United Cigar Group KILO
Yes, I slacked it last week. It was my birthday weekend and I was coming off of a three day weekend full of drinks, food, and celebration. Back in the saddle this week bringing you a review of United Cigar Groups’ KILO paired with a few glasses of Bosque Brewing’s Scotia Scotch Ale.
Note: I want to lead off this review with a quick note. Barry Stein, the creator of the KILO is a friend of mine. Most of us know him well from his time writing for acigarsmoker, marketing at Miami Cigar, and working with Two Guys Smoke Shop/United Cigar Group/Cigar Authority. That being said, I know Barry well enough that he’d appreciate my full honesty in this review, good or bad. Hell, I think he’d get a kick out of it instead of being discouraged/defensive if it was bad. Either way, I thought I’d put it out there even though it shouldn’t need to be said. I promise this is a completely honest, unbiased review. That being said, let’s get on with it.
The Good Stuff:
This isn’t the first time the world has seen the KILO. Barry Stein created the blend a few years back working with La Aurora where it was to be distributed by Miami Cigar & Company. In 2013 Barry and La Aurora Master Blender Manual Inoa created the debut blend of the KILO which was distributed small scale to only a few retailers. In 2014 Barry left Miami Cigar Company but continued to work, and pressure his dream of releasing his own blend. Since then, Barry has taken the cigar and reblended it alongside Noel Rojas (owner of Guayacan Cigars) at the Tabacalera Aromas de Jalapa in Nicaragua. Barry has stated that Noel was one of the first friends he had made in Miami and had taught him much about tobacco and the blended processes. The new tweaked KILO features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo 2006 binder, and three different Ligero fillers from Rojas’ farms and those of Aganorsa. KILO comes in 2 sizes: Robusto (5 x 50), and Toro (6 x 52) which come packed in boxes of 18 and run run $9 and $10 per stick. You can get these now, directly from Two Guys Smoke Shop. Big thanks to Barry for providing us with a few samples for review.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo 2006
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero
Pairing: Bosque Brewing Scotia Scotch Ale (8.4% ABV Wee Heavy)
The KILO is an absolutely gorgeous cigar. It starts with this beautiful, natural looking wrapper which is medium brown with lots of darker areas around the natural webbing of the leaf as well as a few orange areas scattered throughout the cigar’s body. The wrapper carries a very toothy texture, some slight oil, and only a few larger veins. The wrapper feels very thick, tough, and rugged as it leads up to a beautiful round triple cap (props to Barry for the triple cap). The KILO is a heavy cigar and is packed very tightly with tobacco. There are absolutely no soft spots anywhere in the cigar, in fact, this whole thing feels like a could knock a softball over my fence with it. The KILO is polished off with a beautiful, elegant, black white and gold band with the word “KILO” embossed in gold metallic on the front, while carrying the United Cigar Group crest in the back.
The wrapper is pungent as all hell as it boasts of sweet spice, deep cedar, and musk while the foot of the cigar carries a whole mess of strong pepper, spice, and natural tobacco. I took a big whiff of the foot and it actually tingled my nostril for a bit. The cap on the KILO clipped clean and easily using my double bladed Palio cutter. Right away I picked up lots of cayenne pepper from the cold draw. So much that it actually left my lips and tongue tingling a bit. This isn’t a turn off either and it wasn’t putting a damper on the strong musk, cedar, and sweetness that was being released in the KILO’s cold draw.
The KILO leads off with a decent amount of cayenne pepper which I picked up during the cold draw, but it wasn’t nearly as potent as I thought it was going to be and quickly faded after the first few puffs to make room for a ton of deep cedar, sweetness, cinnamon and some oaky muskyness. The KILO starts off pretty bold and gets your attention right away. Despite being jam packed with tobacco the draw is absolutely flawless kicking out a ton of thick white smoke with each little puff while releasing only a slight amount of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burning is sharp, and a bit rigid, but that’s ok considering ligero is known for burning terribly. The ash is semi-compact, bright white and light gray which held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third and the flavors in the KILO are still rocking hard leading with the sweetness and deep cedar, backed by cinnamon, musk, and a great pecan flavor. Here in the Texas/New Mexico the area is rich in pecans. Because of this, they find their way into brick fire ovens often for added flavors when preparing food and the KILO represents this flavor perfectly. The retrohale is very bold and sharp coating my nasal passage with tons of pepper and spice. The burn line is still pretty wacky but again, I’m impressed that I haven’t had to touch it up or relight yet. Ligero burns very badly and if you can make a cigar with this much Ligero that burns as good is this, you’re doing something right.
The final third of the KILO showcased a bit tamer version of the cigar. The flavors were still bold, but became a bit more mellow, creamier leading with the sweetness and cedar with subtle musk and pecan. The burn line was pretty choppy the entire experience but I never once had to touch up the KILO or relight it so that’s a win. It took me an hour and forty five minutes to take the cigar down to the nub and I experienced no harshness, no heat buildup, and a good amount of nicotine.
Again, completely unbiased view here, but I honestly enjoy the KILO more and more each time I smoke it. The flavors are bold, and abundant, and compliment my idea flavor profile perfectly. It’s not a cigar for the weak. Along with the bold body, the cigar is strong. But the strength doesn’t overpower the flavor experience. I wouldn’t full recommend it to a novice unless you’ve already danced with a few full-strength cigars and can handle them. But this cigar is very appealing to those seasoned cigar smokers out there who enjoy full-bodied, full-strength cigars which don’t break the bank.
For my birthday last weekend we created a brewery hop through Las Curces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. One of the stops on that crawl was Bosque Brewing in Las Cruces. Bosque is an Albuquerque based brewery with a ton of great craft beer variety on their hands. One of the beers I really enjoyed was their Scotia Scotch Ale. Scotia is a 8.4% ABV Wee Heavy which leads with sweetness, caramel, cashew, and malt with a light mouthfeel before finishing clean with some apple, malt, and nutty goodness. It’s pretty obvious why I paired this beer with the KILO. In fact, it was one of the first beers I tried and Bosque and the KILO immediately came to mind. The KILO would also pair wonderfully with a smoked porter, spiced Belgian Dubbel, or some sweet bourbon.