RoMa Craft Baka Bantu

Probably one of the most anticipated, if not the most anticipated cigar release of IPCPR 2019, was the RoMa Craft Baka. The Baka is RoMa Craft’s first cigar line release using Cameroon tobacco. The origins of the cigar go way back with Skip Martin and Jack Torano teaming up to try to blend a cigar with Cameroon tobacco which first ended up being the 1916 Cameroon from Torano which he details in our interview at IPCPR 2019. Later, after Torano was sold to STG, RoMa Craft decided to take the cigar and do their own spin on it. The Baka are a group of people that are indigenous to Cameroon, Congo, and Gabon. The Baka people were originally referred to as pygmies as their average height was only about 5 feet tall. The use of the word pygmy was originally used by Pharaoh Pepi II in 2276 B.C. in a letter to a slave trade expedition leader. Bantu refers to the language used by several indigenous people in Central Africa and by the Baka people.

Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder: Proprietary
Filler: Proprietary
MSRP: $9.95
Size:  4 x 52
Vitola:  Petit Robusto
Sold in boxes of 24
Cigars purchased at Parkway Cigars in Tallahassee, FL

Pre-Light

The Baka Bantu has a leathery-looking wrapper that is smooth looking and set off by a maroon secondary band over the traditional white primary band that RoMa uses on ever cigar line they produce.  The cigar looks very well constructed and is about impossible to find the edges of the wrapper leaf nor the seams on the cap.  I’ve never seen a cigar that looks like it was actually formed from one piece of tobacco leaf like a wholecut oxford shoe with no seams.  It’s amazing.  I almost don’t want to cut the cap because of it, but it would make smoking the cigar awfully difficult.  The notes I get on the cold draw is rich earth with vegetal undertones.  The draw is a little tight though, but not too bad.  Just tighter than I would like.

First Half

The Baka Bantu starts off great.  I get notes of almonds, red pepper, caramel, and cinnamon.  The sweetness of the Cameroon wrapper really shines with the blend RoMa Craft developed for this cigar.  The creamy almond nutty note with the spiciness of the red pepper and cinnamon notes really zings on the palate.  The Baka Bantu is full-bodied and full-flavored. The burn is a little wavy, but, in all fairness, it’s quite windy outside while I’m reviewing the cigar.

Second Half

The second half is a little less spicy in the last half than the first.  I get more of the caramel notes with a hint of nutmeg.  The cinnamon is still present, but I’m also getting a rich leathery note as well.  The wavy burn has gotten a little worse, but, again, I don’t know if that’s the cigar or the wind causing that.  The Baka Bantu is still going full-bodied, even ramped it up a notch or two.

Conclusion

The Baka Bantu is the strongest Cameroon wrapped cigar I’ve ever smoked which is a nice spin on the delicate wrapper as most cigars using this wrapper are mild or medium at most.  True African Cameroon is getting very hard to source at the moment because the wrapper has increased greatly in price and because of the turmoil in the region making growing difficult.  RoMa Craft is known for making very full-bodied cigars so it’s no surprise that they used the Cameroon wrapper for the Baka to make a strong bodied cigar.  The nice sweet and spicy notes are a nice contrast that makes the Baka Bantu an interesting cigar to smoke.  The short vitola doesn’t give time for the blend to fully develop to it’s full potential so I’m looking forward to the release of the larger sizes.  This is a very unique Cameroon cigar.  If you love Cameroon wrapper as much as I do, this is one you must try.

Final Score: 90

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