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Cigar reviews by Nilo: Partagas Serie S "not so" Exquisito
by: Nilo Zandanel (e-mail
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Recently, I went to my local tobacco shop to purchase and smoke this week's review subjects. When I entered the store, the owner was standing behind the counter and he greeted me warmly. He and I shot the shit for a good 10 minutes before another customer walking through the door interrupted us.

That was my chance to enter the humidor, which at my cigar shop is about 100 square feet, with cigars lining the walls all the way up to the 10-foot ceiling. The walls and ceiling are cedar lined and a humidifier sitting atop the corner shelf blows water vapor throughout the room. In short, this room smells like a cigar lover's heaven. I knew I had plenty of time to smoke, so I picked an Avo No. 5 Maduro ($8.80) and a Partagas Serie S Exquisito ($8.00) because they are both big cigars. 

After I chose my cigars, I walked over to the couch, sat down and lit the Partagas. The television at the tobacco shop is always tuned to sporting events and on this day, I watched several matches of the French Open. During commercials, I reached down to the coffee table to skim through magazines like Cigar Aficionado, Stuff, FHM and Golf Digest.

The Partagas had a medium-brown wrapper. It lit up very quickly and evenly. The draw was good but I found the flavor to be bland. The ash was not tight and it flaked off from the least vibration. It did take a while to smoke, though…but that's not really an accomplishment. In other words, I don't recommend this cigar.

As my afternoon at the cigar shop passed, many people entered the store. Most of the people bought cigars and left quickly. Several people, however, either sat down to watch tennis or stood and talked. At one point, the conversation grew pretty boisterous over the Devils/Mighty Ducks Stanley Cup competition. Everybody was smoking cigars and having a good time.

The Avo No. 5 Maduro has a very dark wrapper. The draw is too tight and I felt like I had to work to smoke this cigar. The ash is a little tighter than the Partagas, but it only accumulated to a quarter of an inch before it fell off. The flavor is…let's say "odd" -- but not in a good way. I didn't like how this cigar tasted. Avo created this product to capture market share in the Maduro market. I've smoked a lot of Avo's and, although I haven't reviewed one for you yet, I recommend you try a natural wrapper if you're going to spend the money on one.

As I finished my Avo and said goodbye to the storeowner, I reflected on a few things. One can't have this experience purchasing cigars over the Internet. In fact, if you continue purchasing cigars over the Web, nobody will be able to have this experience because all the local shops will go out of business. The cigar experience is not meant for cheap-asses who want to save a buck here or there. You'll find that most people who smoke cigars enjoy them accompanied by a nice drink, a luxury automobile, a tall blonde or an exotic vacation. Of course, the best-case scenario would be all four of these combined!

See you in two weeks!

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For even more info on cigars, visit our Vices Web Guide!



Other Columns by Nilo Zanadel

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