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Old 03-02-2018, 08:09 PM   #1
stearns
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First Name: Ben
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Default 1997 Holts Fuente

Looking for something to smoke as the weather starts to warm up around here, this one caught my eye for some reason. This is an unbanded cigar similar to a toro, in cello that probably was not original, with a sticker on it that had "1997 Holts Fuente" hand scribbled on it. A little background, back when I was more active on the buy/sell side of the hobby I met a guy on another board who had a pretty extensive collection of older NCs that he had bought first hand over the years, at first I must have bought a specific lot but eventually every few months he would message me asking if I wanted a filled flat rate box for $X, I never asked him what I was getting but I was never disappointed. Usually these were no-name brands or some random house brands (which I usually smoked through right away) but occasionally there would be something recognizable. One time he sent me a whole bunch of "1997 Holts" cigars, when I asked about them he told me something like in 1997 the Holts B&M had an event where the top manufacturers of the time came to the shop and all did custom rolls in-store, which he bought a bunch up. I have a few others, all with very notable names from the late 90s most of which are still around as brands, but this one was packaged separately in the roughed up cello so I stored it apart from the rest.

If that's not enough rambling for you, read on, I'm just typing out what comes to mind as I smoke this

Anyways, I took it out of the cello and it was really hard, almost felt dried out even though I've had it in my humi for the last 8 years and it was kept well for the 13 years preceding that. It had what seemed like a very light and awkward box press, not square like it was in a box but something either from being tightly wrapped in a bundle when rolled or just over the years moving around and resting at different angles. Some veins but nothing major.

First puff, extremely light which I mostly expected. I can do a full nose exhale, which at the start is the only way I can get any discernable falvor. It's good, but fairly nondescript. As it burns down a little I realize this cigar is putting out a good amount of smoke, and a leathery note is starting to shine through, still mild but has a bit of a juicy depth to it, not something that is old and dried out. It's got a little sweetness to it as well, very subtle but it's there.

Starting it up on the second third and the burn has straightened up, it was a little wonky at first but that's because of some small cracks on the foot over the years, nothing significant only really noticeable in the initial burn. not much more development yet, definitely stronger but more of the same general profile. Halfway through is when the strong taste on the tongue starts, reminding me of smoking a pipe with some sort of mild aromatic blend. Not tongue bite, and not unpleasant, just something that stood out. At the same time I can still do a full nose exhale, very interesting dichotomy. Starting to make me salivate so I go inside for some water, ended up coming out with some scotch - it happens

Into the last third, the leather is still there but that little bit of sweet is fleeting, that's fine though. This is a solid smoke, on the mild side and not the most complex but again, that's fine, I was not expecting this much flavor. I keep going and around 2 inches left an interesting spice starts to come through, think more warm like nutmeg than spicy like peppercorn. Very reminiscent of something I used to smoke back at the cigar shop, but I'm having a hard time pinning it down, definitely not fuente or anything pepin, but it's playing well with the peaty scotch. Down to 1.5 inches and the smell of the smoke is delicious, warm like the taste. The burn is getting a little uneven but the construction otherwise is solid, the ash stays on for a reasonably long time and bubbles slightly when hit with a torch, not carving out but there's still some sugar there, or whatever.

Last inch or so and not much change, a little stronger but can still do a full nose exhale, it's just got a little tingle at the end as expected. Total smoke time was about 1.75 hours, I don't smoke as fast as I used to because I would have called it an hour smoke from the look Finally about 3/4 inch left I call it a quits before it gets too harsh since it's going that direction, something old enough to drink deserves a noble death.

I haven't heard from this individual in probably 6 years, and I don't think he was ever on this board, but if he was I'd say thank for a really cool experience, the stick you bought over 20 years ago is still wonderful

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