Origin : Honduras
Format : Perfecto
Size : 5 5/8″ x 46
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler : Nicaraguan and Honduran
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : $9 each
More info about purchasing Cruzado cigars...
The Cruzado is brought to us by the same people who make the Illusione line of cigars. I previously reviewed the Cruzado Elitas which I found to be an amazing smoke. In that review I laid out all the details of the Cruzado line so rather than repeat all that in this review, just click here if you're interested in those details. Today I am smoking the Marelas. The Marelas is a perfecto and a skinny one at that. I mentioned before one of the things about the Cruzados is that not a single stick in the entire line tops a 48 ring size and that includes this perfecto, which at its thickest is just a 46 ring. I am partial to the thinner ring gauges. In my opinion the 42-48 range for ring size is an ideal size for a cigar allowing for the best balance of flavors between wrapper and blend.
After having such a great experience with the Elitas I smoked a few more of them and each was equally impressive, so when I lit the Marelas I was a little surprised. Two things account for this. The first was an initial blast of metallic bitterness on the first few puffs. The second was that this cigar seems a bit milder in strength and body. Thankfully the metallic taste went away quickly. It was replaced by earth and leather. The aroma is rich and earthy as well. It has a delicious sweet finish. Once I worked past the bulge near the foot, the flavors became rich and creamy, full of sweet spice and a hint of pepper. This was the best that it would get though. Unfortunately it became a bit bitter again. The bitterness kept coming and going in between pleasant notes of earth and leather and this continued all the way until the end of the smoke. I’m not sure what happened here. Although the size and shape of a cigar can effect the flavors of a blend, I was expecting this to be at least similar to the Elitas but it was not. It showed promise when the bitterness was absent, but because of it I didn’t enjoy this vitola nearly as much as the Elitas. My hope is this was a fluke, and I’ll give the Marelas another try. If my experience is any different I’ll report back on it.
Update : June 19 2009
My first experience with the Marelas was a little disappointing. However, I decided to hold off giving the cigar a rating and planned to revisit it because I could see a lot of potential in it, plus all the other vitolas I have tried in the Cruzado line have been stellar, especially the Elitas. The first specimen I tried had an odd bitterness to it that tainted my experience. This time things were much different.
Right from the start this cigar was smooth and yet powerful, much more like the other Cruzados I have smoked. It started off with notes of spice and fruit. As I worked past the bulge of the perfecto it really started to pickup. Strong robust flavors of coffee and spice mingle with a rich tobacco flavors. It still wasn’t the power house I found the Elitas to be, but it was much fuller this time, its body on the full side of medium. As the cigar tapers down it gets spicier and with lots of chocolate and coffee. it never gets harsh though remaining smooth with a creamy finish that lingers nicely on the palette. This is more like what I was expecting the first time I smoked this cigar. An excellent smoke that I highly recommend.