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Cigar Review – Ted’s Made by Hand 6 x 50 Connecticut Shade

As with many lovers of the leaf, my interest in smoking started with flavored cigars. I started with some crappy, foil-wrapped, grape-flavored cigars whose brand name I will not mention, and eventually graduated to more premium infused stogies, like Acid cigars and Maker’s Marks. While I love a good Acid cigar, the latter particularly struck me, because it was the first cigar I’d ever had that was meant to be paired with a specific beverage.

But after trying Maker’s Mark, Hopz, and a few others from Ted’s lineup, I it struck me today that I had never tried their unflavored line, Ted’s Made by Hand. I already knew that the construction of their cigars was outstanding, based on the flavored ones I’d had from them, and I also knew that the Ted’s Made by Hand 7 x 50 earned a respectable 88-point rating from Cigar Aficionado. But I wanted to put their blending prowess to the test myself, so with that, I cracked open a nicely-aged Ted’s Made by Hand 6 x 50 and put it through the wringer.

The first thing I noticed was that the construction on this cigar was just as solid as it had been with the others I’d had from Ted’s. The stick was firm from head to foot with just the right amount of give; the cap was neatly applied; the wrapper had no cracks, holes, or stretch marks; and once I cut the cigar, the draw was absolutely perfect. Pre-light flavors were very subtle; I got a little bit of cream with some cedar and a very slight floral hint in the aftertaste. With a pretty good idea of what to expect, I sparked up my trusty dual-torch and went to work on the foot.

Once the cigar was lit, it started off with a huge plume of unbelievably-smooth smoke without the slightest hint of harshness or bite. The flavors built in the first third, culminating in a combination of cream, roasted nuts, subtle cedar, and a little bit of caramel sweetness on the retrohale. This cigar was so smooth that I was retrohaling entire mouthfuls of smoke, rather than the typical tiny, cautious puffs.

About halfway through the smoke, I detected a very subtle note of white pepper, though again, there was no bite whatsoever. Otherwise, the flavors stayed consistent, remaining creamy and woody with an occasional undertone of pleasant raisin sweetness. At this point, the ashes had been hanging on consistently for about an inch and a half at a time.

As the cigar burned down to the final third, a creamy, sweet milk chocolate note started to come through. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted chocolate in a Connecticut-wrapped cigar, so this was surprising. Around the same time, a noticeable floral sweetness started to come through, which seemed to add some layers to the chocolate note. With less than an inch left, I was shocked at how mellow the smoke stayed. There was absolutely none of that bitter, charred, “please put me down” flavor that I normally get when I smoke a cigar down that far, but in the interest of keeping my fingers from getting burnt, I sadly set down the nub.

Still smooth…

I won’t mention any names since we’re selling them, but this has definitely taken my number one spot as the smoothest cigar I have ever smoked, period. It also had some of the best construction I’ve ever seen. The only time I needed to take out my torch was to light the cigar; it burned flawlessly from the minute I lit up until I set it down, and when I came back a half hour later, I noticed that it burned down an additional half inch after I was done smoking.

If the fact that Ted’s Cigars primarily makes flavored cigars has kept you from trying the unflavored Ted’s Made by Hand, I highly recommend that you set aside that bias and get yourself some of these. As I said, this is literally the smoothest cigar I’ve ever smoked, and it was 100 percent maintenance-free from start to finish. And if the Connecticut, which isn’t typically my favorite wrapper, was this good, I can only imagine how tasty the maduro-wrapped version is. Anyway, here’s to Ted’s Cigars for coming up with a truly flawless smoke!

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