25 Jun 2014
About one year ago, we reported Hendrik Kelner, Jr.—son of Henke Kelner of Davidoff fame—was releasing his own brand called Smoking Jacket Cigars. The inaugural release was the first cigar created in Kelner, Jr.’s newly opened Kelner Boutique Factory in the Dominican Republic. It was a blend of Dominican, Brazilian, Peruvian, and Nicaraguan tobaccos.
As is popular in the cigar industry, Kelner, Jr. is involved in other projects as well. One example is Cabal Cigars, a brand operated by Chris Arolfo who distributes Cabal out of a base in Houston. Over the past few years, Cabal’s availability has expanded to 24 cigar shops, most of which are in Texas. Other states with Cabal retailers include Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington.
Cabal—which means a group of like-minded individuals who gather for a common purpose or ideal—took two years to blend at the Kelner Boutique Factory. The result is a lineup of three regular-production sizes in the $6.50 to $8 range that Arolfo hopes many cigar fans will adopt as everyday smokes. (There’s also a single-vitola blend called Cabal Esoteric; Arolfo says this Robusto stood out so much in the blending process that it deserved its own identity).
The core Cabal sizes are Corona Gorda (5.5 x 46), Robusto (5 x 50), and Short Robusto (4 x 52). The latter, as the Cabal website notes, is “distinctly darker than the other Cabal vitolas… [because it] comes from a higher priming of the Dominican Bonao wrapper.” In addition to this dark Bonao wrapper, the Short Robusto sports double binders from Peru and the Dominican Republic surrounding a filler blend of Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian, and Dominican tobaccos.
The Short Robusto is characterized by a fair amount of tooth, especially around the rough cap, and a heavy weight. The cold draw is smooth and the pre-light notes are earthy with a hay-like sweetness. Once lit, a leathery, medium-bodied profile emerges with background notes of coffee, roasted nut, and a cocoa sweetness. The impact is bold and complex—especially for such a small smoke—and the interplay between leather and sugar will likely be what grabs you. The hot, meaty notes that creep in towards the final third will be more forgettable.
I only smoked a single sample for this review, which is not typical for me, or for StogieGuys.com. So keep that in mind. But if my Short Robusto is any indication, you won’t encounter any construction issues when you try this smoke for yourself. My sample exhibits a straight burn, solid ash, smooth draw, and ample smoke production.
One of the finest compliments I can pay a cigar is writing that smoking one makes me want to fire up another. Clearly, the Short Robusto’s small stature makes it easier to say this because, by the time you’re done with this tiny smoke, you still haven’t tired of the flavors. That said, though, the Cabal Short Robusto is very impressive and affordably priced. That earns it a reputable rating of four stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys