7-20-4 Cigar Reviews

The 7-20-4 cigar brand goes all the way back to 1874 when Roger G. (RG) Sullivan started his cigar company in New Hampshire. The distinctive numerical name came from the address of his factory at 724 Elm Street in Manchester, NH.

The popular 10 cent RG Sullivan 7-20-4 cigars were handmade with a Havana filler wrapped in a Sumatra wrapper and remained popular until Cuban Embargo forced the company to close in 1963.

In 2006, New Hampshire based cigar retailer, Kurt Kendall, decided to revive the brand name as an homage to the past. Importing tobacco from five countries, KA Kendall’s 7-20-4 boutique blend has been winning critical praise since its launch and Kurt continues to launch new varieties under the 7-20-4 brand.

My personal interest in the RG Sullivan brand comes from the fact that my maternal grandfather, Matthew Dziadosz, was a cigar smoker and he was brand loyal to RG Sullivan, smoking both the 7-20-4 and Dexter cigars produced in Manchester, NH.

Knowing the brand was defunct, spotting the distinctive 7-20-4 label on a box in a local cigar shop a few years back gave me pause. I purchased several 7-20-4 sticks that day, which I enjoyed while learning the history of the brand’s recent rebirth.

I have enjoyed several of the KA Kendall 7-20-4 cigars in recent years, including the Factory 57 and barber pole wrapped Hustler series. This past weekend, whilst up in New Hampshire to watch the Super Bowl with dear old dad, I spotted 7-20-4 cigars at the Two Guys Cigar shop in Seabrook and am reviewing here the standard 7-20-4 Toro and the newer 7-20-4 WK Series Robusto.

7-20-4 WK SERIES ROBUSTO

This recent offering from Kurt Kendall is a tribute to his son, William who passed away in 2011.

The wrapper is a nice mild Ecuador CT leaf. The filler is Nicaraguan and Honduran, bound with a Honduran binder.

The cigar has light to medium tan appearance, with smooth seams and several small veins. The stick was very firm, towards the stiff side and felt a bit dry. I was saddened to see the nice triple cap cracked when punched. Perhaps this particular cigar had been stored improperly or exposed to the cold? It was my first and only WK Series to date, so I will reserve judgement here.

The cold draw was flavorful – the predominant flavor I picked up on was cedar and a nice sweetness, like bakery. I read another review online that described hints of butter cookie and I definitely got that.

The first third had a good but slightly loose draw and a perfect burn. The flavor profile was predominantly cedar with some initial sweetness, some cream and nuttiness were also noticed.

By the second third the flavor opened up a bit, the cigar became very creamy with predominant cedar and some spice. I noted a definite butter cookie flavor happening here.

This continued into the final third, a similar flavor profile of cedar, cream and butter cookie. All throughout the last two thirds the draw continued to be a bit loose, but good and the burn was absolutely perfect.

The 7-20-4 WK Series Robusto – a mild flavorful smoke.

I would rate the WK Robusto from KA Kendall’s 7-20-4 line a solid 8 out of 10 and a cigar I would definitely look for again.

7-20-4 GRAN TORO

The 7-20-4 Gran Toro is a beautiful classic looking cigar with its 56 ring gauge and 6.5″ length. The outer leaf is a dark chocolaty brown showing few veins, smooth seams, a single cap and a pigtail. The cigar was well packed, firm to the touch and just slightly toothy.

The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Mexican leaf tobacco, held together with a Colombian binder all inside a Brazilian wrapper. A puro, this stick is definitely not!

I really loved the cold draw of this cigar – earthy, dried fruit, some spice and a hint of molasses were all noted. I took my time and enjoyed drawing on the unlit cigar for a while before starting it with my torch.

Upon lighting the cigar, the first flavor that hit my tongue was red pepper, but not strong pepper – more like a sweet red pepper flavor. There was also a nice flavor of wood, more oak than cedar. A very pleasing flavor combination off the hop.

