One look at the picture and you already know why I’m reviewing the Felipe Gregorio Icon Einstein. If you’re anything like me, you say that and thought, what the heck is that? Well it isn’t a bottle brush even though it almost looks like one. And in spite of all the decoration, it is possible to smoke it, with appropriate pruning.
Well that’s pretty much all I’ve got. I would quote the little bit of information I did find online about this cigar, but it’s just too heavy on cheesiness and too light on actual information. So it all boils down to this cigar looks funny, and I’m gonna smoke it. Let’s check it out.
Size: 6 1/2 x 55
Wrapper: Costa Rica
Filler: 2002 Dominican Republic Piloto Cubano
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Price: ~$19 MSRP
Wow, where to start with the pre-light inspection. If ever there was a cigar that just looked like it was trying too hard, it’s this cigar. It has a cap that looks like the wrapper has been pulled up into a pony tail. It also has a foot that’s drawn down into a tight black nipple. (In a way it the cigar is almost like a tootsie roll.) But it doesn’t end there, it comes with two different bands. A golden band near the bulbous foot with the word “icon” emblazoned on it, and a second, busier band near the head with a crest and about a dozen famous faces. (Einstein, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, etc.) I think that this cigar would be a little easier to look at if it just had the simpler golden icon label.
Getting beyond the abundance of decoration, the wrapper was free of obvious defect. It had a few spidery veins and there was some lumpiness to the touch. I found the cigar to be a little softer than expected, but not so much as to warn of burn problems.
The scent of the wrapper was a sweet and pungent compost. Even though the cigar’s foot did come to a nipple at the foot, I was able to get a faint dusty prune in the cold taste on one of the cigars.
The burn was fairly similar between cigars. At the beginning of the first third both cigars burned pretty unevenly. In one case, the cigar evened itself out by the time it reached the thickest part of the cigar. But in the cigar wasted no time in acting up. Right inside the nippled end a big hole opened up in the wrapper and revealed a little cavity in the cigar. I was a little concerned that the cigar was in for real burn problems, but after a relight the burn was pretty normal.
Aside from that initial burn weirdness the cigar burned nicely the rest of the way through the cigar. The ash was nice, light and solid. However, there was another problem. This one appeared at the head of the cigar. Tar. The first one of these I smoked had a couple of nasty bubbles of gunk appear on the clipped end around halfway through the burn. The other cigar did not have a tar problem.
So to sum up, one cigar was very flawed. It developed a tunnel, and oozed tar. The other was well behaved.
If you’ve had the misfortune to smoke a tarry cigar, you know that really messes up the flavor of a cigar. So it won’t come as a surprise if I tell you that the flawed cigar had an awful flavor. The funkiness began shortly inside the first third, and progressed until the tar bubbled to the surface. That being said, there were hints of the flavors I was to experience in the next cigar.
So I’m going to focus on the good cigar. And let me tell you, I was completely surprised by it. It started out sweet and creamy with a little bit of nuttiness. That nuttiness started to fade and was replaced by a sweet vanilla and finally a very pronounced and quite tasty mocha flavor. Some flavors I note in my reviews are based on similarities to common flavors, but I swear this cigar tasted exactly like drinking a good mocha. The cigar retained that mocha flavor for the majority of the first and second thirds. Toward the end of the final third, I started to get some cinnamon and some cedar. But the mocha returned in the final third and was a bit fuller and earthier.
I have the price listed as an MSRP of about $19, but in reality, I don’t think you can buy them for that much. At the risk of disappointing those who like to pay more for their cigars, you’re likely to find these marked down to around $10 per stick (or about $50 for the box of five).
I was talking with the cigar folks on twitter before I smoked the second cigar, and I was complaining about the ordeals I go through for these reviews. I fully expected another horrible smoking experience the second time around. But it was like night and day. I enjoyed the second cigar in equal proportion to the amount I disliked the first. Going with the assumption that the first cigar was an anomaly, I’m going to say I like this cigar, and look forward to smoking it again. It was like smoking dessert!
I have a few more left, so we’ll see how those smoke, before I determine if I’ll buy more. They really are a bit over the top visually, but if the rest perform as well as the second cigar, I’ll probably be buying more. (But maybe one of the other less expensive, less flamboyant vitolas.) However, if I have similar issues with any the rest, I probably won’t. I really wish I had the time to smoke another to be sure. Perhaps we’ll save that for a follow up video review.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes, depending on how the rest smoke.
Recommend It: Yes, depending on how the rest smoke.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.