If you look at the bands on this cigar in a darkened room you would be forgiven if you thought they were just plain, black bands. But they’re not. These bands have the same logo replete with skull and cross bones along with the necessary titles on them as all the other Viaje Skull and Bones cigars; they’re just a different shade of black than the rest of the bands. It’s interesting and a little different, so that’s cool.
In the past I have reviewed a couple of cigars from the Viaje Skull and Bones line including:
The cigar is box pressed and short but fairly thick. It has an aggressive, sweet tobacco aroma about it and the wrapper is fairly oily. As far as I can tell there aren’t any but the slightest cosmetic imperfections and it looks like it is well made to me. I’ve smoked a couple of these in the past and I can’t recall having a problem with any of them.
Length: 4 ½”
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Price: $254.00/Box of 25 | $10.25/Single
Very complex from the beginning with notes of hot peppers, chocolate, earth and, generally, a smoky presence to it. There is a little bit of a kick present here and I would nominally put it in the full bodied spectrum; but that’s not this cigar’s point. Its major point is its complexity (at least during the earlier stages).
The second third of this cigar takes on more of the savory and sweet notes. Earth, chocolate and some charred meat flavors have come on during this third. Very dark flavors that keep me interested.
The flavors do begin to flag a bit during the final third but I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that the flavors were pretty consistent during the final two thirds and, perhaps, my palate just got a bit too familiar with them. That’s fine if the flavors are good and they are good here.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar features a very dark flavor profile. During the beginning the flavors were bolder and during the final two thirds the flavors were richer. Personally, I did enjoy the beginning more because of the presence of that hot pepper flavor. It added a bit of variety and spiciness almost always improves chocolate and earth flavors for me.
This is a very tasty cigar with a decent amount of complexity, especially in the beginning. There are enough different flavors present throughout to keep you interested and this kind of cigar should appeal to a wide swatch of the cigar smoking public. The price tag, on the other hand, probably won’t.
For whatever reason I had assumed that I had reviewed this cigar for some time now. I went on reviewing other cigars and then, one day, while smoking another Namakubi, I decided to see what my review said. To my surprise there was no review. I mentioned this at the end of my Top 10 Cigars 2012 post and now I am rectifying that oversight.
This one is the very short vitola, called the Roxxo, and it is easily my favorite in the line. It doesn’t look perfect, perhaps a little rustic. There’s some bumps and veins and the color of the wrapper is a lighter than medium brown color. It has a little bit of oils on the wrapper and looks well made (well made at the Camacho factories by the way).
Although in many ways long gone, Samurai culture is believed to live on in spirit within certain groups. In ancient times when two Samurai clans would gather for competition there was a great deal at stake. Normally, the losing party would die as a result of wounds sustained in battle or be executed upon defeat. The Namakubi, or freshly severed head of the losing party would be prepared on a wooden tray then tagged in a regimented manner and presented to the leader of the winning clan as a gift. We, as modern day samurai, present to you our own Namakubi.
Animal Farm Blast Furnace!
I don’t get to say this much about cigars but this one has a refreshing flavor profile. Bright flavors but also very strong. Visceral spice, which could be too strong and unruly on its own, is retarded by what I can only describe as minty effervescence (I spelled “effervescence” correctly on my first try! Now if I can only learn how to spell “occassion” [sic]). With the larger vitolas I think the flavor profile skews too far towards the minty pole but with the smaller ones the balance is just right.
During the second third the spice gets notched up a peg or two and vice a versa for mint, which is fine by me. There’s also some oak that comes on during this third. Basically, this is still a bright and refreshing cigar. Very enjoyable.
The final third isn’t refreshing but it’s still enjoyable (to a lesser degree than the first two thirds however). The spice has fallen into this milieu of mint, bread and perhaps a little meat and earth as well. Unfortunately, more flavors doesn’t always mean that the flavor profile has improved; this is one of those times. Still good, I just preferred the refreshing profile from the first two thirds.
Full bodied (just barely) with a good draw and burn; this cigar was a definite joy to smoke during the first two thirds and finished unspectacularly. In no way is that a condemnation of this cigar because even if the cigar had only had the flavor profile of the final third it would have been a very good cigar. Add in the first two thirds, which were excellent, and we have a great cigar.
Looking through my past reviews I was a little surprised to see that I have not posted a review of the Namakubi yet. I’m surprised because I really do like that cigar. Maybe I have another in a humidor and, if I’m lucky enough for that to be the case, I will get a review of that cigar up sooner or later.
I was, however, able to find a review I did on the original Room 101 line, which I didn’t love. They are good, quality cigars but it just didn’t fit into my preferred flavor profile. So, what about the Daruma?
First, there’s the name. I know that the word “namakubi” has something to do with beheading so, if Daruma follows in the same vein then its meaning is probably similarly unpleasant. On the other hand, Daruma could mean “puppy dogs” in Japanese (these words are Japanese, right?). [Go to the end of this review for some clarification.]
According to the Camacho website (Camacho makes Room 101 brand cigars and Camacho is owned by Davidoff – just fulfilling all possible fiduciary responsibilities and such) there are five different sizes. The cigar I am smoking for this review is the Roxxo, which measures in at 4″ x 48. The band is stylish and the cigar looks well made. Not very oily to the touch and this cigar is tightly packed.
Vitola: short robusto
Ring Gauge: 48
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Cuban Seed Brazilian
Filler: Dominican and Honduran
Price: $130.00/Box of 20 | $33.00/5 Pack
Very flavorful beginning to this cigar. There’s a rich sweetness that is buttressed by chocolate and some nice savory flavors. So far (first third = far), the flavor profile is complex and very enjoyable.
The second third’s flavor profile is pretty similar to the first third’s. The good thing about this cigar is that the flavor profile has taken on a granular feel to it. It’s going along at medium bodied.
Chocolate is gone during the final third but the savory and sweet flavors are still kicking around. The savory flavor is close to tasting like an aged steak and the sweetness is close to floral. Very good mixture of flavors and even though there isn’t a lot a change in the flavor profile from beginning to end there is a good amount of flavors going on throughout that I never got bored with this cigar.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar will probably have a certain amount of appeal to just about everyone. This isn’t a cigar that beats you over the head with very strong individual flavors but, taken in totality, it’s very pleasant and interesting.
PS: Here’s the explanation from the site as to what the name “Daruma” is all about. (And since it’s near the end of the year it’s actually pretty fitting.)
The single eye I have penciled in on my Daruma doll is my silent reminder that I have set a goal that is pending completion. My Daruma will become a bi-oculared character once my task is complete. I have one year in which to complete my task – and if one of my attempts should fall short of victory I will not quit, but rather try again. Because, I know that if I do not give up and my will does not falter it is never a question of “if,” but only a question of “when.” We have named our latest series after the Daruma as he symbolizes resilience – a key ingredient to our success. Use your Daruma to set a goal of your own.
Fill his left eye when you have decided what you will be committing yourself to, his right when your task is complete. As the tradition is to burn the Daruma at the end of the year, take a brief moment to ignite a fine cigar in celebration of your accomplishment.
The other day I finished watching “Into the West“, which is one of those multi-generational miniseries that follows a family (two in this case) through the generations and, in the process, you also get to see a dramatized version of history, the “Wild West” in this case, and, based off of my watching of this show, I’m reasonably sure that the image on this band is that of an Indian. Upon further inspection I notice that the Indian is wearing a headdress made of tobacco leaves (this is a special cigar for the Tobacconists Association of America) and that immediately got me thinking of a Cabbage Patch Kid.
But none of that is important. What is important is that this cigar is a beauty. A box pressed toro, the very dark brown Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper has that rough, toothy texture that gets me excited to smoke a cigar. The box press is pretty drastic in that it’s a fairly flat cigar. Very oily with a closed foot this cigar looks like it is going to be a treat.
Length: 6 ¼″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Price: ~ $12.00/Single
Space Jump Incineration!
After a slightly longer than normal session of toasting the foot, this cigar opens up with some pretty nice flavors. Fruity spice with a bit of a bite on the finish, clay earth and a small helping of very bitter chocolate in the background. The flavors are working well together.
Leather gets added to the mix during the second third. While the spice has decreased in importance the earthiness has increased and changed into this incredible dustiness. It’s still has a good deal of bitterness as well. This is one of those cigars where the smoke’s consistency is very granular; sort of like a thousand little flavor molecules surrounding your taste buds. Very interesting cigar.
The final third is a lot like the second with leather, earth and bitter chocolate. Like I said about the second third, this is a very interesting cigar, which, in this case, means that it’s unique… in a good way.
Medium-full bodied with an excellent draw and burn, this cigar does not have a great deal of evolution in the flavor profile but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for with the mixture of flavors. It was good from beginning to end.
The acronym TAA conjured up images of groping and pointless delays in airports for me but then I looked again and realized that this isn’t the acronym for the much-maligned Transportation Security Administration folks but for the Tobacconist Association of America (I’m going to assume there’s less groping required in this organization). Actually, it’s a pretty cool idea because it provides B&Ms with something special for their clientele which can’t easily be found online.
This cigar is a box pressed torpedo with what I believe to be basically the same blend as the original Jamie Garcia Reserva Especial (for more info go to Tiki Bar or Halfwheel). I liked the normal line cigar a lot, giving it 91 points, and have bought more over the last few months since I published my review of the normal line. It’s a really good cigar and, to tell you the truth, I’d probably bump up that score a little now that I’ve smoked around a box more of those cigars.
This TAA Edition cigar is slightly longer than the one I did a review on previously and it has a slight box press. The wrapper is rough to the touch and is slick with oils. The construction looks perfect and I can’t find any imperfections with it. It is consistently packed and gives slightly when pinched.
Length: 6 ¼″
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Price: $150.00/Box of 16 | $10.00/Single
Hell on Wheels Conflagration!
With a slightly tight draw this cigar is starting off with a good deal of spice and some dark wood notes. The spice’s intensity is really strong, especially during the very beginning, and that might overwhelm some smokers or, if failing that, might be unpleasant. Personally, I like the initial spicy intensity of this cigar.
After the howitzer of spiciness subsides, which is about a quarter of the way through the first third, a tableau of habanero heat, chocolate and some woody notes becomes clear. It continues on like this through the beginning of the second third.
Near the end of the second third this gingerbread flavor starts coming through and you can really smell it in the smoke as well. It’s a cool flavor and works well with the spice and woody notes. That chocolate kind of disappears, but not completely.
Somewhere during the second third or the beginning of the final third the spice quiets down and becomes more sweet and floral. While I do like the hard charging spice more this does show a bit of evolution in the flavor profile and keeps my interest going.
Full bodied with a good draw and burn, this is a great cigar. There are a lot of flavors going on in this cigar and the extra bit of length and/or a change of blend (which I don’t know is the case in this situation) did make the flavor profile a little bit different from the conventional line. All in all, I think this is just as good as the regular line, which I love and I think most everyone would find something to like about it.
If you get a chance you should try this cigar. It costs a little more but you can only find it at B&Ms, which means it has a bit of exclusivity. There’s that but the most important thing is that it tastes good.