RoMa Craft Tobac La Campana de Panama Soberana
I’ve been on a search for RoMa Craft Tobac’s La Campana de Panama Soberana for a while now. I was about to mail order a handful since no one locally sells them when Jeremy took a trip to RoMa Craft’s homeland in Austin. I took that opportunity to task him with the mission of finding me a few, and he delivered finding them at Pipe World. Thanks dude!
The Good Stuff: RoMa Craft’s La Campana de Panama Soberana is the first limited edition release that we have seen come from the Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueno factory. While there have been a few event and shop exclusives the Campana is the only full limited release and will not be the last. La Campana de Panama Soberana is part of Skip Martin’s “Craft” series. The Craft series will feature runs of limited edition cigars that are either rare by accounts of tobaccos used in them, method of production, or both. In the case of the Campana de Panama Soberana the rareness relies in the production process. The Campana is composed 100% by hand using no molds. In fact, the only tool used to create the Campana de Panama Soberana besides two hands is a chaveta. The Campana de Panama Soberana starts off with a Brazilian Ariparaca wrapper coated with a few small bands of Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf around the foot bound by a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and filled with Nicaraguan and Cameroon filler tobaccos. The Campana is carries a unique, tapered, trompeta format and comes in boxes of 10 running $150 a box, or $15 a cigar. Only 1,000 boxes will be released.
Size: 5 x 46/60
Wrapper: Brazilian Ariparaca / Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan / Cameroon
Pairing: Uinta Crooked Series Labyrinth (Quad Black Ale – 13.2% ABV)
Prelight: RoMa Craft’s La Campana de Panama Soberana obvious characteristic it’s unique format. The cigar starts out with a very large 60 ring gauge at the foot area which consistently tapers up to a much smaller 46 ring gauge around the cap. Much like a trompeta vitola. Surrounding the foot of the cigar is two separate sets of lighter double bands made from a lighter shade tobacco leaf. In between each of these sets is a much darker band of leaf. Not only does it give the cigar a very unique feeling, but it also reminds the smoker that this cigar is completely hand-made as the lines on the wrapper bands are quite crude. The foot of the Campana de Panama Soberana adds to the effect by being unfinished, meaning instead of a straight cut showcasing the filler tobacco some of the wrapper leaf is folded over the foot concealing areas of the filler. While the cigar looks a big wonky it’s actually rather balanced in my hand and for the most part comfortable. The wrapper leaf is a medium brown with areas of darker brown webs and orange accents. There are a few larger veins running through the body, but nothing worry some. The Campana is polished off with a snubby, round, double cap which runs seamlessly into the body of the cigar. The wrapper has a decent amount of tooth and some slight oils but what’s most impressive is how seamless this cigar feels. There are the expected bumps and what have you, but had you not told me this cigar was rolled without the use of molds I would have had no idea. The wrapper feels a bit delicate but I couldn’t locate any soft sports or areas that would concern me. The wrapper on the Campana de Panama Soberana screams of sweet spice and honey while the foot of the cigar was a bit more modest releases some spice and tobacco aromas. The cap cut like butter using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw revealed some sweet spice that I was expecting along with some awesome berry I wasn’t mixed in over some natural tobacco flavors.
First Smoke: La Campana de Panama Soberana started out with a nice little pepper blast which quickly faded away a left me with some strong cinnamon, sweet brown sugar, cedar, and tobacco notes with a really interesting black cherry aftertaste. The draw on this cigar is incredible. I always fear that the draw will be too loose whenever I dive into a mold-less cigar, but this baby is perfect as it pumps out mouthfuls of thick, white smoke with every little puff. The burnline has a few slight waves, but nothing concerning and it’s rocking razor thin. The ash left behind is a bright white with medium gray mixture which held on for almost an inch before it fell into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Into the second third of RoMa Craft’s La Campana de Panama Soberana and the flavor has started to mix up quite a bit. A strong floral and honey mixture has made it’s presence known while more of the cinnamon and spice have faded out leaving behind the cedar and black cherry notes. Every once in a while I get a nice hit of espresso in there, but it’s not very consistent and just slips its way in there to keep me on my toes. The retrohale is badass coating my nasal passage with some sharp spice, cedar, and cherry. It really opens up the pairing I chose for this stick. The burnline is rockin’ solid at this point and hasn’t required any additional attention from my torch. I am feeling zero in the nicotine department as I close out the second third.
Finish: The cinnamon is back in full force during the final third of the Campana de Panama Soberana. I swear this is what smoking a graham cracker would taste like. Cinnamon, brown sugar poured over some soft spice, honey, cedar, and espresso. I’m not sure if it’s the variable ring gauge or what, but this cigar has really had some nice flavor change ups and has never failed to keep my attention. The burnline has been perfect, and in the hour and forty five minutes it’s taken me to smoke this cigar I never once had to pull out my lighter, nor did I feel any nicotine at all. The Campana de Panama Soberana really showcases the skill of the rollers at Fabrica de Tabacos de Nica Sueno.
Overview: Now I am torn a bit with the Campana de Panama Soberana. Let me start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this cigar. The flavor profile, the unique size, and the change ups really made for a great experience and It’s hard for me to get over the absence of mold use for this cigar as it preformed so well. While I enjoyed this cigar, it’s hard to see myself grabbing it over an Intemperance BA or Aquitaine especially at the price point. It’s a great cigar if you are looking for something special or different, but it’s hard to place the Campana de Panama Soberana over some of RoMa crafts already released blends that come in at half the price. The Campana does however showcase the tobacco, and the extreme skill of the staff over at RoMa Craft’s Fabrica de Tabacos de Nica Sueno which I am sure they were striving for. I can’t imagine how hard this cigar is to roll, and to roll as consistently as they are doing it over there. If you can appreciate that then this cigar is definitely worth picking up. I personally can see having a few of these on hand for those times I am in the mood for a different type of experience, but I don’t think it would easily find it’s way into my regular rotation.
Pairing: I’ve been sitting on a few bottles of this brew for a while now. I was pretty impressed with the first one I drank and made the effort to make sure I had a few on hand as it could easily pair well with quite a few cigars. Hell, almost anything Uinta has been brewing lately is worth picking up. From the Crooked series comes Uinta’s Labyrinth a barrel aged quadruple black ale with licorice sticks added as it’s aged in oak barrels. Boasting a ABV of 13.2% this Utah brewed beer isn’t for the faint of heart. This is a very dark, very heavy brew. The flavor profile consists of a ton of malt, sweet berry, chocolate, with just a hint of licorice with some great cola and spice on the finish. I loved how the fruit, licorice and spice married up with the flavor profile in the Campana de Panama Soberana while the chocolate and malt really helped bring out the fullness of the blend. Word to the wise though, take your time with this beer. Not only will it overpower most mild to medium cigars, but it will also start to cloud your vision as the alcohol will creep up on you.