The flavor profile continued well into the second third as well – nice red pepper, oaky wood and along the way some floral notes were introduced.

This flavor profile continued into the final third and right down to the end – sweet red pepper, wood and earthy floral notes – this was a very tasty cigar, but surprisingly a bit milder than I would have anticipated.

Throughout the cigar, the burn was razor sharp and the draw was very good. The 7-20-4 Gran Toro produced good smoke and a sturdy white ash.

As I mentioned I am brand loyal to Ken Kendall’s resurrection of the 7-20-4 label and I feel a connection to my late grandfather whenever I light up one of these great cigars.

Learn more about 7-20-4 here: https://www.7-20-4.com/

©2019 JMSurprenant

Admiral 7CS5W radio/phono (teaching a man to fish)

Today I traveled back to the Merrimack Valley to visit a high school buddy, Larry, who like me, has caught the vintage electronics bug.

An increasing number of vintage radios, phonographs and – gasp – 8-track players – have been finding their way to Larry’s home, and as you might expect, most need a little TLC to return them to fully functional status.

I have helped Larry in the past, having recapped his 1937 Philco console AM radio and having done a full restoration of his Westinghouse “Little Jewel” H126 ‘refrigerator’ radio.

Larry was under the mis-perception that I am some sort of electronics genius because I was able to resuscitate those dead radios back to life. Ha! So when he recently called me asking for help with his 1940s era Admiral console radio and phonograph that had a low volume problem, I thought it was a good time to stop giving Larry fishes and give him a fishing lesson.

The Admiral 7CS5W is a 1948 6 tube superheterodyne AM band only radio receiver with a 78 RPM record changer in a side-by-each console arrangement. Larry’s complaint was that whether the radio or the phonograph was playing, the volume was too low.

We downloaded the set schematics from the www.radiomuseum.org website and I showed Larry how to read the schematic, working from left to right, identifying the different stages of the radio circuit. We focused on the final audio stage which included a 6SQ7 phase inverter and a pair of 6K6 power output tubes.

Admrial 7CS5W Schematic courtesy of the RadioMuseum.org

We started our work by testing all of the tubes, starting with the above named audio stage tubes, using my grandfather’s EMC 205 tube tester. We tested all tubes for shorts and quality and all passed.

It was time to pull the chassis and see what was going on underneath. Looking at the chassis, I immediately noticed a hole where the original canned filter caps would have been – clearly someone had already serviced the radio and had replaced the electrolytic capacitors.

The hole in the chassis suggested that someone had previously
serviced this radio and replaced at least the filter caps.

I was mildly concerned that because the tubes tested good, as they did, and someone had recently recapped the radio, the low audio problem was going to be more complex to solve.

We discovered that while someone indeed had previously serviced the radio, and had replaced the two electrolytic capacitors, he only replaced about half of the wax caps. Also more interestingly, those replacement caps did not look that new. The electrolytic capacitors were a pair of large General Electric cap that I’ve never seen before. The other replacement caps were a variety of blue-green paper caps that I was also unfamiliar with. I would have to guess that this radio was last serviced in the 1970s or early 1980s.

BEFORE: Notice the big copper cylinder GE electrolytic caps an the blue paper caps on the right side of the chassis – the previous recap job was incomplete and apparently done some decades ago. It was time for this radio’s 30 year tune up.

So, starting with the filters, we recapped the entire set. Larry was a quick student, absorbing what I taught him about how capacitors function and why they need to be replaced – see my previous blog post about recapping The Glendon RCA receiver.

We needed to manufacture a pair of 30 MFD electrolytic caps as the stock I brought did not have that value. For each we wired a 10 MFD and a 22 MFD in parallel to produce a pair of 32 MFD capacitors. When working with old radio circuits, capacitor values aren’t critical. As long as the replacement caps has the correct voltage rating or higher, it’s generally o.k. to replace the original with a higher value. For the .002 MFD caps in the Admiral, we used .005 MFD replacements.

