I have reviews for the original Man O’ War, Man O’ War Ruination and the Man O’ War Puro Authentico. In short, I liked the latter two, with a slight edge going to the Puro Authentico, more than I liked the original. I have yet to review the Maduro wrapped Puro Authentico (decent), the Armada (underwhelming), Virtue (don’t get it) and there are three “Side Projects” that are being offered now: the Little Devil, Phalanx and the one I am reviewing for this post, the 52-C.
Personally, my feelings on the name for this cigar – “Side Project 52-C” – is that it is a little odd. It doesn’t fit with the whole Roman Centurion (Is it Spartan?) motif like the “Phalanx” name literally does or like the “Little Devil” name that tracks well with the “Ruination” line naming convention. 52-C, on the other hand, evokes, for me at least, images of Groom Lake and shadow operations where names are chosen randomly, like Duchess.
Whatever the rationale behind the naming of this cigar it is an interesting enough looking cigar as it has that chisel shape that I love. (On a side note: Why don’t more cigar makers utilize the chisel shape? This vitola is probably more difficult to make but the draw is usually better and the shape makes it easier to smoke as well.)
I take off the bands, which includes the large Man O’ War band replete with menacing looking galea and a pair of gladiuses and a smaller band indicating what side project this is. The muted brown wrapper is virtually free of all but the most inconsequential of veins and the wrapper itself has a nice coating of oils. Soft spots can be found at either end: the foot and the head.
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Ligero
Price: $80.00/Box of 12 | $9.00/Single
Hunger Games Pyre!
Alright, I don’t know how accurate the wrapper, binder and filler information actually is but that is the best information I could find; I think it’s right.
Spice, oak, nuts and there is this certain warmness to it that is inviting. When I first smoked one of these cigars (this is my fifth) I did not think I was going to like it all that much… but, I was wrong. It’s not a high brow kind of cigar with a long pedigree but it does have flavor.
A short time after the halfway point this cigar starts to get really heavy. Earthiness makes an entrance and takes over the flavor profile but what is really getting to me is that this cigar has metaphorically downshifted and is going up a steep hill made primarily of wet earth. It’s not a horrible change but I would definitely have preferred it to shift up a couple of gears and go racing around with more spice and oak corners.
This isn’t one of those “must try” cigars but it does have its place. It’s heavy enough and tasty enough to be a good go-to cigar for when you are out on a walk or driving. Unfortunately, the price prevents it from being that kind of a cigar (unless you are lucky enough to get it on one of the Cigars International/Cigar.com deal sites for around $4-5 a stick). Basically, that puts it in the No Man’s Land of the cigar market for me.
Working in its favor is the first half, which was very enjoyable, and the good draw and burn. A medium bodied cigar with ups and downs; it has its moments but the price lessens the impact of those moments. Yet, I can’t imagine I will never smoke one again.