It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out one of the newest cigars from RoMa Craft Tobac. The RoMa Craft Baka has stirred up quite a buzz in the cigar community, and the first release flew off shelves like hotcakes.
The initial allotment for retailers was limited to a single vitola, a 4 x 52 parejo dubbed Bantu. It retails for $9.95. Most retailers only received a few boxes to start, but additional sizes will be added in limited quantities.
Fifteen minutes in, I finish the first third. The draw offers me cinnamon and leather with notes of earth. Through the nose, I find light caramel melting with brown sugar and graham cracker. Ginger, nutmeg, and leather create a memorable finish. Both strength and body settle in at a steady medium.
The second third ends around a half hour. I pick up light leather and more cinnamon on the draw. The retro-hale hits me with a delicious blend of brown sugar and sweet pastry flavors with a slight spice. Black pepper combines with more ginger and sweet walnut notes on the finish. There is no change to strength or body.
Forty-five minutes passes, and the final third wisps away. On the draw, salty leather and coffee take the stage. Through the nose, nougat, light cocoa, and baking spice are delightful. Nutmeg, clove, and fleeting ginger round out the finish. Strength and body finish out at medium.
The RoMa Craft Baka Bantu is a delicious little dessert cigar. It tends to start out a bit rough with the first few puffs, but once this cigar opens up, it’s a real treat. There’s a significant amount of complexity with flavors that blend well together, and construction is spot on. Strength is a bit toned down from most RoMa Craft cigars, but it’s still got enough oomph.
My only beef with this cigar is how short it is – not really a beef. I’m sure the limited size release was an intentional marketing strategy from some of the best teasers in the game. RoMa Craft sure knows how to create hype, and you can count me in as someone drooling for the larger vitolas. I highly recommend the Baka, and you better act fast if you want to find some to try. This will be a contender for my Top 25 Cigars of 2019!
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the new La Flor Dominicana 25th Anniversary. This cigar was made to commemorate the company’s 25th anniversary in business. It features an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper atop all Dominican tobaccos. The cigar retails for $18 and comes in one size – a 7 x 52 Churchill.
The wrapper produces a rich perfume and grass aroma while I smell dried fruit out of the foot. On the cold draw, the draw is snug with dried fruit flavor. Once lit, the draw gives me distinct leather and salt notes. Through the nose, I pick up cedar. The finish is spicier with black pepper and leather.
The first third comes to a close at forty minutes. On the draw, I pick up toast with molasses. Through the nose, black pepper blends with a saltiness. The finish offers rich dried fruit notes alongside leather. Strength and body settle in at medium-to-full.
One hours and fifteen minutes in, the second third wraps up. My tongue find a lot of oak with black pepper and more molasses. On the retro-hale, black pepper now mixes with cinnamon. More leather and dried fruit continue to take over the finish. There is no change to strength or body.
The final third ends at two hours. Molasses lightens up with rich coffee and oak coming up front. Through the nose, a smooth, sweet bread and light caramel delight my sinuses. On the finish, I pick up black pepper, leather, and mossy earth. Strength and body finish out at medium-to-full.
La Flor Dominicana 25th Anniversary is an excellent cigar. It has a solid amount of complexity, and the flavors worked exceptionally well together. There were subtle notes of the “Dominican twang” I typically dislike, but they played nice, and the experience was wonderful. Draw was a bit snug here and there, but construction was solid overall causing no problems. This is one of the best Dominican cigars I’ve had in a long time, and I highly recommend it.
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the AJ Fernandez New World Cameroon. For this review, I smoke the box-pressed Robusto vitola coming in at 5 1/2 x 54. This cigar features a toothy Cameroon wrapper concealing all Nicaraguan tobaccos. It retails for $5.50.
On the cold draw, I pick up a sugary sweetness. The wrapper produces a grassy aroma with the same out of the foot. Once lit, I get some toasty cedar. Through the nose, I taste the same with the addition of graham cracker. The finish consists of oak, almond, and black pepper
Twenty-five minutes in, the first third comes to a close. I find nutty cedar and toast on the draw. Through the nose, spicy toast notes coat my palate. The finish consists of light cinnamon and pencil lead. Strength and body settle in at medium.
The second third ends at forty-five minutes. The draw gives me light nutty cedar. On the retro-hale, there is a much sweeter toast. I see no change to the finish. Strength and body drop slightly to mild-to-medium.
The final third burns away at one hour and fifteen minutes. On the draw, nutty cedar remains consistent. Light black pepper and toast come through the nose. A nice caramel and cinnamon combo make for a tasty finish. Strength and body finish out at medium.
The AJ Fernandez New World Cameroon is a good cigar. It’s relatively simple and offers minimal complexity, but flavors are enjoyable enough. Construction is spot on as always with AJ. The selling point for this cigar is the price. You can buy two of these for the price of many single cigars on the market of equal quality. The value can’t be dismissed, and for that reason, I recommend trying it out.
” We wanted to follow up the extraordinarily successful Protocol K9 with something special for the Cigar Dojo community! We wanted the Dojo Nation to have a very memorable cigar experience, so we blended this beauty especially with them in mind! I hope you guys enjoy the Night Stick as much as we do; We actually love it and am sad that it will not be a regular-production cigar. I made myself a few extra because I know they are going to sell out fast!
– Juan Cancel, co-owner of Cubariqueno Cigar Co
Cigar Dojo enthusiasts and stick connoisseurs alike swarmed and claimed all 500 Limited Edition bundles of 10 from Famous Smoke Shop. Both online and at an in -store release party.
Priced at $89.99 per 10ct bundle, the Protocol Nightstcick is comprised of an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper. The 6 1/2 x 54 Toro Gordo boasts both binder and fillers fron Nicaragua, including fillers from Condega and Jalapa. The Nightstick was manufactured at the La Zona factory in Nicaragua.
On Point is exactly how this cigar hits the eye. It is very inviting and makes you want to smoke it immediately. My patience was certainly tested early on, as I really wanted to see what the hype was all about. I tend to let any newer cigar rest awhile before lighting up as a rule. But, I had also heard from a few folks that the cigar needed a little time. Needless to say, I also had a few people rave about it. The quintessential yet cliche, “One person’s trash” ideal was ultra present in this case. The good part of course, is that I get to find out for my damn self!
Packed well and firm with a slight spring to it, this officer’s club is triple capped with tiny veinage along the wrapper. Is veinage an actual word? If not, you gon learn today! on the wrapper I’m getting an almost sour musk and faint leather. the foot is blessing me with chocolate, a raisin or fig like nuance and cardboard. Honestly, the cold draw is lack luster and not providing any real previews to the ProDojo Show. A generic baccy and that same cardboard from the aroma test are all that I can detect.
First Third | Walking The Beat
Initial puffs from the Protocol NightStick were earthy and mineral driven with a hint of bitter cocoa. Already, I’m getting the impression that this cigar is carrying youth but has potential if the contents are allowed time to blend and marry. However, we are only a few puffs in so before I jump on the bandwagon, let’s see what comes.
It started slow but midway thru the first third, the spice picked up bringing the flavor along with it. There was a nice combination of caramel and raisin, parallel to a generic leather (pleather). The potent spice was a cinnamon and black pepper tandem coated with a touch of brown sugar.
“Damn, Damn, Damn!” My 5 to 7 minute flavor explosion was short lived by burn and draw issues. The cigar kept dying on me and the burn/mascara line suffered right along with it. As I sit and pray for a revival, the room is filling with aromas of charred oak and leather.
Second Third | Ping Pong Smoke
Starting off with the coining of a new phrase: “Ping Pong Smoke”, the flavors of the Nightstick are going back and forth. Although this isn’t a new occurrence, this is the first time I named it. LOL! Basically, on one puff, I want to throw the cigar across the room into a wall. On other puffs, I want to rub the cigar against my chest and talk dirty to it. Actual flavors are consistent with the 1st third when they are on the good side of the ping pong table. At this point, it’s less of me talking dirty to it and more of the cigar just doing me dirty.
