Adrian’s CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger
Getting right back on it this week I am bringing you a review of Adrian’s CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger.
This cigar is one stirring up lots of talk on the twitter boards as of late, as it is the brain child of one of the #CGARClan’s very own Skip Martin, in combination with Mike over at Adrian’s Cigar. Everyone pretty much within the twitter cigar community knows of both of these guys, and thier superior knowledge in all things tobacco related. Knowing this, combined with Skip’s distinct full bodied blends of choice, i knew we were in for a nice little treat way before hearing any type of reviews.
The Good Stuff: The CroMagnon line, from what I know, isn’t fully available yet. And when it is, I believe the only place to get it will be direction from @CroMagnonCigar, or from the Hava Cigar Shop (which is an online store that Skip runs ever since the hurricane blasted through his B&M). I picked up the first run sampler pack from Skip a few weeks ago that he calls the “Taxonomy”, and really enjoyed smoking through the entire line. Skip made mention that the first sampler packs were intended for his disposal, but he was so happy with the blend that he couldn’t wait to get these cigars in the hands of BOTL and SOTL everywhere. The entire selection will have nice “Cro Magnon” themed names and will come in five sizes: The Knuckle Dragger (4 x 52), the Anthroplogy (5.74 x 46), the Mandible (5 x 60 at first release but will be 4.5 x 60 going forward) , the EMH a.k.a the Early Modern Human (5 x 56), and the Cranium (6 x 54) and will run you around six to eight bucks a stick. Today, I decided to review the Knuckle Dragger. You can purchase any of the Cromagnon line direct for Havacigarshop.com.
Size: 4 x 52 – Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf – Binder: Cameroon – Filler: Nicaraguan – Body: Full
Prelight: The CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger is one ridiculously oily cigar. In fact, this has to be one of oiliest cigars I have ever hand. Just handling the cigar leaves a silky layer of oil on my fingertips. The CroMagnon sports a very hefty, thick, very dark almost bittersweet chocolate brown wrapper. There are patches of darker spots throughout the leaf that covers the body of the cigar. The construction is impeccable. The body of the cigar shows only very small, smooth veins leading up to a nice, rounded, double cap. It’s worth the note that some of the cigars I received in my sampler pack from Adrian’s actually had triple caps. This Knuckle dragger may have a partially covered up one. I’m not sure if they will be double, or triple, but hopefully Skip will read this and shed some light. The cigar is really firm to the touch, and the wrapper feels very durable.
The CroMagnon gives off a hell of a lot of pungent, sweet tobacco scent with hints of cedar and even a bit of bready dough scent coming from the foot of the cigar. The cap clipped very easily using my double bladed Palio cutter. The cold draw released by the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger starts off with just a wisp of pepper backed by a ton of sweet tobacco, and some mixed in earthy flavors.
First Smoke: The CroMagnon kicks out a ton of thick smoke, be ready for it! The first couple of draws surprised me with a nice little pepper punch that was nothing more than a memory after about 5 minutes of smoking. After the pepper faded out I was welcomed to a very sweet tobacco flavor with some very woodsy undertones. I can’t really place it, but it’s not cedar. Something more rich and deep with accents of dark chocolate. As I stated before the draw is very thick, and very easy, you may not want to hit this too many times each draw. The smoke produced is very thick, and very pungent. Although the CroMagnon doesn’t give off a lot of stationary smoke, the draw is enough to annoy the hell out of any non-smoker that may be sitting around you. The ash left behind from the perfectly even burline is a very tightly compacted white with light grey and held on for about an inch before giving way.
Halfway There: Probably due to the Cameroon, there is this very nice floral flavor being added to the flavor mix into the second third of the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger. Outside of the floral addition the flavors are still rocking hard with the woodsy and chocolate flavors. There is also a little bit of slight fruit mixed in. This cigar really packs the flavor. The burnline is still dead-on and I’m really not feeling too much strength off this cigar. Sure there is some there, but after so many people made such a big deal about the power this cigar pushes through, I have yet to see it. This also goes along with something I have touched on before. Not all cigars effect everyone the same when it comes to the body of the blend. There has been some more medium cigars that I thought were ass-kicking and just as well there has been some stronger cigars that I thought were less than impressive in the strength category. Cigar smoking is purely subjective from any angle you look at it. I’m just simply stating my personal opinions.
Finish: The CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger, and every vitola I have smoked, has really taken a long time to get through. These things burn incredibly slow, which usually leads to harshness into the final third. Surprisingly enough the cigar has actually mellowed out a bit into the final third. The flavors are still holding true, but the cigar has gotten much easier to smoke. The dominant flavors are the woodsy and tobacco flavors backed up by soft hints of chocolate, some coffee hints, and even notes of the pepper making a brief re-appearance. The body is still there as well, but it really isn’t anything concerning. All in all the small stature of the Knuckle Dragger took a little over an hour to smoke.
Overview: One thing I liked about this cigar was the marketing. It was a nice little “CroMagnon” theme and each of the names for the vitolas matched up. Along with the theme Skip and Adrian’s took a very social media heavy approach to getting the word out focusing strongly as Twitter. But, they didn’t hype this cigar up at all. Instead, they let the community know it was out there, gave them the first peeks, and then let Twitter speak for the cigar itself. From what I have gathered, the outcome has been very positive. It’s not about how much you can hype up your blend, its how well the cigar community views it. They will tell you if it’s worth your hard work, and in this case they have. I for one, really enjoyed this cigar. I would have been one of the first people to tell you otherwise too. I know Skip well, and he’s the type that wouldn’t let anything less than stellar hit the market and it shows. The CroMagnon is a perfect full-body, full-flavor cigar that won’t knock you on your ass. At least it didn’t for me. Would I purchase it again, oh I will. Is it box worthy? For sure.
Pairing: I decided to pair this CroMagnon with an all time favorite, and my all time go-to beer New Belgium’s 1554. 1554 is a traditional Brussel’s style black ale brewed by the New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado with an ABV% of 5.6. I smoked a bunch of these CroMagnon’s and each time I kept thinking to myself how awesome they would go with some 1554. The tart fruity flavors, with the chocolate malt and caramel undertones really married up to the similar flavors I pulled out of this CroMagnon. This cigar would also pair great with just about any stout, some black coffee, sweet tea, and even your favorite port.