A few months ago I did a review of the Bonita Smoke Shop Time Warp and it hit me as a pretty good smoke for a “house blend cigar”. It was not your typical cheep $3 house blend cigar that’s basically a 2nd of another company or a cheep unbanded cigar from a large distributor/company. The 18th Anniversary s just like the Time Warp in the fact that a lot of time and patience was taken when this cigar came about.
Both the 18th and Time Warp were blended by Willie Herrera (now with Drew Estate) under the watchful eye of Jackie from Bonita Smoke Shop. Rolled using the entubar way at the ETB Cigars factory, in Little Havana, Miami, FL.
Size: 6×50 (Also available in a 6×60 “Grande”)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Wrapper
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Country: Miami, FL
A simplistic piece of paper with “Bonita’s 18th Anniversary Blend” on it takes the place for a band. The cigar itself is band-less and can have good or bad outcomes. Good being people not seeing a band will ask you what you are smoking. Bad, being you are smoking a band-less cigar think its a run of the mill “el cheepo” cigar. The fact of the matter is, its not an “el cheepo” and I would like to see a simple band on the cigar just for advertisings sake of this good smoke.
The cigar has a fairly smooth wrapper leaf with a veins and a slight tooth to it. The overall feel is pretty firm with no soft or hard spots. The wrapper has faint aromas of light and sweet tobacco. The foot has nice notes of stray and a minty like aroma to it. The mint reminds me of a light wintergreen aroma. The cap is a evenly applied triple cap which goes back to the Cuban heritage of the Level 9 rollers who roll the 18th. I like a cigar that has at least a double cap these days. It gives you an extra sense of security when it comes to cutting the cap. The prelight draw is a little on the thicker side and has a slight straw taste to it, along with an even lesser sweetness.
The triple cap helped when cutting the cap. I left most of the middle cap and all of the first applied cap. That helps keep the cigar from unrolling; even if you have to make a deeper cut on the cap.
The burn started off with a slight wave to it. It never got so far out of hand that I needed to touch it up; just had to pay it a little more attention. From this burn came ashes of gray and dirty off white that lasted a good bit over an inch. The draw stayed a bit on the thicker side of what I usually prefer. It wasn’t too thick to cause any alarm, but if you like a milkshake thick type of draw, it would be spot-on for your likings.
Starting off into the cigar, I get nice creamy and woody flavor that has a very very sweet undertone associated with it. Between the hints of sweetness comes a evenly matched black pepper note that is amplified during the retrohale. The amplification of the black pepper is not over the top and didn’t burn the nostrils like some black pepper retrohales do to me. The sweetness is also in the retrohale in a stronger version, yet not as much as the black pepper. Ending the first third, the smoke got a bit more creamier that it started out with. The pepper is the same strength, but it can be stronger if you take less time between draws. The sweetness is about the same in strength and compliments the creaminess that has arrived.
Coming into the middle portion of the cigar, the creaminess reminds me of a piece of buttered fresh white bread. Around the halfway, the buttered bread taste merged with the black pepper and made for an interesting combo. Although, the black pepper was slightly more in strength than before, but still not a pepper blast. Also, the woody noted from before came back into the flavor profile. After halfway point and ending the middle portion, the wood notes changed into more of a smoother leathery note.
Going into the last part of the cigar, the leathery flavor got a friend and its name was salt. I got hints of a salty characteristic that accompanied the leather. The black pepper is still in the mix, but in a faint form of its previous outing in the smoke. At the end of the cigar, I got a malty twangy flavor on the aftertaste that really threw me for a loop. It may have been from the end of the cigar and the heat taking its toll on the tobacco. Right at the very end, the black pepper ramped up in strength and got almost too much for me. But regardless, the whole cigar was pretty nice.
The room note of the smoke is fairly woody and almost like a charred oak aroma to it. It is pleasant to me, but could be a little overbearing for a non-smoker.
The Bonita 18th Anniversary is not your typical “house blend” cigar. It could be distributed by any large cigar company and could be well liked by many. I did like the flavors, yet I preferred the Time Warp over it. I can’t put my finger exactly on why, but I just do. I would recommend this cigar to somebody who likes a medium bodied and upper medium strength flavors of wood, leather and ample sweetness. Although, I would suggest the Time Warp over it seeing they are the same price. The $6.95 price tag is a great value for both lines from Bonita Smoke Shop. You get a quality, handmade in Miami cigar that has nice flavors and good smoke time for under $7…. you can’t go wrong.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from Jackie of Bonita Smoke Shop for this review. Many thanks to Jackie for the opportunity to review this cigar!