Some of you may have seen my previous review of the Mbombay KeSARA. Ron Arellano, National Director of Sales and Online Marketing for Bombay Tobak, was gracious enough to gift me a second Mbombay cigar to review: the Mbombay Habano Blend Robusto. And who am I to say no to free tobacco?
Full disclosure: I did receive this cigar free of charge with the implication that I would review it. That being said, it’ll take a bit more than free cigars to buy a white-washed review from me. All opinions in this review are unadulterated by biases and uniquely my observations.
And now here we go: let’s take an in-depth look at the Mbombay Habano Blend Robusto!
Mbombay Habano Background
Size: 4.5″ x 48 ring gauge
Style: Robusto with a belicoso style head and closed foot
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Peruvian
Based on this blend, I expect something similar to the Herrera Esteli: medium body, sweet spiciness, cream, nut–maybe pecan?, and hints of kitchen spices with the Nicaraguan filler strengthening the spice aspect. Habanos are more often than not homeruns or 3-pitch strikeouts–for me, there is no middle ground. Even Cuban Habanos have this proclivity to err on the side of mildness to the point that wet cardboard lit with kerosene would have more flavor. Mmm, mmm, kerosene and dye!
Appearance: Mbombay has a way with picking wrapper tobacco. Much like the KeSARA, this cigar is free of any visible imperfections and feels oily to the touch. The head, as mentioned above, is a belicoso-style on a robusto body with my favorite, the closed foot. There’s a bit too much give to the this cigar than I would like, but beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. To repeat my description of the band from my previous review, the band is a gorgeous Indian inspired pattern embossed with more detail than I’ve ever seen in a cigar band. The pattern features an elephant, a peacock, and a lion, representing (I’m guessing) wisdom, vision, and strength, respectively.
Aroma: All barnyard, all day. Hay, hay, hay, says the flamboyant horse!
Pairing, Cutting, and Lighting
Drink Pairing: Mountain Dew Baja Blast (don’t hate, haters)
Lighter: Xikar single-flame butane
Cutter: Xikar guillotine
Cutting and Cold Draw
Snip, snip goes the tip. Easy as pie. How is pie easy, by the way? Try cooking a crust that doesn’t fall apart or a filling that doesn’t melt and coat your oven in a nasty sugar grime. At any rate, the cold draw is mild to the point that I didn’t pick up anything other than the overwhelming earthy aroma of hay and grass.
The First Third
Starts out solid: white pepper and a pleasant lingering pepper on the tongue. Tastes a bit like sweet green pepper–just enough flavor with just enough kick. Every so often, I pick up what I can only describe as granular sugar: present, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Not my favorite so far–the notes are mild and difficult to discern from the air.
The Second Third
The second third brings about an interesting oily nutty flavor, closest to walnut, but hard to pinpoint. At this point, the cigar is burning hotter than Hades’s taint (not an exaggeration–hyperbole ain’t my game). Cutting down my puffs to once every 2-3 minutes. For a fiend like me, that is far too long between puffs. The spice has disappeared–unfortunately, I haven’t picked up on any strong spice flavors that I’ve come to love from Habanos: cinnamon, nutmeg, anise are all absent.
The Final Third
As I let the cigar cool, the barnyard notes resurface. While I normally enjoy earthy flavors, at this point they seem boring and bland–the lack of pronouncement is disappointing. If I didn’t want to have to think while I smoked, this cigar might work, but to be honest I had trouble reaching the final third. If I wasn’t reviewing this cigar, I would’ve ended it early. In addition to my dislike of the flavor palette, the burn got a bit wonky towards the end.
The Last Inch
I’ll be honest, I put out the cigar before I reached the nub. Not my cup of smoke.
Final Impressions and Rating
I am thoroughly underwhelmed by the Mbombay Habano Robusto. I hate speaking ill of something so meticulously constructed, but the blend is as far from my liking as possible. My mention of smoking kerosene-lit cardboard comes to mind when I struggle to find the words to describe this cigar.
Rating (Seek out and buy again, Smoke if I happen to find one, Avoid at all costs): Avoid at all costs
Unfortunately, not every cigar can be a winner. I’ll be cleansing my palate with something bolder–Nicaraguan and Maduro wrappers are in my not-too-distant future.
Thank you again to Rob for providing this sample for me to review. Mbombay makes some damn good cigars, but sadly this Habano is not one of them.
I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this review (and, perchance, anything else on my nebulous blog).