Man O’ War is a very solid line of cigars from A.J. Fernandez. In fact, Mr. Fernandez makes quite a few good cigars including the San Lotano Oval Maduro, which I recently reviewed. Man O’ War is an interesting line in that I think it started solely as an online brand (I have seen it at brick and mortars also, so that may be wrong) but it’s also interesting in that there are about half a dozen different variations on the line, including each of the Side Projects.
(Wait, what? A lot of original cigar lines end up branching out into a number of variations? Oh, alright then, discount most of that first paragraph then.)
The Side Projects each feature a purportedly unique blend and that’s probably true. Although, meh, you can decide for yourself – that’s part of the fun, right? The one that I’m smoking for this review is the Man O’ War Side Project Skull Crusher. (When they were coming up with the name for this particular cigar I sincerely believe someone in the room must have been thinking “Are you not entertained?!?!” when this name was agreed upon.)
The Skull Crusher has something to live up to because I liked the Man O’ War Side Project 52-C. The Skull Crusher is a perfecto (both ends are tapered) and there’s absolutely no opening as the foot is completely covered by the wrapper. Nope, not a closed foot with the extra length of the wrapper folded over the foot but with the wrapper just never ending. Look at the picture.
It’s more bulbous near the foot and there are some veins on the wrapper. Very little oil on the wrapper and the wrapper has a bit of roughness to it.
Ring Gauge: 56
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro
Price: $80.00/Box of 12 | $40.00/Five Pack
Cinema Sins Torch!
It’s a bit slow before the burn line traverses the shoulder and then it does pick up a good deal. Bright spice that does have a decent amount of strength to it. What’s great about the flavors early on (at least) is that this bright spice is deftly cut by a sharp but fleeting candied, fruity sweetness. The juxtaposition between the spice and the sweetness works well here. There’s also some oak in the background and the sweetness has a close relative in a nice burgundy flavor.
Flavors do take a step back during the second third. The spice is pretty much gone and the candied sweetness has significantly dissipated. That burgundy flavor is still kicking around with the oak however. Basically, the flavors just seem to have been washed out a bit.
Sweetness morphs into floral and the oak flavor has transitioned into a more general woody flavor. It’s still a respectable cigar.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Man O’ War Side Project Skull Crusher is anything but what it’s name would indicate. That’s fine and all but when I purchased these cigars I was expecting a wild, extremely robust cigar. But what I got was something different and enjoyable.
It was actually very enjoyable during the first third when the flavors were alive but then – during the second third and especially during the final third – it faded out like a child actor’s promising career. This wasn’t a total burnout like Haley Joel Osment’s but rather like Drew Barrymore’s where some of her career as an adult showed some of her promise.
Perhaps, the cigar took a turn for the worse after the burn line crossed the bulbous part. After all, when the ring gauge changes the blend has to change some as well. Maybe if this cigar maintained a constant ring gauge equal to its thickest point then it would have been much better.
On Monday I reviewed the Frank Jr. and liked it a lot. On Tuesday I reviewed the Lil’ Drac and didn’t like it. On Wednesday I reviewed the Baby Face and thought it was good. Today I review the Wolfie.
And there’s no mistaking this cigar because it is a Shaggy D.A. (I’ve never watched that movie before but then I did a search for the phrase “shaggy da” and found out that it is, indeed, a movie. I had no idea that phrase was based on what looks like a truly horrible movie). Well, okay, it’s not really “shaggy” per se but the wrapper is cut short about a third of an inch from the end of the filler tobacco. It also has a slight box press to it and a network of small, inconsequential veins going hither and thither. While not a very oily wrapper it is very smooth. And it’s a torpedo with a blunt head that reminds me of the Coneheads.
Length: 5 ½”
Ring Gauge: 48
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Price: ~$8.00/single as part of a box of 10 Little Monsters
Silver Bullet Conflagration!
The unwrappered beginning of this cigar was spicy with some hay added in. Quite good, very dry though. Once you get to the wrappered portion of this cigar you still get the spice and the hay but you also get a bit of oak. The flavors are coming at you like water through a fire hose during this third.
The blowtorch of spice and hay moderates a little during the second third. I’d have to say that the main flavors are still spice, hay and oak. There seems to be a cashew flavor as well during this third.
During the final third there is a big shift away from the spice and more towards a hay/oak flavor profile. There is also a bit of sweetness thrown in for good measure.
Even though the first two thirds were more exiting I liked the final third better because the flavors were more well balanced and more palatable. Medium bodied with a good draw and burn this cigar was good, not great. If the intensity of the first two thirds were mixed with the balance of the final third this would have been a great cigar.
Samples from BnB Tobacco used for this review. All reviews are my own.
This is just another Rocky Patel, right? Keeping track of all the offerings from Patel is a full time job but, amongst all that chaff, there are some genuinely good cigars. I like the 1992 and the Decade and have heard good things about the Fifteenth Anniversary line. I haven’t heard much about this cigar though.
