Cremo Classic Excelsior Cigar Review
I don’t want to gloat, but high 60’s to low 70’s all week? That’s smoking weather! Without hesitation I headed out back to smoke a cigar that I myself, have been intrigued about. The Cremo Classic Excelsior.
The Good Stuff: I will jump right into the press release, it pretty much sums up Cremo’s history:
The Original Cremo Cigar, an icon of early America and the most successful cigar brand of the early 20th century, made a commitment to providing their customers with value. The company which rose out of beautiful Manhattan, New York City attained the largest sales of any cigar in its class. The brand was also famously linked to musician Bing Crosby in the early days of Broadcasting Radio.
With a shift in the way cigars were made, factories moved south and all was lost… Now in the 21st century a new dawn awaits. After new buildings were built, and old ones were torn down, a piece of history remained. Now, that piece has been found. Walter Santiago, better known as “Lilo”, a native New Yorker, decided that this amazing company, a staple in the Cigar World, should rise from its ashes.
With the revival of Crémo, the tradition continues with taste and quality as well as class. This was found in El Titan de Bronze (ETB) cigar factory, makers of the “Redemption”, which has scored 88 in Cigar Aficionado and 90 in Cigar Snob. Lilo, along with ETB owner Sandy Cobas and Master Blender Willy Herrera (now with Drew Estate), created an ultra-boutique cigar of masterful construction and excellent flavor.
The factory located in Miami’s famed Calle Ocho, known best for its old school Cuban entubado techniques, is a family owned and operated “fabriquita” which employs level 9 rollers from Cuba, who have worked for Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, Corona and Partagas. These torcedores (cigar rollers), like a painter to a canvas, handcraft each cigar with meticulous detail.
There you have it. One thing to note is the Cremo doesn’t describe the smoke. Cremo is actually the first personal translation of “Cremar” or “To Smoke”. Thanks Cigar Inspector for pointing that out. Anyways, the blend is composed of a Habano wrapper (not sure if its Dominican or Nicaraguan), a Nicaraguan Binder, and mixed Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. The cigar is available in three different sizes: The Excelsior (5 x 50), the Magnum Opus (5.75 x 46), and the Intrepidus (6 x 52) and run between $8 – $9 a stick.
Size: 5×50 – Wrapper: Habano – Binder: Nicaraguan – Filler: Dominican/Nicaraguan
Prelight: The Cremo Classic is a fantastically constructed cigar. The wrapper starts with this almost perfectly smooth, consistent milk chocolate brown. It almost looks like a Connecticut shade wrap, and I thought it was for a while. There is only one smaller vein running the length of the body of the cigar which leads up to the round, triple wrapped cap. The band is a simple, elegant manila and silver color with the words “Cremo” and “ Handcrafted in little Havana” in dark brown. The cigar is firm to the touch and the only soft spot I was able to find was right at the foot.
The wrapper gives off a very sweet, cedar aroma while the foot of the cigar carries a really nice mixture of spice and nuts with some interesting floral notes. The cap clipped off extremely easy using my handy dandy “V” cutter. The cold draw produces this just awesome profile full of sweet cedar, cinnamon, and even some nutmeg. It tastes much like a Christmas treat!
First Smoke: I was shocked to be greeting with a bunch of upfront pepper from my initial draws on this Cremo cigar. It’s not overpowering, I just didn’t except it to be there. Under the pepper lies a bunch of nutty, cinnamon and cedar flavors. I was expecting a much smoother, milder start but this Cremo Classic actually packs some flavor! Even the aftertaste is great leaving behind a ton of cedar and tobacco. The draw is wide open and kicks out lots of thick smoke without being too loose. The Cremo Classic gives off just a bit of stationary smoke, but it smells really neat, kind of like roasted nuts. The burnline is pretty wavy, but not too concerning as I think it will correct itself as I continue on with this cigar. The ash is a bit flaky, medium and dark grey. The ash held on for about in inch before falling into my ashtray. Again, ashtray, not my lap. Success!
Halfway There: The pepper has started to fade into the second third of this Cremo Classic. Once the pepper faded the cigar really smoothed and balanced out. The main flavor is now this soft cedar, sweet nutmeg, and cashew. The retrohale on this cigar is badass. It coats my nasal passage with a really smooth cedar with just a touch of spice. The burnline has since completely corrected itself as I assumed it would and I am feeling almost no nicotine kick at this point.
Finish: The body ramped up into the final third of this Cremo Classic. I started to feel only a slight nicotine kick while the cigar remained smooth and creamy down to the nub. The main flavors were still that cedar, nut, and sweet tobacco but a lot of the spices that I picked up in the first third made a brief comeback. All in all it took a little over and hour to take this cigar down to the nub. It needed absolutely no touch-ups or relights.
Overview: The Cremo Classic surprised me with it’s bold flavors and it’s overall smooth profile. I was expecting something super mild and it wasn’t anything like that. Great flavors, amazing construction, and an overall good cigar at a great price. This is a great cigar for the seasoned cigar smoker and a perfect cigar for the novice looking for a good cigar that won’t break the bank.
Pairing: I paired this cigar was a very easy to find, affordable, and wonderful winter seasonal. Yes, I stepped out of my Belgian kick for this one, pairing the Cremo Classic with some Samuel Adams Winter Lager. Sam Adams winter lager is brewed at the infamous Boston Brewing Company and clocks in at 5.5% ABV. Sam Adams winter lager bears the same characteristics as most winter brews, smooth, fruity, caramel, deep amber beer only with a few extra hops which really helps to bring out the flavor without being too overpowering. This beer pairs wonderful with any smooth cigar such as the Cremo. This cigar would also go perfect with your favorite coffee or tea.