Posted by Jack | in Epicurean Cigars | on 27 Dec 2014 | at 9:46 AM | 1878 views
Before I go any further, I need to tell you that this review is a tad self-serving.   Steven Ysidron is a friend of mine.   I developed his website and when things are settled down, he and I chat often.   Steven was working on a band idea for his Carnavale release last winter and I asked him if I could help.   The result is now wrapped around every Carnavale cigar.   I have bands ready for his next three releases too.   Steven is just a terrific guy, so if you are lucky enough to meet him at your local shop, shake his hand, smoke and enjoy his cigars, and wish him a great 2015.
Construction: The Carnavale is covered with a mildly toothy and nearly veinless deep milk chocolate habano oscuro wrapper leaf.   It is a light cigar but not so much as to say anything about the tobacco inside.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw:  A touch of barnyard, leather, and sweet tobacco show up once the cellophane is removed. A cold pull gives a a slightly spicy sweet tobacco note.
Light and Burn:  The Carnavale is a flawless performer from start to finish.   I had one spot that looked like it was going to run on me but it self-corrected.   The ash is white and solid enough to cling a while too.  I have had a few of these since they were released and every single one burned the same way.
Tasting:  Off the start you can tell that the Carnavale is going to be a very rich cigar.   The first few notes smack of leather, earth, and a nice syrupy sweetness - similar to that found in Steve's other masterpiece, the Gonzo Santeria.   Deep dark cocoa, rich earth, and a floral sweetness show up early on with the cocoa and earth making up the core of the cigar.     Things start off in the mild-medium range.
The middle third is here and the flavors continue to be deep and rich.   Cocoa and earth still form the core with other flavors dancing around on top of them.   Raisins, graham crackers, green tea, and leather make up the bulk of the flavors appearing here.   The complexity is great and while no pepper notes are really evident, I do get a smattering of pepper and cedar on the finish and the smoke is aromatic with them.   Strength is easily in the medium range now too.
The last third is here and that deep rich cocoa and earth continue to dominate.   Notes of cream, tea, espresso, cedar, leather, salt, and a hint of dried fruit end things off perfectly.   Just a terrific cigar all around.
Value:  At about $10 a pop, the Carnavale is well priced for such a well crafted cigar.
Final Thoughts:  I am more than pleased at how the Carnavale turned out.   Until I smoked one, I counted the Gonzo Santeria as Steve's finest work....but now I am not so sure.   The Carnavale is equally as rich and well done but it has a quality to the richness it exudes that I like a tad more than the Santeria.   I should also say that I am proud to see my design work wrapped around such a terrific cigar too.   If your shop has them, you should smoke a few.   Steven approaches his cigars like a wine maker.   Small and limited batches of tobacco, countless hours of blending, and a masterful attention to detail make his cigars a labor of love.   The Carnavale is a terrific smoke and comes very highly recommended.
Wrapper:  Nicaraguan habano ocscuro
Binder:  Pennsylvania broadleaf, honduran
Size:  6 x 52 very soft box press
Props if you remember this SNL skit: " Man, that's a kickass graphic!"
All kidding aside, the Carnavale is a great cigar that sits atop the heap of 2014 releases.
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