Here it is ya’ll, you’re chance to get test blends like the professionals. Help Paul Stulac decide which of these blends will become the “New Beginning”.
1. Paul Stulac The New Beginning Test Blend #26 Broadleaf (SMOKE IN THIS ORDER!)
Paul Stulac is the Canadian cigar maker with a shop in the sleepy port town of Halifax. Paul loves this club. He loves it more than I think we can comprehend. See, Paul received the news about the FDA a few years ago and because his blends are not compliant due to the years he registered them, he would have to pay $300,000 per cigar, per size for FDA testing. Despite being featured in The Robb Report and receiving rave reviews from multiple media outlets, he hung it up. That is, until one day when I tried to reach out to him under the advice of our very own Cigars and Games (member name on spiritedsmoke.com). Paul agreed to make the infamous Red Screaming Sun Lancero for the club. The cigar turned out to be one of the best cigars I believe we have ever had. The amount of posts on Instagram that cigar received and the tags and just all the love you guys showed Paul put a battery in his back. So here he is making a new beginning….fitting name for the cigar huh? If you received this cigar, you also received test blend #25. Paul wants your help in choosing his next release. They are similar, yet different. And he wants you to decide which blend will go on to become El Nuevo Comienzo, or New Beginning, by Paul Stulac. I have some other info I will share with you on the write up for the #25, but this is no regular cigar. This is the best of the best Nicaraguan tobacco you can find. It is comparable to Padron 1926 in my humble opinion. Slightly box pressed, this toro cigar has a toothy appearance brought to you by grade A Connecticut Broadleaf. The binder and filler are Nicaraguan to the best of my knowledge.
Tasting Notes: Bread and molasses on the body with a hint of barnyard. Rich tobacco in the foot. Cold draw has notes of bread with an underlying light cinnamon that generates heat after a few puffs. Once lit, BAM! Red pepper alert. Rich tobacco notes, red pepper, slight bread notes and creamy, oaky smoke. As I continue, it develops into notes of sweet cream, bread, unsweetened cocoa powder and more of that creamy oak. Leather begins to enter the equation now. I also get this hint of lime citrus. Cocoa, pepper, lime, oak and leather. At times it reminds me of a chocolate bread like babka or brioche. The cigar is sweet and herbal. In the second third, the pepper calms down and makes way for other nuanced flavors or phantom flavors as our friend Clark from Spirited Smoke would say. These flavors are surprisingly fruity, at times making me think of generic fruit punch but then developing into more raspberry jam in this amazing cigar. There are breads, sweet fruits, espresso, oak enveloped in a creamy delicious smoke. The cigar does not change flavors as much in the final third, becoming less complex, yet still just as delicious. WOW. Pairing Notes: First let me say this is no morning cigar. If you retrohale, be careful and enjoy! For beers I would pair this with a porter or stout only. For wine I would go with a Pinot Noir or a good Cabernet Sauvignon. I tried 4 different types of spirits with this stick and bourbon was by far the winner. In the desert category, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups all the way, chocolate mousse or chocolate cake. Sweetened milk chocolate. And for food pairings, after a steak or lamb. Dates would also be a good pairing with this gem of a stick.
2. Paul Stulac The New Beginning Test Blend #25 San Andres
I gave you a run down on Paul in the write up for test blend #26 and I prefer you start with that blend. So here is the follow up to that. I feel the need to tell you a story. Paul’s first cigars were made by Don Kiki…remember that name? Karen Bergers late husband. Don made more cigars for more brands than he could have probably remembered. RIP Don Kiki. Paul took those cigars and made a ton of noise in the industry with them. When he tried to re order, Don was not available. It could have been health issues but who knows. Paul was frustrated. He tried speaking to others in Miami hoping to find a new source but no one seemed to be able to handle the task. He was referred to a man by the last name Peña. Paul was told Peña worked at a restaurant near Ft. Lauderdale, rolling cigars for the patrons. He rolled about 7-14 cigars per day and made just enough to feed his family. Paul was not excited about the idea of trying to make cigars with some guy who no one really knew and who did not have his own establishment but he figured why not. He met Peña, smoked one of his cigars and the rest is history. They moved Peña to Nicaragua to start a small factory. I’ve seen 3 Paul Stulac blends. Each had the bet damn wrapper leaves money can buy on them. To the point I had to ask Paul, how are you getting these wrapper leaves when no one else seems to be able to afford them? He said, “Look, Peña is Don Pepin’s cousin. Don doesn’t blend for us and offers no advice. He does, however, let Peña buy tobacco from his lots.” So there you have it…Paul has access to one of the biggest and best stashes of all types of tobacco. An opportunity that money cannot buy, but family can. What a f***ing story. Here is the similar blend using a Mexican San Andres wrapper. Notice it’s a bit smoother than the Broadleaf. Less toothy. It’s also slightly darker and has none of the dark red hues the Broadleaf had. Same Toro soft box press. It would have been nice if he labeled each cigar so I didn’t have to print out stickers for each of these but that’s what I do for my people..I love you guys and I love sharing things like this. Where else would we get the opportunity to pick a blend for a manufacturer?!!
Tasting Notes: On the body it smells like manure/farm and rich tobacco. On the foot I get natural black tea, honey and sweet cereal notes. The cold draw tastes like beef jerky with pepper. Once lit, Boom! I’m hit with that sam amazing red pepper. I get red pepper, slight floral notes, chocolate and coffee. The smoke texture feels more powdery on this one. I get more floral notes as it progresses. The pepper stays on the forefront but I also get herbs and freshly ground coffee beans. As we progress the smoke gets creamier now. I get notes of pepper and sweet florals that remind me of bee pollen, more coffee, slight notes of paprika and hazelnut along with some sea salt. As the flavors mend together in the final third I get chocolate and coffee, florals and peppers, sweetness and salt and all in a creamy rich smoke that will satisfy the most advanced smoker. The tobaccos used in this cigar must be the highest grade Maduro and Nicaraguan possible. Totally impressed. Pairing notes: The pairing notes for this are going to be similar to the above which were porter beers, chocolate sweets, steak, red wines, bourbons (although I feel this may lend itself to Highland scotches as well), dried fruits, and medium roast coffee. Try a Hershey’s kiss halfway through.