Britannica educates us that Sfumato (from Italian sfumare, “to tone down” or “to evaporate like smoke”), in painting or drawing, is the fine shading that produces soft, imperceptible transitions between colours and tones. It is used most often in connection with the work of Leonardo da Vinci and his followers, who made subtle gradations, without lines or borders, from light to dark areas; the technique was used for a highly illusionistic rendering of facial features and for atmospheric effects.
If I could magically pick up a talent at this stage of my life it would be amazing to play a musical instrument or be able to paint. I have less than a zero knack for either of these artistic pursuits, both of which I now watch my young children accomplish amazing things daily with utter ease. Alas for some reason I was blessed with the ability to expertly review cigars instead, so here we go…
THE CIGAR – SFUMATO IN C MAJOR by CROWNED HEADS
Size: 6 3/4 x 48
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut hybrid
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatran
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Peru
Price: $10.95 (the Sfumato in C Major cigar is currently on sale at Famous Smoke Shop and if you use promo code TNCC20 it will take $20 off your order of $100 or more!)
It’s difficult not to visually admire the gorgeous golden brown Ecuadorian Connecticut hybrid wrapper that graces this cigar and its velvet-like texture only adds to its overall allure. The Sfumato in C Major reveals very little aroma-wise, with only a hint of lightly roasted coffee detected directly off the foot. The mysterious nature of the cigar thickens when only the faintest trace of fresh pecans is revealed through the wide open cold draw…
Upon ignition, the light coffee alluded to earlier comes through loud and clear through the nose backed by minimal touches of pepper and mineral. The draw here early on is composed of a pleasant woodsy note accompanied by a creamy coffee flavor. Smoke production is copious and the Sfumato in C Major is drawing like a dream. A very slight cherry note begins to arise on the palate right around the 1” mark. Cherry is not a flavor I often, if ever, find in a cigar. It reminds me of an extremely diluted glass of Cherry Kool-Aid. In the time that it took me to type those last 3 sentences, the cherry flavor has vanished.
The woodsy note is more dominate at the beginning of the middle third, this increase in boldness also allows me to narrow it down specifically to oak as a point of reference. The pepper spice also increases its presence slightly around the same point in time, creating a nice balancing act between the retro and the draw (both of which are still delivering mild but differing coffee flavors). Despite these noticeable changes, the Sfumato in C Major is still squarely in mild territory from a strength perspective. A barely discernible vanilla sensation, that previously made a split second appearance earlier on, appears yet again via the draw right around the fifty yard line ~ you’ve got to close your eyes and hunt for it, but it’s there and I can only pray that it remains a bit longer this time around. Construction remains stellar on all fronts with an outstanding draw and the resulting dark grey ash holds on strong. The retrohale’s mineral is now suddenly growing much stronger and, sadly, it seems to have extinguished any hope that the vanilla note will develop in to something more. Adios vanilla, we hardly got to know ya…
I’m genuinely surprised by the increase in pepper spice and mineral here at the beginning of the Sfumato in C Major’s final act. While I was highly enjoying the cigar’s mild smoking experience, I always appreciate the blender throwing me a curveball here and there. As we always say on the podcast, there is nothing worse than a boring cigar. Well except nazis, nazis are way worse. The draw is now delivering the refined oak and creamy coffee flavors in equal doses. Those two flavors are definable enough to withstand the sudden increase in strength through the nose. The ash does something here that, in in all my years of smoking cigars, I’ve never witnessed before: the ash splits in to three distinct segments resembling the open howling mouth of The Demogorgon from Stranger Things.
That unique ash, possibly from another dimension, starts freaking me out a little bit so I thump it away. If only those persistently troubled kids in Hawkins, Indiana could thump away their doomsday problems that easily. The Sfumato in C Major begins to burn a touch too hot for my lips with about an inch to go so, unfortunately, it’s time to bid farewell to this interesting cigar.
The Sfumato in C Major is a complex cigar that features a plethora of enjoyable flavors and transitions over the course of its 79 minute smoking duration. In a press release, Crowned Head’s main man Jon Huber said that he “wanted something that would be perfect with a morning cup of coffee or complement an afternoon glass of chilled Rosé.” I’ll second that cup of coffee recommendation for sure; however, I’d like to try pairing this stogie with a generously-poured glass of Pinot Noir as I believe it would compliment the flavor profile nicely. Or perhaps I’ll head down the road to Sonic and order a Cherry Coke with a splash of vanilla added to see if I can pull those fleeting flavors back from the Upside Down world in which they vanished prematurely. It’s worth a shot, right?