Back in 2014 Skip Martin and RoMa Craft Tobac teased the cigar market with a possible new addition to the RoMa Craft family. It wasn’t until 2015 when the company finally released the long anticipated entry of the Neanderthal HN. I would say good things are worth waiting for especially in the craft cigar market, where construction and flavor is critical to the success of the cigar. In the case of the Neanderthal HN it may well have been the construction or maybe even the select leaf that Skip used in the blend. He wanted this cigar to be strong but not take away from the flavor.
As part of the journey to create the Neanderthal HN, Skip was learning more about the blending process and as my friend and fellow Cigar Media Association member. William Cooper (Cigar Coop) explained in his review of this RoMa Craft gem:
“Skip was introduced to a Pennsylvania Double Ligero leaf known as Green River Valley Sucker One (GR-S1). This is a regrowth leaf from Pennsylvania broadleaf that has a natural higher nicotine level (between 9% to 13% – significant higher than the 5% – 6% found in Esteli, Ligero). Using this leaf allowed Martin to increase the blend’s strength. Various filler tobaccos were then added to balance out the flavor and aroma.”
I would say it has worked for Skip as the Neanderthal HN has been a highly sought after cigar even to this day. I picked one up as part of my “March Madness” gift certificate from Ambassador Cigars and Spirits Lounge in Troy, MI.
RoMa Craft describes the complex blend as:
- Wrapper – Mexican San Andres Maduro
- Binder – U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
- Filler –U.S. Pennsylvania Double Ligero (GR-S1), Nicaraguan (Conega, Jalapa, Pueblo Nuevo, Esteli), Dominican Republic (Olor)
Well that is about as complex as it gets.
The Neanderthal HN is available in a single Vitola, a 5 x 54/56 Figurado and just to make it fun, Skip decided to package them in 50 – count boxes. They retail currently for around $600.00/box but many sites offer 10% off on the box buy.
To start off with, the Neanderthal HN is not a normal looking cigar. It is a figurado, but when you think of this type of vitola, you think more of perfectos or presidentes, or even pyramids where the cigar is not uniform in shape and has at least a tapered head or both head and foot. In the case of the Neanderthal HN it has a taper to it but does not come to a point, it does have a slight bulge near the foot. In fact, the cigar is finished with a flat head which makes you think about how to open it up. I used a punch for this review but I have read where you can use your cutter and gently rotate it around the head to take off the cap. In fact I am told the 50-count box comes with a razor blade to do just that.
Continuing with the examination – the wrapper is typical San Andres, dark brown in color, with some grit to it and a few noticeable veins There are aromas of hay and sweetness along with a saffron spice. As mentioned, I used a punch to open it up, and gave it some cold draw puffs that offered solid earthy notes with an evolving pepper on the lips and some leather. Rolling it around a little more I pick of a gentle sweetness in the background.
The band on this is simple, white and brownish orange, with the word Neanderthal pressed into it.
Well, I guess it is time to fire up the Neanderthal HN take this journey. I did eat something before as I know this will have some strength to it.
Cigar Review Notes
- Wow! Damn you Skip, the red pepper whacks me hard in the nasals right off the light
- Once I get past the pepper and I am assured my nasal passage is open, I picked up some early floral and nut notes
- Spice follows quickly
- Flaky salt and pepper ash on a medium char line
- Rich cedar notes enter after an inch
- Retro-hale smooths out well – that is good because I didn’t think my nasals could take anymore abuse!
- Fruit enters wrapped in the cedar
- Hint of vanilla popped in
- Solid medium strength so far but it is growing
- Full body of smoke
- Ash fell half way through the burn, revealing a well centered and flat burn cone
- Flavors blended and are well-balanced through the second third with an added savory note
- Spice and pepper pick up entering the final third as does the strength
- Citrus and coffee notes mix into the profile
- The citrus has a long finish
- Finished with heavy spice and pepper and solid full strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 min
Overall, the RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN was a bold and flavor cigar that delivered on the promise of strength for sure. The complex flavor notes in this cigar continuously enticed the palate and the burn was pristine down to the nub. This is certainly not a cigar for the novice but if you are experienced and like flavor and strength, this is a one you want to have. Of course if you have already tried this gem, I am sure you search it out in your local Brick and Mortar.