Well, over a week away from the computer, and I’m aware that I need to crack on with another couple of Major League Robustos! With Opening Day’s big AL East clash due to get the season under way in a matter of hours, I felt that I should drive one out of the park and bring you the Juan Lopez Seleccion No2. It’s a cigar which flies relatively low on the radar, but for anyone who knows a thing or two about the leaf, it’s a cigar which holds a place in the upper echelons of the cigar realm. Onto the review…
Bats whirred past my ear, outlined against the orange glow from a lone light… The glow from a far off drawing room illuminated the water, casting long shadows across the river. The rapid convulsions of the fast flowing River Leven , tearing through its millenia old gorge, stirred the primeval instinct to display power and strength.
I’d spent the day at the Jennings brewery in Cockermouth, and following the return to our lodge at the foot of Lake Windermere, there was only one thing for it… a cigar.
On first viewing the JL2 certainly deserves its hype; if the stick smokes as well as it looks, we’ve got a world-beater. The wrapper was smooth and virtually vein free, the cap was well applied, and the whole cigar gave off a wonderful glow from its dark and sheeny wrapper. The feel in the hand was top drawer too, being firm but appropriately springy to boot. I believe it is the first cigar that has received a faultless rating from me on appearance. 15
Smoking Characteristics /25
As seemed to be de rigeur with the cigars that I was giving my time to around the period I smoked this cigar, I picked up some nice cocoa aromas. However, these cocoa aromas were paired with a distinct nutty prescence, a match made in heaven. It lit slightly unevenly, despite my best efforts, and took some adjustments to get on the straight and true, but it settled down quite nicely. The burn was generally even throughout, with only minor issues. There was a minimal amount of coning, but there was a slight irregularity which led to some ‘reverse canoeing’, leaving a narrow strip which burned slower than the rest… The ash showed excellent form throughout, and it would be fair to say that it held longer than my nerve… The smoke was of a good volume (I watched the smoke spiral into the night sky as shadows of a night-time glow gave way to the bluey-grey tinge of a late Lakeland evening). Right, enough of the Wordsworth impressions! Overall, very good construction and smoking characteristics, with only minor flaws. 23
The JL2 started swiftly with some quite fresh flavours, reminiscent of pine nuts – it felt as though it would have made a good base for a pesto. After a short while, the feel in the mouth became quite ‘deep’ (and quite difficult to describe – perhaps the best way to consider it was akin to the sensation that a good, dry red wine leaves). There were some quite vegetal tones alongside this feeling which soon gave way to what I at first thought was a slightly stale taste. Then I had a MrB moment and thought about a nice roast dinner – and then the flavour developed into something almost meaty rather than stale (is this just mind over matter?). At around the mid-way point, these early complexities gave way to a solid, and comforting, cocoa and espresso flavours. As the JL2 neared the end, a spiciness developed. It was not the harsh, caustic spiciness that can catch a BOTL off guard at the end of a stick, but a smooth spiciness (think garam masala or a peppery cappuccino as opposed to a Scotch bonnet chili). Overall, a very good range of flavours, which developed nicely. Given the distinct differences between some of the flavours it was a pleasant surprise that they worked well together and complemented each other well. 23
Overall Impression /35
Overall, this was a very good cigar. And I mean, very good… At times I was a little suspect when smoking it, but those feelings always dissipated once I’d considered the flavours at hand more carefully. This definitely strikes me as a cigar to be enjoyed as a smoking experience, rather than a solid herfing cigar – you just couldn’t do it justice when smoking it and conversing at the same time. Excellent performance, perhaps influenced by the wonderful setting above the raging River Leven. 32
Grand total… 93/100