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Villiger NicaRoma Habano and Maduro toro

Today Punch and Draw sample two varieties of one of Villiger’s latest offerings – the NicaRoma.Villiger NicaRoma Maduro and Habano cigar w background

Punch: I’ve been working on installing a water filtration system today but delayed finishing it to help my son, who came home from college for the weekend, wanting help with his sound system in his car. We checked everything over and it looked fine. But then he saw in a post online about how there might be a loose wire in the subwoofer. So we went out, took the back off and sure enough, there’s the culprit. Needless to say, he’s got a thumping system now.

Draw: I’ve been cleaning off the front patio, and in today’s heat, that was really just an excuse to use the power-washer and play with the hose. I loaded up many things from the porch into my pickup that need to go up into storage. Isn’t it funny – there must be two kinds of people in the world. Those that set everything aside to relax on Labor Day weekend, and others who spend Labor Day weekend doing chores.

P: And here we sit, our evening, nay our holiday weekend, taken up providing a review of premium cigars with premium beverages. I guess that puts us in both groups?

D: Good point! So we’ve agreed to review the Villiger NicaRoma, which was provided by your friend Rob Kasperek from Villiger while we were at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival.

P: A la Ed McMahan, “that is correct, sir”. But there are three varieties in the NicaRoma lineup, and only two of us. How shall we determine which to review?

D: I’ve got it! …Rock, Paper, Scissors! We’ll smoke the odd-man-out together tomorrow, and follow this review with one for it!

P: Hmm, okay. So, which are we….?

D: Great, ready? One, two, three!!!

P: AAIGH…I’ve got Rock!?!

D: I’ve got Paper, baby! Booyah!!

P: I guess I’ll be smoking a NicaRoma Moduro.

D: And I’ll be having a NicaRoma Habano!

P: Tomorrow, then, we’ll review the Villiger NicaRoma Connecticut together.

D: My Habano is a nice looking stick. A few prominent veins near the head, but otherwise well wrapped with no real soft spots. Nice colorado claro, as expected. The scent is of straw, and some elephant pen. Note – always – this is not a complaint. It punched easily, almost loosely, and the draw is on the looser side of medium. My first impression of the dry draw was sea salt… sea foam: the taste of the smell of the sea. There’s also some fresh ground black pepper, and maybe lime, and tequila.

P: The construction of the Maduro is good, too, with a slight bump in the wrapper. We will see if it causes any problem. Punched and drawing: a nice medium draw on this baby. Not much flavor showing up, pre-light, except maybe some cocoa.

D: A light toasting revealed only marginally more tequila and pepper. It didn’t want to toast as much as burn, so I guess I’ll start flaming the foot!

P: Well, that lit nicely and puts out a modest amount of smoke.

D: I’m having lighter issues, so I put way more fuel on the tip than I’d like. I’m going to give it a few more puffs before I try to determine a flavor. I do note that the draw tightened up a little, and that it persists in smoking from both ends briefly after each draw.

P: This Mexican San Andreas maduro wrapper is amazingly mild-bodied – no spice/pepper, some coffee and a slight woodiness.

D: I’m getting the same fresh ground pepper and tequila as on the dry-draw, but the dominant flavor, in my opinion, is bay-leaf. This comes off as mildly tart on the attack, and then, well, bay-leafy during the middle and finish. I’m going to credit this to the Nicaraguan habano wrapper.

There’s a good volume of smoke to the mouth, but not quite as thick of smoke as others can be. It’s not harsh, but it’s also not smooth – a touch rough around the flavor edge. Hmmm…there’s also some sandalwood or lavender in the finish, but this is very very subtle, and I’m sure I could throw a hundred different names at it and someone else would still call it something else. I’m just about an inch in, and the ash is prickly-looking, but holding on nicely.

P: The burn on mine has gone wonky right out of the gate. It has a good half-inch differential on a slant. I’m touching it up now to see if its going to be an ongoing problem or just a fluke. A word of warning, there, Draw: with 40% Picadura cut-filler, the ash may not hold on as long as you’re expecting. Despite the touch-up, I’ll give credit, it’s a fast-burner.

D: Thanks, bro, that’s why I found it significant that it is “holding on nicely”, and it managed to hold on for about an inch until it dropped a fairly warm ash on my lap! It’s a soft, sooty ash, for what that’s worth. Also, I did just lick the cap back down.

P: At about an inch in I have detected some dark cherry. Awwh, this is tunneling something fierce; I have got a problem. Last night’s smoke did too. Maybe I dry boxed them too long. These I just took out this morning, and it was really muggy today so I thought that would be fine. But, it was probably drier in the house since we have the air conditioner running. I’m still trying to get that humidity management figured out.

