First of all, please allow me to wish all my Muslim readers an Eid Mubarak! Please forgive me if i’ve said or done anything to hurt your feelings this past year.

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The end of the holy month of Ramadhan is a joyous time for Muslims AND cigar lovers such as myself. During the fasting month, not only is food and drink abstained from during the day, but also smoking. And, smoking a cigar AFTER the sun goes down isn’t really ideal for so many reasons, mainly because a day without water and food messes up your tastebuds in a strange way — even good cigars taste “off”. However, having said that, i found that the H Upmann Half Corona was a perfect ramadhan cigar, due to it’s blend.

This year, i celebrated the end of Ramadhan with a Partagas Serie D No. 4, from December 2008. It’s the second last stick from a box i bought back then, and now i’m down to my last.

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I get emails regularly about what cigars are good for aging, and invariably i will always list the Partagas Serie D No. 4 as one of them. The blend is quite lovely when fresh, but 4-5 years, becomes outstanding, a real maturity of flavours. Lots of subtle hints of sweetness and fruit appear in even older samples, but i’ve only had those on very rare occasions. Understandably, aged PSD4s are very rare, carefully hoarded, and are almost impossible to find commercially. So the only way to get them with any decent age is to do it yourself.

This particular stick was delicious, and hit all the high notes Partagas is known for. The opening was suitably spicy with a large dollop of pepper on the palate and the lips. The aroma was a luxurious leather and wood chip mix. The draw was so smooth, it was like licking a baby’s bottom. Proper smoking technique and impeccable construction ensured that each draw was ice cold and sweet. Fantastic.

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The second half turned perfectly with a heavier mix of leather, dark vanilla and spice. It’s been a while since i’ve noticed the sweet hint of dark vanilla in my cigars, and it’s a flavour note that i sadly find increasingly rare in the current production years of Habanos. Not sure what has changed in recent years — weather conditions? changes in the maturation process of the leaves?

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The final third didn’t provide the grandstand finish that i was hoping, but it did it adequately enough. Coffee notes, some pleasant bitterness. Or perhaps it was just me, and my palate still adjusting to the post-ramadhan environment. In any case, the first two thirds were just amazing, the last third less so.

Verdict: 85/100. A staple cigar in the rotations of many aficionados. Ages very very well, and smokes like a dream. Some clear issues in the last third, but forgivable with the remembrance of the first two thirds.