I’m reassured of my original assessment and in agreement with a few of my fellow smokers that this collab definitely needs a moment to get right. It might even be really good by my next birthday. Ughh! It went out completely by the half way point after fighting with it and numerous re-lights.
Final Third | Go With Your Gut
Lesson of the day is to trust your instincts. It got you this far in life. I literally re-lit this Nightstick at least 8 times. In any other case I would have tossed this cigar along time ago, but for the sake of this review, I kept fighting. Of course, the constant relighting, puffing and correcting destroyed any chance of getting back to the tasteful yet brief moment in the first third. And although the cigar isn’t getting ample time to heat up it is a complete sponge at this point. So soft to be exact that my fingers are imprinted in the cigar itself.
The closing flavors are wood and pepper balanced out by sheer frustration and disappointment. For the record this was my first experience with protocol and I have 2 more of these for later review, which I’m hoping and assuming will be better experiences. I try not to judge cigars on the first attempt but I also like to share my initial experiences with the Family.
Since my bout with the ProDojo collab, I was blessed with a regular production Protocol and I was very impressed and satisfied. This negative experience will not tarnish the image of either company in my eyes. Hell, I’m not even mad at the cigar because I will certainly be smoking it again once I feel it has had a decent amount of time in the humidor. I’m no expert or Cervantes, but my thought is that this NOT a blend issue but a time thing.
Thank you again for taking the time and sharing this experience with me. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback. Stay smoking and keep trying new things. Don’t be afraid to wander outside of your usual lane and be willing to give cigars that didn’t move you a second chance. There are many variables at play when it comes to what you can and cannot taste. On that note, I say Cheers and Salute to my Family of the Leaf!
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the new
Espinosa Laranja Reserva Escuro. For this review, I smoke the Corona Gorda, a 6
x 46 box-pressed stick. It retails for $10. The blend consists of a super dark
Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper and all Nicaraguan tobaccos within.
The cold draw on this cigar gives some dried fruit flavor.
The rich, dark wrapper produces a potent manure aroma, while I smell a bit of
the same out of the foot with dried fruit. The first light produces copious
amounts of spice and body.
Twenty-five minutes in, the first third comes to a close. On
the draw, I find black pepper spice with coffee and bitter cocoa. Through the
nose, a spicy black pepper blends with leather. The finish gives me more bitter
cocoa and leather. Strength settles in at medium, while body is extremely full.
The second third gets me to fifty-five minutes. The draw
hits me with rich cocoa and dark espresso. On the retro-hale, there is a
massive amount of cayenne pepper dominating my sinuses. The finish is a
delightful mix of black licorice and black pepper. There is no change to
strength or body.
The final third wisps away at one hour and twenty minutes.
On the draw, more cocoa blends with cinnamon and coffee. Through the nose, flavors
remain consistent. The finish hits me with black pepper, cedar, and leather. Strength
finishes out at medium, while body ends at the ceiling.
The Espinosa Laranja Reserva Escuro is an excellent cigar.
It displays delicious, bold flavors without being too strong, and complexity is
sufficient. Construction is perfect, and the cigar billows with smoke. It’s competitively
priced and competes well with similarly priced cigars. You may not like this if
you only smoke mild-bodied blends, but for everyone else I highly recommend picking
up a bunch of these.
It’s Stog o’Clock, and this time, I check out the Cornelius
& Anthony The Gent in the Robusto size. This box-pressed 5 x 52 cigar
retails for $8.50. It features an Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper with a binder from
the United States and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras.
The cold draw produces a slight oak flavor. The wrapper
gives off a chocolatey leather aroma, while I smell dried fruit. Once lit, I
pick up white pepper and cedar on the draw. Vanilla and cinnamon come through
on the retro-hale. The finish hits me with light black pepper and some coffee.
Thirty minutes in, the first third finishes. On the draw, I
pick up some white pepper with brown sugar and coffee. Through the nose, mint
blends with cinnamon and vanilla. The finish lingers with spicy nutmeg, toast,
and prune. Strength and body settles in at a stout medium-to-full.
