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Core Zero Indie robusto

Hey Punch! How about we share a stogie while the weather is pleasant, this fine post-Thanksgiving Saturday morning?

Punch: Yes, in fact, let’s review one? How about the CZ Core Zero Indie?

CZ Core Zero Indie robusto cigar

D: That will be swell, brother Punch. This is another find from the 2013 Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival. A natural, non-oily wrapper with a single prominent vein, but the capillary network is more visible than in most cigars, in my experience. Sturdy construction, a single hard bump in the leaf near the foot. Mine seems a little on the crispy side; it has been stored in a humidified tupper-door, but it may not be enough. Or, maybe its just a brittle stick. My wrapper has already split, just from my handling it.

P: I’m not finding much definitive information on this cigar, such as a press release or mention by Cigar Coop or Halfwheel. Cigar inspector tells that the wrapper is Sumatran, the filler is Nicaraguan and Honduran, and the binder is Honduran.

I’m getting walnut on the dry draw.

D: I’m not getting anything substantial on the dry-draw. Maybe a little hay… I’m going to call “earthy” on this one.

P: Wow. This produces massive amounts of smoke on the draw. It has a nice start that is very endearing to me: a mellow attack with a finish of mild creamy sweetness and black pepper.

D: Yes, on the smoke production. My attack is a little more edgy, maybe “tart-sweet”, with a mild middle and creamy finish. There’s a touch of …some other pepper besides black pepper – the jury is still out.

P: At a half-inch in the attack has become quite sweet, and the pepper finish is stronger. Yeah, I’m likin’ on this one. The story on this stick comes from its namesake Colorado metal band. Members Bryan Butler and Nick Angotti were inspired by Jonathan Drew and Matt Booth to create their own cigar line. Currently, there are two varieties available: this one, and a maduro called “Metal”. You can learn more on their Web site at

D: The band Core Zero also has a nice write up at ReverbNation. To my taste-buds, this is all tart-sweet whang and cream-pepper finish. It’s not objectionable, but its not all that impressive either. As I approach and burn into the middle, there’s more of a jalapeno picking up in the middle and the finish, and some baking spice lost somwhere in the middle. I’ll give credit to a nice, even burn, and good idle characteristics.

P: At the half-way point it is earthier and the sweetness has diminished. There is still some pepper on the finish, but it isn’t overpowering.

D: I’m willing to accept I’m the outsider on this stick; reviews around the Net seem fairly positive. The Katman, Nate Martin at Cigar Federation, even Cigar Inspector. Emmett Malone’s “Blind Man’s Puff” reviewers share some detracting components which seem consistent with my experience today.

P: With two fingers to go the flavor is noticably stronger, as expected, but it is starting to reveal some harshness all around, some cedar is creeping in and the smoke is getting pretty warm. I don’t have a strong motivation to go a lot further with this.

D: That’s funny. At the same place, I’m actually getting MORE flavor! Behind a green-chile overlay, there’s a more definitive sweetness, more distinctive spices. But its very easy to scorch the flavor at this point with too rapid or strong of draws.

I have to give props to Core Zero’s commitment to law enforcement and military/emergency service personnel. They offer a discount purchase program: just contact them with your service credentials.

Burn it or Spurn it?

D: I’m at Meh. Physically, it appears to be a nice cigar with great smoke, even burning, and consistent middle-of-the road draw. It even idled well, but my thin, dry wrapper split repeatedly. Flavor-wise, what I tasted didn’t drive me off, but doesn’t bring me back. I would have mulched this were I not reviewing it. And yet, others including my keen brother seemed to find it favorable, so I’m willing to give it another shot. Even so, its probably not one I would seek out, but would accept it if offered.

P: Burn, burn it all. This is a rare occurrence, that we are on such different sides of the fence on an evaluation. I would say this indicates that CZ has some consistency issues. But, we received these Core Zero Indie cigars at the same event – most likely from the same production run – so that seems unlikely. It is more likely that he is just a doofus and has no idea what he is tasting! 🙂 At any rate, I found this to deliver many of the things I look for in a cigar: good construction and draw, great smoke production, creamy sweetness and moderate complexity, some pepper for balance, and no overpowering nicotine kick. I don’t recommend nubbing it, but I’m still putting the Core Zero Indie on my future purchase list, and at $5, I recommend that you do, too.

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