Puros Indios Viejo (1998)
Investment Advice: Buy a Humidor, Keep it Serviced
The last time I wrote, I provided a business lesson with an opinion on the Efficient Market Theory, or lack thereof, in the world of cigars. Today, this self-proclaimed "professor of the leaf" brings you investment advice! I am smoking the Puros Indios Viejo. The word "viejo" in Spanish means "old." In the world of cigars, old can and should be a good thing, but often it turns out to be a bad thing. The key between "good old" and "bad old" is often a function of the environment in which a cigar ages.
For a cigar to age well and maintain -- or very likely enhance -- its overall quality and character, it must be stored in a location with a proper and steady temperature and humidity. This is the role of a humidor. In this first of two installments, I will focus on the question of why you should consider investing in a humidor, while the second installment will focus more on the how to get the most value out of it. Even the casual cigar smoker will benefit from investing in a humidor, and the investment can be affordable. I will discuss a couple of the least expensive options.
So, why do you even need a humidor? I could probably give you numerous reasons, but let me focus on just a few:
- A cigar can dry out very quickly (a couple of weeks), if it's not properly maintained, rendering even the best cigar a horrible smoke. Trust me, you don't want to present a trusted business colleague, your boss or a friend with a dried-out cigar.
- By buying in bulk (like a five-pack or more), you save money versus buying a single stick at a time. Virtually all "specials" in the industry are based on a multi-stick purchase (a five-pack, box, etc.). A side benefit: By eliminating the need to drive to the cigar store every time you want to flame up, you have done your part for the world oil crisis and global warming.
- A properly stored and maintained cigar can last indefinitely, and many cigars age gracefully. The tobacco blends continue to "marry" to create a smooth, unique and unified smoke. Cigars and wine share this characteristic.
- "Variety is the spice of life." A well-maintained humidor ensures you have a variety of smokes on hand to fit your given mood, or the varying tastes of any friends who stop by.
- Some of the hotter cigar brands are selling fairly fast, driving the tobacco companies to get product to the retail channel faster. This holds the possibility that the tobaccos in the blend have not completely "married," creating an immature cigar and a disappointing smoke. Make sure you get your money's worth. Buy whenever available or on sale; smoke whenever you feel like it.
As I mentioned above, there are ways to minimize your investment, especially if you're primarily interested in function over form. If you want your humidor to be a furniture piece as well as a storage device, naturally you will be paying more money. Your choice of humidor requires some thought, as there are quite a few styles, colors, shapes and sizes. Buying an empty wooden cedar-lined cigar box at your local tobacconist can create an inexpensive desktop or starter humidor. Be sure you speak to the proprietor and ask for a box that can be classified as "humidor quality" (primarily meaning cedar-lined with a tight seal). For humidification, ask your tobacconist for a glycol gel-based tube or DryMistat. You just add a few drops of distilled water to start, and more when it gets low. The DryMistat will automatically keep your cigars at their proper humidity. Finally, store your cigars at a stable room temperature (70 degrees), give or take a few degrees.
So, let's get smokin'!
Puros Indios Viejo (1998)
Size: Presidente 7 1/4" X 48
$6.50 to 7.50 range
These cigars are produced by Rolando Reyes, a legend in the cigar business, and manufactured in Honduras. There is also a 1999 version of this cigar on the market that uses Nicaraguan tobacco in place of the Jamaican in this stick.
- Wrapper: Connecticut shade wrapper – Ecuadorean grown (tan)
- Filler: Dominican, Brazilian, Jamaican Blend
- Binder: Ecuadorean
The Puros Indios Viejo was recognized by one publication as a Top 25 cigar. Not knowing what to expect the first time I tried one, I chose a simple Bud Light draft as its drinking companion. As I have stressed in the past, you don't want to overpower the taste profile of a cigar, so be especially conservative with your choice of drink to go with a cigar that you're smoking for the first time. I knew a light beer would not be too much flavor for a more subtle cigar, should this prove to be one.
Look and feel
The Puros Indios Viejo is one of the longest cigars I have ever smoked. In addition to length, the Viejo had a gorgeous wrapper with a marbled look with only flecks of dark brown in it. The Viejo is classified as a maduro-wrapped cigar, although maduros usually tend to be wrapped in a darker leaf. Construction appeared solid and it proved to hold up well. The bartender offered to cut the cigar for me, and he confirmed he knew what he was doing.
Aroma and Taste
The pre-lit cigar smelled good and I followed my typical routine: toast the foot of the cigar, then puff it to ensure an even and full light. The draw was surprisingly good from such a long cigar, and I did get a fair quantity of smoke. The volume of smoke was ample all the way through. The taste remained consistent through the first half, slightly different, but again consistent, in the second half. Some occasional spicy notes came into play. The burn was straight and required no maintenance whatsoever -- very impressive for such a long cigar.
As I alluded to above, the taste of this cigar has to be discussed in two different halves. The cigar provided a flavorful smoke with an earthy flavor that dominated from the start. It had hints of nuts, too. Interestingly, sometime after the halfway point, the cigar ratcheted up its flavor and the nicotine level also increased. It got a little harsh near the end -- a 7-inch cigar drives a lot of smoke through the head of the cigar, which might explain the amplified taste. It gained harshness as I smoked closer to the foot, but this was only in the last inch and a half.
RATING: 9.1 (on a scale of 1 to 10)
A nice, solid cigar – in this case old ("Viejo") was a good thing. Well made, good draw, excellent burn. In fact, I cannot remember smoking a Churchill or longer length cigar that did not need some maintenance with its burn! The performance of this stick helped push its rating into the 9+ range.
A famous author's cigar "wisdom"
It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake. - Mark Twain
DISCLAIMER: At the risk of sounding too much like a TV commercial, I do want to sincerely state: This feature is NOT intended to advocate the smoking of cigars any more or any less than you already do, nor do I intend to influence the non-smoker to begin smoking cigars. Make no mistake about it; CIGAR SMOKING MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH.