The name you give to the red stuff you put on top of you pasta is probably either Sauce or Gravy. This has been a topic of discussion for decades and is still today. Last summer (2021), Diesel Cigars made a new line of cigars to make their opinion known on the topic: Gravy, Diesel Sunday Gravy to be specific.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
Diesel Sunday Gravy is a regular production line but will have new releases seasonally. The blends all feature Nicaraguan tobaccos and the project is a partnership between AJ Fernandez and Justin Andrews, brand manager at Diesel. The company plans to come out with new blend every quarter and have them available until they are depleted. The goal of each blend is to have them cost under $5.00. So far, two Sunday Gravy cigars have been released: San Marzano, and Pecorino.
The name for Diesel Sunday Gravy came about because the method of making cigars of frequent collaborator AJ Fernandez reminded Justin Andrews reminded him of how his mother’s cooking. More specifically, her Sunday Gravy. You can read more about this here.
Today, we are reviewing the Diesel Sunday Gravy San Marzano, the first in the line. It is of course rolled at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua, and blended by AJ Fernandez and Justin Andrews. The blend uses three types of Cuban-seed tobacco, including an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Estelí binder, and Nicaragan Jalapa filler. The cigar only comes in one size, a 6 x 54 toro and sells for $4.99. It only comes in singles and packs of 10. Diesel is distributed by The Forged Cigar Company.
Ring Gauge: 54
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Blender: Justin Andrews & AJ Fernandez
Number of reviewers: 4 – Vance T. (Vance) Diana (ArmyRN) Randy B. (randobush) Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
Age: 4 Months
Release Date: August 2021
Contributed by: Forged Cigar Co.
Initial Impressions – Diesel Sunday Gravy San Marzano
“Gorgeous classic toro vitola with a silky smooth milk chocolate wrapper. Construction is seamless, cap to foot.” –Vance T. (Vance)
“There were no pungent odors with this cigar. The foot gave off nice hay and straw mixed with molasses. The dray draw provided more of the same and the odors seem to indicate a nicely aged stick.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“Initially the cigar had a nice cedar with a hint of coffee on the finish. The coffee went into the background quickly and I was struck by a nice blend of almond extract and ginger. There was only the slightest hint of black pepper on the retro but nothing else beyond that. About a couple inches in I noticed that the woody notes from the very beginning had transitioned to a nice oak and the cigar was filled with a mix of kitchen and woods.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“Pre-light I get walnut shells, red oak, and must. The cigar lights up beautifully, with billowing white smoke and a sharp burn line. Immediate tasting notes include oak, black pepper, and hot cocoa powder on the front with a blast of red pepper on the retro. I was briefly concerned that the intensity of the retrohale (which I love) would overpower the rest of the profile, but by the half-inch mark, we’ve settled into a beautiful balance of spice, sweetness, and wood. The ash is nice and tight, the draw perfect and the burn line razor sharp. I don’t want to jinx it, but if she keeps up this way I may be in love. First ash wasn’t necessary until a little past the 1-inch mark. The profile has remained consistent to this point.” –Vance T. (Vance)
“Going into the second third a light cinnamon and cabinet spice flavors are present. The black pepper spice on the tongue and the retrohale have lessened and are perfect flavors and very enjoyable. There is some sweet creaminess that is being picked up as well during this second third.” –Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
“The powerhouse of flavors simmer down a bit. Peppercorn fades a bit to the back end, and a fig/caramel takes center stage. Still good strength, but not increased. Retro becomes sheer enjoyment with creamy baking spice.” –Randy B. (randobush)
“Not much transition the flavors from the second third continues into the third which was nice. It offers cabinet spices, sweet cream, and cinnamon flavor. The black pepper spice is light and nice still on the tongue and retrohale.” –Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
“The lemon zest seemed to disappear at this point and the dough notes turned into more of a baked roll. The cigar leveled out in the sense that the notes didn’t change much in the last third. However, the cigar never amped up or got overly strong. The smoking experience remained pleasant and flavorful to the very end.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
Overall Impressions – Diesel Sunday Gravy San Marzano
“Outstanding draw. Perfect amount of resistance gives mouthfuls of delicious smoke.” –Randy B. (randobush)
“This cigar burned extremely well. I never touched it up or had to relight. That was impressive for a cigar of its size. The burn line remained straight with only a few waves. The ash was firm and remained intact until it dropped off on its own at around 2 1/3 inches in. The ash was a nice compact medium gray and fell off evenly adding to the consistent burn of the cigar.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“Excellent construction. The ash fell in a 3” chunk. Relatively razor-sharp burn the whole cigar.” –Randy B. (randobush)
Overall Strength: Medium
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Experience Overall: 88
“This might be the most surprising, bizarre, evolution of any cigar I’ve reviewed. Not only were the draw, burn, and construction flawless start to finish, but the first third, with robust and balanced notes of hot cocoa powder, red oak, and black pepper, was spectacular. From there, though, it degraded with every puff, finishing as harsh as any cigar in memory, and nothing left to the profile beyond burning grass. Wild. Depending on the brand, I may give it another try to see if this was an anomaly, but couldn’t recommend it after this experience.” –Vance T. (Vance)
“I was a bit hesitant as the larger cigars are just not my “go-to” smokes. The cigar was a delight for me to smoke and I would gladly do so again. This stick is full enough to provide a nice array of flavors but not powerful enough to make me want it done before actually reaching the end. For me, this would be a great “Christmas” smoke when in the vicinity of the kitchen with all the Holiday baking going on.” –Diana (ArmyRN)
“Wow, when I first lit this cigar, the first couple puffs were palate sensory overload. An abundance of powerful flavors fighting for position, that blended together beautifully by the second third. Transitions were noticeable between thirds and this cigar just kept getting better. It was a very pleasant surprise to smoke blind. Enjoy it if given the opportunity. “-Randy B. (randobush)
“Nice cabinet spices, some salty flavors, cinnamon flavors. Black pepper started off a little too strong at first but then settled down into a nice sweet spot. It overall burned a little fast and would have loved it if it would have smoked longer.” –Chad M. (Chad Tchad)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 75
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.