After about 2 hours work and a lot of good conversation, we had the two electrolytic caps and ten of the wax and paper caps replaced.

AFTER: Notice the ‘built up’ black electrolytic caps at the bottom of the chassis. We wired a pair of 10 MFD and 22 MFD capacitors together to make a pair of 32 MFD filter caps. Notice too how much less space the new yellow caps take up under the chassis.

Now was the moment of truth – would the recapping improve the low audio? Only one way to find out. We put the tubes back in, reinstalled the chassis in the cabinet and reconnected the speaker, antenna, and phono connectors and braced ourselves for the ‘smoke test.’ How did we do?

SUCCESS!

Replacing the capacitors completely resolved the low volume problem. The radio and phonograph ought to be good for the next 30 years.

In the end we saved another beautiful old radio , we launched Larry on the road of vintage electronics repair while catching up and I also disavowed him of his mis-perception that I’m some sort of a genius – not a bad Saturday at all.

©2019 JMSurprenant

Alec Bradley Nica-Puro Rosado Gordo

I stopped by the Owl Shop after work today, a chilly late January Monday, with the Alec Bradley Nica-Puro Rosado Gordo in shirt pocket.  The cigar was a gift from my brother in law, Liam, who shares my love of cigars.  Liam and I have enjoyed several sticks together after family gatherings and the conversations have always been as good as the smokes.  Liam and I are both fans of the Alec Bradley line; I have never smoked the Nica-Puro before.

The Gordo is a hefty 6.2” 60 ring gauge cigar.  As the name suggests, this is a Nicaraguan puro – a Nicaraguan double binder and core of long-fillers from Nicaragua’s 3 main growing regions — Jalapa, Condega, and Esteli — are wrapped in a handsome Nicaraguan Rosado leaf.

Appearance is a nice oily chocolate brown, the Rosado wrapper is smooth with a couple of small veins and no seams.  Construction was very firm, with some softness noticeable just beneath the beautiful double-band.  The triple cap was impressive.

The cold draw was very flavorful.  Delicious notes of dried fruit, spiciness and some cedar.

The first third started off with strong notes of cedar, pepper, earthiness and some cocoa and nuttiness.  The burn was excellent, and a perfect draw.   The ash was salt and pepper and firm – and didn’t break off until about the inch and a half mark.

By the start of the second third, the flavor became creamier with continued strong notes of cedar, nuttiness and pepper.  There was a hint of leather and some cocoa.  The burn continued to be perfect throughout the second third.

Final third became creamier and the cedar and pepper notes continued right to the end and the burn remained perfect.  The cigar needed no touching up and never became bitter or stale tasting.  The smoking time was an hour and forty minutes.

The AB Nica-Puro was about as good as a cigar can be.  I would score it a 10 out of 10, a rating I don’t give often – but this is a true classic.

Recapping “The Glendon” RCA Victor Model 6-XD

At the 2018 New England Antique Radio Club Radio and Vintage Electronics Show, I had the good fortune of winning not one, but two door prizes!

The first was a circa 1955 RCA Model 6-XD-5A “The Glendon” AM broadcast receiver.  The radio was promised to be ‘operational’ but ‘not restored.’  The second prize was a coupon to WJOE Radio, a favorite local vendor for radio restoration parts who also attends the NEARC Show each winter. I used the coupon to stock up on a couple of capacitor assortment boxes realizing I could use the capacitors to recap the Glendon at some point.

That “some point” came just two months later in April when after listening to the radio for just about an hour and a half I heard a loud sizzling sound, followed by a loud “pop!” and then loud buzzing from the speakers.

Sure enough, upon opening the set up I discovered that one of the wax capacitors, No. C11, on the power line had exploded.

The failed C-11 capacitor.

