Today I would like to introduce you to a cigar many of you may never heard of. I personally would never have heard of it if I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Daniel Nina, owner of Sticks Cigar Lounge in Rahway, NJ. We met earlier this year on the DBL Cigars Factory and Field tour in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Daniel was one of many retailers and fans of DBL Cigars on the tour. He is a tall stocky man, with an infectious smile and a NJ attitude. Yea he knows how to properly break balls, and that’s OK with me, I grew up around family and friends like him. Daniel is also a fireman in his town, so when he is not in his shop he is serving his community.
When he opened his shop Daniel knew he needed to have a killer house blend, not a run of the mill style cigar. He reached out to Cortez Cigars in the Dominican Republic to produce the blend. Daniel was hands on with the whole process and in the end, the El Primero,“The First”, Cigar was born in 2017.
”The El Primero is perfectly rolled, has a great draw and smokes beautifully. It gives a perfect ash and medium strength with a big amount of taste… An exquisite tobacco configuration that keeps you wanting more.”
The El Primaro blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Havana 2000 (Grown in Mexico)
- Binder – Dominican
- Filler – Dominican and Nicaraguan
The El Primero is available in 2 vitolas, each come packaged in 20-count cedar boxes:
- Robusto (5.5 x 54)
- Toro Grande (6.5 x 54)
Both vitolas retail for $14.00 in New Jersey. Besides his own shop the blend has been picked up by other shops in the area.
For this review I sampled two of the El Primero Robustos.
The Sticks El Primero is a slightly veiny, medium to dark brown cigar with a decent oily sheen. It is very solid in the hand with no soft spots and finished with a simple cap.
A single black and silver band adorns the cigar with the the name “Sticks Cigars” prominently displayed and the phrase “El Primero” printed below.
Running the El Primero under the nose I picked up a natural tobacco sweetness note along the barrel and a mildly pungent note off the foot.
I did a straight cut of the cap and moved on to some pre-light cold puffs. There was a good restriction to the draw and the palate was graced with earthy and pepper components.
Like all good cigars, it was time to burn this to ash and see what it really has to offer. I used a double flame torch lighter to warm the foot evenly and take in the first puffs of thick and peppery smoke to start.
Cigar Review Notes
- Peppery thick smoke to start
- Buttery popcorn aroma quickly fills the lounge
- Dry cocoa powder enters enticing the palate
- Light grey ash evolves resting on thin char line
- Earthy notes quickly evolve with a growing mineral note
- The mineral and cocoa are in a tug of war while a sweetness is poking through in the background
- Slight wave develops but eventually corrects on its own
- A bit of a pasty note enters after an inch plus of burn
- Mild syrupy and spice aroma
- Espresso notes enter start to fill in the profile with a touch of citrus fruit
- Ash is quite solid
- Coffee maintains into midpoint with an added cream component
- Aroma morphs into a toasted caramel
- Ash keeps growing
- The smoke is very smooth at this point as everything settles in well
- Citrus increases deep in second third
- The extremely long ash finally falls in one solid log revealing a centered and formed burn cone
- Touch of spice enters with some bitter citrus peel notes at the end of the second third
- Cinnamon notes entering in the final with a light sweetness
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 15 minutes to the nub
Overall, the Sticks Cigars El Primero was one of the best house blends I ever smoked. In fact it is a splendid cigar that offered a full array of flavor and aromas throughout the journey. There were a few flavor notes that appeared briefly, like mineral and pasty, but they lasted for a short time and the core flavors kept me intrigued. From a construction perspective you don’t get much better than this – just look at the ash – amazing. This is a cigar that is worthy of a fiver for sure and rightfully deserves a rating of 93.
Point Deductions: (-2) Mineral note; (-2) Short Pasty Note after an inch or so; (-1) Bitter Note end of second third
Bonus Points: (+1) Extreme Ash; (+1) Pristine Burn Line
You can order these directly from Sticks Cigar Lounge by calling them at (732) 540-8500. They will have an online shop in the near future.