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RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana

And now for something completely different. The Nubbit Brothers try to figure out the dunce cap of a cigar that is the RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana.

RoMa Craift La Campaña de Panamá Soberana cigar

Punch: This thing is uniquely shaped – like a cheerleader’s megaphone, only not so extreme. It tapers from a 70 ring gauge down to 44 over its 5‑inch length. It has a milk chocolate brown, toothy wrapper with small veins. The wrapper is folder over the foot, like the bottom of a fourth of July spark fountain.

Draw: Yeah. And it has two sets of double-lines of a natural light-colored leaf, like pin-stripes, around the foot. There is a very strong barnyard scent when warmed. We purchased these at Big Sticks Fine Cigars in Mesa, Arizona and have been holding on to them for 3‑½ months prior to this review

P: I have cut mine with a guillotine cutter. This is very peppery on the lips. Before lighting it has a nice medium-loose draw of tobacco and some plum.

D: I’m punching. The cold-draw is dusty (taste AND effect), with a slight sweetness, but not sugary – maybe floury – raisin bran, salty seaweed and earth. A moderate toasting before lighting reveals lots of meat-sweet – very hearty.

P: Lighting the foot-wrapper gives strong cinnamon. After burning through the wrapper covering the foot, the draw is like an empty straw. Burnt-pepper harsh attack upon lighting, torched it for a long time and finished up by drawing in a match flame.

D: Agreed, on the draw quality. The foot covering added a difficult-to-ascertain and track flavor, which is not necessarily pleasant and certainly not expected. And after the foot covering burns away the nice, medium draw becomes way loose.

P: Now that the other components are burning, on one of the sticks I sampled for this review, I tasted a nasty, harsh, burning plastic, followed by a roasted green pepper finish in the back of my throat. A few touch ups were needed to get an even start on the wrapper. After a quarter-inch, the harsh has settled and there is some sweet on the attack accompanied by some cinnamon.

The Spanish translation of “La Campaña de Panamá Soberana” is “Sovereign Panama Campaign” ( or “The campaign of Sovereign Panama” ( – and of course the implications of that should be obvious to all of us…

D: …Yes, that is crap! I thought it meant, “the Champagne of Panama is Sobering”, referring to a weak alcohol content.

P: According to RoMa Craft, “Panamá Soberana is the name if the Estelí neighborhood where we started. It is surrounded by churches. At night, the bells (or las campañas) create a tranquil, relaxing climate to sit back on the terrace and smoke.” Now, knowing that, the name has a nice ring to it. (Get it? “ring” — las campañas — I thought so.)

D: After a regular burn has been established, I’m getting green pepper as the primary flavor. There is some savory meat as an undertone pervasive throughout and into the aftertaste. I find that it is real work to smoke, trying to get a realistic draw when it seems so loose.

P: After a good three-quarter-inch it has settled down to something pleasant to smoke, medium to mild body, good complexity, slight sweetness on the draw and short finish. New leather, grass, vanilla, cinnamon – all mild and blended together – quite nice. The pepper has left, for now, and I concur with “meat”, too, now that you mention it.

D: A hard, fast draw tends to leave the wrapper behind; a slow draw is hard – because of the looseness – but it does reveal the most flavor. The sweetness I identify as wood pulp – paper – like a new paperback freshly opened. The first third smokes very slowly, given its girth.

P: Here at the second third of the La Campaña de Panamá Soberana I’m getting some smoky wood on the finish. The vanilla/cinnamon are gone leaving mostly leather and some fresh pencil shavings flavor. The first of the two I have smoked for this review had a very flaky ash – leaving an ashy snow all over my keyboard and table top. The second stick is not plagued with the ash fallout issue.

D: For me, the the green pepper is morphing somewhat into leather. Right now, its top grain and weak… still working into the second third. So far this stick reminds me of the Ventura Estilo Cubano with its strong green pepper, but this stick has a harshness to it despite a slightly milder flavor intensity, compared to a smooth, sweet pepper in the Ventura.

Despite wooliness of ash, I managed to keep the ash on the stick for more than an inch. Ha!

P: A bit of cedar is peeking in occasionally. The complexity has tapered (get it? “tapered”?) to woody leather.

D: Into the second third, it’s going much quicker. I’m getting mint with the leather and green pepper, with a hint of black pepper growing in the aftertaste, at the bottom of my tongue. Also, a little oil is becoming a flavor component as things are being focused. And apropos to nothing, mine went out suddenly, in the middle of middle.

After relighting and smoking some, near the end of second third, the draw is tightening up.

P: Now into the final third the intensity and complexity are up, as expected. I’m noticing burnt coffee and wood. The pepper has returned and lingers on the finish with the woodiness. Near the nub, cedar is coming forward with some occasional vanilla – becoming quite interesting. Incidentally, I’m now starting to slightly feel the strength.

D: Mine is becoming harder to keep lit. And I’m getting an itchy tongue. There is cedar and pine, old leather, and shrimp sometimes. There is also an evasive sweetness which conjures up Christmas cookies…no, rice crispy treats!…that would be marshmallow and butter. Now, orange, orange-creme. Yeah, the last third, now about two fingers, is really interesting. Frequent short purges keep the flavors from going mungy. This is a stick to nub! I’m seeing that the wrapper isn’t keeping up; the local temp is dropping rapidly now after sunset, and that may be part of it. Now, after a hot purge to bring the wrapper some cherry, I’m getting lavender….and pork steak. I’m feeling the strength, now, too. At one-inch I’m putting it down only because the heat; keeping it stoked enough to keep the wrapper going, the smoke is burning my lips. Not a great ending experience, but a great ending flavor.

Burn it or Spurn it?

Punch: It has been fun to figure out how to light this La Campaña de Panamá Soberana as there is hardly a convention for lighting such a large, covered foot with such a loose draw. It produced much medium density mouth smoke, and not so much foot smoke. The flavors from start to finish produced enough variation to keep things interesting; from a slightly rough start which moved into pepper and sweetness with cinnamon to vanilla, leather and pencil shavings, and finally burnt coffee and woodiness with hints of vanilla again. This was not a “set it and forget it” burn experience as I averaged four touch-ups per stick, so you will want to smoke this while doing something which will allow you to attend to it regularly. Personally, at face value I’m not sure the experience was worth the $14 we paid. But there can be other aspects of “value” which may still make it worth buying; such as the distinctiveness of the shape or the hand-crafted character. These would be great as a gift item or for a unique special experience with a friend when you can give it the necessary attention, or anytime just a plain old cigar shape won’t do.

Draw: To me this cigar is a novelty, and I like it! It is more work to smoke, or even light, than most cigars. Medium-strength, medium flavor. Overall flavor is slightly harsh, but not unpalatable. No great transitions and moderately simple flavor until the last third, particularly the nub where the real fun is. I am interested in knowing how it is constructed – if perhaps its conic shape is the result of wrapping different tobaccos in at different points? (Note: Since this review was first published we have learned the following from RoMa Craft: “The cigar is rolled Tobaquiado. Which is an old process that dates back to early figurados. The cigar is essentially a throwback to the way cigars were made, packaged and enjoyed…thus the price.”) No matter what, they all come together for a smorgasbord of flavor at the end. Party on, Panama!

Here are some other reviews of this cigar which you may find helpful:

The Cigar King

Cigar Federation

Halfwheel — pre-release

Halfwheel — full review

Cigar Coop

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