The second third gets me to one hour. I find more white
pepper on the draw with leather and floral notes. The retro-hale consists of
cinnamon and toast. On the finish, there is more spicy nutmeg with black pepper
and ginger. I see no change to strength and body.
The final third closes out at an hour and a half. On the
draw, white pepper gives depth to citrus and more floral notes. Through the
nose, my sinuses are blasted with bombs of black pepper and cinnamon. The
finish offers black pepper with char and earth. Strength and body finish out at
The Cornelius & Anthony The Gent Robusto is an excellent
cigar blend that offers great complexity and flavor. Construction is top-notch
with a smooth draw and plentiful smoke. The flavors on this thing really work
well together, and I enjoyed every last puff. Cornelius & Anthony continues
to put out quality cigars. This cigar ranked as my #13 cigar of 2018, and I
highly recommend trying it.
The Grand Mareva was launched by Bespoke cigars at the opening of the International Private Member cigar club in Split, Croatia. Club Mareva adopted this cigar as its “House Cigar” and the emblem on the band is the club’s logo.
I have been really diving into the Bespoke line in recent weeks and I’m quite impressed by some of their blends. Anytime the name Kelner is involved with a cigar, you have to at least be curious. With that being said, I was enthusiastic and ready to begin this journey thru the Bespoke halls of tobacco!
This particular cigar was blended by Hendrik Kelner Jr. of the world renown Kelner family of Master blenders at the KBF factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper – Brazillian
Binder – Dominican
Filler – Aged Nicaraguan, Dominican & USA
Size – 5,6″ x 42
The Gran Mareva has the color of a damp wet paper bag and a curled pigtail cap. It is rustic looking with a slight sheen, some pronounced veins and a closed foot. There are aromas of soil, nuts and a mild Dominican funk coming off the wrapper. I twisted off the curly pigtail, leaving a tiny raw opening. However, the draw was wide open, even with the closed foot still intact. On that note, the cold draw gave me hay, musk and a mild sage. Also, I had that crystal crunch in my mouth that you get from certain cigars. Almost as if there were sugar crystals up in the club. LOL!
First Third|Up In The Club
Once I convince myself that this isn’t a Drake OVO cigar, I spark this little bad boy up. Initial flavors are toasty and dark as the closed foot burns away. It’s almost a charred thing going on. Soon after, it opens up and blossoms into floral cuts with a thumping bass consisting of some powerful cinnamon, cardamom and cracked peppercorn. The club is lit! The retro tastes like cream and rose petals sandwiched between 2 honey teddy graham crackers. There’s also a brief cameo appearance of a metallic nuttiness on the track. I think this song is called, “Wow Complex!”
Second Third|Up In Here, Up In Here!!!
The savory flavors of Sage, Cardamom, salted Nuts and a floral backdrop are dominating the sweet tones. However, the DJ is slowly mixing in a raisin melody, making an even more complex mix. All this partying is stirring up room notes of sweet, creamy baking spice. Who brought monkey bread up in the club!? Towards the end of this track the raisin beat started morphing into a black cherry with cedar moving to the forefront.
Final Third|Slow it Down
As the mood in the spot dies down and the music slows up a bit, the flavors are straight forward and to the point. There’s Honey, Charred Cedar and Dried Fruit bringing the party to a close. While the Slow Jams are playing, the texture of the smoke is smooth and you can still get subtle hints of that baking spice thru the nose. The charred wood is actually tolerable as far as taste but it leaves a bitter finish on the tongue. As a result, the lights came on and the bouncers yelled, “It’s time to go!!!”
All I can say at this point is that if you have not experienced any of Bespoke’s Cigars, do yourself a favor and check them out. The only gripe I have with Bespoke is that the price point on a lot of their sticks is out of my usual range. At the same time, I’m a hypocrite! Because as a cigar adventurer, if I feel the urge to try something, Im going for it regardless of price. The problem arises when I actually like the cigar. I can’t be paying that price too often Family! LOL. Again, I thank you guys for taking the time to experience this ride with me.