BLEND Bar is a premier cocktail and cigar lounge that focuses on the luxury cigar experience. The original location in Indianapolis opened in 2013. In 2015, they partnered with Davidoff of Geneva USA and by 2017 they were named “The Best Cigar Lounge in the World” by Cigar Journal. Last year, they were named one of the “Best Cigar Lounges in the U.S.” by ICONIC LIFE magazine. Along the way, they have also opened a few other locations in Nashville, Pittsburgh, and soon The Woodland in Texas.
To celebrate the 5th anniversary of their partnership, Davidoff released BLEND Exclusive Salomones. Corey Johnston, the co-founder of BLEND, described the blend thus:
“Every detail and aspect of this exclusive cigar was poured over by BLEND and Davidoff professionals to ensure a proper pairing with some of the finest bourbons, whiskeys, and scotches in the world which are featured by BLEND.”
Since this was a blind review, I was perplexed by the size of this cigar – not every day I smoke an 8 1/2″ cigar. The more I studied it, the more curious I became. Here is what I experienced during my blind review.
- Cigar Reviewed: Davidoff “The Blend” Exclusive Salomones
- Wrapper: 5-year-old Ecuadorian 702
- Binder: Dominican Republic San Vicente Mejorado Seco
- Filler: Dominican Republic: San Vicente Mejorado seco, San Vicente visus, Piloto visus & seco, Tamasa visus
- Size: Salomones (8″ 1/2 x 57)
Blind Review: Davidoff BLEND Exclusive Salomones
Appearance & Construction
This Excalibur-sized cigar shines in the warm sunlight that flows through the massive window of Cigar Den. There are a plethora of minor veins spreading throughout the wrapper like cobwebs. Even so, the cigar feels smooth and oily to the touch. As I run my fingers from head to foot of the cigar, I feel a soft spot on each end of the cigar. Hopefully this will not affect my smoking experience.
Flavor & Smoke Characteristics
As I run the cigar across my nose, I get a scent of damp foliage (you know, the smell of freshly raked leaves on an autumn day?). The cold draw gives me a hint of sweet herbaceous flavors with a savory metallic taste towards the back end.
I guillotine through the cap and remove the miniature pyramid. Then to get an even burn, I decided to use matches due to the sharply tapered end. As soon as the foot glows bright red, I take my first puff and I am welcomed by three out of five of the taste profiles: sweet, salty, and bitter. I first pick up flavors of roasted peanuts, oak bark, and bitter charcoal. There is an aftertaste of sweet and savory mineral water which lingers way too long. On the retrohale, damp foliage, followed by black pepper spice, which disappears immediately.
Two-thirds into my smoke, red pepper spice shines through on both my palate and through retrohaling. Unfortunately, this is where the cigar peaks. Flavors of burnt peanuts, almonds, and a wet log are what I can recognize next. There is also a very distinct flavor that I can only describe as gasoline. I’d associate the flavor profile with ammonia, which could be the byproduct of underaged tobacco leaves.
The flavors don’t change much when I arrive at the final third, and the lingering flavors of sweet and savory become a nuance at this point. I decide to purge the cigar, hoping to clear out the undesirable flavors, but there isn’t much change. That said, one aspect worth highlighting is the retrohale for this cigar. Since the second third, a very satisfying red pepper spice sizzles through my nasal cavity every time I retrohale, followed by a light cedar finish. If wasn’t for the retrohale, I would honestly find it difficult to finish smoking this cigar.
When I first saw this cigar in my blind review batch, I suspected that this was a Davidoff Royal due to the masterful skill of the construction, and the unique Salomones size that belongs to only a few cigars. However, after lighting up I was unsure of my guess given the quality of the experience. The Blend Exclusive Salomones by Davidoff had its pros and cons. Unfortunately, the cons outweighed the pros: the combination of burnt peanuts, wet logs, and damp foliage created the taste of ammonia. No matter how attractive the retrohale was, it was not enough to outweigh the frankly detestable taste on the palate.