Crux Cigars Ninfamanic Dark Cigar Prerelease Review
Crux Cigar’s Ninfamaniac Dark is the next cigar on this week’s chopping block. Again, big thanks goes out to Crux Cigars and Logan Drake for sending these samples our way.
The Good Stuff: If you read yesterday’s review, this information may be a bit redundant. Feel free to skip through it and get to the meat of the review if you wish. If you didn’t read yesterday’s review, don’t forget to check it out as I took a look at the natural version of the Ninfamaniac. Crux Cigars is a new cigar Company owned by Joel Rogers and Jeff Haugen, owners of Tobacco Grove in Maple Grove Minnesota as well as Armored Humidor Systems. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will. Be sure to follow them on twitter, Facebook, and their website to receive the latest updates on their line as they are due to start hitting shops in the coming month. Anyhow, Crux is starting out with two, strangely named, strangely sized line releases. The Ninfamaniac, which will come in both natural and dark sports a rare ninfa vitola (7 x 33), while the Skeeterz carries a non-traditional size as well (4 x 32). While the sizes may seem a bit strange, especially with the smaller ring gauges, I welcome them with open arms. I’ve always been a fan of smaller ring gauges and really don’t like the industries lean toward larger ring gauged cigars lately. The Ninfamaniac, Skeeterz, and the future blends (Passport, Classic, and Bull & Bear) are all manufactured by Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua. The Ninfamaniac Dark will come only in the ninfa size, packaged in boxes of 30, and will run only $5.99 a stick. It carries a Nicaraguan Jalapa Sun Grown wrapper, an Indonesian binder, and viso fillers from Esteli. I’m a big fan of the box packaging. Included is the press release on the Ninfamaniac’s and the Skeeterz:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO VIXENS AND A LITTLE PRICK WANT TO MAKE YOUR ACQUAINTANCE.
April 4, 2014 (Maple Grove, MN) — More than two decades of successfully selling cigars at retail teaches a person a few things. Hype doesn’t sell. A bad smoke fails immediately (as it should). Excellent quality wins friends who tell more friends. A community grows. Life is good.
Meet Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers, co-owners of Crux Cigar Company, who have expanded beyond retail to production. In April 2014, Crux Cigar Company is releasing three different blends in two different vitolas after more than three years in development. Three more blends follow in May.
Get friendly with Ninfamaniac, Ninfamaniac Dark and the Skeeterz. Say good-bye to boring. The new best friends are hand-crafted at the Plasencia S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
“We look forward to our next chapter as manufacturers,” said Crux Cigars co-owner Jeff Haugen. “We believe our ‘front line’ retailer experience gives us a huge advantage. It provides incredible insight into building new cigars of the highest quality, developing cigars for underserved markets and servicing retail partners with the greatest respect.”
Crux Ninfamaniac — 7 x 33 ninfa double perfecto with closed ends. Habano Jalapa wrapper, Indonesian binder and Viso Esteli filler tobaccos.
Crux Ninfamaniac Dark — 7 x 33 ninfa double perfecto with closed ends. Jalapa sun grown wrapper, Indonesian binder and Viso Esteli filler tobaccos.
• Sold in boxes of 30 with a per stick price of $5.99
• First release production: 5,000 Ninfamanic Natural and 2,000 Ninfamanic Dark.
The Little Prick
Crux Skeeterz — 4 x 32 purito. Habano wrapper from Nicaragua, Indonesian binder and Nicaraguan habano filler tobaccos.
• Sold in boxes of 40 with a per stick price of $2.99
• First release production: 50,000 cigars
If all goes well I am aiming to have a review of the Ninfamaniac up yesterday, the Ninfamaniac Dark today and the Skeeterz on Wednesday.
Size: 7 x 33 Ninfa
Wrapper: Jalapa Nicaraguan Sungrown
Filler: Nicaraguan Viso
Pairing: Water. I only smoked one of the Ninfamaniac Dark and I didn’t want to muddy up the flavor profile.
Prelight: As previously stated, the Ninfa vitola isn’t one we see very often, but I wish we would. The Ninfamaniac Dark is a very dark, very thin, double tapered head cigar. It’s shaped a lot like crochet needles. The Ninfamaniac Dark’s wrapper is incredibly darker than the natural. The wrapper is as dark as brown gets with some almost black splotches scattered throughout. The wrapper feels a bit delicate, but is laid seamlessly thorough the entire body of the cigar. The tobacco leaf is a bit more toothy than the natural version. The Ninfamaniac Dark starts out with a very sharp, pointy, enclosed foot which leads you through a very long, very slender body up to an identical pointy, tapered, enclosed cap. The Ninfamaniac Dark sports and identical band to the natural side bearing the same little fairy vixen thing. The only different is the band is a shade of darker brown and it carries the word “DARK” printed next to the little nymph.
