It’s been a great year for My Cigar Blog — the fact that this blog was revived this year is in itself a wonderful achievement! I’ve smoked some amazing cigars in 2010 (and a hell of a lot of duds too, but we shall not speak of those). And the arrival of many packages over the months have provided sporadic bursts of joy — it’s always fun when the mail man comes over and hands me a package to open. It feels like my birthday each time.

The final packages to arrive for 2010 were placed on my desk today. The thing i noticed quite quickly about the HDM Epic No. 2s is that the wrapper is unusually dark, almost maduro, for an Epi 2; i recalled the last time i bought a 15-stick pack, the wrappers were also quite dark, but are almost never this dark when bought in cabinets of 25 or 50.

I’ve speculated about why cigars in tubes, or in these plain 3-pack cardboard packaging tend to be very different and, often, much darker, than “normal” packaging. The best idea i’ve come up with is that during the sorting process, the sorter will always put cigars of the same colour tone together in the same box. Cigars such as these darker ones, can’t really find a matching box, and because their numbers are much smaller, they are used to fill up 15-stick packages, or even 3-stick tubos packaging. The customer only cares that the 3-sticks in the cardboard pack shares the same tone, so the matching process is easier (i.e. finding 3 matching sticks colour wise is a lot easier than finding 25 matching sticks).

Does that mean that the cigars that go into these simple packages are the “dark horses” of the production line? Yes, that’s exactly what they are. Does that make them better? Not necessarily, but from a tasting perspective, i’ve found that darker leaves tend to be just a bit more bitter, stronger, and a touch more aromatic. The reason why they are darker is because of the positioning in the tobacco plant; the darker leaves are from the upper portion of the plant and have been exposed to the sun longer, thus they become a darker green, and thus when dried, take on a darker brown hue.