El Primer Mundo – Criollo Maduro
I am late, I know. Not slacking it this time though. I had some back problems and spent some time with my doctor. But now I am feeling great! So let’s get down to business. This review is an oldie, but goodie. El Primer Mundo’s Criollo Maduro has been out for quite a while, and it’s about time we snuck in our review list.
The Good Stuff: As I stated, El Pimer Mundo’s Criollo Maduro actually made it’s debut in 2006. Sean Williams, founder of El Primer Mundo told me over twitter the other day that despite the Criollo Maduro being his first release, he still enjoys the blend. El Primer Mundo is an Atlanta based operation, blended by the Plasencias in Esteli, Nicaragua and is distributed by the Blancos. All the tobacco used in the blend comes from Placensia’s farm. The blend starts out with Honduran and Nicaraguan filler, bound by a Jalapa, Nicaraguan binder, topped off with a Havana-seed maduro wrapper. These cigars retail for about $7 – $8 a pop and come in four sizes, Robusto 52 x 5, Toro 52 x 6, Torpedo 52 x 6 ½, and Gran Toro 60x 6 1/2.
Size: – 6 x52 – Wrapper: Nicaraguan – Binder: Nicaraguan – Filler: Honduran/Nicaraguan
Prelight: Now this is a pretty looking Maduro. Lets start with the wrapper on This El Primer Mundo Criollo Maduro. This should be nicknamed the black beauty. The wrapper is a crazy dark, dark brown with a few lighter spots around the upper body, and darker, almost black splotches towards the foot of the cigar. The wrapper only bears a few smaller veins running to the round, double cap. Outside of the wrapper the next stand-out characteristic of the cigar is the firm, perfect square box-press format. I’m a sucker for box press. This cigar feels incredibly firm, and I can only hope that it’s not packed too tightly. The band carries the same design style all the previous cigars in the line. It’s a dark maroon with gold and black embossing of the “El Primer Mundo” crest along with “Criollo Maduro” “Hecho A Mano” “Nicaragua” and of course the white map in the center.
I am getting a really floral, musky, sweet aroma from the wrapper. At times its very sharp and actually burns my nostrils a bit. The foot lets loose a very spicy, earthy, coffee-esque aroma. As I do with most box-presses I used a standard V-Cut to easily clip away the cap. I am greeted with a crazy chocolate and coffee flavor as soon as I put the Criollo Maduro up to my lips for the cold draw. Once I take it away from my lips I am left with a nice pepper tingle.
First Smoke: I was right one the money with the cold draw as the first flavors to hit me across the face is crazy amounts of chocolate and coffee. I really thought there would be more pepper in there that there was. Only enough pepper and spice to subtly backup the stronger flavors. I kept getting some nice leather and floral flavors throughout the first third as well, but they would just come and go. The draw is much looser that I though it was going to be, and it actually takes me a few puffs to get the right amount of smoke in my mouth. The burnline is razor sharp and only slightly wavy leaving behind a nice white and light gray ash. The ash held on for a solid inch before giving way.
Halfway There: Into the second third of the El Primer Mundo Criollo Maduro and the cigar’s roots have really taken over. The sweetness has began to subside as well as some of the coffee and chocolate. They are still there but now there is a rich tobacco, oaky, and grassy flavor mix up taking center stage. The spice is almost non-existent at this point. The retro hale is to die for. Each little puff coats my nasal passage with what tastes like straight up bittersweet chocolate. I love it. The burnline is now perfectly even and still razor sharp and I am feeling almost no nicotine.
Finish: As I suspected, the Chocolate and Coffee weren’t done in this El Primer Mundo Criollo Maduro as they made a triumphant, and dominant return in the final third. Along with the Coffee and Chocolate, the floral/leather notes I picked up in the first third have also stepped up while the spice and tobacco subdued. There was absolutely no harshness built up even down to the numb. Usually I find that looser, box pressed cigars developer much more harshness, but not in this case. It took me about an hour and a half to take down this cigar and it finished just as smooth as it started.
Overview: It’s evident that this is a good cigar. I have had quite a few of these and each one was the same story. Great flavors, good construction and a solid cigar at a good price. This cigar is a perfect maduro containing sweet and complex characteristics as most of the more modern maduros while staying true to form with more traditional maduros.
Pairing: The first time I smoked this cigar I paired it with 1554 which went absolutely perfect. The flavors are almost identical and the cigar seems like it was made for the brew. But that’s not my thing. I really want to make sure that my pairings compliment, but also help me pull things from the cigar that I normally wouldn’t. That being said I went a completely different direction with this particular Criollo Maduro and paired it with some of Blue Moon’s Agave Blonde Ale. Blue Moon’s newest summer seasonal offering is this crazy citrus rich, orange, Agave Cactus infused wheat ale. It’s a perfect summer ale. The beer starts out very sweet, very light, and finishes incredibly smooth. Some of the agave notes really elevated the awesome floral notes that I would pick up in the cigar while the citrus paired perfectly with the chocolate-rich flavors in this Primer Mundo not to mention this 95 degree weather is perfect for a beer such as this. Another pairing success!