Back in 2013, Skip Martin and his RoMa Craft Tobac company debuted a special limited edition cigar line known as the CRAFT. The idea behind the CRAFT was to use nothing but a chaveta, the tool used to cut the leaf. There were no molds involved and of course it was rolled completely by hand. The original CRAFT was named – CRAFT 2013 La Campaña de Panamá Soberana. The name was a reference to the neighborhood church bells in Panama Soberana in Esteli Nicaragua. The following year, RoMa Craft introduced the La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Witchcraft at the Cali Mega Herf.
The blends of both of these were based on the company’s highly successful Neanderthal cigar line. After 2014, the CRAFT went dormant, that is until 2018 when Skip announced to all his followers on his Instagram feed:
“This 5 x 60 figurado features the same internal blend as the Neanderthal (a Pennsylvania Broadleaf Double Ligero GRS-1 attenuated and accentuated by Nicaraguan and Dominican Criollo tobaccos). The binder is our thickest Ecuador Habano Ligero. All of this is covered head to foot by an Ecuador Connecticut dark candela capa and then skirted with a heavy second Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. Eight tobaccos from six regions of four tobacco producing countries.
Each component has been utilized and positioned in the blend deliberately tasked with a specific objective to deliver in the effort to harmonize the aspects of combustion, aroma, strength and flavor. “
The RoMa craft faithful have ordered and stocked all 20,000 cigars and I was able to get 5 early samples from a great BOTL, Brett Fry, owner of Tobaccology in Manassas, Virginia. Once I received them, I placed them neatly in my humidor and let them rest a bit. Finally it was time to fire one up, and then another today. So this review is based on two samples.
The CRAFT 2018 has a six country blend described by the company as:
- Wrapper – Ecuador (Connecticut Dark Candela), Pennsylvanian Broadleaf
- Binder – Ecuadorian Habano Ligero
- Filler – Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & Pennsylvania
As a limited edition cigar, the CRAFT 2018, was limited to 20,000 cigar packaged in 10-count boxes. The MSRP is set at $15.00/cigar.
The shape is a unique figurado. The foot is a 60 ring gauge and it tapers down over 5 inches to what looks like a 46 ring gauge. These are artfully created at Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A in Esteli Nicaragua.
As I noted, the RoMa Craft CRAFT 2018 is a unique shape. It has what I would call a beautiful Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper with its natural blotches and veins and light tooth to it. If you love broadleaf, you will love the look and feel of this cigar. The wrapper is dark brown with a slight red hue in it. The foot is closed with the exposed candela leaf along with a strip of candela leaf exposed near the cap.
There is no identifying band on this cigar. It is identified by its look and size. There is however, a clear plastic sleeve that covers the vitola and is open on both ends.
There is a pungent fermented leaf aroma along the barrel and just a mild sweetness off the closed foot which I attribute tot he candela leaf.
I gave it a straight cut above the green candela strip and proceeded to move onto the cold draw. As one would expect, the draw was restricted due to the closed foot, and delivered notes of savory spice along with an emergent pepper on lips.
It was now time to turn this one to ash as I used my single flame torch lighter to ignite the closed foot and take in the first puffs of sweet spice notes.
Cigar Review Notes
- First light brings sweetness and spice with a touch of grass
- There is a mild jag on the burn line to start
- Coffee notes enter after a half inch of burn along with a savory finish
- Black pepper notes exhaust through the nose
- Flaky, salt and pepper ash forms on a rather thick char line
- Light fruit aroma fills the air
- Coffee notes increased after an inch plus into the burn
- Smooth smoke at this early stage
- A touch of mineral enters
- Ash is holding on well, considering it is tapering down
- Sweetness enters
I have to note that the first sample I smoked was like being a first date. I was not puffing it correctly early on and the combustion was not enough to burn through the double wrapper. This resulted in a tunneling effect. This is why I like to have more than one sample to review so I know better the next time. Once I knew to puff a bit longer in through the first inch, the second sample performed just fine.
- Creamy notes join the sweetness
- Mineral and earth increase with a vegetal nuance
- Dry cocoa notes spike for a few puffs then disappear
- Less wave in the burn as it gets down to the smaller ring gauge
- A refreshing mint note enters deep in second third
- Flavors have blended well
- Ash has gotten less flaky
- Savory notes are still predominant
- Aroma shifts to a maple syrup note
- Strength has moved up to medium full
- Pepper enters in the end especially on the nose
- Total Smoking Time was just shy of 2 hours.
Overall, the RoMa Craft CRAFT 2018 was a complex and savory smoke that is one a true cigar enthusiast would enjoy. The flavors and aromas shifted and blended throughout the experience. From a construction point of view, it had a decent burn but did exhibit a wavy burn through half of the journey and it had a flaky ash during that same journey. As I mentioned, you need to puff on it a little more at the start to get the combustion going and then slow it down as it begins to taper in. I rate this a 93. I would say pick up a fiver, if you can find them, and let a few age some more.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Jagged Burn; (-1) Flaky Ash; (-1) Salt and Pepper Ash