Diplomaticos No1 (2001)

(Size: 6 1/2″ x 42  —  Time: 1hr 20mins)

Box Code: Exact code unknown (Year: 2001)

It’s been quite some time since my last review, for which I offer my sincere apologies.  Over the last couple of years it seems to have become a bit of a tradition for me to open my review with that sort of statement.  This review is of the Diplomaticos No1 – a wonderful Lonsdale.  My love for this brand is not unknown (as anyone who’s read my thoughts on the Dippy No2, and its demise, can attest). My love for the Lonsdale size is also not entirely unknown.  This should be a winning combination then, one would assume.  Especially when the cigar being reviewed has around 14 years of age on it.

IMG_1504This particular stick had been sitting in my humidor for around a year, since the 2014 UKCF get together at No1 St James, a very glossy cigar store run by Robert Emery – a true gent, excellent host, and incredibly knowledgable man.  I was actually frantically dashing around London this day – making my way in from Cirencester for a day of meetings and socialising.  Sadly I had to miss much of the evening’s festivities, though I did feel rather James Bond-ish on my return given that the reason for my slipping out was for drinks at No11 Downing Street.  Anyway, enough of my social climbing, onto the review…

Appearance /15

This cigar was not the prettiest I have ever seen.  The wrapper was a very light Colorado Claro, almost Claro – milky brown, fairly typical of the Diplomaticos line.  There were a few obvious veins, and a pretty stand-out seam.  The cap was, however, nicely and accurately applied.  In the hand it was nicely firm to the touch.  11

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Smoking Characteristics /25

The pre-light aroma of the Diplomaticos No1 was predominantly ‘farmyard’ with a touch of mustiness (think grandma’s wardrobe) and a hint of something reminiscent of honeyed cashews.  The pre-light draw was excellent, offering an ideal amount of resistance.   The light was easy and even – despite a slight lighter mishap.  Smoke production was more than adequate from the get-go and the early burn was crisp and even.  This continued throughout – I don’t recall any touch-ups being required except at the very death.  The ash was grey and slightly mottled, but made up of concentric circles so well aligned that an architect would have been pleased had he designed them.  As well as great consistency, the ash was also very solid, holding until tapped off in just a couple of solid lumps.  With good smoke production, even burn, excellent draw, and solid ash it’s difficult to find much to fault.  Indeed, aside from a minor correction in the last inch, and a relight (purely to enable nubbing the stick) it was flawless.  24

IMG_1502Flavour /25

The No1‘s dry draw was fairly subdued – with hints of honey and straw, as the pre-light aroma might have suggested.  The first quarter of an inch after lighting offered a similar profile, however, as we neared the end of the first third the cigar jumped into life.  Fourteen years had not dulled it into boredom!  The mouthfeel was full, flavour medium, and strength was pushing the top end of medium.  The flavour was becoming a little ‘meatier’ – something I’ve noticed before with Diplomaticos.  This was just a slight metallic note, partnered with good herbaceous flavours (oregano and sage).  Pork roast anyone?  Moving through the middle third the flavour profile developed towards something woodier.  The straw flavour returned, this time propped up by some good cedar and warming, woody spices.  As the cigar started towards its finale things got meatier again.  Leather and anise joined the party – think of a nice Rioja Reserva.   The anise notes quickly give way to a greater depth of cedar-wood and pepper; gradually, as the cigar nears the nub, these two flavours power to the forefront..  22

Overall Impression /35

What a cigar to reignite the review section of the blog!  Fourteen years of development had done nothing to dull the body of this example of the Diplomaticos No1.  It had allowed the flavours to integrate nicely, providing a nice journey through the length of the stick.  The construction was about as good as you’re going to get out of Cuba, which combined with the flavours and good smoke production made for a thoroughly enjoyable smoke.  33

Grand total… 90/100

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Diplomaticos No2

(Size: 6 1/8″ x 52 — Time: 1hr 25mins)

What a fantastic day it was when I decided to light up a Diplomaticos No2. I had a productive meeting in the morning, then went to a beer festival over lunch (even if it wasn’t fantastic) and then lounged around by the water during the afternoon with good company and a good cigar.

So it was, with decent weather (welcome to the world March 2010), that I suggested a cigar in the afternoon. Thankfully a suggestion which fell on receptive ears. So we headed to the Barbican, by the harbour, where I lit a Diplomaticos No2. My previous experience of Diplomaticos was a couple of really quite poor No4 cigars – would this turn my opinion of the brand around…

Appearance /15

This is a pretty large cigar. I love the torpedo shape, so that’s a good start! However, the wrapper was a little damaged (possibly due to multiple shippings and a potential incident with my humidor’s lid ). It was a reasonably light tan colour, from a brand known for slightly darker wrappers, but it was good. There were few and small veins and a very slight sheen. Overall, average looking stick, not helped by a bit of damage. 12

Smoking Characteristics /25

Pre-light, the aromas were almost archetypal cigar. That wonderful tobacco mustiness that just makes you think longingly of moments spent examining your humidor. The cigar lit first time and although it started burning a little unevenly, it soon straightened itself out. The draw was virtually perfect: easy, but with just the right amount of resistance. The smoke billowed from the cigar and it felt like a true smoking experience. It only needed relighting once, towards the end – quite good for a cigar this big, which I neglected on a couple of occassions for more pressing matters… 24

Flavour /25

This was a wonderful cigar to smoke – a nice stick which develops through stages of pleasant flavours. On lighting there was a wonderfully smooth pepperiness – like a good steak sauce. At about one-third of the way into the cigar, after I’d finished enjoying how magnificent the draw was, and how much smoke I was getting, the flavours started to change towards more earthy, vegetal and herby tastes. As the burn started to slow towards the final third, there was a switch towards a creaminess. This developed towards the typical leather undertones which so many cigars seem to have. Overall, this was a well flavoured cigar, good developments were appreciated and the flavours were a solid medium. 23

Overall Impression /35

Well, what can I really say, the rest of this review sums up what a marvelous cigar this was. I loved it, I’m sure my smoking buddy was getting fed up with the praise I was heaping upon it.However, as you approach the very nub of this cigar you have to be on your guard. It presumably felt that I was getting a little confident with such a big stick, and the last three or four draws (right at the nub) suddenly hit me for six… Until that point, I’d have called this cigar, which lasted just shy of an hour and a half, a medium bodied option. However, it’s got a powerful, donkey style kick at the death. Overall though, a damned good cigar. 32

Grand total… 91/100