When it comes to making a name for yourself in the premium cigar industry, image is important. However, image isn’t everything. In this industry, quality, taste, and the ability to leave a lasting good impression remain supreme. It’s rare for me to be disappointed with a cigar, or a manufacturer for that matter. Unfortunately, I have come to that crossroads of disappointed and hopeful.
Blue Mountain Cigars hails from Miami, and they manufacture their cigars at World Standard Factory in Esteli. A lot of great smokes come out of Esteli, and judging from their website, I was jaded by stunning visuals and delicious descriptions. This is where my high expectations came into play. As a wine connoisseur, however, my intuition kicked in by saying “typically the flashy stuff is crap”. Now, let me put my cynicism on hold for a moment to iterate that I give everything an honest and fair shot. I did have some good smokes out of this batch, but I really think this company can afford the honest constructive criticism. A product simply cannot improve if the manufacturer doesn’t know it’s not spectacular.
Upon contacting Blue Mountain Cigars, I was provided with a prompt response from Jacqueline Wright. It just so happens, that Jacqueline is the grand-daughter of famous Cuban cigar-master, Francisco Riquene. With that being said, I have no doubt that this company has the ability to grow into something special. But, just like everything young, it only gets better with age. I must say, I received cigars from Blue Mountain faster than any other manufacturer, but they arrived un-humidified and dry. Even though they arrived dry, it was nothing a couple weeks in “humidor intensive care” couldn’t fix. Currently, there is no option to purchase these smokes directly on the site, but they do provide a plethora of avenues in which to contact them. Thanks Jacqueline for providing me the opportunity to review your product, and I hope you take the things I say to heart in an effort to improve what has the potential to be great.
As we move into the review portion of this story, I encourage our fellow readers to take a moment to look at the entire line of Blue Mountain Cigars by clicking here. You will notice that their niche is the utilization of multiple wrappers on select sticks. Several companies do this, and few do it well. However, Blue Mountain pulls this off with flying colors. It’s hard to create straight lines and maintain quality when this is being attempted, but there are few flaws when Blue Mountain does this. The smokes are visually appealing, as they attract attention from your fellow smokers. Several times, fellow aficionados would comment on the stunning and flashy looks of the Blue Mountain line. What’s troubling, however, is the experience. On to the good stuff.
MSRP on the following sticks is not listed, as that info was not provided to me. However, from what I understand, they vary in price from $5 - $8.
Barber Pole Robusto (no pic)
5 x 50 Rating: 7.9 / 10
Unfortunately, I was unable to provide a photo of this smoke due to the environment in which it was enjoyed. So, I will let my words take the wheel. This multi-wrapper stick employs a combination of Connecticut and Habano wrappers, rolled into a traditional “barber pole” fashion. The veins in the wrappers were quite large, and even caused discomfort on the lips. In the middle, this stick was soft, causing worry in the burn department. The draw on this smoke, however, was fantastic. It produced rich plumes of smoke that hinted at flavors of toasted almonds, walnuts, coffee, and peat moss. Surprisingly, the burn was slower than expected, but several touch-ups were needed. “Not bad, but not good” was really all I could say about this stick.
Blue Mountain Rum Dip Robusto
5 x 50 Rating: 9.1 / 10
Torn, I’m not sure whether to classify this stick as a flavored cigar or not. Both the head and foot are dipped in 5 year old Jamaican rum, and then sun dried. It’s a really good looking cigar, with thin veins, and a soft oily Habano wrapper. You can’t really taste the rum, except for in the pre-lit draw. BMC seems to do the robusto vitola well, as the draw is also perfect on this smoke. Billowing smoke provides a light-medium body, but excessively dries the mouth. An even burn, and a strong ash reassure you that the construction on this smoke is good. Although lacking in complexity, this stick is fun to smoke as the rum finally comes out at the end. This stick makes a good dessert smoke.
Blue Mountain Shaggy Maduro Toro
6 x 54 Rating: 7.6 / 10
In the past, I have had some really dark cigars. But, there is no other stick out there darker than this, in my opinion. Most maduros are quite oily, but this stick seemed dry to the touch. The veins were small, but the construction was quite soft, and the cap was sloppily placed. You simply can’t believe the “barnyard” aroma that radiates from this thing, as it screams with manure. Surprisingly, however, the wrapper is quite creamy on the lips, and it leaves a salty residue. The pre-lit draw contains hints of dark chocolate, saltwater taffy, and walnut. When lit, however, this smoke brings flavors of an antique store, hay, and more manure. As this smoke becomes spongy, it begins to fall apart, causing me to quit at the halfway point.
Blue Mountain El Macho
5 x 58 Rating: 8.9 / 10
Aesthetically, this smoke is downright cool. The shaggy-twisted cap is quite cool, and it employs Connecticut wrappers at both the head and foot. The aroma that radiates from this stick is similar to autumn, and the construction is artful. Pre-light, I got hints of butter, citrus, and a strong, ligero induced spice on the lips. However, lit, this stick tells a different story. The power simply sneaks up on you, but it strays away from spiciness. Coffee, walnut, floral notes, and peat accompany an extremely slow burn. But, just as I am feeling satisfied with this stick, it explodes, comes unraveled, and simply cannot stay lit. Bummer.
Blue Mountain Anniversary? Robusto
5 x 50 Rating: 6.9 / 10
You may be wondering why there is a question mark after “Anniversary”. This is because this stick came to me un-banded, although the site shows this as a premium stick with a band. Simply put, this was one of many things wrong with this smoke. I never thought I would describe a cigar as “chalky”, but everything from the aroma to the pre-light draw was just that. When lit, this stick was pungent, and delivered a wallop of ammonia. Eventually, it mellowed out into hints of charcoal, nuts, and sour milk. Yea… Not exactly the flavors I look for in a premium smoke. Halfway, however, this stick tames out with flavors of earth, bitter leather, and oregano. All I can say is, “back to the blending lab”.
So, with all of this constructive criticism, I expect to see an improvement. Cigar production is a lifestyle, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to just quit. I would be willing to bet a jar of nickels that many of today’s cigar manufacturers started off with some questionable smokes. With that being said, I would encourage you (as the reader) to at least give these a shot. That doesn’t mean that I feel that you should go out of your way to obtain one of these sticks. But, if one is readily available, spark it up and tell me I am just a cynical ass. Til next time… Thanks for reading, and for joining me on my adventure.