On Thursday night I ran into Kurt Kendall at a local event sponsored by a local radio station, The Mill. The event was a cross promotion between his shop, Jack Daniels, and KC’s Rib Shack. On a side note, the pulled pork I had from the shack located in Manchester, NH was off the chain. It was the night before he would leave for IPCPR out of Boston, and as luck would have it he had a 7-20-4 Factory 57 for me.
As we reported last week, the name “Factory 57″ refers to the US federal government’s official designation of 7-20-4 as a licensed and taxed manufacturer of premium cigars. The tax amounted to 20 cents per box of 20 premium cigars. So with national 7-20-4 day later this week (7/24) its time to take a look at this unbanded pre-release.
Cigar: 7-20-4 Factory 57
Size: Corona (6 x 46)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Habano (Jalapa)
Binder: Costa Rica
Filler: Hondurs, Nicaragua, Mexico, Columbia
Distributed By: Vintage Cigar Distributors of New England
The Look: The look of the Jalapa grown Nicaraguan Habano is oily to the extreme. While there is a lot of character to the triple fermented wrapper, the thin veins don’t take away from the beauty of this seamlessly rolled cigar. The 7-20-4Factory 57 feels heavy in the hand with absolutely no soft spots and a well packed foot. The cigar will feature the classic 7-20-4 logo with Factory 57 underneath it on a black background.
The Notes: Opting for a straight cut, the cold draw show cased the San Andreas tobacco from Mexico in the filler. For me there is always a note that reminds me of the mini marshmallows in a package of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. There is also a bit of leather and spice on the cold draw while the nose serves up a slight cocoa and pepper. I hate comparing a cigar to another brand, but there is an incredible similarity on the cold draw to a well-known Nicaragua brand.
Once the cigar is lit, that similarity goes out the window and in the initial puffs, I am amazed at how original this tastes. There is a note that reminds me of a Kola nut that is so well-defined it is easy to enjoy. As we work into the first third of the cigar the note of cola remains with some subtle spices and a nice cocoa finish. The notes on the 7-20-4 Factory 57 are extremely complex.
As we enter the second third of the cigar the strength kicks it up a notch but remains on the plus side of medium. There is a defined cocoa beginning to take control, while the cola note slowly fades in and out. The finish of the cigar has a note that is familiar but I can’t quite but my finger on it which is incredibly frustrating.
In the last third of the cigar the note that escaped me comes to light. It is a very faint black cherry that compliments the cola nut which has returned for an encore. The cigar has a growing spice through the nose and a nice short finish of a strong coffee served black, but not espresso.
The Burn: The pre-release version of the 7-20-4 Factory 57 burned flawlessly with a crisp carbon line and it remained straight throughout. The cigar stayed lit from start to finish with a solid light gray ash that held on for a third at a time after the first inch when the initial ash fell unexpectedly so. The draw of the cigar was fluid with a nice production of smoke in the first two-thirds before tailing off toward the end.
The Finish: For me the 7-20-4 has been an enigma in the sense I can’t figure out why it isn’t more popular than it is. The brand has a strong following in the northeast, but it seems once you get out of the region it slows down, or at least that is my perception. One of the top 3 boutique brands out there, the 7-20-4 regardless of the line is deserving of humidor space in a shop or in your own personal humidor, and the Factory 57 continues the trend of solid cigars from Kurt Kendall.