didn’t affect the smoking experience.
The Revolution is stronger than medium, but I wouldn’t call it a full-bodied smoke like a maduro. It had a bold, spicy flavor without being harsh or peppery. Both sticks burned clean and even despite the draw of the first cigar, producing plenty of rich smoke and leaving a fine, sturdy ash.
All in all a good smoke, and because my friends selected something else out of another humidor, I still have two more. They’ll pair nicely with the remaining Boulevard craft beers in my fridge as I write this weekend.