Selected Tobacco Bandolero Bravo
Happy Easter! I hope you all had a fun and great one. Jeremy was actually in town and despite still finishing off the flu (which explains my slacker-ness as of late), I got to get together with him and his family, enjoy a few drinks, and smoke a few cigars. Now that I am just about over all that mess I found time to relax, and review a cigar from the Ultra-Premium cigar world, Selected Tobacco’s Bandolero Bravo.
The Good Stuff:
Selected Tobacco has been around for a few years now but we have more recently been hearing the name thrown around as their U.S. Distributor (United Cigar Retailers) has announced that the tobacco restrains which once made their blends very limited has been overcome and the cigars would be much more widespread available. Selected Tobacco which is run by Nelson Alfonso has 3 unique blends under it’s belt, the Atabey, Byron, and Bandolero, all of which carry tightly kept secret blends. The only thing we do know is that the Bandolero and the Atabey are both made in Costa Rica. The Bandolero is offered in many sizes with the prices starting at $12 ranging into the upper $20/lower $30 range making it the more affordable offering out of the 3 Ultra-Premium brands under Selected Tobacco.
The Bandolero is sold is 3 different Packs as well as a gift set, all of which are said to be different blends. We’ll start with the Europe exclusives (Bandolero Pack I) which come in humidified canisters: Salvajes (4 x 50), Audaces (4 3/4 x 60), Osados (4 3/4 x 60), and the Sagaces (4 7/8 x 42).
Outside of the European exclusives we have Bandolero Pack II which also come in humidified canisters: Barbaros (4 3/8 x 70), Traviesos (5 x 50), Sorberios (5 1/2 x 50), Colosales (6 x 54).
Next is the Bandolero Pack II which also comes in humidified canisters: Tremendous (5 x 50), Picadors (5 1/2 x 50), Vanidosos (6 x 54), and the Pretenciosos (6 1/2 x 60).
Lastly, we have the Bandolero Premium pack which the format I am reviewing belongs too. The Premium pack carries 5 different formats, each packaged in their own humitube: The Magnificos (5 3/4 x 55), Bravos (5 1/4 x 52), Atrevidos (4 7/8 x 52), Ironicos (4 2/5 x 50), and the Intrepidos (4 x 50). It’s mind blowing how many different offerings the Bandolero comes in and I kindly thank Cigar Coop for all this information. Also, big thanks to Selected Tobacco for sending these samples are way.
Size: 5 1/4 x 52
Pairing: Deschutes Doppel Dinkel (Double Bock 10.5% ABV)
As I stated before this cigar comes from the Premium Pack which packages each cigar in their own humitube. Basically what this means is the cigar is packed into an aluminum tube with a clear window which showcases the cigar. While that’s common what you don’t normally see in your average tube is the bottom portion is actually a ventilated humidified chamber filled with a humidified sponge which will keep the cigar at optimum humidity levels for extended durations of time. It’s interesting to say the least and only adds to the “Ultra-Premiumness” of this cigar. Once removed from he tube the Bandolero’s foot is covered in a sheet of cedar with a “Selected Tobacco” band around it. Underneath this is a beautiful looking cigar. The wrapper is a consistent medium brown color with some lighter areas around the smaller veins which run through the body of the cigar, and some darker areas around the foot, and the natural webbing int he wrapper tobacco leaf. The Bandolero’s wrapper is very smooth and silky to the touch with a good amount of oils leading up to a stubby, round, triple cap. The cigar is very heavy, and very firm with absolutely no soft spots. The cigar is polished off with a double band. The first band is black in color with a red and gold “Tabacos Bandolero” crest on it while the second is mostly gold with red and black trim stating “Premium” across the front, just in case you didn’t already know that.
The wrapper on the Bandolero gives off some slight musk and grassiness while the foot of the cigar carries a lot of black pepper and natural tobacco aromas. The cap cut clean and easy using my double bladed Palio cutter. The cold draw produced a small amount of pepper, some oak, musk, and grain flavors.
The Bandolero starts off with a nice amount of cayenne pepper, and sweet spice. Once the pepper starts to fade there is some nice oakiness, brown sugar, raisin, and lots of natural tobacco flavors. It’s a great mixture and starts off with more body that I expected it to. The draw is absolutely flawless, each little puff kicks out a massive cloud of thick, white smoke while producing a very minimal amount of stationary smoke as the cigar rests in my ashtray. The burn line on the Bandolero is razor thin, and dead even leaving behind a trail of compacted dark gray/black ash which held on for a bit over and inch before giving way.
Into the second third of the Selected Tobacco Bandolero and the flavors are still holding up quite nicely. The raisin and brown sugar are the more dominant flavors in the mixed backed by the oak, spice, and still a good amount of pepper which oddly enough doesn’t dominate the other flavors, it adds quite a bit to the cigar’s character. The retrohale is very smooth coating my nasal passage with some deep oak and spice. The burn line is still flawless as I close out the second third and I am feeling nothing in terms of nicotine.
The flavors have remained pretty consistent in the Bandolero. The pepper is finally completely gone while the brown sugar is still in there it’s the oak that’s now front and center backed by the raisin, spice, and natural tobacco. There’s also some interesting pine notes starting to sneak in as I close out the cigar. I smoked this bad boy down to the very nub and experience absolutely no harshness at all, in fact, the cigar finished incredibly creamy and smooth. I never once had to reach for my lighter in the 1.5 hours it took to take this guy down and it left me feeling almost nothing in the nicotine department.
The Bandolero is definitely an interesting one. It’s hard to come into a market with new brands running upwards of $20 a stick, but they have to be doing something right cause I’m not the first one to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. All in all it’s a good cigar. Life changing? No, but it’s bold flavors and unique profile made me really enjoy the time I spent with it. I couldn’t quite find an exact price for these cigars, but in all honesty, leave out the cost for the humitube and I’d probably carry quite a few of these on hand for those nights when I am craving something a bit different.
The Doppel Dinkel is a collaboration beer brewed by Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon partnered with Distelhauser. This Double Bock comes in at a whopping 10.5% ABV and carried enough bold flavors to give the Bandolero a run for it’s money. The beer is actually a whole lot smoother than I imagined it being leading off with some soft sweetness, brown sugar and malt with a medium mouthfeel before finishing very crisp with a good amount of caramel, apple, and a splash of citrus. Despite the high ABV it’s relatively easy to drink and there isn’t a whole lot of booziness in there. The cigar would also pair wonderfully with a ruby port, some sweet bourbon, and a nice sweet stout.