I like cigars. I like brown spirits. So it goes without saying that a combination of the two — a barrel aged cigar — sounds pretty awesome to me. Camacho has released a couple versions of barrel aged cigar, and in this case it’s the Nicaraguan version that takes a more Caribbean approach to the format.
Like most of the great cigar brands, Camacho can trace their lineage back to pre-Castro Cuba. Simon Camacho was one such Cuban who saw the writing on the wall, and fled to Miami. In his pocket were a handful of corojo tobacco seeds — the unique variety of tobacco which made Cuban cigars so delicious and famous. Using those seeds, he and Juan Francisco Bermejo started seeding tobacco farms in Honduras and later neighboring Nicaragua, opening up the opportunity for other cigar companies to finally get their hands on tobacco of equal quality of those produced in Cuba and ending their near monopoly on the market.
In 1961, Simon Camacho opened his own cigar company in Miami to great success, creating cigars that gained some famous followers — including Winston Churchill. The brand continued to see growth and popularity, even through Simon Camacho’s death in 1990. Five years after that sad day, Julio Eiroa, another Cuban in exile, briefly purchased the company before eventually selling it to the Geneva-based premium cigar company Davidoff, who own it to this day.
There’s no doubt that the branding around these cigars is on point. Davidoff is a stodgy old world brand, and Camacho seems like the sub-brand where they really let their design team run a little wild and get their creative juices flowing.
While each specific line of cigars within the Camacho brand has their own color, there is very much a coherent look and feel to the branding. In general, the appearance is big and bold with block letters and clean lines, a branding approach that tries to convey the boldness of their cigars. The individual line colors are all super saturated and vibrant, not to mention Camacho primarily uses black as the other color in their designs which makes that line color pop even more in comparison.
The boxes that these come in (not pictured — I bought these as loose cigars) are similarly clean and sharp with the same colors as the cigars within. The boxes are made of wood but are lacquered with a high gloss finish that really stand out in comparison to some of the other boxes on the market.
The band on this cigar is significantly larger than the normal form factor. Bigger, bolder, and similarly trying to convey that same flavor intensity from the cigar itself.
This isn’t Camacho’s first barrel aged cigar — that was the American Barrel Aged line that came out in 2015 and which used bourbon barrels for aging the cigars. This latest expression was introduced in 2017 and takes a more Caribbean approach to the concept.
The cigar is available in a toro, robust, or gordo form factor. I picked a robusto for my smoke, as it’s my go-to size for a cigar.
While this cigar is touted as the Nicaraguan Barrel Aged, the reality is that the tobacco comes from a number of different countries. The main content of the cigar is in fact Nicaraguan, with long leaves of Nicaraguan tobacco being used for the filler. Holding that together is a Mexican binder, and topping it all off is a Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper on the outside.
Once the cigar has been produced, it is placed into oak barrels which were used by Flor de Cana to age their Nicaraguan produced rum for a period of time to mature. That rum barrel aging process imparts some of the flavors from the rum into the cigar, or at least that’s the theory.
What I get primarily coming off the cigar are the typical aromas of saddle leather, cedar, tobacco, and a bit of sawdust. But once clipped, the flavors coming from the pre-light draw start letting you know where this cigar was aged. There’s a sweetness that is coming through, like molasses or caramel, combined with some of the nutmeg and cinnamon that you’d expect from a spiced rum. The draw on the cigar is just what you’d want to see — not too tight but not too loose.
Once the cigar is lit, the more subtle flavors definitely are overpowered in general by the typical notes I’ve come to expect from a Camacho cigar, namely the saddle leather and hay — but that doesn’t mean that the other aspects are gone. Added to that flavorful and enjoyable baseline are the same nutmeg and cinnamon spice, combined with a hint of caramel sweetness that we saw from the pre-light draw. It’s just a touch of sweet and spicy rum flavor that’s been added something that’s already pretty good.
In general, the flavor profile is medium to bold, which is right where I like it.
I like the Camacho brand of cigars. They provide a great consistent flavor, and, in this case, I think the addition of a barrel aging process adds some unique and distinctive notes that you wouldn’t see elsewhere.