What do skulls, crosses, angel’s wings, shields and maces have to do with cigars? I have no idea, but you can find all of these things and more on the main band of the cigar I’m reviewing this week, the Paul Stulac Angel. And as unusual as it may sound, it’s actually a pretty good looking cigar.
The word on the net is the ornate packaging was designed to appeal to the biker and military crowds, which clears up some of the mystery. The rest of the story centers around a meeting between Paul Stulac, the owner of retail shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Kiki Berger of Cuban Crafters. What apparently began as a discussion to create a house blend evolved over the space of a few years into a full fledged cigar line that debuted at IPCPR 2011.
Paul Stulac cigars are quietly popping up in shops all around the country, and are currently available in five sizes based on a single blend: Angel (Robusto) 5 x 58, Ghost (Toro) 6 x 58, Phantom (Torpedo) 6 x 53, Skull (Salomone) 7 x 58 and Cross (Gigante) 7 x 64. In addition to creative names, each vitola has it’s own saying which is intended to give meaning to the name. For Angel, it’s a few lines take from playwright John Fletcher’s The Honest Man’s Fortune:
Our acts our angels are, for good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.
And now it’s time to see if these cigars are really “regalo de dios” (or gift from god) as the band claims, or if they’re really from a place much warmer than Nicaragua.
Size: 5 x 58
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
When I read the official size of Angel vitola, I was a little surprised. while it is a pretty stout little smoke, it just doesn’t look like a 58. Sure enough, when compared to the ring gauge guide on my desk, the cigar was just barely larger than the 54 hole. So either 58 is a misprint, or it represents the size of the cigar before pressing. (Box-pressed cigars are typically rolled more loosely than other vitolas, so it’s possible.) This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, 54 is a much more comfortable smoke than a 58.
Aside from the question of size, nothing else seemed to be out of place. No wrapper discolorations, large or ugly veins or lumps, and no serious imperfections beyond a small hole here and there. The cigars had a soft press appearance to them, but were firmer feeling than many box-pressed sticks I’ve encountered. But that didn’t translate into a firm draw. Once clipped, air flowed easily through the cigars, producing a molasses sweetness.
The Paul Stulac Angel on average burned evenly, produced a nice looking ash (thought a little delicate), plenty of smoke, had an easy draw and required no maintenance once lit. I had some trouble with significant unevenness in stick and some wrapper cracking in another, but those issues appeared to be the exception rather than the norm.
Each cigar introduced itself with a particularly enjoyable combination of slightly sweet, creamy aromatic cedar and light leather with a touch of spice. The rest of the third retained most of these elements (sans leather), with a little nutty cocoa flavor beginning to emerge near the end.
The beginning of the second third was the high-water mark for the cigar’s sweetness. It tasted syrupy, and somewhat like candied fruit, before quickly fading into a more dominantly cedar and spice profile. Cocoa, nuts and even a little coffee made appearances throughout, and a little later, the leather from the beginning returned, this time a little more pronounced.
The final third saw a return of some of the early creaminess, and a significant increase in a sometimes-sweet spice. There was also a savory characteristic to the profile here at the end that wasn’t present earlier. The cedar that had been so consistent throughout the cigar seemed to devolve into a less-specific, slightly bitter woodiness.
It’s a little above the sweet spot, but I don’t think the price too far off the mark.
The Paul Stulac Angel isn’t nearly as sinister as the band might lead you to believe. It’s like the cigar equivalent of a rough looking biker that turns out to be a big softy. A very likeable cigar all around, not too expensive, with an easy draw, and a fairly complex flavor profile, not to mention more spice than you’d ordinarily expect from an otherwise medium-bodied smoke. They may be a little hard to find right now, but keep an eye out for them, they’re definitely worth trying.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Probably
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.