After a series of unseasonably nice (60 degrees and up) days, the temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and now it’s finally starting to feel like your typical New York November. But a 40-degree day wasn’t enough to keep me from lighting up a good stogie, so I brewed gigantic cup of black coffee, swung open the door of my humidor, and picked out one of the nicest cigars I have: the Graycliff Original PG.
As far as I know, all of the cigars in Graycliff’s lineup were blended by Avelino Lara, the man responsible for the original Cuban Cohiba. Knowing that, I had some pretty high expectations of the Original, their very first blend. The robusto-sized PG seemed to be up to snuff, though, judging from the nice roll, super-smooth wrapper, excellent draw, and pre-light notes of cream, cedar, and a little bit of airy sweetness. Feeling a little more confident that I wouldn’t have to bash the hell out of a $13-and-change stick, I toasted the foot with a simple, soft-flame lighter and went to work.
Despite the Original line’s billing as medium-to-full-bodied, I’d say this cigar was just a hair stronger than mellow-bodied. The first few puffs produced rich and consistent flavors of cream, cedar, and tobacco with a little bit of malted sweetness on the retrohale. The burn started out crappy because of the wind, but I gave this stick the benefit of the doubt, and sure enough, it corrected itself pretty quickly.
Further in, the flavors intensified a little bit, and just before the halfway point, I started picking up a little bit of red pepper. The retrohale also got spicier, and the malted sweetness transformed into a full-on butterscotch flavor. At the halfway point, the cedar note came to the foreground, and in the background was some slight earthiness. Since the initial rockiness, the burn had completely corrected itself and stayed straight-as-an-arrow from here on in.
As I burned into the final third and neared the nub, the cigar started getting a little heavier altogether. Some subtle coffee and cocoa bitterness started sneaking in, and the retrohale produced notes of chocolaty caramel. From its original mellow-to-medium-bodied strength, the smoke peaked here at around medium-boded with just enough pepper to leave some lingering on the finish. Tasting a little bit of that cigar butt harshness, I put down the nub with a little over an inch remaining.
I never know what to expect from cigars as expensive as the Graycliff Original PG, but judging from this and the Espresso I smoked a few weeks ago, I’d say these guys really know what they’re doing. The construction was excellent and the flavors, while not overly complex, were smooth, pleasant, and fairly consistent. I highly recommend pairing this with coffee, because despite the cigar’s mildness, its creaminess definitely stands up to the bold flavor of a strong cup. Anyway, if you’re looking for a cigar that’s mild and relaxing but not boring by any means, the Graycliff Original line is definitely for you.