Partagas – Spanish Rosado
Escaping the "Anywhere, USA" phenomenon
Whether you travel a little or a lot, you can't help but notice the "Anywhere, USA" phenomenon. This is the term that I have for the incorporating and franchising of Americas cities, where no matter what city you are in, it is getting more difficult to find something original, especially restaurants, bars or even retail stores. Whether I am in Dallas, Charlotte, Las Vegas or anywhere, there they are -- McDonalds, Starbucks, Applebee's, Chili's, etc. They can usually be found near the suburban malls with all the stores you know, right across the street from the Holiday Inn, Marriott Courtyard, etc.
Many of you know that I will often seek out cigar-friendly bars and establishments in the cities I visit. The draw of doing so is simply to escape the boring, repetitive convenience of traveling to Anywhere, USA, at least once in awhile. I have found the cigar-friendly establishments to be often unique venues in themselves; all the big chains have to be politically correct and ban any type of smoking, so they don't upset their mainstream client base. The other advantage of a cigar-friendly joint is that it tends to be a little more social in nature, as a smoke is a commitment of a chunk of your time. If you are in a hurry and want to be left alone, a cigar lounge is not the place for you. Chatting with the folks in these establishments will usually provide you with the local information about other original places to experience in town.
I recently had the pleasure of doing so recently in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting one of the original cigar bars in Florida, Macabi Cigar Bar on Las Olas Blvd. Once inside this dimly lit, quaint bar, I knew I stepped off the beaten path. The founder/owner, "Pat" Patel, was on hand to greet me. The plentiful selection of cigars was presented openly along the walls of the bar, a concern at first, as I wondered if the cigars could be properly cared for and maintained in this atmosphere. I was assured that the humidity and temperature were monitored. I selected a Partagas cigar and settled in for an excellent selection of beers on tap.
During my time at the bar, I learned Pat's story: he came to the U.S. from Uganda with nothing. He built a life, living the American dream, owning multiple stores throughout South Florida. His cigar bars are recognized in many "Best Of" city contests. He and his wife raised several children, all highly educated and accomplished in their own right. I got to know Crystal, the bartender, who was very attentive and friendly, and Kenny, a competent young tobacconist who truly wanted Pat's customers to be satisfied with his recommendations.
It proved to be a fun and interesting night in Ft. Lauderdale, a city with some originality still left in it, versus a cookie cutter night in Anywhere, USA. If in town, stop in to see Pat and the crew. I look forward to my next visit.
So, let's get smokin'!
Partagas – Spanish Rosado
Filler: Honduras, Mexico, Dominican
Size: 5.5 inches x 52 ring gauge
Partagas is another mainline brand owned by the General Cigar Co. It is one of the classic and still venerable Cuban brand cigars. The Partagas cigars sold in the U.S. tend to be medium to full bodied that are consistently well made.
The cigar was smoked at the Macabi Cigar Bar in Ft. Lauderdale, following a good dinner and some well-chosen red wine. At Macabi, a cold draft beer accompanied this smoke.
Look and feel
The Partagas SR was packed tightly and had some heft. The wrapper had a reddish or rosado color, and had a very nice pre-lit aroma. The construction was solid and the prelight draw was perfect, with a spicy taste.
At the first puff, there was sweetness, followed quickly by a spicy finish. Both came and went throughout the smoke, as did some citrus notes and an underlying warm tobacco taste. I believe it was the slowest burning cigar I've ever had. In fact, I would be inclined to try one of the smaller ring gauges to see if they moved a little quicker.
The burn was the only problem I had. Several times, in the last half, the wrapper burned unevenly, requiring a touch-up.
Aroma and Taste
The early puffs exhibited some sweetness and a sometime touch of citrus. This shifted into a more bold tobacco-flavored smoke with a touch of pepper. The smoke that this cigar produced was plentiful and had a good, earthy aroma. Even so, the cigar burned slow and proved to be the perfect length and flavor that I had in mind for the evening. My only complaint was that it did sometimes burn unevenly and occasionally would go out, needing re-lighting and touch up. This caused a little frustration, and is reflected in the rating. However, this is a very good value cigar with rich medium-to-sometimes-full-flavored taste.
RATING: 8.9 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – The lighting and burn issues of this cigar were not the first; I have smoked three or four of these, and I recall this to be (unfortunately) the norm. Even so, I will continue to smoke this cigar when given the opportunity.
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"Bitter Cigars and Bitter Women: Both should be discarded and replaced posthaste."