While I normally abstain from talking about a cigar’s band(s) I just can’t ignore it this time. The styling, for whatever reason, looks Aztecan, which might be what they’re going for. I don’t know about that but I do know I’m not a big fan of bands, two in this case, covering up approximately 40% of the wrapper. “What are you hiding?” is what crosses my mind whenever I see this.
After taking off the auxiliary “By Nimish” band I see that it’s a good looking cigar… for the most part. There is this one large vein that runs from cap to foot in a slight slant pattern. The wrapper itself is a consistently dark brown color and it is an oily wrapper. The cap is finished with a pigtail.
Length: 4 ½″
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan & Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran & Costa Rican
Price: $100.00/Box of 20 | $5.50/Single
It starts out peppery and the smoke’s consistency is very grainy. There is this one note, however, that I am finding in this cigar (as well as the other one I smoked for this review) that is a little off or, better yet, flat. That flat flavor tastes like bleached hay.
What’s weird is that I don’t dislike this cigar. While “bleached hay” doesn’t sound appetizing in the least there is something about it that I do like. It works well with the pepper, which is abrasive and demands your attention even if you try to focus on other aspects of this cigar.
It does start to mellow out a bit during the second third. The flavors meld better and in addition to the pepper and the hay there is a rich nuttiness as well. For a cigar that I didn’t think held much promise it certainly does have my attention.
As the cigar progresses at its very slow pace there is a sweetness that starts coming through. That flat, bleached hay flavor has changed into just being hay, which is an improvement. The pepper has dissipated and is pretty much a nonentity.
It’s a decent cigar. Medium bodied with a good draw and a decent burn it has some good flavors that remain interesting the whole way through. Worth a try.
I sit here wearing my CAO La Traviata Maduro hat given to me by Keith from Tiki Bar Online. Even though you might not think that is pertinent information I recall some English teacher I once had preaching about the importance of setting the scene. So there; the scene is set.
This is a perfect looking cigar. Black-brown wrapper with two very minor veins visible. Oily feel to the wrapper, it’s also slightly fuzzy. The cigar feels well packed, hard even. Can’t wait to smoke this cigar after resting it in my humidor for many months.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican Republic
Price: $115.00/Box of 24
Canton Tower Flame!
If you are wondering whether or not I have smoked the CAO La Traviata with the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper you can take a look at this. If you don’t want to go through the bother of clicking on another link and reading another review then you should know that I liked that cigar, giving it 91 points. Leather, oak and spice were some of the flavors that I noticed and it was pleasantly full bodied.
The CAO La Traviata Maduro starts out with a dark and powerful flavor profile. Beef jerky is the center of the flavor profile surrounded by mahogany, salt and bitter chocolate. While the draw is a little tight in the early goings of this cigar it has not become much of a problem.
Smokiness along with dark flavors are pervasive coming into the second third. Beef jerky and smoky mesquite are the big flavors that I’m picking up now. It’s fine.
The somewhat tight draw becomes somewhat bothersome in the final third, but not in terms of flavor. That jerky flavor has receded into the background while the smoky mesquite has gotten stronger. Heavy cigar.
Without the tight draw, which I got over and over again with each of these cigars that I tried, this would be a 90+ point cigar in my estimation. Even with the tight draw it was an enjoyable cigar but, I have to say, the original La Traviata is my favorite. Medium bodied with a burn that does require some touch ups along the way, this is a cigar that maduro fans might want to give a try.
A rather thickish-looking robusto, this cigar has no visible malformations. Of course, like nearly all cigars, it has the stray bump but even those seem to be less bumpy than the average cigar’s bumps. Plus it is oily and nicely packed.
Ring Gauge: 50
Price: $90.00/Box of 20
After getting it lit, which took longer than usual, I am welcomed with a bouquet of goodness. There’s a little bit of a zing followed by a floral sweetness, a bit of a cookie dough flavor, a touch of citrus and some barnyard for good measure. This is definitely a unique mix of flavors and, even though this cigar is in its infancy, it is shaping up to be a good cigar.
Now that I am a little more than an inch into this cigar I can still say that I like it. Citrus is playing the lead right now, which, while interesting, is a little odd. It’s not like the citrus flavor is bad but, well, it’s just unexpected. On the other side of the coin is a dash of spice; thankfully. That barnyard flavor, more like hay, is still present. That cookie dough flavor is not.
After the halfway point this cigar becomes a little bland. Citrus is gone and in its place is a full-throated hay flavor, which is boring. I had higher hopes at the beginning of this cigar but all my hopes seem to have gone down the drain after the halfway point.
It’s a medium bodied cigar with a good draw and a good enough burn (a couple of touchups were necessary during the middle third).
Three quarters of the way through and it does improve a little bit. A doughy flavor starts to come through and the hay takes on a burnt quality. Additionally, a nutty flavor has also entered the mix.
Alright, it is a fine cigar but it’s just nothing special. Like most other Perdomos it falls into that solid category.