You see them almost everywhere these days; house branded/blended cigars. From your mega online retailers, to your Mom n Pop B&Ms, they are everywhere. I, like probably most of you, are always on the look out for that “diamond in the rough” house brand cigar. A cigar that doesn’t cost a whole lot, but delivers in flavor. A month or so ago, I was on twitter discussing the subject of diamond in the rough cigars, when Jackie from Bonita Smoke Shop mentioned to me about their house brands (The Time Warp & 18th Anniversary) and graciously offered me some samples to try & to review. I was very appreciative of thier offer and accepted it. I have smoked a both of them and am going to give you my thoughts on the Time Warp now and the 18th later on.
Wrapper: Certified Vintage Natural Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan & Dominican
Source: Samples from Bonita Smoke Shop
Cost: $6.95/ea – $31.30/5pk – $118.15/bundle of 20 – $278/Cuban Wheel of 50
Jackie from Bonita Smoke Shop has been working on this blend with Willy Herrera of El Titan de Bronze boutique cigar factory on Calle Ocho, Little Havana, Miami, FL for quite some time. She didn’t want to put out the cigar till she was very pleased with the flavor profile that she had dreamed of. So, lets take a closer look into Jackie’s dream.
First Looks: A very neatly applied double cap tops the light brown aged maduro wrapper. Now, when you think maduro, you think dark. But this is possibly the lightest maduro wrappers I’ve ever seen. There are a few veins in the wrapper, some larger than others (but they will all burn). A slightly spongy feel to the cigar, but there are no hard or soft spots the entire length of it. The wrapper has an aroma of wet straw and the foot of hay. The foot reminds me of a barn; but not the barnyard (poo) we always hear people talking about.
Construction: A very tight white/off-white & gray ash comes out about an inch or more from the easily toasted foot. The burn on this cigar was pretty great considering I was smoking it during a rain storm under my carport. I figured I would have a good bit more touch-ups than what I did considering the ambient humidity outside. But, I only had one touch-up; and it could have corrected itself eventually had I gave it some time. About half way in, the ash got a little flaky, but no concerns. The draw stayed consistent with a little resistance, but not a tight “milkshake” draw.
Flavor: Right out the gate, I got nice creamy notes of wood and toast. Nice medium to full flavors! Once I got into it more, I got hints of roasted peanuts here & there. Around the half way point, some notes of cinnamon type of spice crept up on my tongue. Its not a kick in the pants spice, but deffinately noticable. About 3/4 way into it, a creamy caramel tones take over and the toast and cinnamon take a step aside as undertones. It is very woody on the retrohale. I don’t retrohale but a few times during most cigars. But this smoke was smooth enough, I caught myself doing it numerous times throughout the cigar. It never got bitter, nor hot which was a good sign to me. It ended with great notes of toasted bread again. Sometimes I have trouble getting the toast notes in cigars, but this really stood out for me in the Time Warp. Also, I notied when I walked away from it and came back it had a very pleasant room note to it as well.
Overall: If someone asked me what the Time warp is similar to, I would say along the lines of a La Aroma de Cuba EE. But, its alot more smoother and possibly a tab bit milder bodied. Don’t let me get you to think they are the same, they are definitely not the same! Just similar. Its got full flavors of creamy notes of wood, toast, and caramel, with a slight cinnamon spice to it, which I really enjoyed.
Final Thoughts: I have had quite a few house blend cigars where the shop owners put their fingers in the blending and some turn out well. And there are some house blends that it seems they slap a band on a cheap bundle or 2nd cigar and call it “theirs”. The Time Warp is one of those cigars that shows the time, passion, and dedication it took to make a good cigar. Overall I was pretty impressed with this cigar! Its not too powerful, but has awesome flavors.
The Time Warp is not your typical house blend cigar!