Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Torpedo
Size : 6 x 52
Price : ?
In October 2010, I had the opportunity to visit the Plesencia factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. While there, I was fortunate enough to sample a very unusual cigar that was still in development. Named the Punisher, this stick took me by surprise. Its wrapper appeared to be infused with a chili-like substance that, upon placing in my mouth, created a warm sensation across my lips and tongue. This was something totally new in all of my cigar-smoking experience. But it was no gimmick. The Punisher smoked like a dream and had the richness and complexity of a truly great cigar. Today, the Punisher is in the final production stages and currently available as part of a Cigar.com sampler. All information about this cigar is closely guarded and its construction and resultant flavor is the result of a secret process. But the alchemy that is taking place at Plasencia’s factory is certainly working; as this cigar is exceptional is many ways. Having now smoked a number of the current Punisher iterations, I am pleased to report that lovers of strong cigars have a great new addition to their smoking rotation.
The original prototype of the Punisher was a hefty 6×58 yet the final production cigar ended up as a slender piramide. This bucks the current trend towards fat cigars and this change was simply the result of the manufacturers preference. As it turns out, the 6×52 torpedo shape fits comfortably in the hand. Being a piramide, the overall look and feel of the stick is slender as the 52mm diameter is measured at its widest point (the foot).
The Punisher wrapper has a toothy texture with a beautiful dark chocolate color and an oily sheen that is mouth watering. Its prominent veins may not win points for presentation but its rugged appearance is a foreshadowing of big flavor and full strength. This cigar looks like how it tastes.
Although not billed as a maduro, the Punisher certainly fits the profile. With a wrapper so dark, oily, and ripe, there is no other way it can be classified. The Punisher is a sumptuous cigar with flavors of chili, dark chocolate, raisons, and rich ligero that has been fermented to perfection. Its smoothness belies its strength, and the pre-lit spice serves as a warning: Newbies, beware! I smoked a number of Punishers at various times of the day and my morning foray was interesting. The ligero hit me early on and I had to ration the remaining cigar throughout to course of the day. But the cigar tasted so good, I just didn’t want to put it down. This is definitely a cigar to smoke later in the day and with a full stomach.
The concept of an infused wrapper might, on the surface, seem like a ploy to sell an inferior cigar. But in this case, it serves as an augmentation of a great cigar that would otherwise stand on its own. The creative minds at the Plasencia blending room (a joint venture with Cigars International) have taken the next logical step in the strong cigar evolution. By coupling the spicy element of Nicaraguan tobacco with the physical sensation of heat, they have made a cigar that when smoked, is a total sensual experience. Lovers of strong cigars and spicy food should truly enjoy the almost gluttonous experience of smoking the Punisher. It’s a very satisfying cigar, and with the addition of the “chili effect”, smoking the cigar is also a lot of fun.
Note: If I were to compare the Punisher to another cigar, I would say that it tastes like a turbo-charged Rocky Patel Edge. It’s also important to mention that the amount of chili-heat varied from cigar to cigar. Like a jalapeño, some Punishers were duds while others more intense. But at it’s strongest, the chili effect was never overpowering and its unpredictable nature was part of the fun. One last thing: the burn was uneven and required some touch-ups, but it didn’t diminish the enjoyment of smoking this cigar. I think this may be a side effect of the wrapper having been treated but that’s just conjecture on my part.