14 May 2014
Last year, two of my favorite cigars happened to be Abaddon and Ouroboros, both of which are made for Blue Havana, a tobacconist in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. They are crafted at Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño in Estelí by Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac.
I was so impressed by these cigars that I decided to better acquaint myself with RoMa Craft and its core lines: CroMagnon, Intemperance (EC XVIII and BA XXI), and Aquitaine. If you haven’t already done so, you should do the same. After all, Skip Martin’s Estelí operation may be small with limited production, but he’s undoubtedly making some of the best cigars in the world.
By way of background, RoMa Craft was born after the Hava Cigar Shop and Lounge in Galveston, Texas, was decimated by Hurricane Ike in 2008. At first it was an online version of the old brick-and-mortar store, but distribution and cigar production grew. Today, while RoMa Craft’s production is nowhere near the levels of its neighbors Drew Estate or Joya de Nicaragua, the outfit is nimble, efficient, and turning out excellent smokes.
I visited the factory last month to learn about cigar blending (and sample some of Martin’s rum collection). There, I received a sampler of RoMa Craft smokes, including the CroMagnon EMH, a robusto extra (5 x 56) that’s short for “Early Modern Human.” Like the Cranium (6 x 54) my colleague reviewed in 2011, EMH has an oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around a Cameroon binder.
The long-filler includes three types of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. They hail from Estelí, Condega, and a small farm on the Honduran border. “This third leaf, a Ligero, brings a strong, smoky, savory flavor to the blend,” according to the RoMa Craft website. “When combined with the mildly sweet characteristics of the Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, the exotic bite of the Cameroon binder, and the clean finish of its Viso and Seco companions, the blend delivers the precise, deep, rich tobacco flavor we wanted to present…”
In my own experience, smoking the sample I received from Martin and several others I purchased myself, the EMH’s hearty, musty, leathery pre-light notes transition to bold, full-bodied flavors ranging from pepper and savory char to cocoa and espresso. The texture is dark and chalky. Still, I agree with my colleague that the CroMagnon EMH is “more than just a club of strength across the palate.” There’s depth and complexity, some of which can be attributed to the sweetness of the Cameroon binder. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the combustion qualities—burn, draw, ash, and smoke production—are all up to snuff.
This slow-burning power-bomb runs about $8, which is a very fair price for this level of quality. If given the choice between the two, I prefer the slightly cheaper Intemperance BA XXI. But the CroMagnon EMH is an outstanding selection if you’re looking for body and impact. In my book, it’s worthy of an admirable rating of four stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys