For this week’s group review we smoked an Exclusively 4 U cigar named The Mason, with samples generously provided by Exclusively 4 U. Upon inspection we found that the Mason smells great and looks good too. After cutting, the cold draw was smooth and the cigar is impressive overall. We were shocked when we lit it up! The Mason packs a ton of pepper flavor right off the bat! The flavor profile of the entire smoke is dominated by pepper, with some earth. It was unfortunate that two of the three of our samples suffered from construction issues. These two samples would burn unevenly and the draw was difficult. Even considering the construction problems and lack of complexity we still found the cigar to be decent. In fact, we believe that with some aging, this would be a fantastic cigar. It certainly has potential. You can read the full review below!
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Flavor and Taste: 16/20
Price Point: 7/10
Would I buy a Box: 3/5
Terry1: Flavor and Taste: 14/20
Price Point: 6/10
Would I buy a Box: 1/5
IamDarren: Flavor and Taste: 15/20
Price Point: 6/10
Would I buy a Box: 2/5
IamDarren: i’m getting a sweet and spicy note on the foot. Overall good construction. Maybe a bit spongy in spots. Nicely placed cap. Going to cut.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Ok, mine has a slightly sweet earthy smell. I gave it a cut and the draw is a bout perfect with some resistance. I’m going to light!
IamDarren: yeah, earthy/buttery note on the cold draw. Going to light up.
Terry1: Mine has a good draw. Construction feels good. Getting the slight earthy note mentioned.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Mine lit up easily. Right off the bat, a TON of pepper flavor. Holy cow… pepper and spice.
IamDarren: not bad, some earth, spice, creamy buttery texture. Slightly acidic near the end. Pepper is edging in after a couple puffs.
IamDarren: good burn and draw so far.
Terry1: Lots of creamy smoke. I’m getting the earth and strong pepper on the finish. Interesting it reminds me of hot sauce. Starts kind of mild then the heat slowly builds on the tongue. Good start.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Agreed on the flavors. The pepper and spice finish really leaves my mouth tingling after each puff.
IamDarren: the finish is very long and if i wait for 30 seconds or so I get a sour taste in my mouth. Can’t say that i like that but i’m sure its just a side effect of the amount of pepper in this one.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Yeah, I get a little bit of sourness too, but it is not bad… just there.
IamDarren: its also turning into a two puffer. The first draw doesn’t yield much smoke, but the second gets it going. Must be a decent amount of ligero in this one.
Terry1: For all the pepper I get in my mouth I don’t really get much from the aroma, just a little earth. This cigar so far has more heat than flavor. I’m hoping it changes. I’m having to puff several times too.
IamDarren: agreed, the flavors aren’t as balanced as I like. I like the earth, spice and pepper but I am just left with the pepper in the back of my throat on the finish. It needs some sweetness to compliment it.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Mine is pretty mellow right now, a far cry from where it started out. My burn is perfectly even though, and the dark gray ash is holding on well.
Terry1: Their web site says the cigar opens with a carmelized note and spice. That would have been nice. I didn’t get it. And it just went out on me. Relite number 1.
IamDarren: yeah im having to triple draw now. Its funny the first draw, while not producing much smoke, is mellow and sweet. The second puff i get more spice and a little pepper. And once i get it heated up in the third draw i get a lot of pepper. Burn is not doing well though. About a half inch off on one side.
Terry1: Lots of smoke after the relight. A few minutes later I’m double and triple puffing again to get some smoke. I can detect a slight sweetness but the pepper just overwhelms everything.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: It’s almost as if we are smoking different cigars. Mine has some sweet cream flavor and earth with a peppery and spicy finish. My burn is even too… no triple puffing here.
IamDarren: i decided to do a burn correcting. After i got the wrapper burning good again the flavors really improved. I think they are using the wrapper and possibly the binder to provided sweetness and mellow it out.
IamDarren: sometimes i wish i could be there when the blenders are putting all the tobacco together and trying all the samples. There is defenitely some nice tobacco in this cigar but i think it could be improved.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: That’s good yours has gotten better. I like my sample at the moment.
IamDarren: just crossed the halfway mark. Sweet spice up front with pepper on the finish. It has lost most of the earthiness and is adding some type of nutty flavor. The strength is still there but is a little more subtle now.
IamDarren: band removed easily but i did notice the wrote “premium cigars” on one side. I think thats a little corny. I will be the judge of that.
Terry1: I’ve been trying to smoke slower. It seems to be helping. I’m getting some of the sweetness but the pepper I get in the back of my throut is giving me the hiccups. That’s something new!
StraightUpCigars – Matt: I have gotten uncontrollable hiccups from cigars before. I hate when that happens!
StraightUpCigars – Matt: I agree Darren, modesty is not one of the strong suits for Exclusively 4 U cigars.
IamDarren: i know what you mean terry. These types of cigars tend to give me slight heartburn. I still think there is some type of acidity along with the pepper that is causing it. I think this cigar would be a prime candidate for some aging. It would help to mellow it out and improve the burn.
Terry1: Second half is turning into a better cigar. Getting a little sweetness, nuts, sort of cedary aroma but wow, the retrohale is like acid. Too strong for me.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Yes, it does need some aging. I still enjoy it the way it smokes now, though.
IamDarren: my burn is getting way off again. Time for another burn correction.
Terry1: Strength is building as well. I’m feeling it now.
IamDarren: yeah i dropped the ash to correct the burn and it was burning all to one side.
Terry1: My burn has been good. The filler does seem to want to burn faster than the wrapper.
Terry1: Looking at the description the wrapper is a maduro ligero. The burn issues make sense now.
IamDarren: just goes to show that you can’t count on the filler to make the wrapper burn correctly.
IamDarren: mine is still burning to one side. At this point i will just have to see how it goes. I may have to end it a little early.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Yeah, my burn has gotten a little wonky, but nothing needing correction. Still pretty solid in the final third. The cigar seems to smoke fairly fast for a large vitola. I am getting a nice espresso flavor now.
IamDarren: dang, mine just went out with almost an inch to go. I think i’m gonna put it down. I wish i could have gotten some espresso.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: That’s a shame. Maybe next time.
IamDarren: honestly, i would love to have another one just to let it age awhile and try it again.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Yeah, I think this cigar has a lot of potential.
Terry1: Yeah if the first half pepper blast would mellow some so you get the second half flavors this would be a better cigar.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Totally agree.
IamDarren: so are you guys about finished
StraightUpCigars – Matt: Yeah, a few more puffs. I’ll rate it now.
Terry1: Mine went out. Good timing. The strength is getting to be too much for me.
StraightUpCigars – Matt: In summary, I would say this cigar would benefit from aging. The pepper and spice was pleasant and my sample smoked well. The roughly $8 B&M price is high, but I could see it being worth it after some time in the humidor.
Terry1: If you like pepper and full strength you would probably like this cigar more than I did. Aging would help. Not something I would want to smoke again.
IamDarren: for being one of this companies first attempts at a “premium cigar” is defenitely a good start. It just needs some tweaking.