September 1, 2011

REVIEW: Surrogates Cigars Bone Crusher.

The news of Surrogates Cigars has finally hit the public! (cigarfeed press release here) Living in Columbus, Ohio, home of New Havana Cigars (who these cigars are made for), I was lucky enough to get the scoop and a couple samples of these a couple months ago. With that said, the "scoop" still contains a lot of mystery. Dan Welsh (owner of New Havana Cigars) is keeping a tight lip on where these cigars are coming from, what they are made of and who is making them.

Some history behind the Surrogates Concept.
Quote Dan Welsh: I was curious, given my business model, how much hype goes into our smoking and buying decisions. Although I am thoroughly an advocate of educating ourselves as to what we are smoking, eating or drinking - so as to develop our palate and make better decisions when choosing future things - I also think that when we try something new without the hype of a limited release, or a certain manufacturer or claims of aged tobacco or 100% ligero, etc., that we come across a more authentic tasting experience.   So, being that it is not limited - this seemed like a great opportunity to tell everyone 'try it and decide'.

So as you can see Dan has put some considerable amount of thought into this release, and why he wants to do it this way. Time to review the mystery cigar...

Vitola: Bone Crusher
Length: 5.25
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: ? broadleaf
Binder: ?
Filler: ?
Price: $7.50
Smoking Location: New Havana Cigars
Beverage: Water


Black band, dark wrapper and intimidating name. Those are the first three things that pop into my head when looking over my Surrogates Cigars Bone Crusher. On a lighter note, you know that candy that you can get at Halloween where each place is shaped like a different bone from a skeleton? For some reason the bone image on the band of this cigar takes my mind right to that. That's not scary right? The wrapper on my cigar was a very even, dark brown color with minimal veins. For broadleaf, it did not have that normal gnarly texture to it. The pre-lit aroma consisted of earthy sweet scents. The cap clipped clean and the cold draw was nice and free. The flavor on the cold draw was different and had a port wine element to it. I don't drink much port wine, but what I have had tasted similar to this.

First Third   
POP! goes the black pepper in your face. Wow. The first couple puffs on my Bone Crusher were like taking a pepper mill and grinding some fresh pepper corns on my tongue. Both the front and the finish of the stick was pure spice. This cigar wakes you up right away for sure. (Also, take note that during this part of the cigar, if you retro-hale you will have very watery eyes lol) I tend to get this strong pepper on a lot of cigars for about the first three puffs, but on this stick it lasted almost the entire first third. The pepper kept pouring in and I was digging it. At the end of the first third, the stick did seem to back off a bit with the spice and I started to pick up a few other flavors. The strength was in the medium to full range. The construction was top notch and the burn line very even.

Second Third  
Like I mentioned above, at the end of the first third and definitely into the second third, the flavors started to switch up. The front of the profile took on a very strong baking chocolate taste, but still with that black pepper kick mixing in. It was in interesting mix and was growing close to that hot chocolate ice cream I have mentioned in other reviews. The difference was this chocolate flavor was not very sweet and tasted much darker. The finish during this part of the cigar had a pretty much the same flavors as the front, but I have to mention how clean the finish left my mouth feeling. With a heavy strong cigar sometimes I get that "I'm going to taste this in the morning" thought. With this cigar, I could tell it wouldn't kill/dirty my taste buds after the smoking experience was over. One other thing worth mentioning in this part of the review was how, in the second third, the volume of smoke really picked up. My smoking partner and I were blowing huge clouds of smoke into his high-ceiling office. We joked that you could fill a car with smoke off of this stick in about 2 minutes. The strength was starting to pick up and I was starting to feel it more, but in no way was it overpowering.

Final Third and Final Thoughts 
Two main changes happened in the final third of my Surrogates Cigars Bone Crusher. First, the smoke that I mentioned above was still in great volume on the draw and in the air, but it now took on a buttery feel on my palate. I'm not saying it felt dry before, but in the final third it definitely had a lot more body to it. Second, on the finish of the cigar I started to taste some vegetable garden sweetness. I never saw this coming and it made for a interesting twist toward the end of the smoke. The front was still powering along with the baking chocolate and black pepper flavor. I guess I should have said that there were three main changes, not two, because I would be crazy if I didn't mention that during the final third of this cigar the strength really ramped up. I was still in my high nicotine comfort level, but I could feel my heart beat pick up.

My final thoughts on the Surrogates Cigars Bone Crusher.? In my opinion this is how bold, strong cigars can still be full-power, but have balance and great flavor. From the first few puffs that hit you right between the eyes with pepper, to the mellowing down in the second half and the evolution of flavor, I was happy from start to finish. I'm not really into guessing who makes this or where it's from because there are so many people out there making good cigars these days, it would be so hard to tell, but I will say that if it's not primarily, or even fully Nicaraguan, I'd be surprised.

Would I buy it again That's the great thing. My last three posts when I've gotten to this section of my review and said something like, "good luck these are all gone."  Well with Surrogates they will keep making them as long as we keep buying them. I will be picking up more.

Would I buy a box?  I like this cigar enough to buy a box.



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