Gran Habano S.T.K Zulu Zulu Habano

10-2-2013

Gran Habano S.T.K Zulu Zulu Habano Lancero (7.5 x 40)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Blender: George A. Rico

The Zulu Zulu, with only 1000 cigars being made (500 with the Habano wrapper and 500 with the Connecticut wrapper), is a very short run. It is rumored that the blend was the personal blend of George A. Rico for many years. Rico, seeing some of his other blends (Gran Habano, GAR) become successful, decided to release this cigar as limited edition to raise awareness of the organization known as “Invisible Children.” According to their website, this organization’s goal is to “end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s rebel war and restore LRA-affected communities in central Africa to peace and prosperity.

This goal of the cigar and the organization is actually the inspiration of the over-sized band depicting children soldiers. At first, people may feel that this is in appropriate. However, when it is supposed to remind us about the struggles happening half way around the world it is clear that the images are supposed to be shocking. They are intentionally shocking or else they make no impact. S.T.K. Stands for “Save The Kids.” A portion of each box purchase goes to Invisible Children.

There have been other releases from the S.T.K. line. The first release was in 2011 and featured the Zulu Zulu and the Opium. In 2012, the Barracuda was added to the line and 2013 brought on the American puro. This is an ongoing line with every year being an LE that comands a higher price than most Gran Habanos but is also for a good cause.

The Zulu Zulu has two bands the first band is the only one seen in the initial presentation. It is red and blue and depicts black and white photographs of children holding very large guns. This band covers about 80% of the cigar itself. When the large “dress band” is removed two things are visible. First is a bit of a fold in the wrapper where a corner was torn up and folded down before the big band was added. The second is the second band.

The second band is black and red with the name of the cigar written on it.

the cigar itself has a chocolate brown wrapper with veins from the binder pushing through. The seems are obvious but not sticking out at all save for the minor fold that looks like damage created while banding. A very nice pigtail caps this lancero off.

DSCN1096

The smell is fairly light but leans to the woody side. A lick on the cap is a bit of sassafras. There is an oily feel on the tongue as well. After a cut with a double guillotine the cold draw is a bit firm and has licorice and sassafras notes on it.

Soft flame light.

The first few puffs are very woody and have a very pulpy texture. Through the nose there is no burn at all. It is smooth. A light mushroom and wood note on that retrohale is quite enjoyable. Notes of leather seem to be hinted at. As the cigar settles in more and more of the Nicaraguan spice sneaks in through the nose. It is still subtle and comes off like a light white pepper. The first flavor off the draw is a sweeter wood/earth transitioning into a solid wood note. Through the nose it is cedar and a slight mushroom note with the slight white pepper in the distant background. It is smooth and easy to smoke.

The middle third is a bit more bold the spice is still soft but it is more of the dominant flavor but there is no more pick up of spice through the nose. The wood is a bit more earth and leather now and the pulp texture is ticking up. The aftertaste is turning a bit to the ashtray side but only slightly.

The final third loses the ashtray feel and returns to the flavors seen in the initial third. The pepper has turned to a black pepper flavor with very little “heat” associated with it. This third seems to be the most complex and flavorful. Though it would be even better if the retrohale was as good as the first third. The Zulu Zulu ends with a dwindling flavor profile. It slowly flattens out from about 1.5inches out to the end.

I feel that the build and then decline of flavor is very interesting. It is probably caused by smoking to the sweet spot of the filler leaf then passing it and therefore it wanes at the end. This is actually the same reason why I find the “A” vitola of any cigar interesting.

Burn to the burn

Time 2 hours 5 min

burn: 10
draw: 9
taste: 9
aftertaste: 9
construction: 10
balance: 9
feel: 9

Overall: 9.3

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~ by kuzi16 on October 2, 2013.

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