Kauai Cigar Company Island Prince Momona Dark First Impression
Look Who’s Back! You guys should all be familiar with Jeff by now. He’s our honorary Casas Fumando writer, and he kicked out tons of great reviews. If he keeps this up we are going to force him to join us full time. Until then, enjoy his newest “Guest” review.
I recently spent several days on the Big Island in Hawaii, ostensibly to scatter my late parents’ ashes with my brother and sister, but more so to spend some time with my sister and her family. While there, I picked up a cigar at a store in the little town of Hawi that sells cigars, a ton of CBD products, and handmade ukuleles. That cigar is the Island Prince Momona Dark from the Kauai Cigar Company. The filler of this cigar is grown, dried, and cured on the company’s premises on the island of Kauai, then sent to a factory in Nicaragua where it is fermented, aged, and finally rolled into cigars using Central American wrappers. I had known of these cigars, but had never had the opportunity to pick up on one, so I took a flier on it, and shelled out $16 for a single stick, the Momona (“fat and sweet” in Hawaiian) without knowing much of anything about it. You can read more about Kauai Cigar Company at their website here.
What I have since learned is that the Island Prince line is one of several offered by Kauai Cigar Company. Doing a search of it on the company’s website, it shows a whopping twenty different sizes, but only seven are normally available. Those sizes are:
- Iki – 4 3/16×32
- Luana Iki – 4½x46 (pigtail)
- Laka – 5×42
- Kohala – 6½x43
- Momona – 5¾x50
- Bumboocha – 6⅛x52 (figurado)
- Nui Loa – 6×60
Prices, which are somewhat confusing, run from $4.17 to about $12, but the price on the one I picked up was probably skewed due to the rather remote place of purchase plus the whopping Hawaii cigar tax of 50%.
The Island Prince line comes in two wrappers, an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade and a Nicaraguan sun grown Habano (Dark). The site doesn’t mention what is used for the binder, but I’m assuming that it is of Central American origin. According to the site, the dark cigars utilize mostly ligero for the filler.
This will be a first impression review, since I only have this single cigar to go by.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Habano
- Binder: ?
- Filler: US Hawaii Kauai grown Cuban seed
- Size: Momona 5¾x50
- Price: ~$12-$13 (paid $16)
- Smoking time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Pairing: Black coffee
The Island Prince Momona Dark comes draped in a medium reddish brown wrapper that displays fine veins and a lightly oily sheen in some spots in a somewhat lumpy but very tightly packed roll that leads to a nice double cap. The wrapper shows an earthy scent with a bit of barnyard and wood. The foot gives up some natural tobacco and earth. Using a v-cut, it has a snug draw with sweet tobacco, grain, and cedar.
Lighting up the Island Prince, the tightness of the draw requires a double puff to get an adequate amount of smoke which displays cedar, toast, natural tobacco, and a hint of leather. Light bread notes soon join in. The burn line is sharp and even with a compact light gray ash that hangs on for about an inch or so before a fairly firm tap is required to knock it off into my ashtray. A bit of a floral flavor comes in as the cigar ends the first third very mild on both the palate and retrohale.
As the Island Prince Momona Dark segues into the center section, some musk enters, the flavors otherwise pretty much remain unchanged, although they are a bit fuller. The bread and musk become more pronounced, more so on the retrohale. The smoke is still in the mild range with a little white pepper bite on the retrohale and produces a some scratchiness at the back of the throat.
Down to the finish:
The peppery bite had threatened to throw things out of balance, but a quick purge has helped to restore order. The flavors are still driven by tobacco, bread, and floral/musk, with light cedar and leather supporting them, and just a bit of pepper bite on the tongue. With about an inch and a half remaining and no further changes, it has become rather monotonous, so I’m content to lay it down. The nub is cool and solid and at a low-medium body with just very slight nicotine strength.
I can’t in all honesty give a solid opinion on the Island Prince Momona Dark because having just a single cigar doesn’t give me an opportunity to give a fair assessment. I’m can’t say whether the tight draw is normal, and I’m assuming it isn’t. That probably affected my experience more than any other factor, as I think having to work at getting an adequate amount of smoke was a detriment to the flavors. That being said, the linear showing of flavors proved to be a little boring. This is by no means a bad cigar; the experience was just not really to my taste, but I would certainly like to give it another try, just not at the price I paid for it. There are elements there that would be interesting if they would show themselves more easily, and the construction minus the snug draw was very good, with an even burn and no corrections or re-lights needed. Is it a novelty? Maybe because of where it comes from, but there is some promise there to be more than that. If you happen to come across one at a decent price, I think it would be worth giving it a try, even if only for the fact that it has such a unique origin. For me, I would want to try out one of the smaller sizes like the Luana Iki.
Not having any idea about what to expect from this cigar, I went with the safe choice in a plain old black coffee. That turned out to be the best way to go with the Island Prince, as it didn’t interfere with any of the flavors the cigar had to give. A hoppy IPA or a darker, stronger beer would probably have overpowered it, but having smoked it, if I were to pair it with an alcoholic beverage, I would go with a wheat beer or malty lager. A vodka or gin and tonic or a simple highball would also be a good match.