Wednesday, December 20, 2006

HdM Excalibur No. 1
Size: 7.2 x 54
Filler: Honduras/Nicaragua
Price: $6 (retail); $3.65 (online)

Every B&M I've ever visited has sold the Excalibur cigar, either the original, the 1066 Dark Knight, or both. Until recently, I never pulled the trigger on this brand, although I had tried try a couple JR Alternative-Excaliburs, which I thought were some of the better JR Alts available. But a few weeks ago, I got 10 Excalibur No. 1s for just over $2 each as part of a sampler on CigarBid; they were paired with 10 5 Vegas Golds in the same size.

The cigar itself is a beauty, with a light golden brown wrapper and a consistent, firm texture throughout. The wrapper is prone to tiny tears, but that has never caused a bad burn. I usually notice some harshness in the first 1/4th of the stick, before it mellows into an exceptionally smooth smoke; followed occasionally by a small spicy kick in the final act.

Unfortunately, this cigar has a few things going against it right from the start: (A) It is too big. It takes nearly 2 hours to burn one, and after an hour I usually start to experience the law of diminishing returns on any smoke. (B) It is milder than I generally prefer.

However, even with these two strikes against it, I have grown to enjoy this cigar in certain settings, such as the 90-minute drive from Bowling Green to Sarasota, FL with the windows down and the sunroof open... or with three shots of Glennfiddich and a bowl game on a big screen tv. It is a good choice when you have want a prolonged, relaxing experience.

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