Power: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wrapper: Mexican (San Andrés)
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, & Pennsylvania
There are many different weapons of choice when it comes to cigar brands, whether it is an enticing band or package, a rich history and origin, a gimmick such as a cereal box prize, or even an unusual size or shape. When it comes to the RoMa Craft Neanderthal, the secret ingredient is quality. I would call this full bodied menace the ultimate dark horse of the cigar world. The first time I picked up the Neanderthal was coincidentally the first time I met Michael Rosales. The date was June 12, 2017 and Michael had come to visit Brookelynn Cigars while he was in the area. When I greeted him, he immediately took an interest in my pallet. Me being a fan of full bodied cigars, he led me to a corner of the humidor I rarely visited and handed me the Neanderthal. With little knowledge of the brand or company, I have to say, I didn’t have high hopes. A plain wooden box etched with a crude etching of what looked to be a caveman held a simply banded cigar.
Despite my doubts, I lit for the very first time what would end up being one of my favorite cigars to date. The first thing I noticed was the very flat bottom of the cigar that I was nervous of cutting for fear it may unravel. Using an XO cutter, I quickly snipped a sliver of the cigar with the uneasy feeling I may have ruined the thing in front of the man who distributed it. To my surprise the wrapper held firm and didn’t flake whatsoever. Upon lighting the cigar, I noticed how effortless it was to get a nice even burn. With a little roasting and one rotation with the torch, I felt a bellowing of smoke enter my mouth. This cigar had all of the flavor and strength I had been craving from a full bodied cigar.
For this review, I am revisiting this titan in an attempt at viewing it without cigar shock. With a few under my belt, I am now able to impartially review the full span of the stick.
At my first light, I am once again greeted with an amazingly even burn and a bellow of thick creamy smoke. The nutty taste masks the strength of the cigar with a sweet light taste on the pallet. The flavor has yet to coat my tongue with a strong after taste almost tickling my tongue with its flavor. As far as the flavor profile goes, it seems very dynamic. It is certainly a cigar that grabs your attention. Unlike many cigars of the same strength, it seems to alternate between its own flavor profile. It’s almost as if there are small bits of flavor hidden throughout the cigar that arrive at different points overlapping as it burns. This may be due to the mixture of Dominican and Nicaraguan filler. With a very modest wrapper and binder, the flavors of the filler are really able to shine.
By this time, the flavor has really leveled and blended together well. The taste is now resonating evenly across my pallet with a very subtle tone of earthy nuttiness. The wrap has kept its shape and has required very little touch up in terms of the burn. The draw is still very strong with no resistance to the pull at all. The cigar itself seems very well crafted with no aesthetic problems that really help to enjoy the full experience. I am now starting to feel the beginnings of the buzz. It seemed to almost come out of nowhere. Overall, this third is very consistent with its flavor and burn – a very relaxing smoke thus far.
The peppery signals are just now starting to break through to the surface. As with most cigars, the flavor is now much more intense. With the last third, it almost feels like a sprinter giving his all in the last portion of the race. The Neanderthal is now reminding me that it is truly a full bodied smoke. The same floral and nutty flavor is now being spear headed with a very light peppery bite. The buzz is now completely present without any sort of cigar burps or queasiness. I am absolutely amazed with the cigar’s overall construction with very minimal flaking even at the last inch and beyond. With a consistent draw all the way through the stick, it is difficult to be disappointed with the performance of the construction itself. I have found myself smoking this one down to the wire. The only negative experience from the last third would be the burn of the ember on my lips.
If I could rename this cigar, it would be “The Creature of Habit.” With the overall consistence of the smoke itself, I could see this being a cigar full-bodied fans return to time and time again. The only criticism I have is the band is far too tight and difficult to remove. If you are a fan of minimal pepper in a strong cigar this is definitely a must smoke. If you are looking for an incredibly flashy cigar this one may fall a little short, but someone who seeks consistency and quality will be met with a pleasant surprise.
Time of day: If you are a veteran smoker who can handle a buzz I would suggest smoking this around mid-day. A very light flavor really compliments a nice sunny day.
Alcohol Pairing: As far as liquor goes, I would suggest a nice scotch whiskey.
A cigar to share: This may not be the best cigar to share with your inexperienced friends. This is a full bodied cigar and may flatten a first time cigar smoker. However, as far as a cigar to pass around at a poker game with your veteran friends, this is definitely a crowd pleaser.