A lot of folks are under the misimpression that when restoring old radios, the number one problem is that the old tubes have gone bad and that finding replacements is hard and expensive.  The truth of the matter is the absolute number one affliction that antique radios suffer is failing capacitors.  Replacement caps are plentiful, and inexpensive and many radios can be brought back to useable life by just recapping the set.

Over time wax and paper capacitors fail and the dielectric in large filter caps either dries up has leaked out.  A capacitor that fails appears in circuit as a resistor and will not block DC while allowing AC signals to pass as they should.  A sure sign that caps have failed in vintage radios is the presence of a predominant loud hum on the audio output.

Replacing capacitors is generally straight forward and easy.  It’s simply a matter of removing the old capacitors and replacing them with modern day equivalents.  Many times, you can easily read the values off the old capacitor once it is removed, but it’s also always a good idea to download a copy of the schematic and work from that.

BEFORE
AFTER

There are two values you need to be concerned with when replacing capacitors – the capacitance value and the voltage rating.

Capacitance is measured in farads – typically microfarads (MFD) or in picofarads (pF).  1 farad is equal to 1,000,000 microfarad, or 1,000,000,000,000 picofarad.

It’s always good to work from a schematic diagram – I found the schematic for this radio on the Radiomuseum.org website – the troublesome C11 is highlighted above.

When replacing capacitors, an exact match for the capacitance value is seldom critical, especially when working with consumer grade AM radio circuits.  If you are unable to find a replacement cap with the same value, it is generally o.k. to use a close or higher value capacitor in the circuit.

You can also combine capacitors together to create a capacitor with the proper value.  The math is simple – if you connect capacitors in parallel, their value equals the sum of the individual capacitors.

C1 + C2 + Cn in parallel = Ctotal

The second value you need to be concerned with when replacing capacitors is the voltage rating which is often abbreviated WVDC (working voltage, direct current) on the capacitor and on the schematic. Always be sure to replace capacitors with new units that are rated at the same working voltage or higher.

So, returning to The Glendon, I replaced C11 and all the other wax capacitors.  I noticed that the previous owner had replaced the electrolytic filter caps already.  The schematic called for a 30 MFD and a 50 MFD filter cap.  The previous owner installed a pair of 450 volt 47 MFD caps so I left well enough alone.

The “Dead Soldiers” removed from the set.

Sure enough, my recap job brought this fine old radio back to life and it spent last summer as my chair-side radio on the front porch for Red Sox games.  And what a year it was for listening to Boston baseball on the radio!

RCA VICTOR CO., INC. MODELN 6-XD-5C “THE GLENDON” SPECS:

Year: 1954/1955 
Tubes: 12BE6 12BA6 12AV6 50C5 35W4
Circuit type: Super-Heterodyne IF 455 kHz; 2 AF stage(s)
Tuned circuits:6 AM circuit(s)
Bands:  AM BCB only, 540 – 1600 kHz
Loudspeaker:  2 Loudspeakers / Ø 4 inch = 10.2 cm (not stereo)
Power out:1 W (1.5 W max.)
Material: Plastic
Dimensions (WHD): 12.5 x 7.5 x 6.375 inch
Antenna: Build in loop antenna
Power consumption: 35 watts.
Other: has audio input jack to connect Victrola record player.

©2019 JMSurprenant

SSTRAN AMT3000 AM Transmitter

The SSTRAN AMT3000 transmitter.

One of the saddest things about my hobby of restoring vintage radios is the absolute lack of quality programming on the broadcast bands today. 

Not only is the golden age of radio long gone, today’s AM airwaves are chockful of hate filled right wing talk and syndicated FM commercial radio is mostly insipid crap music. A couple of summers ago, I built a 2 tube regen radio receiver kit with my 10-year-old niece, and while the build was quality time spent together, in the end she was left with a radio that is of no use to her.

But, while there may be very little worth listening to on the broadcast bands today, there is no shortage of excellent programming available as podcasts – good music, true crime, documentaries, comedy and even drama – free for the taking for enjoyment on your smart phone or other device.  This cornucopia of content can make ‘watching the radio’ wonderful again.

