Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ave Maria Crusader

If you are a constant reader you know that I have mentioned in previous reviews how a cigar band can be a very effective marketing tool.  There are several cigars that I have purchased just because I liked the artwork on the band. Ave Maria cigars are another brand that because of their great band design, I became interested in trying their products and eventually had to buy a few. Let me explain this motivation a bit.

Ave Maria Crusader
After reading “The Da Vinci Code,” and several other novels, by Dan Brown, the mystery surrounding the Knights Templar organization really intrigued me. It intrigued me enough that over the years I have done great deal of research on the history concerning the rise and fall of the Knights Templar and this in turn spun off to more research on King Richard’s third crusade.  In a nutshell, how these events are portrayed on television and in movies (other than Dan Brown renditions), are not even close to what really happened

Now that you know where my desire to smoke these cigars came from, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty about how this particular cigar performed. First, even though we have combined blogs, I am still the same cheap buyer that I was before.  This Crusader retails online for $7.00 but I managed to pick this one up in a Nicaraguan sampler at $2.03 per stick.  I call that really being a cheap ash!

Quick Details
  • Cigar Size: 5 x 52
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper:  Ecuadorian-grown Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero and  Viso, Honduran Viso
  • Price: $7.00 Online
Ave Maria Crusader
Construction: Overall the construction of this cigar is in the average range for the price point. Visually inspecting the cigar, the wrapper contained a few smaller veins and it was rolled on with nearly invisible seams. Checking the cigar for firmness I found it packed just about right, there were no hard or soft spots along the length of the body.  With a quick aroma check there were nice, but faint, notes from both the body and the foot of spicy cedar, a touch of sweet fruit and earth. Once the end was clipped I found the even cold draw had notes of spicy cedar and tobacco. The end cap left a slight sweetness on my lips that I like from a cigar.

Flavor: Once the cigar was burning the initial flavors were a tart/sweet, mix of mild fruit, earth, mild black pepper and earth. However, as the smoke from this cigar tickled my palate, it had a slightly dry, red wine, type of finish which eventually disappeared when the tartness did. As the burn line crept closer to the mid-point, some toasted oak joined the flavor mix. By the time the burn had reached the final third, notes of nuts, sweet cream and leather dominated the flavor mix moving the strength of this cigar from medium bodied more in to the full bodied range for a nice, long, satisfying finish.

Burn: The cigar produced a fair volume of white smoke with a pleasant aroma of toasted nuts and tobacco. There were no major problems with the burn, it was not razor sharp, but it never veered off enough to need correction.

Overall Insights: Overall this cigar was a pretty enjoyable stick. The aroma notes from the foot and the wrapper were fainter than I like, but the flavor mix made up for it. I only have one of these left so I will soon need to restock, but for now I will keep my one remaining cigar in the second drawer.