One of Kurt Kendall’s new introductions at the 2012 IPCPR in Orlando, Florida was the 7-20-4 Hustler. The most notable thing about this cigar right when you see it is the Barber pole design for the wrapper. The Hustler combines a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper to create the classic barber pole effect, which is quite eye catching. This is actually the second Barber Pole style cigar I’ve smoked recently, the other being the Meaner Digger from La Flor Dominicana, which was only a limited release to one store in New Hampshire. I have seen some interest for a barber pole style cigar. Cigars with multiple wrappers always have a sort of sex appeal to them.
Size: 6 x 54
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina, Ecuadorian Connecticut
Strength: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
Construction and Appearance: The Hustler has two bands. The top one is similar in style to the classic 7-20-4 band and says K.A. Kendall’s 7-20-4, except in a red and blue theme. The second band is placed right below and says “Hustler” in red on blue. The Hustler features the eye catching and appealing barber pole dual wrapper, both of which are a bit veiny and a little oily. It is topped off with a nice pig tail and overall the construction seems flawless. The Hustler is quite firm to the touch, and the barber pole effect makes this an attractive cigar.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Hustler has notes of cocoa, grass, and nuts. The foot has the scent of cocoa, nuts, a mild spice, grass, and a bit of earth. To prepare smoking the Hustler I use a slight straight cut, and on the cold draw there are flavors of spice, cocoa, grass, earth, and a little cinnamon.
Smoking Characteristics: Firing up the Hustler I’m met with a mix of coffee, cream, cocoa, and a nice light pepper which gently teases the palate. The draw starts off a little tight for my preference, yet each puff is yielding a nearly full body of cool, smooth, creamy smoke. There is a nice rich finish that is a mix of cedar, pepper, and a little cocoa. The strength is surprising. I assumed the Hustler would put out medium strength, but even in this first third I’d place it easily in the medium to full range.
Into the second third of the Hustler, the notes of coffee cream and cocoa still dominate the flavor profile. Now, the pepper acts as a very light undertone. Subtle notes of cedar, grass, and spice develop from the finish of each draw and marry with the dominant flavors of the smoke. The strength is kicking up a little, putting the Hustler on the higher end of the medium to full range. The draw is still a little tighter than I prefer, but since the body of smoke is nearly full, I’ll file than under preference rather than construction. The burn requires a small touch up, but only when the ash is easily past the inch point, and continues to hold firm.
During the final third of the Hustler, the the cocoa flavor matures into more of a bittersweet dark chocolate. The notes of coffee, cedar, grass, cream, and spice all remain, but the pepper has once again faded. The flavors are very well blended, offering a nice bit of complexity with plenty of strength behind it as well. The draw in this final third has finally opened up to the point I prefer, now providing a nice full body of cool, rich smoke without much effort being required. The construction remains stellar, the ash holding firm well past the inch point, and the burn now quite sharp. The Hustler smokes cool to the nub without the flavors souring in any way. As I smoke the Hustler to the nub, the strength is unmistakably full.
Conclusion: For those that think the barber pole wrapped cigar is a novelty, the Hustler may be that game changer. For whatever reason, I expected it to be a little bland and lacking strength. The reality was the exact opposite, the Hustler offers a nice strength, nearly full, with some wonderful flavors. It also boasts excellent construction, with only a slight touch up required for the burn, and no attention required for the ash or draw during the smoking experience. My personal preference is for a easier draw than the Hustler offers. However, smoke production is ample and pays dividends in its evolution and subtle play of flavors. I have to say I am impressed, and I think I’ll be picking up some more of these in the future.