This rather sad looking fish of a cigar is a Mexican puro from Altadis called Te Amo. Frequently cigars sporting the Te Amo band can be seen hanging precariously from the lips of large men chasing a small white ball around well tended lawns. At least that's what I see in the cigar ads. Maybe they taste better with golf, or maybe they're better tolerated when accompanied by a frustrating distraction.
Te Amo has been around for eons, or at least since the mid-60's, and has a dedicated following. Many Te Amo vitolas have been rolled and marketed over the years, but many of them have also been retired, and this is one of them. Figurados are difficult to roll, and this is an unusual one– it's tapered at both ends, like the cigars those fat cats in political cartoons from the early 20th century are seen smoking.
This one is a little lopsided, and the wrapper is dry and papery. Made in San Andres Tuxtla, measuring 6 5/8 x 50, it smells a bit like wet cardboard. Not particularly appetizing, but it didn't keep me from lighting it up.
Despite the name ("I Love You" en español) a lot of people don't care for this brand; at the same time a lot of people swear by it. It's a love it or hate it kind of cigar. Based on previous experience I didn't expect to like this cigar, but the first half is actually not bad.
It lit up easily and the construction was good. It burns a little hot, but evenly despite the occasional gust of wind on the back nine. (That would be the nine holes dug by my squirrel terrier in the back yard.) The bittersweet taste that is the Te Amo trademark was muted at first, much to my approval. Up to the mid-point I was about to change my mind about Te Amo.
But then the classic Te Amo arose and turned from bittersweet chocolate to acrid; the astringency that is typical of this brand turned on the nasty and I couldn't get past the two thirds mark. The shape of this cigar probably accelerated this effect — as the gauge decreases the flavor becomes concentrated, and in this case that isn't a good thing.
I've never been a fan of Te Amo, and I guess I never will be, especially of the figurado now that its passing has been marked. But I have to admit I sort of liked the first half of this cigar. Resquiat in Pacem.