Here’s the situation: about a week ago, Steve (@cigarsindemand) and I decided to swap cigars that we’ve never experienced to round. Among several other tempting cigars, he sent the Diesel Rage that I’ll be reviewing today. The amazing wrapper on this cigar screams high quality and demanded that I suffer the cold and light ‘er up.
Today I’m pairing this bad mamajama with a Coke Zero and Nicaraguan coffee. Nothing fancy, but that’s the good thing about AJ Fernandez blends – they’re always a good smoke regardless of beverage choice.
Pre-light: The Diesel Rage has a wonderfully sweet aroma, not at all like what you would expect from the name. Maybe an earthy draw from after punching the cap with a sharp sweetness on the finish.
First impressions: I’m not really sure what to say. Thick, rich smoke is the first thing I noticed. A wonderfully mellow flavor profile is the second thing that comes to mind. I find myself chiefin’ down the first several pulls back to back because I’m not sure what it is I’m smoking.
And then it hits me, thanks to my buddy Brad, or lccj on the CigarNoise app. Mineral! We talked about it the other day after my T52 review when I mentioned an odd, earthy flavor that I couldn’t describe. He suggested I lick a penny, which I did (ha!), and voila! Now I know that mineral tastes like, and I’ve gotta say that this Diesel Rage has a strong mineral taste.
As the first 1/2 inch or so burns through, a little pepper comes through the finish and is of course more noticeable when blown through the nose. At times I think it’s black pepper, and at others I feel jalapeño on the tongue. Kinda reminds me of a jalapeño kalache in northern Louisiana – imagine a hot dog with jalapeño and cheddar in the dog and inside a croissant instead of a bun.
No there isn’t a cheddar profile. Yes I did just say the Diesel Rage reminds me of a hot dog.
Burning down a little further, the jalapeño spice melds into something more of a red pepper, the type next to the parmesan container at your favorite pizza place. This has to be the very first time I’ve experienced red pepper in a cigar. Exciting stuff!
Still pulling a prominent mineral quality wrapped in several forms of spice at the end of the first inch. The draw is very easy, and the sharp sweetness present in the beginning seems like it might be turning a tad bit bitter on me. More typing and less smoking should do the trick on toning it down a notch.
If you care about the burn and ash and all that, here’s a few pictures just for you:
Now the mild/medium body just kicked it up a notch into more of a medium/full profile. The ash fell off naturally at about an inch and a 1/4 or so. Landed on my porch like a brick and remained intact despite a 3 ft drop. Took the opportunity to touch it up with the ole torch.
At times I’ll think there’s a little coffee in the mix, but it’s like chasing shadows in your peripheral vision. Might just be the bitterness seeping through here and there between pepper blasts.
Although, as I continue to ponder it over about 10 minutes or so, the bitter forefront seems to have a floral aftertaste. The pepper is withdrawing, except when retrohaled through the nose, and the overall body of the Diesel Rage is mellowing out again.
Now that I’m approaching the second third, when paired with coffee, this cigar reminds me of the Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar that the Domestic Engineer picks me up every so often. Almost nonexistent chocolate, but there is definitely something floral and likely fruity when puffing on the Diesel Rage.
If you’re keeping score, this is also the first time I’ve ever discerned anything ‘fruity’ from a cigar. I used to call bullshit on all such reviews, until about 10 minutes ago, so feel free to add your own thoughts below.
Towards the last third the Diesel Rage does exhibit those coffee notes earlier foreshadowed. The pepper returns while the bitterness continues to ebb and flow. A little bit of milk chocolate comes forward while drinking coffee.
Overall I’d say that the Diesel Rage starts and finishes really well, while everything in between is like a rollercoaster. Sometimes it’s greatly satisfying, other times it’s too bitter for my tastes. An argument could be made that it should be smoked slower to combat the heat, but it never got too hot. And at just over an hour and a half to experience it, I’d say it was a decent pace for this review.
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