Man O' War Ruination Belicoso Cigar Review
I have had a heck of a cold the last 2 weeks so pardon my absence. But I am back with a VERY long awaited review of the Man O’ War Ruination Cigar.
I hadn’t had the pleasure of smoking one of these until now. There is a huge push in the Man O’ War brand, not only from a retailer standpoint but by the cigar aficionados as well. So much hype and talk has gotten me pretty interested in this cigar. I was lucky enough to have a few sent to me by the awesome “Agent 24” at Cigar Spy. (Thanks Man!).
The Good Stuff: I was able to dig up quite a bit of information about the Man O’ War Ruintation. Man O’ War was developed by Abdel “AJ” Fernandez at Tabacalera Fernandez. AJ is a protégé of Don Alejandro Robaina, the man who is considered to be the “Godfather” of tobacco. AJ had spent most of his life under the practice Alejandro in Cuba before migrated to Nicaragua where he now resides creating some of the finest cigars out there. Aj is noted for creating Rocky Patel’s Fusion, Indian Tabac 10th Anniversary, Padilla Habano, and Sol Cubano Cuban Cabinet. But out of the list of fine cigars AJ considers the Man O’ War his finest piece of work.
The Man O’ War Ruination is constructed of Cuban-seed Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos. To add to the equation most of the tobacco leaves used to construct this cigar are Ligero leaves wrapped in Habano Ecuadorian tobacco leaves. The Ligero leaves are the strongest of all the tobacco leaves on a plant. They produce not only the most strength, but an incredibly spicy, bold taste as well.
Size: 5.7 x 56 – Wrapper: Habano Ecuadorian – Filler: Cuban-seed Honduran and Nicaraguan Ligero Flavor: Full
Prelight: The first thing that you notice about the Ruination is the dark, oily Ligero Wrapper. The wrapper is even darker then a lot of maduro wrapped cigars sitting in my humidor. The Ruination is a very heavy cigar. Probably the heaviest I have ever felt (I even did the: “wow, this is a heavy cigar. Sweetheart check this out”). Not to mention the tobacco is incredibly tightly packed in this bad boy. There were no signs of misconstruction and obviously no soft spots. I think I could probably throw this cigar through a window without harming it. The Ruination gives off a very grassy, musky smell before it is lit. The head of my cigar is oddly quite a bit darker than the foot. There were a few veins in the construction, but nothing that I forsee having any problems with.
First Smoke: This cigar took quite a while to light under my single flame colibri Torch. I’m starting to see a similar trend in any ligero based cigars. I clipped just a bit off of the torpedo shaped tip. The first tastes were that of a dark chocolate, mixed with leather, and hints of vanilla. This wasn’t a pleasant hot cocoa mix I’m used to. The tobacco and flavor mixture is incredibly harsh, and even a bit over-powering. Someone had asked how I was enjoying the cigar and I could only respond with “It’s definitely a Man’s cigar”. I couldn’t get too much of a draw off of the ruination so i increased the cut to almost double what I normally do. I’m assuming that the plugging was due to how tightly this cigar is packed. After the extra cut the draw increased and the Ruination produced huge clouds of VERY thick smoke. I can usually 3-hit each draw, but this guy was too powerful, no more than 2. After a few draws the flavors balanced out a bit more to a very peppery, spicy, chocolate, espresso laced taste. It is a very great tasting cigar when not overpowered by the strength. Oddly, I only got about 3/4 of an inch in before the ash gave way.
Halfway There: About halfway in the cigar got much easier to handle. I don’t know if my body was getting used to it, or if the Ruination itself had actually balanced itself out. The strength has definitely held its own and the flavor is holding up as well. It’s much more peppery at this point, and I can feel the slight tingle from the tobacco on my lips and tongue. My second ash lasted well over an inch. This was much more expected that the first. It must have been a fluke, or maybe the wind. The cigar is burning pretty evenly, but it has the tendency to try and extinguish itself. I remedied that but touching the cigar up every now and then, even if it was still burning even.
Finish: Near the end I cut just a tad more off of the head. The moisture from my mouth was causing the cigar to slightly plug up. Towards the end I no longer had any burn issues, but the strength of the cigar was starting to take its toll on me. I had become a bit light-headed, but I wasn’t going to raise any white flags until I’ve nubbed the Ruination. The pepper flavor stood its ground towards the end of the cigar, vanquishing any other flavors at this point. The Man O’ War Ruination took a little over 2 hours to smoke in it entirety.
Overview: First of all, I can’t even believe I was able to finish this cigar. The Ruination in no way is intended for the novice cigar smoker. This cigar is intended to knock your socks off and that’s exactly what it did. Would I try this again? I plan on it. Just not on an empty stomach. This is a perfect cigar to have on those days where you feel you have a chip on your shoulder and need to just forget about life in general and enjoy a relaxing smoke.