22 Jul 2014
At least for fans of boutique cigars, I expect this new release from RoMa Craft Tobac (makers of Cromagnon, Aquitaine, and Intemperance) to be one of the most anticipated cigars from the IPCPR Trade Show that’s currently taking place.
Neanderthal is billed as the strongest RoMa Craft to date, which says a lot since Cromagnon and Aquitaine (particularly the former) are anything but mild. At least for its introduction, the cigar will come in one size: a 5-inch figuardo that has a ring gauge of 56 near the foot and narrows to 52 at the cap. 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. (In fact, a cutter isn’t really necessary; you can just remove the cap from the wrapper and start smoking.)
The blend has a medium brown San Andrés maduro wrapper (a first for RoMa Craft) with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder. The filler is comprised of four types of Nicaraguan tobacco, along with the aromatic Dominican Olor and a Pennsylvanian Double Ligero that provides it’s unique strength.
Neanderthal is very full-bodied with black coffee, damp earth, oak, and pepper spice—especially on the retrohale. It starts out with a heavy grittiness that seems to scratch the roof of your mouth. This reminds me a little of the early versions of Nica Rustica that had a wild form of Nicaraguan tobacco in it. After a third, the strength fades slightly, most likely because you grow accustomed to it.
The strength of the Neanderthal isn’t simply full flavors. It’s also nicotine, which is why the Pennsylvanian tobacco is key to the blend. While not necessarily the most flavorful tobacco, it contains double the nicotine content of a more traditional filler tobacco. Personally, I don’t notice the nicotine at all for the vast majority of the cigars I smoke, so when I did notice it while smoking this cigar, that told me RoMa Craft’s Skip Martin is accomplishing his goal.
I received this cigar while visiting RoMa Craft’s Nica Sueño S.A. factory in Estelí three months ago. I only smoked one, so it’s not clear what, if any, impact a few months of rest had. When I received this cigar, Skip also gave me a puro rolled from 100% Pennsylvanian Double Ligero that he uses for blending, and it’s certainly clear that filler has a huge impact on the cigar. (By itself, it’s really not too enjoyable.)
But as part of the Neanderthal eight-tobacco blend, the Pennsylvanian Double Ligero gives the cigar a unique club-to-the-head strength. It won’t be for everyone, and there isn’t much nuance to it, but if you like full-bodied, strong cigars (especially Cromagnon) you’ll want to give this a try. While at $12 (sold in cabinets of 50) it’s not cheap, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything else like it. That earns the Neanderthal a rating of four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Instagram