Camacho Ditka Signature
So, you guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
Since 2012, Camacho Cigars has teamed up with NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka to produce a line of cigars bearing his name. One of those lines, the Ditka Signature, was introduced in 2014. The cigar features a Honduran Criollo wrapper, but differs from Camacho’s core line Criollo by utilizing a different blend, which includes a Nicaraguan grown Corojo binder. The Ditka Signature comes in five sizes – Robusto 5 x 50, Toro 6 x 50, Churchill 7 x 48, Figurado 6 1/8 x 42 x 54, and Gordo 6 x 60 – with prices running from $8 to $10 per cigar, in boxes of 20.
Wrapper: Honduran Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: Toro 6 x50
Smoking time: One hour, forty minutes
Pairing: Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale (ABV 9.6%)
The Camacho Ditka Signature comes draped in a medium brown wrapper, mottled throughout with darker spots, a number of fine veins, and a lightly oily sheen and feel. The nearly seamless roll is a bit spongy with a few firmer areas. The band of the Ditka Signature features a dark metallic blue (though it appears nearly black in lower light situations) on silver color scheme as a nod to his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys, with Ditka’s signature appearing in white. I kind of wish they had used a lighter blue, but hey, it’s just a band. All in all, it makes for a pretty handsome presentation, and thankfully, eschews the gigantic bands of many other Camacho cigars.
The scent off of the wrapper evokes tart, earthy barnyard, and spice, while the foot adds nice rich tobacco to the mix.
After an easy and shallow snip of the cap, an airy draw shows sweet cedar and spices.
The first few puffs of the Camacho Ditka Signature don’t give up a whole lot of smoke volume, but a quick hit with my trusty $2.70 Chinese-made torch gets it up and running, pumping out a nice amount of sweet cedar and cooking spice laden smoke. Those flavors are backed up by natural tobacco, light earth, and a moderate amount of pepper. The retrohale emphasizes both the earthiness and pepper. By the ¾” mark, the sweetness has backed off some, and the tobacco, wood, and earth have all deepened. The burn, meanwhile, has been trailing on one side and I have opted to give it a correction. Despite the touch-up, the light and medium gray ash holds on for over an inch, as the sweet woodiness moves back to the forefront. By the end of the first third, the pepper has taken a huge step back and the texture of the smoke has smoothed out considerably, with the body at low/medium and little nicotine felt.
The Camacho Ditka Signature rolls into its 2nd third with a slight uptick in intensity and pepper bite, with all of the other elements maintaining their places. The sweetness ebbs and flows, at times turning powdery, and near the end of this section, a bit of astringency creeps in. At this point, the cigar has hit the solid medium mark, with just a slight amount of nicotine strength.
The last third of the Camacho Ditka Signature continues to present the same flavor profile, but in a more ramped up package. That’s not a bad thing at all, as those flavors have been enjoyable. It remains consistent down to the end, smoking cool and firm to the nub, winding up at just north of medium and at low/medium strength.
The Camacho Ditka Signature is not the most complex smoke around, but that’s not a knock on it, since the flavors were well defined and well coordinated. The construction was great, and while it required a few touch-ups along the way, none of them were major and actually resulted in an uplifting of flavor. As an aside, the burn properties may have been affected by my humidor conditions, as the changing weather around here seems to be playing tricks on it. All in all, this is a solid cigar bearing a reasonable price tag, and is worthy of picking up a handful to keep around for a relaxing smoke.
Tony and I are both big fans of Lagunitas, as this brewery puts out a terrific variety of beers. The Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale is an American strong ale that features sweet maltiness, some smokiness, and pruney dried fruit in a medium mouthfeel and firm balancing bitterness. These characteristics all played very well with the Camacho Ditka Signature, complementing the existent flavors of the cigar, while adding great balancing flavors. The Ditka Signature, however, is a cigar that can hold its own with a number of beverages, such as a dark Belgian ale or nice sweet Imperial IPA, Highland single malt Scotch, smooth bourbon, or a fruity aged rum.