Review of the Connecticut by 708 Cigar
This review of the 708 Cigar Connecticut is gonna be a little longer than usual. I wanted to take a little time to introduce a cigar brand that has been around for a while but its more of a regional brand, for now anyway.
A Brother of the Leaf gave me a heads up on a Groupon featuring a local cigar shop; Tobacco Plus located in Matteson IL a smaller town in the south Chicago suburbs. My lack of faith in area cigar shops is pretty well documented however, because of the stellar recommendation I decide to take a leap of the aforementioned faith and give it a whirl. I’ve said it before you can find a great cigar around these parts but you have to beg someone to sell it to you. To say that I was excited about the prospect of having a great cigar store 11 miles straight south of me is an understatement.
I bought the groupon for $24.00 and I received $50.00 in store credit. Before I made the 15-minute drive I did a little digging on the shop. As it turns out the owner Zaid Eid is a bit of a cigar celeb in his own right. (I’m sure cousin and long time business partner Firas Eid is a super swell guy as well I just didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him)
He and Firas began their dream in 1996 where they began a long-lasting relationship with Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate. Tobacco Plus was one of the first shops to bring the famed Acid line to Chicago. They were also instrumental in bringing Drew Estate to the Middle East.
So enough about the back-story, on to the cigars; 708 Cigars is one line from the Brother’s Cigar Company which is owned by the Zaid’s and it is clearly a big part of their overall plan. All 708 cigars are hand rolled in the Dominican in their own facility. After talking to Zaid in the shop for a few minutes I asked him my usual question “what are you smoking these days?” he didn’t hesitate for a second, he replied “I only smoke our cigars on a regular basis” “I try others but I only smoke my own”. That’s a bold statement to make and he even added “our 708 line can stand toe to toe with the finest out there”. Well he had to know I was gonna put them to the test so I bought one of each.
708 Cigars comes in 4 blends, the Connecticut, the Maduro, the Habano and the Barber Pole featuring all three wrappers. This last weekend I found a bit of time in the early afternoon and decided to try the Connecticut. I want to preface this review by letting you know all 708 Cigars have a slightly sweetened tip. When I say slight I’m talking first three minutes and it gone so there is no need for fear of it overpowering the stick like an Acid. The size I choose was the 6×60.
First impression was that this was an impressive stick. It was a heavyweight for sure. Pre-light draw brought a sweet grassy and slight barnyard taste; the draw gave just the right amount of resistance.
The cigar started out pretty mild but pleasant baking spices emerged in front right away and the construction proved to be rock solid. A nice tight white slightly flakey ash emerged and hung on for dear life, finally breaking off at about a 1 ½”. Normally I would go into a second 1/3rd however the stick stayed pretty consistent till right before the halfway mark and that’s where things got really interesting.
When I pick a Connecticut I’m usually expecting a mild maybe mild to medium smoke with some light spice, cream and then some nuttiness or woodiness. This was not the case with the 708. It started mild but quickly moved to a solid medium with medium-to-medium full strength. This IS NOT an UC Shade. Just before the halfway point the cigar really started to get going from a flavor perspective. The baking spices dropped off and a strong raisin flavor came to the forefront. A very nice creaminess began to develop in the background. The retrohale produced a spicy cinnamon and nutmeg flavor.
Again from the halfway point on the stick did a delicate dance between cream, raisins, backing spices and began to develop an almond flavor in the last 3rd. I did detect a white pepper zing on the tongue but it was slight. In fairness the burn line needed some touching up after the halfway point but it never got to the point of being annoying.
I lit up the cigar with high hopes. Anytime the owner stands in front of you and says “hey I don’t care what you smoke, mine will line up with all of them” I’m jacked to see if he’s right or if he’s just blowing smoke. I have to say Zaid wasn’t lying the 708 Connecticut can stand tall amongst the sticks at that price point ($9.50ish) and really offer something different. It is like no other Connie I’ve ever smoked but in a good way. Stay tuned for my reviews on the other 708 Cigar that are aging quite nicely in my humi. I’m fairly certain you won’t have to wait long, I feel like channeling my inner magician and making them disappear quite soon.
The Cigar Café Score: 91
by: Sean Kavaanaugh