Cigar Review: Island Jim # 2 by Oscar Valladares

 

 

Island Jim #2 by Oscar Valladares

The Island Jim #2 cigar was created by “Island” Jim Robinson, a cigar retailer out of Pittsburg who owns his own Leaf and Bean cigar shop. After the Leaf by Oscar line, created by Oscar Valladares, “Island” Jim met with Oscar Valladares to blend his own very unique Island Jim #2 cigar. It was manufactured in the Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Company factory in Honduras. In 2013, Eddie Ortega created a cigar line called The Wild Bunch. These consisted of 12 cigars (one for every month of the year) that were inspired by different distinctive people that Eddie Ortega had come across. “Island” Jim was one of those people. Therefore, one of The Wild Bunch cigars was named the Island Jim. The Island Jim #2 was created the following year in 2014. Now, the Island Jim #2 is probably the most whimsical cigar I’ve ever come across; I take it back. It is the most whimsical cigar I’ve ever come across! It’s design makes the cigar appear to be that of a giant #2 pencil. This cigar could be named #2 because of the way it’s construction is made to look like a pencil or it could be because this is the second Island Jim cigar to be created with a little pizzazz behind it. Or both. The blend going into the making of this cigar has been done sub rosa as “Island” Jim’s intentions were for the smoker of the cigar to have pure enjoyment while smoking.

The description of the Island Jim #2’s uniqueness appears to be a torpedo that’s not a torpedo. Sounds a little strange, I know. Both ends of the cigar are left open. The foot starts out shaggy looking with approximately a half inch of the binder and fillers sticking out of the wrapper, which appears to be a Rosado wrapper. It kind of reminds me of the edges of a thatched hut roof. It’s just a bit wild. Down towards the cap it begins to take on a torpedo shape. Between the shoulder and the open cap of the cigar is a strip of what appears to be a Connecticut leaf. The small cap is of a darker leaf (most likely a Maduro) than the shoulder and body of the cigar which gives it the look of the “pencil lead.” I’m not sure why the cap is pre-cut. That’s not typically done with cigars. However, it is another unique aspect to this cigars appearance.

The Review

The unique Island Jim #2 cigar has a very nice construction to it with no veins coming from it. The seams are hardly noticeable in the brown milk chocolate colored wrapper. It isn’t a very oily wrapper, but not completely dry. There is a nice smooth feel to it all the way around the wrapper leaf. It’s hard to the touch with a slight softness to it. The smell coming off the loose shaggy foot is of hay and dry tobacco. The wrapper provides a scent of similar fragrances. The cold draw from the straight cut cap are of bitter sweetness. The cold draw is a little tight so I cut the tip of the cap leaving the Connecticut shaded leaf to remain on the cigar. The band depicts an animated photo of Jim Robinson, Island Jim himself, with a striped blue, green, and yellow background. Flanking the animation are red palm trees with Oscar Valladares Tobacco & Co. imprinted where the band is glued together. Underneath the comical drawing the words “Island Jim” are inscribed with a red background.

Upon toasting and lighting the loose binder and filler tobaccos in the foot there is a bitter taste to the stick with a hard draw on it. Like the Black Label Trading Company’s Deliverance Nocturne cigar, I believe it is due to drawing from a larger circumference foot into a smaller rounded cap. As the cigar burns through the first third there are flavors of hay added to the bitterness. The burn is even, but jagged. The cigar is burning as a medium bodied smoke.

Starting the second third, the burn is the same: a jaggedly even burn. There isn’t a big flavor change at this point. The draw is still pretty hard, but seems to be getting a little easier. A slight flavor of cocoa is beginning to come into the profile. About halfway through the cigar I cut the Connecticut shaded cap from the cigar to see if that would bring any new flavors to the stick. Wow!! The draw is so much better! The cocoa flavor is more prominent. There is a slight spiciness on the tongue. Towards the end of the second third there comes a bit of a coffee taste to the palette. The ash is white with a gray tip. The bitter taste has a sweetness to it just to the end of the second third and the hay lingers in the background.

The last third brings a stronger flavor profile of coffee and cocoa. The bitter sweetness and hay are
both background players. The spiciness has evacuated itself from the cigar. The draw remains a great change since cutting the Connecticut shaded cap. The burn line is more even at this point. Burning farther into the final third the bitter sweetness and hay have also left the profile leaving a strong cocoa and coffee flavor. The stick is smoking as a medium-full smoke. Towards the end of the final third the coffee is subsiding to leave the cocoa flavor as the leading taste on the palette. The ash is now more of a gray color.

Conclusion

The Island Jim was a great smoke to enjoy except for the tight draw for the first half. It was an exciting cigar afterwards with lots of flavor and some profile changes. The burn remained a nice even burn throughout the smoke on exception of some jagged lines during the first part. The flavors from this cigar were bitterness with some bitter sweetness, hay, cocoa, coffee, and slight spiciness. I would recommend cutting the Connecticut shaded wrapper from the tip before lighting this stick. It brought a much better draw and flavor profile to this experience. I’d recommend giving this cigar a try if you haven’t experienced this flavorful stick yet. For approximately $10 per stick, depending on the retailer, I’d say it’s worth it! Till next time, my friends.

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