20 Nov 2013
You don’t have to pour over cigar press releases, attend the IPCPR Trade Show, or even peruse the online cigar community to notice the trend toward thicker cigars. Ring gauges of 54, 56, 60, and even wider aren’t hard to come by these days.
Interestingly, there’s a paradox at play here. The cigar makers I’ve spoken to say they don’t care for large ring gauges. And I also find many of the most seasoned cigar veterans think of these bulging sizes as somewhat of a gimmick. Yet money talks, and the market is dictating the production of thick smokes in vast quantities.
Amid this shift towards large ring gauges is a renewed interest in thinner smokes, which I perceive as being led (at least in part) by regular cigar smokers and the online cigar community. This movement values the more concentrated flavors thin cigars afford over the “bigger is better” approach.
Picking up on this, some cigar makers are adding Lanceros—long, thin, elegant-looking cigars—to their lineup of the usual vitolas. Included is Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars, who offers a limited edition Lancero to his La Musa Μελέτη, which also has a Toro, Torpedo, Corona, and Robusto. Only 200 Lancero boxes are made available annually to select retailers.
La Musa Μελέτη is the second of the blends that follow from the re-branding of Grimalkin (the first being the Habano Rosado-wrapped Mοῦσα, which is the same recipe as Grimalkin with a different name and band). Μελέτη boasts a dark, leathery Nicaraguan wrapper that leaves a fine coating of oil on the fingers. It has a rustic exterior and a firm packing of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Pre-light, I find notes of dark chocolate and an easy draw.
After toasting the narrow foot and establishing an even light with a single wooden match, La Musa Μελέτη Lancero starts with a deep, bold espresso flavor. The texture is rich and a little gritty with a striking Nicaraguan zing on the aftertaste. Underneath is a creamy, almost nougat-like sweetness that helps add balance. At the midway point and beyond, bready flavors come and go, as do occasional meaty notes.
Construction is excellent. My two samples exhibited straight burn lines, good smoke production, solid gray ashes, and clear draws.
This is a more powerful smoke than Grimalkin was (or La Musa Mοῦσα is). I’d be interested to try it in a slightly larger ring gauge, since I assume the boldness would be less concentrated. But don’t get me wrong. This is a complex, balanced smoke with more substance than your standard flavor-bomb. And that’s ultimately why La Musa Μελέτη Lancero earns a rating of four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys