Recently I turned 60 years old and decided to go back to where I grew up and look around, been a while sense I had been There.
I stopped at my sisters house for a few minutes to catch up then headed out to walk the farm. I brought with me a great cigar from A.J. Fernandez, the Bellas Artes Maduro. Fantastic looking cigar with a rich Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper with a nice dark chocolate colored appearance. Nice and smooth with excellent construction. Once cut I set the torch to work and it began perfectly. The art work on the band itself is superb.
The experience began with a mild spice mix that lasted briefly, about a quarter inch in, then gave way to a tasty mix of fresh turned earth, dark coffee and a mild hint of bitter sweet chocolate. Soon into the smoke, the first third was under way with the dark coffee becoming more of a south Louisiana coffee and chicory flavor with the chocolate darker and reminds me of when I was little and my grandmother giving me a chocolate bar and sharing her big coffee cup. These flavors twirled and moved together in a dance of perfection being wrapped together with hints of smoky wood.
I was truly enjoying the start of this cigar as I decided to walk down to the creek first at the back of our property. The fence we use to work so hard to keep in shape was rusted and broken in some areas as I stepped over it and onto the sand bar. I sat on a fallen tree for a few minutes looking at the place I spent many summers growing up. When work was done I would head here to swim and have fun. I found what was left of an old swing we use to use and even where we pilled rocks for camp fires. As I walked back to the field, I headed to an old barn and corn crib where we feed cows and stored hay.
As I walked, the cigar was moving into the second third. The coffee and chicory was clearly bolder. The mild spice that came at the beginning was starting to return but with a hint more of a red pepper zing to it that matched perfectly with the coffee. The chocolate became more of a higher cocoa content reminder and still these flavors continued to enthrall the taste buds with a delightful morphing of predominant placement, and the smoky wood tops them off.
I walked into the old barn and it was clear it needed work. Two very old square bales of hay remained or what was left of them as well as an old plow. I thought about the cows we feed here and the time spent, loving every minute of it. It was a great way to grow up. Looking in the old corn crib, it smelled of rats, old husks and dirt. I spent many days right here shucking corn, feeding nubbins to the cows, and shelling corn. My father and I would talk, tell jokes and tell me about growing up right. I left there and walked across the fields where we grew hay and corn. Seems like so very long ago, wish many times just to go back for a while in time.
I said goodbye to my sister and as the cigar was moving into the final third I pulled up and parked at the old house. I did not get out and go in, I just sat for a few minutes looking around. Moving into the final third, the flavors had become bolder with the coffee and chicory still up front but the chocolate had transitioned more of a home made brittle taste with the spice blend and smoky wood switching back and forth in place. Each draw was an experience unto itself as the flavors flowed in waves. Very smooth to smoke. the cigar finished beautifully with the last draw having a touch more spice but the coffee and chicory still up front. I headed back home, thoughts running through my mind, memories of years gone by, and and missing some loved ones. But as someone once said, life goes on. If you have not tried the Bellas Artes Maduro, do not pass it up, its one great smoke.
Peace and Smoke,