Ok, that fact aside, they're also one of those simple pleasures that, if you so choose, should be experienced. Not so much that they're addictive. Just like any simple decadence, moderation is the key. (I'll have more on this in the Decadence Manifesto, which I'm at work on, once I clear everything else off the deadline list.) I never understood cigarettes, despite both parents being smokers. One every week isn't a bad pace, which makes the sampler pack of Cigar International Legends I got a nice treat. The idea is that CI, one of the largest Internet cigar dealers, got some of the top cigar makers to put together a cheap blend. One size, one price, and may the best smoke win.
The two I tried were Copper (Drew Estate) and Blue (Matasa.) Drew Estate is known for it's Acid line, a series of oh-so-hip cigars made with infused flavors. The Copper is no different. If you're new to cigars, this might not be a bad one, though you're in for a shock. The initial taste is pure cherry, so sweet it's like someone dipped it in koolaid. The sweet shock stays for about the first inch of this 5 3/4 inch cigar and while I can't say I liked it, it was different enough to keep me interested. Deeper in, there was more of a classic cigar taste with a bit of pepper and some nutty flavor to the smoke. It was never overpowering and is clearly on the mild end of cigars, but it was pleasant. I tend to smoke outside, sitting on my patio, and it was never too much or too strong. I had to relight once, which was my fault -- I was yapping on the phone and left it for a couple minutes without a puff. It's not a great cigar, but it's certainly well worth the price. I'm a bit more likely to try some of the Drew Estate product after this introduction.
The Blue Legend is from Matasa, best known for their Fonseca brand. I hadn't smoked one of theirs since a Romeo y Julieta a couple years ago, so I wasn't expecting much. The sampler was 8 cigars, so this was one of those "well, I gotta pick one and I want to save the Cusano for another time" kind of picks. It was a tight draw (which means suck harder) through the first inch. I use a punch rather than a cutter, so this is probably more an issue for me and others that prefer a punch than it is for the traditional cut. The wrapper, a sun-grown Ecuadorian, was one I hadn't had before and I can't say I'm a fan. It was brittle for me despite keeping my humidor near 70% and unraveled a bit as it burned. At the halfway point, it got very woody, something others have described as cedar, but which I experienced more as an intrusive ... something. Cedar - maybe, I just can't say. It wasn't mesquite either, but if you like your steak very woody, you might like this more than I did.
The Copper was a nice cigar for the price. The Blue wasn't bad, but I wouldn't buy one on it's own. The Orange Legend isn't even worth writing about, so I won't. I'm not going to give stars or ratings, because decadence is about the experience.