|Signage of 7-20-4 Cigars at IPCPR|
Thus far in the “Tales” series, much of the focus has been on the big cigar lounges. Whether corporate or family owned, most of these visits have been to some of the big names in the cigar industry. IPCPR also has a lot of smaller cigar makers – these folks often only occupy a single booth space at the trade show. These makers produce a small line of cigars and have garnered a reputation called “boutique cigars”. I prefer to call them the “Indie” cigars – much like the “Indie” movement in the music industry (independent labels that make and often distribute their own music). One challenge at IPCPR is finding that Indie cigar maker that stands out among the competition. Namely, looking for something unique and something memorable – and most importantly, something that isn’t going to occupy shelf space in a retailer’s humidor. I believe one cigar maker and stick that stood out at the 2010 IPCPR was Kurt Kendall’s 7-20-4. In fact, I think its safe to say that Kendall might have had the biggest buzz of the Indie makers at IPCPR. – plus he had the stick to back it up.
Kurt Kendall had one of those small single booths at IPCPR. No fancy cigar lounge there – but the booth was adorned very nicely with his products. Surprisingly, it was two big name cigar manufacturers that got us over to Kendall’s booth. They both told us “You have to try this 7-20-4 stick”. That is saying a lot. Read a lot of the cigar blogs – the 7-20-4 stick made an impact at the show – and for the good.
The 7-20-4 stick started in Kendall’s Cigar Store(s) – Twins Smoke Shop in New Hampshire (he had two). The cigar was named after an older line that started about 100 years ago, but went defunct. The name 7-20-4 comes from the address of where that original stick was made – 724 Elm Street. Kendall basically resurrected the line.
Let’s take a closer look at the 7-20-4 stick:
First a few facts on the 15th anniversary. Tobaccos from five countries!
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Costa Rican
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican, Colombian
The 7-20-4 comes in several sizes:
Corona 5 5/8 x 46
Churchill 7 x 48
Robusto 5 x 50
Gran Toro 6.5 x 56
Torpedo 6 1/8 x 52
Dog Walker 4 1/4 X 40
|Might be sitting next to my Liberty 2010, but the 7-20-4 stands up to it.|
I have smoked the Gran Toro and the Torpedo sizes. For this review, I’ll focus on the Gran Toro. The immediate impression the cigar gives is richness – and that comes from its beautiful Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. The cigar (except the Torpedo) comes with a pig-tail cap.
I pretty much pulled off the ping-tail cap. The cigar was basically lit once – and then I did not have to re-light or touch up this stick. The initial flavors are pretty much what I expected – coffee tones. The coffee tones seemed to be the perfect taste from looking at that wonderful wrapper. In those initial flavors, there was a bittersweet undertone. That was soon followed by some nice cedar tones. While I didn’t pick this up, I read in A Cigar Smoker’s Journal, that the bitterness seemed to get stronger in the middle of the cigar (but that was referencing the Churchill). The slight bitterness I tasted should not be a negative as I believe it added to the complexity. Toward the second half of the smoke, I definitely tasted more oak tones and that oak-like flavor eventually encompassed and overtook the coffee tones. The cigar did not finish rough, but mine was a little warm and soft at the end.
As for the strength of the cigar, I still have this slightly over Medium. This did not overpower me, but just gave me the right amount of kick I wanted. As for the body of the cigar, I definitely would put this into the Medium-Full category.
The result – outstanding. This was easily a Top 5 stick I took back from IPCPR. When I talked with Kendall, I found him to be a very humble person – and someone who is very proud of the stick he makes. And he should be proud – because he has one great product. I look forward to more things from Kendall in the future.