Recently I was contacted by Mel Shah of Bombay Tobak. Mel is the owner and brainchild of MBombay Cigars a.k.a. Bombay Tabak. Mel had come across iROBUSTO and the reviews of our staff members and wanted to know if we were interested in reviewing his cigars. “Sure why not?” I said. But I didn’t know much about Mel Shah or MBombay. I previously marveled at the design of the MBombay logo, but what was this mysterious cigar that seemed to continuously elude my grasp?
In a previous life, Mel Shah worked in the IT industry. In 2001, he retired and opened Fame Wine and Cigar Lounge in Palm Springs, California. After spending 10+ years on the retail side of the tobacco industry, Mel decided to utilize some of the tobacco farmer and dealer contacts. He set up deals to purchase tobacco and set about to find a factory that would ferment and roll according to his specifications. That was easier said than done. Eventually, he settled on Tabacos de Costa Rica. This choice of manufacturer would add 15-20% to the final cost, but allowed Mel to produce cigars which meet his standards.
The MBombay cigar line debuted in June 2014. It currently features 5 lines: the Classic (Ecuadorian Connecticut), Maduro (Corojo Oscuro), Mōra (Dominican Corojo), KeSara (Ecuador Connecticut Deas Florado), Habano (Ecuador Habano) and the KeSara Vintage Reserve “Nikka”.
Today we will be reviewing the KeSara Vintage Reserve “Nikka”. These cigars come packaged in airtight jars with cedar lining and Boveda pack to preserve the flavor and humidity. According to Mel, the smell of the first cigar out of the box is different than the last one. Flavor and aroma are lost when stored in box. MBombay’s cans are lined with Spanish cedar and allows the cigars to age in the can. The KeSara Vintage Reserve Nikka uses the same blend as the original KeSara with the filler aged for an additional 3 years.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Deas Florado 2002
Binder: Ecuadorian Havana
Filler: Dominican and Peruvian (Aged an Additional three years)
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
The Nikka features a closed foot and a pigtail head. Very smooth satin Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. The cigar feels firmly rolled with no soft or spongy spots. The aroma off the aroma is tobacco. Upon initial light I am met with a smooth sweet tobacco, cedar and white pepper flavor. The flavor is very smooth and the strength is mild. The draw is a little tight for my liking which limits my smoke output. On the retrohale I pick up nut, coffee and slight black pepper flavors. Within the first inch, the taste and aroma of sandalwood made a fleeting appearance. The cigar continues on the mild/medium side with a slightly tight draw throughout the first and second third.
The MBombay Vintage Reserve Nikka continues to be a smooth medium bodied cigar. The smoke output picks up and the white pepper increases ever so slightly. This cigar is pretty consistent from beginning to end. In the last two inches, the cigar experiences a shift in strength, flavors and smoke output. It picks up a cinnamon, intensified sweet tea and white pepper. The MBombay Vintage Reserve Nikka is a good solid cigar that tastes different than everything else in your humidor. This is a great cigar for both the new and experienced cigar smoker that wants to treat themself to a good cigar mild/medium cigar that is not super cost prohibitive. The Costa Rican manufacturing adds about $2.00 to the final sale price.
Price – 2.5/5*
Flavor – 3/5
Complexity – 3/5
Construction – 4.5/5
Total – 6.5/10* Had the price been more competitive this cigar would have scored higher and as stated earlier it is due to Costa Rican manufacturing.