CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger

For my review this week, I decided to check out the CroMagnon Knuckle Draggers that Jerry so graciously gifted me a couple weeks back when we met up in Bethesda for the Benji Menendez event at W. Curtis Draper. Before I smoked one, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it, as it’s billed as a really full-bodied cigar and I tend to stick more to the medium to full range. I actually packed one of these Knuckle Draggers with me when I headed over to Scotland on a recent business trip, and I smoked it one night as I huddled outside the School of Computing at the University of Edinburgh, desperately trying to satisfy my Internet addiction (free wi-fi is often hard to find in the UK, even at hotels). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the cigar that evening, and immediately looked forward to getting back home & digging the rest out of my coolidor.

CroMagnon cigars are the product of a collaboration between Skip Martin (aka @ChiefHava) and Michael Rosales of Adrian’s Cigars. The entire line follows the theme of our paleolithic ancestors, and is available in five vitolas (referred to as the “Taxonomy”): Knuckle Dragger (petite robusto), Mandible (petite gordo), EMH (robusto extra), Anthropology (gran corona), and Cranium (gran toro). They are sold online exclusively via Hava Cigar Shop. Be sure to read on past the video for details about a great deal on these smokes…

CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger by the numbers:
Size: 4×52 (petite robusto)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Full
Factory: Adrian’s in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 3
Duration: 45 minutes
Source: review samples
Price: $6.00 ($30.00 per 5-pack)
Twitter: @CroMagnonCigar

The rustic-looking wrapper on the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger has a wonderfully oily sheen and the cigar feels well-packed. It gives off musty aromas of cedar and sawdust, while the foot offers an enticing mix of pepper and manure. The cold draw has a nice zestiness to it, but nothing compared to the flavors that kick up once you light this baby.

Immediately upon taking the first few puffs, you’re met with huge flavors of black pepper and grilled steak, along with an undertone of subtle sweetness. Each draw produces a good amount of palate-coating smoke, with little to no resting smoke. The burn was typically well-behaved and the brownish-gray ash held on for nearly a full half of the cigar, even in a stiff breeze.

In the second third, you get even more pepper as the strength continues to build, but never reaches the point of making you feel woozy or queasy. Despite the strength and big, bold flavors, the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger is pretty well-balanced. The final third brings more of the peppery meat flavor, with a long, satisfyingly spicy finish. This is definitely my kind of full-bodied cigar, and my only real complaint is that the smoking experience doesn’t last even longer.

For more, check out the video of me enjoying this pleasant surprise of a smoke…

(Video length: 14:00)

Soundtrack: “I Wish” by Electric Blue Concept (used with permission) | | @EBCmusic | MySpace | iTunes

Usually, when I’m smoking a full-bodied cigar, I find myself reaching for a Coke or some other beverage to help tamper the strength, but that simply wasn’t necessary with the Knuckle Dragger. In fact, I smoked all three of these samples without any water or anything, including once early in the morning after breakfast that made me feel like a real man. Like I said in the video, I think the CroMagnon just might change my perspective on full-bodied cigars, making me more willing to test the waters at the deeper end of the pool.

Chief Hava recently alerted me to a couple of special deals going on this month that you just might want to take advantage of. Sometimes we forget that most cigar companies, especially boutique manufacturers like Adrian’s and CroMagnon, are quintessential small businesses, and these specials are designed to help support small business. First up, save 10% during the entire month of November at Hava Cigar Shop when you use coupon code SHOPSMALL. Additionally, if you use your American Express card to make a purchase of $25 or more on November 26th, you can receive a $25 rebate as part of the AMEX Small Business Saturday promotion (click here for terms & conditions). If you combine these offers, you can get a 5-pack of CroMagnon Knuckle Draggers delivered to your door for only $6.95! Now that’s a deal!
($30 5-pack + $4.95 shipping – 10% off coupon – $25 rebate = $6.95 total cost)

UPDATE: Wed, 9 Nov 2011, 10:51pm
Chief Hava just contacted me via Twitter to let me know that he wants to give away a free 5-pack of CroMagnon cigars to a lucky Stogie Review reader. Simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday, November 13, and we’ll randomly select one person to receive his or her choice of any size CroMagnon 5-pack (or a sampler containing all 5 sizes). Thanks, Chief!

About Charlie:
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker