Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$6 each
More info about purchasing Ambos Mundos cigars...
This is a cigar that I came across immediately following the release of Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list of 2009. Naturally, being the obsessive-compulsive BOTL that I am, as soon as the list was published I immediately went to my local tobacconist to search out the 22 cigars on the list which are available in the U.S. My long trek through the top 25 list spanned several months, two states, and at least a half-dozen shops (and I still haven’t smoked the Opus X). Some of the cigars I smoked, of which reviews are forthcoming, were positively superb (the Padron 45th, the Casa Magna Solomon, and the Padilla 1932, to name a few), some not so much, some pretty good but simply not worth the hype, or the price tag, or both; but the broke college student in me holds in highest esteem those smokes that can consistently put a smile on my face for less than 12 dollars. The cigar that I’ll be reviewing today does just that, and for a mere 6 dollar price tag and about 70 minutes smoke time, you simply can’t go wrong.
The first few puffs give off a plethora of spicy flavors with a note of sweet cedar lurking in the background. The cigar evolves into a dry wood flavor, as the spice mellows and a substantial sweetness builds. Around the half-way point the cigar really opens up, offering hints of vanilla and cocoa with a finish of nougat and damp wood. The only downside in the flavor department is that when this cigar was blended and manufactured, Pete Johnson was trying to blend a Tatuaje at an everyday price, utilizing B and C grade tobaccos, in contrast to the A grade tobaccos used for the Tatuaje lines (with the exception of the series P) and it shows. The Ambos Mundos is a rougher cigar, both aesthetically and in flavor. The creamy feeling of the smoke from a Havana VI rolling from your mouth is missing from this cigar. I would recommend a year or two in the humidor for anyone who plans to smoke this cigar in earnest.
The burn is imperfect. Not terrible, but consistently wavy and somewhat jagged. The constant jagged edges led me to puff and position my cigar in certain ways as to alleviate the burn issue, which led to flaky lines of ash hanging above the burn line. Aside from this minor cosmetic issue, the ash was beautiful and solid white, building to be no less than 2 inches at a time before falling.
The cold draw showed no resistance when taking a regular puff, but there was a tug if you pulled with all your lung-capacity. I found this very advantageous because it functioned as a built-in feature which made sure I didn’t take an overzealous draw. The construction was excellent. No soft spots. Some ugly veins were prominent on the wrapper but throughout the smoke the cigar held its shape and stayed firm.
Boxes of 25 consistently run under 120 bucks. Singles run between 5 and 6.5 bucks depending where you go. This cigar is right there on the mid-high range of everyday smokes, and in that context, this cigar is a home run.
I hesitate to give this stick a 4.5 rating. Instinctually, between the rough notes in the flavor, the large veins on the wrapper, the imperfect burn, and the cosmetic ash issues which it creates, it just doesn’t seem like a 4.5… But between the excellent price tag, the perfect draw and construction, the complex, pleasant flavors and the fact that all of the issues that I mentioned are cosmetic and largely insubstantial, I have to say that ultimately the cigar really is that good…It might not excite you to pull this stick out of your humi and fire it up, as the Casa Magna might (for a similar price tag) but it gets the job done and it does a damn fine job at that.