El Primer Mundo Habano Criollo Maduro Torpedo

Recently a number of people have asked me about El Primer Mundo cigars. They’ve wondered if cigar company is still around. Cigar shops that carry El Primer Mundo cigars have been running pretty low on stock as of late and for a while, Sean Williams, the owner and a regular of numerous B&M’s in the Atlanta area had been pretty scarce. I had noticed all of this too and I was a little concerned that the tough economic times had claimed a casualty in the cigar world.

But then I started bumping into Sean in the shops again. Possibly even more often than ever. And at once shop I asked him what was up. El Primer Mundo, of course, is still very much alive. Sean had had his hands full with a new addition to his family and wasn’t able to make the usual rounds for a while. And fans of his cigars will be happy to know that a lot of new stock is on its way to cigar shops everywhere.

All of this speculation and intrigue (read: cigar geekery) about the fate of this boutique brand reminded me. I’ve been planning on formally reviewing the Criollo Maduro ever since I wrote up my thoughts on the Rosado Oscuro over a year ago. And with the fresh influx of new smokes on their way to the shops, the timing is perfect for that review. Let’s check it out!

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Havana Seed Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan
Smoking Time: 2 1/4 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$6.50

The Pre-Smoke
Like the majority of the El Primer Mundo cigars I’ve seen, the torpedo is box pressed, which is a little unusual for a torpedo or pyramid, and makes this cigar pretty striking. Pair that unusual shape with the dark, smooth, oily wrapper and the red band and you have a nice looking cigar. As I inspected the sticks, I found them be free of any major imperfection. (One did have superficial scratch in the wrapper that almost looked like a patch.) To the touch, the cigars were a little softer than most, but consistent, and in keeping with what you would expect from a box pressed stick.

I should note that I also smoked a few robusto-sized cigars for purposes of comparison (and because I had some) and I did find some superficial holes in the wrapper of one of them.

The scent of the wrapper was a sweet, honey-like compost. After clipping and re-clipping the cigars to get the right draw (the torpedoed end is a little tight if clipped too lean), I got coffee, chocolate and a bit of mint in the cold taste.

The Burn
One consistent aspect of the Criollo Maduro that I really enjoyed was the easy draw. The torpedo really gives you control over that. Clip it lean and you have a tighter draw. Clip it a bit deeper and it loosens up considerably. That should be the case with all torpedo cigars, but I’ve found it often isn’t. I prefer a looser draw in my smokes, and clipped it to my preference.

Other aspects of the burn did leave a bit to be desired. The cigars generally started burning evenly, but by the second third strayed enough that the occasional touch up was required. And sometime around the transition between the second and final third, a relight is likely. After that, the ash did get a little flaky. Fortunately, these flaw are mostly cosmetic, relatively minor, and don’t seem to have much of an impact on the over all smoking experience.

The Flavor
The cigar began with a blast of dark chocolate and coffee. As the first third progressed I got quite a bit of black coffee, bitter chocolate and some nuts. Toward the end of the first third, I got a bit of syrupy sweetness that in one cigar tasted a lot like vanilla. The chocolate became less bitter and more creamy as well.

The second third was similar to the beginning of the first third, bragging of some rich chocolate and coffee. Only this time there was a notable amount of pepper. As this third progressed, the flavor was a continually revolving selection of coffee, pepper and chocolate with the occasional bit of nuttiness and a touch of cedar. Nearing the end of this third, the cigar tasted very much like a rich brownie. (I had to mention this after noting the Rosado Oscuro reminded me of Honey Nut Cheerios.)

The final third was all about the pepper. The coffee and chocolate flavors were still there, but took a back seat. Interestingly, one cigar was significantly sweeter and creamier than the other.

The Price
One of the big selling points of Primer Mundo smokes is their price. In speaking with Sean over the past year, one of things he told me he was acutely aware of was the price. He wanted to produce quality smokes for budget-friendly price. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for these torpedos, but I believe it was in the neighborhood of $6.50 or possibly a little less. Whatever it was exactly, I found it pretty reasonable.

The Verdict
I remember smoking a Criollo Maduro last year and being intrigued with a chilly pepper spiciness I got out of the cigar. Having returned to the cigars after quite some time, I was a little disappointed not to taste that flavor again. That’s probably a good thing though. Like the chili pepper-flavored beer I sampled at a brew festival, it’s probably a flavor that would inspire love and loathing in equal measure. It could just be that I had eaten Thai or Indian food earlier that day.

Chili pepper disappointment aside, I really enjoyed the cigar. After I finished one, I was tempted to light up another, which is why I smoked several robustos in addition to the torpedoes for this review. I told myself it was for comparison purposes, but really, I just wanted more. And the cosmetic burn issues really didn’t bother me too much.

While writing up this review, I thought it would smoke another robusto and try out a few drink pairing options. It came as no surprise that it went well with coffee. But it was absolutely great with a glass of sipping-quality 12 year old Zaya rum. Give that combo a shot, it’s a match made in heaven.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.