There are three easy ways to play modern podcasts and other recorded programs on a vintage radio. 

The first is to add an “AUX IN” to a vintage radio, like many new radios have.  The circuitry is simple and with a handful of parts, including a 1/8 stereo jack, you can easily play the output from your iPod, smart phone or CD player through the radio’s AF stage.

This “AUX IN” mod is popular with radio repair folk who restore vintage radios for resale.  Look at what is available for sale on http://www.radioattic.com and you’ll find many radios for sale with the mod.  If this interests you, check out the YouTubevideo by D-Lab Electronics here.

The second method is to add a Bluetooth receiver wired into the radio’s AF stage like the “AUX IN” jack mod above.  This mod is attractive as the listener can easily transmit podcasts and music from their smart phone to the vintage radio.

For me, the third method that I am profiling here, using a low power transmitter to ‘broadcast’ programs to my vintage radios is a bit more authentic as ‘real radio’ transmitting a modulated RF signal to the receiver where the ‘whole radio’ is being used from the RF to the IF to the AF.

So, a few years ago I decided to build the SSTRAN AMT3000 transmitter kit.  It is a popular solid state transmitter that costs about $100. As of this writing, it is not clear to me whether the kit is still available or not as the www.sstran.com website still has an announcement on the home page stating that as of November 12, 2017 they are not accepting any new orders. However the catalog page and shopping cart still appear functional. 

I had considered other options including a scratch build or this $40 tube based AM transmitter kit. The tube option had two solid arguments going for it – it was definitely cheaper and using a tube-based transmitter seemed a better match stylistically for most of my antique radios as they are tube based.

However, the AMT3000 won out as it had a few qualities that the tube kit did not offer.  These included separate up-front controls for gain, modulation and signal compression.  The AMT3000 is also easily tuned to different frequencies on the AM broadcast band by setting DIP switches. 

I had also read several online reviews and discovered that the kit had a very good reputation. The fit and finish were attractive too so the SSTRAN kit won out in the end.

I recall it took me two, maybe three evenings to construct the kit. The build was easy thanks to excellent documentation, good PCB layout and no toroids or coils to wind. There was a single surface mount IC, however, but it only has 14 leads and spacing was wide enough that I had no difficulty with my middle aged failing eyesight and shakier dexterity.

The completed circuit board.

In the top left view above you see there are two audio in jacks.  This is a mono transmitter, but you can feed a stereo signal through the two jacks which are combined to mono.  I use a stereo to RCA jack patch cable to connect the transmitter to my PC or CD player.

The transmitter comes with a wall wart step down transformer that puts out 11 VAC; the voltage regulator can be seen with the heatsink above. 

A PLL synthesizer references the 4 MHz crystal to precisely set the transmit frequency.  The DIP switches mentioned above to tune the transmitter is seen just below the heat sink on the voltage regulator. The manual includes a table showing the settings to tune across the AM broadcast band.

Notice the three RF chokes, which can be switched in or out of the circuit with jumpers to reduce hum caused by stray RF. Two chokes isolate the power input and the third isolates the audio input ground from the PCB ground. 

On the right side of the board you will see a four position DIP switch used to switch several inductors in and out of circuit to assist tuning the indoor long wire antenna supplied with the kit.  The instructions describe the construction of a base loaded vertical outdoor antenna that can be used to transmit up to a 2-mile radius which I have not built. When using the external antenna, these inductors are switched out.   

For my purposes, I have setup my home AM broadcast station on the operating desk of my ham radio stationon the second floor of my house.  As I amonly interested in transmitting a signal to radios within my house, I am usingthe provided long wire antenna which I have hanging out a second storywindow. 

My transmitter is tuned to 1,000 kHz which is a relatively dead spot on the AM dial in New Haven County, despite the number of signals coming from NYC to the southwest and Boston to the Northeast.  I get little interference day or night.