The wrapper on the Ninfamaniac dark gives off a sharp spice, sweetness, and tobacco aroma. Since the foot is closed the foot carries much of the same aromas. The cap cut like butter using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw was incredibly tight, again, due to the enclosed cap. I couldn’t pull any air through it, but I did get a nice spice from the wrapper on my lips.
First Smoke: The Ninfamaniac Dark started out with a nice pepper greeting which quickly faded into a very sharp spice. I also picked up lots of cedar, leather, molasses and some great sweetness that I didn’t quite get from the natural version of the cigar. The draw on this cigar was perfect right off the bat. Every little puff kicked out a nice cloud of thick white smoke. I figured the burn line would be a bit hairy due to the enclosed, tapered foot, but it started out razor sharp and burned like a champ. The ash is tightly compacted, but don’t let that fool you. It will fall off when you least expect it due to the small ring gauge. The first ash held on only for about a half of an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Into the second third of the Ninfamaniac Dark and the cigar is rocking hard. Seriously, this thing is a flavor bomb. I think that the Dark has the edge over the Natural when it comes to the amount of flavor it pumps out. The cigar leads with some strong spice, and strong cedar with a whole lot of sweetness. There is also some great dark chocolate, berry, and natural tobacco. The retrohale is awesome coating my nasal passage with lots of sharp cedar and spice. The burn line has been rock-solid through the second third and I am feeling absolutely nothing when it comes to nicotine.
Finish: Into the final third of the Ninfamaniac Dark and it’s still just killing it. I’d hate to over-hype a cigar, but damn this thing is good. The dark chocolate and berry have completely taken over the flavor profile while the spice, sweetness, and cedar are still all in the mix with some slight coffee aftertaste. Again, take your time while you are smoking this cigar. Since the ring gauge is so thin you can easily cause the cigar to burn to fast producing a lot of heat and harshness if you aren’t careful. It took me a little over an hour to take this one down and I enjoyed every second of it. I experienced absolutely no harshness and actually took this bad boy down until my fingers could no longer hold onto the nub without catching on fire.
Overview: The differences between the Ninfamaniac and the Ninfamaniac Dark are pretty evident. The Ninfamaniac had some great floral and citrus notes that the Dark did not have, while the Dark carries a lot of sweetness and berry that the natural version did not. Both carried a great amount of flavor, but the Dark took the trophy in that department too by having a bit of a bolder profile. If I had to choose between the two, I’d take the Dark in a heartbeat. But that doesn’t really eliminate the natural version. I just think the flavor profile matched more of what I personally look for in a cigar. Both of them are exceptional cigars with an absolutely unique experience in size, taste, and packaging. Plus, at $5.99 a stick you absolutely cannot go wrong. Pick a few of both of them up. Hell, pick a lot of both of them up.
As I stated in the notes, The same people who started Crux Cigars also started a company called Armored Humidor Systems. Basically, they make some damn good travel style humidors ranging from sporty 6 count, to the bulky 24 count. Their humidors come in different sizes, colors, prints, and shapes. Here is a quick excerpt from their site:
Armored Humidor Travel Humidor Systems are known for their durability. They are able to take such a beating that we call them “indestructible”. Toss it into your car, boat, golf bag, or backpack and don’t worry about the travel humidor or your cigars being destroyed.
The most unique characteristic of the Armored Humidor Travel Humidor is the protection of each cigar in it’s own individual compartment. The models differ in size and capacity, but they all utilize the full profile foam trays which hold the cigars. These trays are made of a soft foam designed in such a manner that no cigar touches another cigar. This method of protection provides your cigars the ultimate environment to assure freshness.
The folks at Crux actually sent over the samples packed in one of these humidors. Each compartment of the humidor has strong rubber padding surrounding each side which is something that I have never seen before adding a completely new layer of protection. The sport style I have also has a pressure release system which you don’t find on most of the smaller travel humidors on the market which makes flying much easier. Anywho, enough of that. Check them out yourself. I’m pretty sure their products speak for themselves.