Wrapper: Ecuadorian DesFlorada
Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaraguan
Factory: El Titan de Bronze
Price Range: $15-$19
Availability: Store Exclusive (SmallBatchCigar)
While I was reaching for something else to review this morning, I remembered – it’s #WarpedWednesday! I try to hold off an smoking new Warped until such time as the Julian Calendar affords me this 1 in 7 opportunity. That, and because Warped is dominating the Top 2 list in the Cigar Noise community right now (sidebar).
Received this beauty from Small Batch, and La Colmena Reina turns out to be a shop exclusive! Very cool.
Click here to learn more
In doing a little digging, Kyle had this to say of his new release on Reddit:
“The concept of La Colmena is based off the Cuban custom roll concept, a single roller, rolling what they are best at (in term of size and or shape). When custom rolls are made in Cuba by the master rollers of the country spread throughout hotels and LCDH’s they do not band their cigars, in fact when you buy a bundle its ribbon wrapped. Their work is their signature, being able to tell who rolled the cigar by its size/shape/construction.
We stayed completely true to this Cuban concept and tradition for Reina, and Jose was in agreement after he finished his first wheel and smoked the blend.
This rendition of Colmena is as pure as you can get.”
Knowing that Warped collaborated with Small Batch, I couldn’t be more excited to smoke this cigar! Small Batch Cigar has quickly become my favorite online distributor. Not only were they the very first to provide CigarNoise with a community discount, they provide wicked fast shipping and carry the latest and greatest without the nonsense.
This cigar arrived modestly, without a band, yet even with the slight wrapper issues has a simple elegance to it.
Pre-light: The wrapper has a few splotches on it, and seems to be have been applied poorly in a couple places. No biggie though, as I’m reminded almost daily – these are handmade cigars. Shit happens. The wrapper is giving off an incredible aroma though! The Domestic Engineer says it reminds her of chocolate and cedar. I’m getting more marshmallow sweetness with white chocolate and the tiniest bit of cedar.
La Colmena Reina First Third
Cream, Cedar, Oak, Pepper, Coffee, Cocoa
First impressions: A very creamy cedar was my first thought. Almost no pepper in the several draws, although a subtle pepper does become present in just moments. I say subtle, because it’s not in your face – rather it’s in the background, and hard to distinguish what type of pepper it is. I touched up the burn a bit to assist the closed foot.
At the 1/2 inch mark, I’m pulling a strong woodsy combo of cedar and oak. There’s something on the finish and aftertaste that reminds me of a campfire, and a little red pepper let’s itself be known.
The retrohale (blown through the nose) is smooth and brings out rich ground coffee notes with some red and white pepper.
At this stage in the game, espresso really tones this La Colmena Reina down, making it a buttery smooth experience. Regular iced coffee brings out more of the woodsy notes, with a touch of leather, and a decent amount of white/red pepper.
At an inch in, the burn has stabilized after just the one touch up. The burn line itself isn’t remarkable, but I’ve had several issues with a closed foot in the past.
Nearing the end of the first third, medium roasted coffee and woodsy notes continue to fight for the foreground position – all the while finishing with lingering spice on the tongue. There’s also a baking cocoa note that’s starting to work it’s way in. Espresso brings out a couple puffs of dark chocolate.
La Colmena Reina Second Third
Coffee, Cream, Earth, Smoked Molasses, Oak
As always, I dropped the ash in the beginning of the second third, and am greeted with a creamy coffee profile like a nice latte. There’s an earthy presence as well that I can’t quite describe more than that. Pepper has left us for the time being.
The second third is largely overshadowed by the first third. The flavors are more subtle, retreating, and the overall experience is milder. Even the retrohale yields very little, except maybe a sweet tobacco profile. Maybe.
And yet… digging deep to classify this new development near the halfway point, I’m tasting burnt molasses. It’s sweet, dark, and smoky. Reminds me of the last time I tried to cook maple bacon in the oven.
There’s even a nutmeg of sorts coming out to play at times.
Espresso, at this point in the game, yields much of the same as the iced coffee. Interesting.
The second third regains more of a medium bodied, medium flavored profile as it transitions into the last third. Oak begins to stake it’s claim again as well, complimenting rich coffee flavors again. Never thought I would like oaky coffee, but it’s pretty damn good in this La Colmena Reina.
That even burn line that I was so impressed with in the beginning seems to be wavering just past the halfway point.
And, is that pine? Just before the end of the second third, I swear I’m tasting something like pine needles. Kind of a sharp, tastes like what pine trees smell like for several moments. Note: I’ve never actually tasted pine before.
La Colmena Reina Last Third
I performed a little touch up. The ash wasn’t an issue as it’s been falling on it’s own after I had to tap it off the first time.
Espresso: Creamy nothingness. Way more pleasant than it sounds though – smooth, creamy, light and easy.
Iced coffee: A subtler version of the first third’s woodsy notes, with a fraction of the pepper on the finish.
The retrohale brings out more of the burnt molasses that I was getting in the second third.
(Wildcard) Blanton’s – Whoa! Blanton’s brings this cigar to life! Not that I have a problem with the subtle goodness that is Warped Cigars, but wow… Cedar, leather, and a sweet tobacco profile develops quickly after just one sip of this bourbon. Several puffs later, and several sips later, something akin to rye bread also says hello.
Winding down towards the end, I switched back to water to try and draw some raw flavors out of it without the beverage assistance. I’m getting earth, weak coffee, and that interesting oak/cedar combo.
Just had to relight with about 1 1/2 inches left, so I purged it and I’m so glad I did! Graham cracker explosion on the initial puffs afterward, with a distinct (yet pleasant) barnyard note for several successive puffs.
Smooth, Easy Retrohale
Great morning smoke
Weak Second Third
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