My transmitter is connected to a beater Dell laptop I bought refurbed from Walmart.com for a song.  I installed Ubuntu and use the Beatbox app to manage the queue of podcasts and MP3s.  I leave the station on 24/7 so now there is always something worth listening to on the radio.

I mentioned above that the AMT3000 has a compression control, which is a real nice touch.  Turning down the compression increases the hi fidelity of the signal, music actually sounds better to my ears than what is typically heard from commercial AM stations.

My home AM radio station – the SSTRAN AMT3000 transmitter sits atop my EICO 723 Novice transmitter on the AB1DQ operating bench. Programming is queued via the Beatbox app on my Ubuntu Dell laptop.

If you are looking for an AM transmitter to bring life back to your vintage radios, you won’t do any better than the SSTRAN AMT3000.  It is a real solid performer and simple enough build for anyone with moderate soldering skills.  I have gotten many years of satisfaction from mine.  Every December I use it to transmit holiday music to vintage radios placed throughout our house during our annual Christmas party – it’s a fine way to showcase the radios I have lovingly restored.

SSTRAN AMT3000 SPECS:

  • FCC Part 15 Compliant
  • Emission type: A3 Amplitude Modulation.
  • Modulation Type: Series Modulation.
  • Modulation Capability: 100%
  • Carrier Shift: less than 0.5%
  • Broadcast Frequency Range: 530 kHz to 1705 kHzin 10 kHz increments
    (a 9kHz increment version is also available for non-US radios)
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 20kHz
  • Audio Input Level: 200mV for 100% modulation
  • Audio Input Impedance: 4 ohms to 50K ohms
  • Distortion: 0.5%
  • Final DC Input Power: 100 milliwatts (full legallimit per FCC Part 15)
  • Duty Cycle: 100%
  • AC Ripple (Hum): Less than 0.3%.
  • Frequency Stability: 0.003%
  • Antenna Matching System: Pi-Network

Mr. Carlson’s Lab High Voltage Capacitor Discharge Tool

My favorite scratch build of 2018 was the capacitor discharge tool designed by and published by Mr. (Paul) Carlson on his Patreon website, Mr. Carlson’s Lab

Mr. Carlson’s Lab is the best YouTube/Patreon channel I have found dedicated to electronics repair, restoration, building and most importantly, theory.  His lab is simply amazing, his expertise is second-to-none, and his willingness to share what he knows is beyond generous. 

Paul’s presentation style is easy to follow and well-paced, making the material easy to absorb and his attention to detail borders on obsessive. He not only guides the viewer through construction step-by-step, he takes the time to explain the theory behind each circuit and occasionally challenges the viewer to solve problems along the way.

There is simply no better place to gain a quality electronics education at any cost.  Many of the Mr. Carlson’s Lab videos are available for free on YouTube, but for those like me, wanting to learn and know more, Mr. Carlson offers an in-depth electronics course via Patreon.  The capacitor discharge tool I built was presented on the Patreon site in a pair of videos.

In the first video, Mr. Carlson introduces the concept and specs and provided the list of components needed for the build, He challenged his viewers to attempt to design the circuit themselves and the best viewer circuits were showcased in the second video where he revealed his design for the project followed by step by step build instructions.

The circuit is composed of four 1k 50 w resistors wired in series to provide a load to drain charged capacitors. There are two LEDs wired in parallel with dropping resistors and a 5.6 v 5 w Zener diode to control current direction. Depending on polarity, one if the two LEDs will light when the probes are connected to the cap and will dim out as the cap is discharged. The other set of probe leads us into a standard voltmeter to show the cap charge. This way I can be sure when the cap is safely discharged. 

My completed capacitor discharge unit internals.
My finished project.