D: For the record, mine seems to be burning fine. I moved my Villiger NicaRoma cigars from our RCMF transport bags into a temporary glad-lok humi, without adding any moisture. On the other hand, our local RH has been 70–80%. I see the wrapper burn on each toke, and I don’t feel significant heat anywhere closer.

P: I watched some of the Burning Man last night. They burned some other things, but the man burns tonight. They’ve got a new camera this year, and a new camera man. Last year, the camera could be controlled via UStream: you could pan and zoom on whatever caught your eye, plus they had some pre-set coordinates so if you wanted to view the temple you just had to type in the preset command, and the camera would show it at a predetermined zoom. This year, its pretty much a fixed camera, and no fun.

D: Well, I’ll still have to check it out. I stocked up on adult beverages this afternoon, as did most Americans. I bought a couple of Stone brewery products: a sixer of Levitation Ale, and a big bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale. I opened one of the Levitations this afternoon, and after one swig, poured it out. I don’t know what the flavor was – dill? pine? – but I did not enjoy it, and there was no convincing me otherwise. I’ll be gifting this now-fiver to a friend in town. I thought about opening the Arrogant Bastard for tonight’s review, but was worried it, too, might be over-the-top… so I settled on a Free State Oktoberfest, made right here in Kansas!

P: Here at a third in I’m noticing some sweetness on the attack and some pepper on the finish. Wow, and it just mysteriously went out. I can see it’s tunneling so I’m not going to blame it.

D: I hope not. Mine continues to burn well, coming back eventually after an idle. Its a fairly even burn, with the ash dropping in regular ¾ inch intervals. I was still having trouble with the cap slipping around on me and plugging my punch, so i’ve plucked it off. No other complaints so far. In the second third, the bay-leaf is mellowing somewhat, letting the tequila come in after the attack, bringing a touch of sweetness. The black pepper continues, too, as a very background note.

P: Overall, I’m not too jazzed with the flavor of this NicaRoma Maduro so far. At the halfway point, some citrus is appearing in the middle and cedar on the finish

D: I just took a pull from my Free State Oktoberfest. The cigar pretty much killed the beverage’s flavor profile in a not-so-flattering way. On the other hand, the beer only masked a little of the cigar’s pepper, and brought out the full flavor potential of the tequila note.

P: I see in the description for these Villiger NicaRoma cigars on Cigars International that they are made with 60% long-filler tobaccos, and 40% short-filler.

D: Moving into the last third, I’m still having cap issues – kinda. I think the shoulder has gotten wet, and now it slips from time to time over the hole. I’m still getting bay-leaf bitter on the attack, but the middle and finish is all tequila and I can no longer track pepper. At one point, just after the ash dropped, I pulled and the wrapper didn’t glow uniformly. I did a brief relight of the wrapper, and it has continued to burn without incident.

P: Here near the end of this maduro, the body has built a bit to medium, and the smoke is getting noticeably warm.

D: Okay, I’m back after a brief distraction. Here is wisdom: when you go to check a hose in the garden at night, and you take your cigar with you, it is very important to remember which end is the head, and which end is ash. Failure will reduce your enjoyment for several minutes. Trust me on this. I’d agree with your body-building assessment. At about an inch and a half to go, I was a little woozy when I got up to check the hose, and I notice a little nic-buzz on my lips.

I’ve made it down to one inch. Nice even burn, starting to get unavoidable physical heat. The flavor is still alright. I think I’m going to end on this positive note, and put it down.

Burn it or Spurn it

P: Hmmm… Overall this Villiger NicaRoma Maduro isn’t bad. It isn’t great, either, but it isn’t bad. It is a fair value for what is being positioned in the market as a budget smoke. The profile hasn’t changed much over the duration, and its strength has been quite mild compared to what I’d expect from a maduro wrapper. It is rather smooth, and is not a real smoker. For those who prefer – and are used to – milder cigars but would like to venture into a maduro flavor, this could be a nice addition to your rotation.

D: I’m sorry to hear your Maduro was giving you so much trouble, and that you’re not enjoying it so much. My Villiger NicaRoma Habano is certainly a likable smoke, and while I admit there may be other cigars out there that I’d rather smoke, this one was a lot of fun, and fun seems to be it’s theme given the bright colored, fun band. Grab a handful and head to the beach!

Redoux February 16, 2014

Draw: I’m finally enjoying my Villiger NicaRoma Maduro toro. My review of this cigar is very consistent with Punch’s remarks, even five-and-a-half months later. My maduro had burn issues: canoeing and penninsulas in the first third, and basically stopping cold before moving into the second third. A fast burner, nice smoke production, well constructed. Flavor was a hint of sweet on the attack and middle, and pepper on the finish. Mine was a little harsher than Punch suggested, but still not as strong in body or harsh in character as many maduros. I’d say mild-medium strength, medium-full flavor.

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