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Cigar Review: NHC Surrogates Bone Crusher

15 Feb 2012

If you only pick up cigars from your local shop then you probably haven’t heard of the Surrogates Skull Breaker and Bone Crusher cigars. These cigars are only available from New Havana Cigars (NHC), an online-only shop based in Columbus, Ohio.

Unlike most online retailers, NHC’s selection is limited to a handful of more boutique cigarmakers like Tatuaje, Illusione, Viaje, E.P. Carrillo, and 7-20-4, including many hard to find limited releases. NHC has featured a number of exclusive smokes—including the NHC Selección Limitada (a box-pressed size of the Tatuaje Brown Label) and the My Uzi Weighs a Ton Bait Fish (a corona size of the Drew Estate MUWAT)—but Surrogates is the first truly new brand created by NHC.

Last August, NHC owner Dan Welsh described his thinking about the line this way: “I wanted to create a brand for NHC that would bring new customers and service our loyal customers. Looking at our business over the last four years, it was obvious that our clients demanded something special. One thing that was missing was constant availability… Surrogates was created to solve the problem of choosing whether to save or smoke that special vitola. The answer, is both.”

Beyond saying the cigar is created “utilizing a new source” (implying it isn’t made at any of the factories where the cigars he stocks are produced) Welsh reveals few details about the blend, except that the wrapper is broadleaf and it is “made in Central America.” In its current listing on the site a few more details are revealed, as the description says the cigar’s origin is Nicaragua, as is the wrapper and filler.

Shrouded in a bit of intended mystery, one is left to smoke the cigar and evaluate it on its own terms. Available in two sizes, Skull Breaker is a belicoso that measures 5.25 inches with a ring gauge of 52 and Bone Crusher (the subject of this review) is a parejo that measures 5.25 inches with a ring gauge of 54. The Bone Crusher samples I smoked are clearly well-made. The dark, nearly vein-free wrapper is framed by dual matte black bands. The cigar produces a perfectly even burn and sturdy ash that holds for well over an inch.

Bone Crusher yields heavy smoke with a density that coats the palate. Its extremely full-bodied flavors are dominated by espresso, earth, and leather. There’s a bit of pepper at the start but also some lingering bitterness, especially towards the end. All in all, Bone Crusher seems an appropriate name for this cigar. It’s powerful, flavorful, and one of the most full-bodied cigars available anywhere. But all that power comes with a price, as there’s no subtlety or finesse, and little in the way of balance.

Still, it is a cigar that can be enjoyed under the right circumstances: a full-stomach and a strong drink help. And while it’s a bit too powerful to be a favorite of mine, it’s a cigar I might turn to when I want a true flavor bomb. At $7.50 each and $120 for a box of 20, it’s worth a try if you’re a fan of strong cigars. So even though it lacks finesse, the NHC Surrogates Bone Crusher earns a favorable rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

11 Responses to “Cigar Review: NHC Surrogates Bone Crusher”

  1. NTA_Shawn Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Nice review. Ive always wanted to try these. May have to pull the trigger on these now.

  2. Rogers71 Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I prefer classic-tasting cigars with lots of balance. Never been a fan of power for power's sake, which is why I never got into cigars like Cain, etc. This does not sound up my alley. Thanks for the review.

  3. Swede214 Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Sounds like I will not have to find one of these, to strong for my taste, thanks for the review.

  4. Dan Reeve Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Nice review. I think they are smoking nicer now than when they were new.

    keep up the good work.


    • Patrick Semmens Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words Dan.

      You gave me my first Surrogate when we were in the Dominican Republic. From there I went out and bought some, which eventually turned into this review.

  5. William Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Odd that there's no mention of them being part of the L'Atelier line from Tatuaje. My neighborhood purveyor has them all, albeit only two different boxes at one time. I've managed to smoke two. Pete Johnson, I can honestly say, is a very quick learner. These are an EXCELLENT value.

    • Patrick Semmens Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      When they came out (and when this was written) it was not publicly disclosed that Pete Johnson was involved, andhadn't announced the formation of L'Atelier yet.

      • William Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

        Ah. Thank you.

  6. William Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    None of the Surrogates I've smoked have been what I'd term "powerhouses"; all seem to have excellent balance and are loaded with flavor. The Bone Crusher I'm smoking right now is not more than medium in body and strength, and is plenty complex, and has nice balance.

    Do yourself a favor and drop the attitude, and have some.

    • Patrick Semmens Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      In my experience, these were much more full-bodied when they first came out. Time has mellowed Skullbreaker/Bonecrusher considerably.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Cigar Review: Tatuaje NHC Selección Limitada Natural | The Stogie Guys - Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    […] E.P. Carrillo, and 7-20-4, including many rare limited releases. NHC even has its own brand—Surrogates—and some exclusive smokes like the My Uzi Weighs a Ton Bait Fish from Drew Estate and the Tatuaje […]