Team Cigar Review: Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

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Cigar Details: Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • Length: 6.25″
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera Diaz Cabrera
  • Blender: Eladio Diaz
  • Price: $15.00
  • Release Date: September 2023
  • Source: Developing Palates via Corona Cigar Co.

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary is medium brown with some lightly raised veins. The seams are smooth and the tapered 109 style head is well finished. There are two bands, both in a white and gold color combination. The primary denotes the brand while the secondary denotes the line and the years that the anniversary is celebrating. The aroma from the wrapper is a light mix of hay and earth, while the foot brings a nicely aged cedar note. The pre-light draw brings aged cedar with light amounts of earth and spice along with a light spice on my lips and the tip of my tongue.
Seth: I wonder if John weighed this Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary, because it felt like a dense cigar. Packed full. Marbling throughout. Colorado Maduro to Maduro. True tobacco leaf coloring. Aromas of spices, tobacco, earth, minerals, and wood.
John: The Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary comes in cellophane and has a UPC sticker that tears in half when opened. There are two bands, with a primary ‘Hooten Young’ band and an ‘Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary’ secondary band. Additionally for artisanal complications, the cap seems to be very close to a ‘109 style’ of cap. The cigar weighed in at a beefy 19.7 grams while the humidity as measured with the HumidiMeter Pro was 61.7%. Aromas from the wrapper included mild bread, wood and background barnyard notes. From the foot, I could get mild, sweet hay and wood.
Jiunn: The Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary has a Colorado wrapper shade. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and the head is well wrapped. Aromas present were namely faint cedar and hay.

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with toasted cedar and dry earth along with a mild black pepper. At a third of an inch in, the body becomes fuller. At an inch in, the black pepper picks up a bit. The retrohale is an even mix of toasted cedar and earth with some light black pepper. As the third comes to a close, the toasted cedar and dry earth are even up front, with the black pepper a fir bit behind. The strength was right at medium.
Seth: The first third starts out with damp wood and earth notes that are paired with warm spices. Tobacco notes present as well. Balanced cigar while smoking around medium in strength and body.
John: The first third starts out with an herbal tobacco combination that is followed by wood and then adds lingering spices as a combination into the post draw. The retrohale is made up by creamy tobacco sweetness. Those spices rapidly move up to medium as a light plus cocoa joins the retrohale. By the halfway point, the herbal note has combined with earth and moves up to medium strength in the center of the profile.
Jiunn: The first third shows a nice balance of flavors. Cedar, hay, subtle leather and candied ginger. Retrohaling provides greater cedar influence. The finish is subtle and long, with soft bread and hay. Strength and body is medium.

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, the earth takes a slight lead in the profile while the black pepper now has a pretty long finish. At a half inch in, the toast level of the cedar picks up a bit. The retrohale is now just toasted cedar and earth. At an inch and a quarter, the toasted cedar and earth come back to even at the front of the profile. As the third comes to a close, the toasted cedar and earth are even up front with the black pepper a fair bit behind, but still maintaining a long finish. The strength has bumped up to slightly above medium.
Seth: The second third continues to deliver those flavors of damp wood and earth. There is a nice spice level to the cigar, and I am picking up some coffee notes with that warm spice and tobacco finish. Sweet tobacco. Balanced cigar, medium in strength and body.
John: A vegetal wood leads the cigar in the second third as a mildly tannic wood finishes the puff and carries into the post draw for a short finish. That profile remains consistent until just before the halfway point, where sweet wood jumps into the mix. Mild baking spices come into the retrohale just after the halfway point. By the bottom half, a medium strength earth is present on the finish.
Jiunn: The second third went completely flat. Major reduction in flavors, now with just cedar and subtle leather. It’s confusing how this happened, as it feels like I either just got Covid and/or smoking an entirely different cigar. Strength and body remains medium.

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Final Third

Aaron: As the final third begins, the toast level now becomes pretty heavy. The retrohale remains an even mix of toasted cedar and dry earth. At an inch in, the toasted cedar now has a slight lead in the profile. As the cigar wraps up, the heavily toasted cedar is slightly ahead of the dry earth, with black pepper a fair bit behind. The strength remained at slightly above medium.
Seth: The final third was right in line with the second. Smoked well and cool to the end. Damp wood, earth, tobacco and warm spices. Medium in strength and body.
John: Creamy earth is my initial flavor impression in the last third, with a vegetal center and the earth up to medium strength to finish. The cigar takes on some tannic wood on the finish at medium strength as the last third continues.
Jiunn: The final third is the same as the second third. Just a ho hum delivery of cedar and subtle leather. Quite boring to smoke. Strength and body finish the same medium.

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Burn

Aaron: The burn was a bit wavy at times, but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and a half increments.
Seth: Very good burn from start to finish.
John: The burn starts out slightly wavy in the first third and continues uneven as it progresses. By the second third, it has self corrected and remains fairly straight for the rest of the review.
Jiunn: Burn performance was perfect. Even burn, ample smoke production, tight ashes and cool burning temperature.

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Draw

Aaron: Th draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
Seth: Tight draw at times. Had to cut a bunch of the tapered head to open it up.
John: The draw is at most 1/2 of a notch towards the resistant spectrum, which puts it well inside the ideal range for an amazing draw.
Jiunn: Draw performance was on point, providing the ideal balance between air flow and resistance.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with toasted cedar and dry earth along with a mild black pepper. The second third saw the earth take a slight lead in the profile. The final third saw the cedar come back to the front of the profile. The Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary had a very linear and mundane profile of toasted cedar, dry earth and black pepper. Slight transitioning at times, but nothing that really captured my attention. I was hoping for a bit more from this cigar with it being an anniversary offering and having a good pedigree from the blender, but it was not to be.
Seth: I do appreciate the name, Hooten Young, but I just can’t seem to get behind these Eladio blends. They always just seem to be lacking a piece or two to really take the cigar to the next level. I thought the Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary was balanced and solid, some nice core flavors, but it needed more flavors and complexity to take off.
John: The Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary had some interesting herbal tobacco combinations in the first third that kept me engaged. The second third was still pleasant, but wasn’t as dynamic and that continued through the last third. The draw and burn were both amazing. This is my first experience with Hooten Young, and while it was pleasant enough, it didn’t do quite enough for me to want to return to this release. I’m interested in seeking out more from Hooten Young to get a good sense of their entire portfolio. Total smoking time was a fairly long 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Jiunn: The Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary is a tale of two cigars. The first third was a delight, giving good balanced complexities to make it a cohesive flavor experience. However, the final two thirds were complete duds, being mundane in flavors and smoking just to smoke. I’d like to try a few more to gauge for consistency. But as is, this is a pass for me.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
Very GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
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AverageFinal
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Average
Very GoodBurnVery GoodBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
AmazingDrawAverageDrawAmazingDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.65

Cost/Point

$2.65

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.55

Cost/Point

$2.70

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$2.46

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$2.46

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: Hooten Young Operation Gothic Serpent 30th Anniversary

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