Hobgoblins, Skulls, and Warlocks

While the chip and candy industry churns out boxes of treats for the kids, there lies another type of treat adults can enjoy at Halloween: creepy cigars.

With names like Insidious, Exorcist, and Warlock, there is a niche market of cigars with freaky name.

First, the cigar called Insidious. Line this cigar up with the others made by Asylum Cigars and you would think the owner had an affinity for the dark side of Halloween: Nyctophilia (lover of the dark), Straight Jacket, Dragon’s Milk, and 99 Problems.

Going back to Insidious, the label features a picture of a skull – which is appropriate I’d say.

The cigar is wrapped in an Ecuador Connecticut leaf. The size I am having is 6×52. To go with the cigar, I am having a glass of wine called Skulls. This wine is a Shiraz from Australia, with a very unique label. The drawing on the label appears to be a person relaxing in a hammock in the country. But this is an optical illusion. Look more closely and you see the head of a skull.

I light up insidious. This cigar is very much on the lighter side of things. The cap of the cigar is sweetened. You don’t see this very often among cigars, but it does taste nice.The Skulls wine pairs very well. It is a full bodied wine. Given the light nature of the cigar, the wine can be enjoyed without any overpowering flavours from the smoke.

The first third of insidious has light flavours of vanilla and toasted almonds. The second third is pure vanilla. In the last third there is a bit of a honey taste, the vanilla lingers through. This is by far the lightest tasting cigar I have ever had.

Why would they call such a light, honey-vanilla cigar Insidious? I thought with a name like that, Asylum would have given it a darker flavour wheel.

Alas, it’s is still a nice cigar. I would recommend this for any ladies who are thinking of taking up cigar smoking. For those who enjoy the stronger sticks Insidious will taste like air.

Next up is Recluse. There are different sizes, each with its own name. The one I have is called Tarantula, which is a 6×60. This is a maduro cigar (a very strong, brown variety)  wrapped in a Brazilian maduro leaf.

This size is also a box press –a cigar with a rectangular shape instead of a cylinder – and I’m not a fan of the box press; I find its shape awkward and difficult to hold between my fingers. To go with this cigar is a beer called Hobgoblin, created by the Wychwood Brewery in England. The label going around the neck of the bottle has a picture of a witch on a broomstick. This beer is a dark English ale, and has flavours of coffee and dark chocolate.

I begin to light Recluse. The first few puffs are bitter and repugnant – maybe that’s what tarantula venom tastes like. Once you get past that, the cigar turns into something quite nice. Smooth flavours of cream and cinnamon spice finish out the first third. The second third tastes of crushed walnuts, clove spice, and cream. The last third has a bit of cedar, spice, and leather.

The Hobgoblin beer goes well with this cigar. The coffee taste balances nicely with the cigar’s smooth spice. Recluse is a medium bodied cigar, with a nice presentation. At the bottom, a thick red ribbon wraps around the foot of the stick. Something maybe Dracula would enjoy?

Now that we have opened up the realm of the insidious recluse, it’s time to go find the exorcist. For this, we turn to Gurkha.

A line of cigars has been released called Gurkha Ghost. The cigar comes in different sizes, and like Recluse, it is also wrapped in a Brazilian maduro wrapper. I am trying size 6×60, which is called Exorcist.

Right from the start you can smell chocolate and blueberries from this stick even before it is lit. To go with this cigar I am having a vodka martini using Crystal Skull . vodka – which is in a bottle that is the shape of a skull.

My martini is simple. In the style of James Bond it is shaken not stirred. I add two olives on a toothpick. I have never had a cigar with a vodka martini before, so this will be interesting.

I begin the Exorcist. The flavours are very rich. The first third tastes like a mix of chocolate covered blueberries and nuts. The martini has a taste of its own, but is still enjoyable with the opposing flavours of the cigar. The second third has more dark chocolate, and some dark coffee. The flavours become more rich. This cigar is quite bold and intense. The last third does not change much from the second, and towards the very end, there is a strong chili taste. Upon reflection, I rather liked the martini pairing with this cigar.

Lastly, we come to the Warlock. The size I have is a 6×54. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Cubano. To go with it, I am having a Pumpkin Ale made by the Great Lakes Brewery, based in Toronto, ON.

The start of Warlock tastes like dried herbs. This evolves into a straw and apple taste. The beer is fantastic – it tastes like pumpkin pie. However, this beer is not the best beverage to accompany Warlock. Given the dry herb undertones, I think a white wine with pear flavour might go better.

Moving on. The second third of Warlock tastes like grass or burnt wood. The last third picks up some dried spice from the first, with a bit of apple cinnamon. Overall, it’s not an awful cigar, but not a great one either.

For a more ghoulish experience enjoy your sip and stogie in the dark with haunting Halloween sounds in the background. All the cigars in this article are available online at via Tampa Humidor.

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