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Cigar Review: Neanderthal SGP

19 Oct 2015

In 2014, Skip Martin’s RoMa Craft Tobac—the small, Estelí-based operation that has deservedly developed a cult following for its CroMagnon, Aquitaine, and Intemperance boutique lines—came out with its first new blend since 2012: Neanderthal.

SGPNeanderthal was billed as the strongest RoMa Craft to date, which says a lot since CroMagnon is anything but mild. Martin said the recipe fulfills his intent to make a cigar with characteristics similar to La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero or Joya de Nicaragua Antaño.

When it was introduced, Neanderthal was available in a single size called HN: a 5-inch figuardo that has a ring gauge of 56 near the foot and narrows to 52 at the cap. Interestingly, the head of the cigar is completely flat across, and not just from a press; think a bowling pin with the top few inches sawed off.

This summer, a second size was added that’s exclusive to two tobacconists: Riverside Cigar Shop in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Serious Cigars in Houston, Texas (the former takes orders over the phone, the latter online). Called SGP, it measures 4.25 inches long with a ring gauge of 52 and retails for $10 per single, $48.75 per 5-pack, or $134.95 per box of 15.

Like HN, SGP sports a rustic, oily, dark Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and filler tobaccos that include four types of Nicaraguan tobacco. There’s also an aromatic Dominican olor component, and a Pennsylvanian double ligero leaf known as “Green River Sucker One.” The stout cigar is firm to the touch with an attractively understated band of rust orange and white. The flattened cap clips easily to reveal an airy cold draw.

Once lit, rich pre-light notes of leather and dark chocolate transition to a full-bodied profile of espresso, black pepper spice, and dry oak. Yes, you could call this a blunt force instrument given the hearty nicotine kick. Doing so, however, fails to afford the SGP credit for its subtler background notes of nougat and salty nut—background notes that persistently fight through the leathery texture of the smoke. In the same vein, I think many will be surprised by how smoothly the cigar’s flavor and strength is delivered.

Constriction is exquisite, as RoMa Craft fans surely expect. The burn line is sharp and straight, the smoke production voluminous, and the stable ash holds well off the foot.

The Neanderthal SGP is clearly not for everyone. But if you’re a seasoned cigar veteran looking for loads of flavor and strength in a compact (I really like this size, by the way), well-constructed package, this little bomb is for you. Sure, the price point is high—especially considering the dimensions of the cigar—but the quality and craftsmanship is evident. I’m awarding this RoMa Craft creation a very commendable four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “Cigar Review: Neanderthal SGP”

  1. Charlie H. Monday, October 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    In my top 5 of 2015!

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