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Presmoke thoughts:

My first, and only, Feral Flying Pig by Drew Estate. I bought this locally about three months ago and have kept it in my coolerdor with anticipation. Waiting for the “Right” moment to present itself, a moment worthy of such a hard to find stick.

Drew Estate Feral Flying Pig

And what if I hate it?

I’m sick of sitting on sticks that I haven’t tried and therefore don’t know whether they’re worth sitting on. This one is getting the fire.

Feral Flying Pig

 

It’s a holiday weekend. Yesterday was the 4th of July. Having had these two days off I’ve powered through two books, both while drinking coffee and/or smoking cigars. Today I’m reading ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’. I’ve tried to get into the writings of the Stoic “greats” over the last year and I meet a lot of internal resistance. There’s too much “thou art”, “thyself”, and “shalt” in the versions I’ve been reading and it does my head in after only a few pages. I’ve picked up ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius at least 5 or 6 times and haven’t made it past page 10 yet. They’re tough reads for me.

‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ is written by a guy who has to be around my age and this book is largely just his understanding of Stoicism and these writings I struggle with. That means it’s written by someone like me. I can actually read this. I read most of the book at Starbucks today and will be reading the last portion of it while I smoke this FFP. The 60% of it I’ve read so far is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone who is the least bit interested in the idea of getting out of your own way in life. “Get out of your head” is something I constantly tell myself (in my own head — which I realize, as I type this, may be a little ironic). Ryan digests the Stoic writings and relays them via stories of people seen as great leaders in hindsight and it’s an extremely approachable interpretation of the same books I’ve struggled reading. I’m going to throw some quotes from the book into my review here because it was just as important to my enjoyment of this Feral Flying Pig as the Starbucks coffee was, and likely more so.

Everything is a chance to do and be your best. Only self-absorbed assholes think they are too good for whatever their current station requires.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Construction:

In typical Drew Estate fashion the construction is impeccable. Except when it’s not.

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Immediately above the foot there is some slightly sloppy finishing, though it’s so close to the foot that it’ll be “fixed” immediately after lighting. Otherwise, from the beautiful pigtail on down, it’s great.

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Pride can be broken. Toughness has its limits. But a desire to help? No harshness, no deprivation, no toil should interfere with our empathy toward others. Compassion is always an option. Camaraderie as well. That’s a power of the will that can never be taken away, only relinquished.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Prelight:

The smell on this FFP is similar to the other Unicos I’ve had, at least as far as I remember the Dirty Rat. Sweet and fruity, with a bit of leather and earth.

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I cut the pigtail off right below the lowest ring of the pigtail and the draw is perfect. The cold draw tastes like this thing smells.

Here goes $17 and a lot of time spent on the hunt.

Nobody is born with a steel backbone. We have to forge that ourselves. We craft our spiritual strength through physical exercise, and our physical hardiness through mental practice (mens sana in corpore sano—sound mind in a strong body).

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Stats:

  • Cigar Brand: Drew Estate
  • Cigar NameFeral Flying Pig
  • FactoryLa Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Country of OriginNicaragua
  • WrapperConnecticut Broadleaf Viso
  • BinderPlantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
  • FillerPlantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
  • VitolaFigurado
  • Length5 3/8″
  • Ring Gauge60
  • Cost: ~$17 if memory serves correctly.
  • Where purchasedPrinceton, NJ
  • StrengthVery Full
  • Smoked2014-07-05
  • WhereSitting on a bench next to a pond in a park.
  • When6pm
  • OccasionN/A
  • MealA Dunkin Donuts Turkey Sandwich :(
  • WhereDunkin Donuts
  • Drink PairingStarbucks Vanilla Iced Coffee (Yes, I went to Starbucks after Dunkin Donuts…)
  • Other Pairing: ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday (For $4 on Kindle this is fantastic. I forgot the price and thought this was full price and would recommend it without hesitation at 3x the price — all the more so at that price.)
  • Linkhttp://halfwheel.com/liga-privada-feral-flying-pig-prerelease-review

 You will come across obstacles in life—fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming—or possibly thriving because of—them.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

First Third:

The first couple pulls give me a feeling that it pulled all saliva out of my mouth. Silica packet dry. Chalky. I have a large vanilla ice coffee here and, at this rate, I’ll need it.

The retro burns my nose a little. It’s not painful or wincing but black pepper is simply present. The chalk continues.

I can’t nail down the flavors. They’re coyly sweet with soft hints of bitterness but I’m having trouble assigning them names. The taste on the back of my tongue is fairly acrid and bordering on unpleasant. After the smoke has left my mouth I taste that bitter earth each time. I’m realizing it’s more like a burned tortilla than earth. I’m less than an inch in and I’m already needing to back off, slow down, and give this room to breathe.

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The smoke, the exhale, smells fantastic. I want candles that smell like this. Feral Flying Candles.

Slowing down allows the burned tortilla to morph into toasted bread, which is rather pleasant. The exhale leaves sour fruit on the nose and tongue and I’m OK with that. Slight dark chocolate notes are in there too.

I did a horrendous job lighting this because it’s daylight so I can’t see the flame and it’s also a little windy. I fixed the burn early on and now, a solid inch in, we’re burning evenly.

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I can already tell this things strength is going to be trouble for me. I knew that going in, but this Feral Flying Pig is going to sit me down.

Nearing the end of the first third I’m definitely enjoying toasted bread and nuts. The sweetness and the bitterness is no longer present, but neither is the burned tortilla.

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In fact, if we have our wits fully about us, we can step back and remember that situations, by themselves, cannot be good or bad. This is something—a judgment—that we, as human beings, bring to them with our perceptions.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Second Third:

The burn is continually going wonky on this. The wind is periodic and fairly light, so I’m not buying that this is due to the wind. Every 10 minutes I’m touching up the burn. It’s definitely disappointing in that DE rarely has this problem for me, it’s not a cheap cigar, and it’s impossible to find more of these without paying extortion rates.

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That said, I’m still getting the same toasted flavors which I’m enjoying, but I’m also periodically getting some sweetness which is nice. The chalk is gone and I really don’t have any complaints outside of the burn – – MAYBE I could nitpick and say it’s a bit boring, but that’s it.

Halfway through this second third I get blasted with a flavor that flashes me back to the DE Dirty Rats, arguably one of my top 3 smokes.

Yes. Please keep that up.

The burn is improving, the taste is improving, and the smell is just as fantastic.

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Ending the second third I find earth and leather becoming the dominant flavors, with a slight salty nuttiness on the exhale — weird but tasty.

This weather is absolutely perfect.

Behind the Serenity Prayer is a two-thousand-year-old Stoic phrase: “ta eph’hemin, ta ouk eph’hemin.” What is up to us, what is not up to us.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Final Third:

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This Feral Flying Pig keeps getting better and better. The final third is more of that toasted goodness, but very balanced. It’s just a pleasant taste all around. Slightly sweet, slightly nutty, a little earthy, and a healthy dose of bread.

The burn has been great. The ash hasn’t held on as long as I thought at any point, but I’ve been given false expectations from seeing other photos of almost an entire stick’s worth of ash. The ash would be (and is) outstanding if this had been any other cigar and is only spoiled by my unfair expectations.

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The nicotine is strong, but strange. I don’t feel sick in the slightest but I’m shaking tremendously. I’ve never experienced that. It’s hard to take clear photos as a result. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve needed to urgently pee for the last half hour.

I need to invest in an adult diaper and one of those nubbing sticks or something. My fingers are burning but I don’t want to put this down until I have to. The nub is small enough that I’m having a hard time working out the logistics of both my fingers and my mouth having space on it.

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Oh man, I’m shaking like I’m 90 seconds into a plank – – and I am not a very fit man.

I no longer have room for both and try to just hold the nub in my mouth. Too close! It burns my lips and falls to the ground. Noooooooo.

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Remember that this moment is not your life, it’s just a moment in your life. Focus on what is in front of you, right now. Ignore what it “represents” or it “means” or “why it happened to you.”

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Burn:

The burn was great for the second half, but less than stellar for the first. It could have been related to the wind, but I honestly don’t think the wind was strong enough nor consistent enough to have played that much of a role in the problems I had. I touched it up several times in the first half, but not even once in the last.

The ash didn’t live up to my impossible expectations, but the ash held on far longer than most.  I think this was likely linked to the burn problems as it held on longer in the second half than it did in the first.

It’s an infinitely elastic formula: In every situation, that which blocks our path actually presents a new path with a new part of us. If someone you love hurts you, there is a chance to practice forgiveness. If your business fails, now you can practice acceptance. If there is nothing else you can do for yourself, at least you can try to help others.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

 

Final Thoughts:

You can’t find these. Well, I can’t find these. Not locally anyways. I could buy them online for silly prices but that’s not my cup.

If I had to choose between a Feral Flying Pig and a Dirty Rat? Dirty Rat gets my money every time.

FFP vs UF-13? FFP.

FFP vs No. 9 or T-52? FFP.

That’s the extent of my Liga Privada/Unico experiences and the FFP was enjoyable and I’d rate it right behind the Dirty Rat — which is one of my top smokes from all brands. It’s also cheaper than the FFP, and that’s really where my hesitation with these comes in. These are really good, but are they better than, for example, the Fuente Destino Al Siglo? Not for me and, while that Destino is equally as hard to find, I paid $16.75 for that so it’s in the same price ballpark.

If I could find these at MSRP I’d definitely pick up at least several, maybe a box. These certainly wouldn’t be an every day smoke for me — my body couldn’t take that.  Unfortunately when I do rarely find these online, I most often see these for sale with a significant mark-up. Supply and demand — I get it — but it’s a hard increase to buy into.

Nothing other than death can prevent us from following Churchill’s old acronym: KBO. Keep Buggering On.

A quote from ‘The Obstacle is the Way’ by Ryan Holiday.

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