Crux Cigars Ninfamaniac Pre-Release Cigar Review
Crux Cigar’s Ninfamaniac has been making quite a stir in the cigar community as of late. Luckily of us, Logan Drake and Crux Cigars was nice enough to send a few our way and I am more than excited to share my thoughts on the interesting release with you guys.
The Good Stuff: 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 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 Habano 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 today, the Ninfamaniac Dark tomorrow, and the Skeeterz on Wednesday. My grandfather in-law passed away this past weekend, so we’ll see if I can piece all that together.
Size: 7 x 33 Ninfa
Wrapper: Jalapa Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Viso
Pairing: New Belgium Lips of Faith Series Pluot (Sour Fruit Ale 10% ABV)
Prelight: The ninfa is a very interesting vitola. Super long, very thin, with a double pointed tip. These cigars resemble crochet needles. I have always been a huge fan of smaller ring gauges, and the Ninfamaniac is pushing small ring gauge to it’s limits. I’m really exited to see how this transpires into the overall experience. Outside of the obvious rare style, the Ninfamaniac is a damn fine looking cigar. The medium brown/orangish wrapper is laid seamlessly with very little webbing, or veins. It’s smooth as silk with some nice oils and only a tiny bit of tooth. I can only imagine how delicate the rolling process is with these guys. My chubby fingers could never do it. The Ninfamaniac starts with a very long, spike-like foot which then leads though the long, slender body to a similar spike-like cap. The cigar feels very delicate and weighs almost nothing. Despite the strange size, it still feels great in hand and in mouth without feeling too wonky at all. The cigar may look strange but it handles rather well. The Ninfamaniac is polished off with a brown band with a little fairy or vixen on it.
The wrapper gives off lots and lots of spice and honey aromas with some natural tobacco. The foot, being enclosed, doesn’t differ at all in aroma. The cap cut very, very easily and clean using my double bladed Palio cutter. There wasn’t much of a cold draw at all since the foot was closed. I couldn’t pull any air through.
First Smoke: It takes a few puffs to get this cigar going, so lighting is a bit longer than normal. But once this cigar gets going, it takes right off. The Ninfamaniac starts off with a blast of black pepper which quickly fades into a deep spice with hints of leather, coffee, and a little floral mixture. The draw takes a bit, but once it gets going you get a decent amount of thick smoke. Drawing this cigar is a bit tricky. The first inch or so was real rough so I caught myself pulling hard. Shortly after that you really need to slow down and pace yourself. Since it’s such a small ring gauge smoking too fast may cause heat and harshness to build up if you aren’t careful. The burnline started out a bit crazy, probably due to the closed and tapered foot, but it completely corrected itself and was burning dead even after about an inch in. The ash is very thin, yet pretty decently compacted. Since again, it’s a small ring gauge you have to be weary about how quickly the ash is going to drop. It held on for about a half inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: The floral flavor I was picking up in the first third has really taken the back burner to the cedar and spice in the Ninfamaniac. There is still some lingering leather and a bit of coffee while there was also some citrus and tartness introduced in the second third. The retrohale on this cigar rocks, leading with some awesome spice and cedar with a leathery finish. I am feeling absolutely nothing in the nicotine department and the cigar is still burning beautifully. In fact, the draw has completely opened up and is easily pumping out mouthful after mouthful of dense smoke.
Finish: The final third of Crux Cigar’s Ninfamaniac finished very similar to the second, except there was a pretty large ramp-up in floral and spice. The citrus, cedar, tart, leather and coffee were all still in the mix, but the awesome floral flavor and spice really stole the show. I really enjoyed the finish on this cigar and feel that the Ninfamaniac really shines in the last third. One thing to keep in mind, is it could easily take less than and hour to take this cigar down if you aren’t careful. Again, take your time. If you don’t you are going to end up with some heat and harshness towards the end of your experience. Luckily for me, I took my sweet time and after about an hour and a quarter I experience absolutely none of that. In fact, I was able to nub the hell out of this thing which finished smooth and creamy with some awesome pepper notes.
Overview: Needless to say Crux Cigar’s Ninfamaniac is an interesting one. From the size, to the name, to the band design this cigar really separates itself from the common theme on cigar selves today. The experience was remarkable. I really enjoyed the flavor, the size, and the burn and draw. I’d imagine it’s hard not to have issues with a cigar of this size, but I encountered none and that says a lot. I think the Indonesian tobacco used in this blend gave it a really interesting flavor profile, one of which I enjoyed a hell of a lot. The floral I found throughout the cigar rocked and was probably the biggest takeaway from the flavor profile. At $5.99 a stick I can’t see why any one, from novice to the seasoned cigar smoker wouldn’t pick a few of these bad boys up. You’re in for a treat.
Pairing: I paired this Ninfamaniac with an awesome beer, New Belgium’s Pluot from the Lips of Faith series. This is a limited released Sour Fruit ale brewed with Pluot juices at New Belgium’s brewery in Fort Collins Colorado which registers at a whopping 10% ABV. Don’t let that ABV fool you, you won’t find any booziness here. Instead you get a very well balance sour ale which starts off full on fruity, while finishing with some soft sour and spice notes. I’ve drunken a ton of these and it’s a perfect beer to go with any spring, outdoor event. Hell, there are even a few really light floral undertones which paired up just brilliantly alongside the spice with the Ninfamaniac.