Woodworking Sessions: RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN

A while back I received some whiskey barrel lids with the intent to build a guitar out of them for Matt & Gus to auction off for a charity event. Things have been pretty hectic for my household recently and my schedule has been quite busy, so I haven't had much time to work on this project. On our Whiskey & Whitetails Patreon virtual bottle pop a few weeks ago we discussed this project a bit and decided on a plan for the guitar body, and since then, I have been slowly working towards it. Today I finished squaring up the pieces so I can lay them out for laminating. I must say, this was the best smelling day of woodworking I have ever had. These lids smell like green apple candies.

My choice of smoke while working on this was the full strength offering in the new Whiskey & Whitetails Body Building Sampler. When I was making selections for this sampler, the RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal was one of the first ones that came to mind. All the vitolas of the Neanderthal are great, but the HN is a very cool vitola that smokes long and strong. This is an impressive cigar when you consider the thick, high priming, tough to burn tobaccos used in the blend. To attest to the strength this cigar contains, the PA Broadleaf Double Ligero is known as the “Green River Sucker One” that is alleged to contain 2 to 3 times the nicotine as any other tobacco this factory uses. 

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueno S.A.

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler: Dominican (Olor Ligero), Nicaragua (Condega, Esteli, Jalapa, Pueblo Nuevo), & Pennsylvania Broadleaf (Double Ligero)

Vitola: 5 x 52/58 Figurado

Price: $12.00 MSRP

Release Date: October 2014

Company Website: N/A

This Neanderthal has a clean, dark-ish wrapper with a reddish hue. This cigar has a flat head with a ring gauge that slowly tapers from 52 up to 58 near the foot, before quickly tapering back down to about 56 at the foot. I love the simplicity of the bands and I really like orange & white. I don’t like the scalloped edges of the white, however, because it makes it look like a doily. The cigar smells of savory tobacco and the cold draw is syrup and earth. First light is medium full body and medium flavor on the palate, but quite full in flavor on retrohale. The palate is savory charred wood (like you’re tending to a brisket on the smoker), a bit of earth, some pepper, and a slight dark chocolate. The retrohale has some aggression and heft with flavors of pepper, meatiness, and raisins or dates with a very slight decadent sweetness. Nearing the most bulbous part, the draw has got some of the raisin or date and definitely some subtle chocolate notes, pepper, and wood but without the char and a slight tannic note that accents nicely. Currently I am getting some of the flavor components that hint at strength, as well as the feel and approach of the pepper in the retrohale. Passing the bulb, the pepper is picking up a bit of a sting on the retrohale. The raisin/date note has faded a bit. The performance and draw have been great. The oily tannins are picking up a touch and I’m getting a bit of peppery itch in my throat. It is definitely showing characteristics of strength. Sweetness is picking back up moving into the second third. The body and flavor have been up to full for a bit. At halfway there’s a tanginess to the tannins and sweetness. Still some wood, pepper, and dark chocolate notes on the palate. A bit of coffee shows up here and there. I dropped the ash a half inch or so after halfway by choice. Entering the final third and the strength has crept up. There’s a heaviness to the smoke and a bit of heaviness in my chest. The pepper has become much more subtle in flavor as it’s progressed but there’s still a pepper sting in the retrohale and it creeps into your throat a touch on the finish. There are still some oily tannins, wood, sweetness, and some coffee. I’m not getting chocolate at this point. Nearing the band and some dark chocolate is reappearing and the pepper is coming back up. The wrapper has cracked near the head. Ending at an hour and 55 minutes of smoke time the flavor profile is the same with the strength definitely at full. Had the wrapper not cracked, it could’ve smoked for probably another 10 minutes or so.

This is a cigar I always enjoy whether I am looking for a strength bomb, flavor bomb, or just an overall good cigar. I mentioned in the beginning being impressed by the cigar and this is the case yet again. Yes, the wrapper cracked, but that didn’t impact the experience. This cigar burned perfectly for nearly two hours. That is quite the feat for a cigar that is composed of some thick, high priming tobaccos that can be the culprit for burn issues on their own, let alone blended with one another. Not only is this blend impressive from a construction side, but also from a profile stand point. It presents a balanced flavor profile that lets you know strength is there without destroying your palate or nasal passages. This is a cigar I will continue to revisit. 

Try the cigar yourself at Small Batch Cigars and let me know what you think! Use code “Whiskey” to get 10% off your entire order. Plus, sign up and begin earning 5% back in rewards points with each purchase.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or via email at trevor@whiskeyandwhitetails.com.

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