Blood Red Moon Mini Perfecto

Blood Red Moon

To survive the summer heat this year I stuck to smaller cigars, and this little perfecto from Cult Cigars was one of the better ones in my arsenal. Cult Cigars have been around for a while now — I reviewed the Cult Classic almost three years ago — but they appear to have a hit on their hands with Blood Red Moon.

Large format cigars have been gaining in popularity, and it seems like they get larger everyday. (Sometimes to a ridiculous degree. You will never see a review for 7 x 70 size cigar here. Sorry, but my gob stops at 60.) Cult has gone the other direction with Blood Red Moon. Three formats are in production, and the largest is a slightly oversized 5.5 x 54 robusto; the others are a 4.7 x 42 mini corona and a 4.7 x 44 mini perfecto. The perfectos are perfecto when you’re trying to find maximum shade under a Joshua tree in the desert in July.

I smoked the Mini Perfectos in abundance this summer — all in the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper — but all three formats are also available in Connecticut shade and Habano maduro. They arrive in packs of five, sold separately or packaged in bricks of 50. No bands, but the boxes are attractively illustrated.

Construction Notes

The Mini Perfecto in Ecuadorian Habano is a nicely shaped figurado: pointy at the head with a Presidente style foot. (Similar to the foot on a Fuente Hemingway.) The wrapper is a ruddy colorado maduro, a little bit veiny but sheeny.

It’s hard to know where to cut a head like this, but the cigar draws well with even the most conservative cut. It burns evenly and fairly slowly. I was tempted to puff these quickly at times and learned that they will get a little ornery if disrespected.

Overall construction: Excellent

Blood Red Moon 2

 

Tasting Notes

The first half of this Mini Perfecto is  marked by oak and black pepper. There is a surprising note of freshly baked bread on the nose, accompanied by an earthy aftertaste. I usually associate this combination with small Habanos like Partagas Shorts or Ramon Allones Small Club Coronas. Finding these flavors in a readily available $2.00 mini perfecto is my definition of a cheap thrill.

In the second half the oak turns to cedar and a touch of coffee enters the fray. The earthy flavor at the foundation remains for the duration but it can get heavy with overzealous puffing. For a small cigar it has a decent kick, which, depending on your tolerance for Lady Nicotine, could be another reason to take it easy with these little fellers.

Blood Red Moon 3

Conclusion

The Blood Red Moon Mini Perfecto excels both as a small cigar and a bargain smoke. The flavors are complex and the construction is uniformly excellent.  If you’re summerizing (or winterizing) your collection, or just looking at a light paycheck this week, Blood Red Moon should be on your horizon. Smoke them slowly and they will pay dividends that far surpass their humble $2 USD price tag.

Final Score: 90

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El Credito Perritos

The other day as I was sweating my way into the second half of a nice toro-sized cigar I realized it is officially summer, and it’s time to switch to something smaller. Every summer I find new-found appreciation for full-bodied petite coronas, perlas, and minutos. In past years I’ve acquired boxes of Rocky Patel Sun Grown Juniors and Pepin Garcia Black 1952s to bide my time until the earth’s axis tilts more comfortably away from the sun, but so far this year I have no contender for the position.

But just in time, there appears to be a qualified applicant at the door. A new cigar called Perritos was quietly released a few months ago by General Cigar. Made in Santiago in General’s El Credito division (E.P. Carrillo’s old La Gloria Cubana outfit), Perritos are ugly little smokes made without the benefit of molds or presses. They look like slightly larger versions of the Italian cheroots Clint Eastwood smokes in the spaghetti westerns.

In this case, looks are deceptive. Somehow Team La Gloria has packed into this 5.5 x 38-ring gauge cigar a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, two filler leaves from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and then wrapped it up in a Habano leaf from Ecuador.

And to my great surprise, this little doggie has teeth.

Construction Notes

Okay. This is not a cigar you’ll be passing out at your wedding, or handing to the boss on the links. The cigar is rolled entirely freehand and the head is shaped to a point that is left open. Some of them crook a little to the left, others to the right, and they’re as bumpy as a washboard road. Looking at this cigar for the first time, you have to hope that its smoking qualities exceed its aesthetic beauty, because it has very little.

On the other hand, it draws and burns quite well. The ash doesn’t fall off like you’d expect it to, and in every other respect it seems to be constructed like a premium cigar.

Looks aside, very good overall construction.

Tasting Notes

Some cigars have names a mile long, but Team La Gloria has surpassed that by giving the Perritos a subtitle: “War of Flavors.” I initially took that to be advertising overkill, but after smoking a few of these I think it truly is an apt description.

The Perritos start up with a expressive bang of pepper and sweet cedar. The smoke is aromatic, strong, and full-bodied. After a half-dozen puffs it coats the palate nicely.

The pepper drops off after an inch or so, but at that point other spices pick up the slack and make sure its martial spirit doesn’t flag. Leather enters the fray at the mid-point and the aroma turns from cedar to oak.

Char characterizes the last inch before the band, but I was captivated by a sweet cherry note which kept me interested to the end.

Conclusion

There’s a lot of fight in these mangy looking mutts, and I have to admit that I’m impressed. Despite their diminutive and careworn appearance, they’re remarkably complex. Even better,  you won’t pay a purebred price — the MSRP is marked at $2.50 a pup, but boxes of 50 can be found without much effort for around 70 bucks, dropping the single price considerably.

If you’re in the market for a short smoke but don’t want to sacrifice flavor, these Perritos may turn out to be your new best friend.

Final Score: 90