My finished and tested project is shown above. By connecting the output probes to my Ohm meter and getting a 4K ohm reading, I confirmed the load resistors were properly wired in series. For the next test, I shorted the input probes and watched the ohmmeter drop to zero, confirming that the probes were correctly wired and were not open. Lastly, switching the VOM to the DC voltage scale and applying the same input leads across a 9v battery I could read the 9v on the meter and observe one of the LEDs lighting up. Then reversing polarity of the probes on the battery the other LED lit confirming proper wiring of the circuit. 

Do you subscribe to Mr. Carlson’s Lab? Have you built any of his original projects? Can you recommend any other YouTube channels for learning electronics? Please add your comments below or drop me a line at ab1dq@protonmail.com.

My previous capacitor discharge tool…
not nearly as precise and a bit more exciting to use.

©2019 James M. Surprenant

Punch Bareknuckle Rothschild

Sunday, December 30, 2018 and I am at the Owl Shop in New Haven, watching the final Pats game of the regular season.  Brady & company are hosting the NY Jets and playing for a first round bye in the playoffs.

Today’s cigar is the Punch Bareknuckle Rothschild.  It’s a short 4.5” 50 ring gauge stick with a dark, oily and somewhat toothy sun grown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The cigar features a distinctive foot band.  Construction is nice and firm from foot to its neat double-cap.  Inside the Bareknuckle contains Honduran and Nicaraguan long fillers, laced with flavorful ligeros. 

Today’s Bareknuckle smoke is my second.  I purchased a pack of five from cigar.com for $24.00 which makes this a darn good value at $4.80.

Other online reviews of the Bareknuckle that I consulted note that this full-flavor offering from Punch is a welcome return to the label’s previous reputation as most of their offerings have become far milder in recent years.  For what it’s worth, I typically favor a milder cigar, however will enjoy medium to full body sticks from time to time.

I cut today’s cigar with a straight cutter; typically, I prefer a punch or a notch cutter. The cold-draw is very flavorful, and I pick up strong notes of cocoa, fruit and earthiness.

The first third.

Appropriately enough, the Bareknuckle starts off with a flavorful “punch” from the very first draw.  The initial flavor is a strong woodiness that initially tastes oaky to my palette but quickly develops into a nice cedar.  Also notable at the start is a good amount of pepper.  The draw is just about perfect, and the burn is good, although a bit uneven.

Ash is a nice salt & pepper but broke off just over the half inch mark.

Flavor remains cedar, pepper with a slight hint of vanilla at the end of the first third.

At the end of the first quarter, the Pats are up 7-3 over the Jets.

The second third

Draw remains very good and the burn has even upped on its own without touching up.

The vanilla notes are getting stronger, with the nice cedar and spice still predominant.  By the midpoint the vanilla starts taking the lead.  It’s distinctly vanilla, not the creaminess experienced in most cigars – it’s very nice.

At the mid-point the draw suddenly became much looser and the cigar needed re-lighting.  This also happened with the first Punch Bareknuckle I smoked a few weeks ago.

At the mid-point the draw suddenly became much looser and the cigar needed re-lighting.  This also happened with the first Punch Bareknuckle I smoked a few weeks ago.

The last third

The last third starts off with the cedar giving way to the vanilla notes accented by pepper.  Throughout the entire cigar, these three flavors – cedar, pepper and vanilla – were balanced nicely.  At the very end, the cigar needed touching up again.  Despite the good and even burn, the cigar wanted to go out again.

Overall impressions

As I stated above, I generally prefer milder cigars, but the Punch Bareknuckle is a wonderful medium- to full- bodied choice.  I enjoyed my first Bareknuckle with a double-shot of Jack Daniels on the rocks, and today’s stick was enjoyed with a pot of Lapsong Souchong, my go-to non-alcoholic beverage choice to enjoy with a fine cigar as the tea’s smoky flavor pairs well with most sticks.

Total smoking time was about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I rate the Punch Bareknuckle Rothschild a solid 9 out of 10, and will definitely be keeping some in my humidor for when I am craving a cigar with more intense flavor. 

© 2018 James M. Surprenant