By: Dr. Mitch Fadem
Part 5 of The Opus X Challenge
The 5th cigar in our Opus X challenge is Eiroa The First 20 Years Diadema. This is one of Christian Eiroa’s creations. I have smoked many of his cigars, and all of them have been excellent. I met Christian back in 2008, just after I returned home from my first combat deployment to Afghanistan. During the year I spent there, most of the cigars we were sent by generous people supporting the troops were mostly bundle cigars. Occasionally we got some top of the line sticks, and Christian (back in 2007 he was still with Camacho) sent us a lot. It was nice to be able to thank him in person. Let’s see how this cigar fared in our challenge.
Construction – 8½ x 60/48 Diadema
The main Eiroa farm and manufacturing facility is located in Honduras. This cigar is a Honduran puro, meaning that the wrapper, binder and filler are all grown in Honduras. This is one huge stick. The head starts at a ring gauge of 48, and goes up to 60 as it gets close to the foot. The cigar is covered with a thin paper wrapper covering the foot and going right up to the band. The band is large, and only about 1” of the cigar is showing.
Before unwrapping it, it felt firm until I got to the exposed head, that was soft. This seemed a bit unusual, but became very clear when I removed the paper wrapper. The entire cigar was covered with white spots. I know, someone is going to say it is “plume”, perfectly normal and it has to do with sugars being released by the tobacco. Sorry, there is no scientific evidence of anything like that happening, and if you have seen that in writing I want to see the lab results that say it is sugar. It is a much simpler answer; it’s mold. I put it under a microscope, and it is a type of filamentous fungi and in the mold family. I assumed it was only on the surface and would burn up as I smoked it, with no health risks. The draw was way too light for me. I found that a very light draw is quite typical of cigars with very hard wrappers.
Aromas and Flavors
In this category, the aromas and flavors matched – coffee, pretzels and barnyard?!? I kept smoking and watching, and noticed a very uneven burn right from the start. Okay, maybe it was because the foot was nearly totally closed. It did not get better. A couple inches into the smoke, the flavors change dramatically. I was now getting white horseradish, a copper penny and a different kind of bitterness. Some filamentous fungi is cultivated for human consumption, like mold on cheese and tempeh. Cheeses like that I like, but not tempeh. This was more bitter than that. The ash was very flaky and the flavors were just getting more pronounced and worse. I stopped smoking and cut the cigar open. I’m not going to show you a photo so as not to gross anyone out, but the mold was right through the entire cigar. No, I did not over humidify the cigar. Remember, I live in Las Vegas, 100F+ and single digit humidity. My cigars dry out within a few minutes after taking them out of my humidor unless I start smoking right away. If my humidor hygrometer is reading 70%, as soon as I open it up it drops to 50%. I have no explanation for this mold, but I had to stop smoking.
How does the Eiroa The First 20 Years match up to the Opus X?
I know that Eiroa cigars are much better than this. I am going to give this another try with another one of Eiroa’s 20th Anniversary cigars I can pick on up at a local shop. I will not do another Diadema. I should have been more careful with what I picked out and still will not smoke another one of these. I am confident that the next Eiroa will be able to hold its own against the Opus X.