Born from a bicycle company, the Indian Motorcycle factory opened in 1901 and featured a gasoline powered bike. According to the Indian Motorcycle website:
“Bicycle racing promoter and former bicycle racing champion George Hendee hired Oscar Hedstrom to build gasoline engine-powered bicycles to pace bicycle races. In February, Hedstrom began work on the motorized pacing bicycle in a shop in Middletown, Connecticut. He completed the first motorized bike in May and shipped it the 38 miles to Hendee in Springfield, Massachusetts. The machine, and the other two bikes Hedstrom built in 1901, proved to be powerful and reliable, establishing the company’s reputation for outstanding performance. Later that year the company’s first factory was established on Worthington Street in downtown Springfield.”
114 years later the Indian Motorcycle Company partnered with Phil Zanghi of Debonaire Cigars who has released the Indian Motorcycle Cigars brand. The connection between Phil and the Indian Motorcycle Company goes back to the days after the company went bankrupt in 1953 and over the ensuing years 7 different companies acquired the rights to the name. One of those was Phil’s father. In 2011, Polaris Industries finally acquired and transformed it back to its early american roots.
It is with Polaris Industries that Phil Zanghi inked a licensing deal with. The Indian Motorcycle Cigars brand was introduced at the 2015 IPCPR. In January of 2016, Drew Estate announced an exclusive U.S. distribution agreement with Debonaire House and Indian Motorcycle Cigars.
The Indian Motorcycle Cigars Maduro is available at select retailers and comes in 4 vitolas:
- Robusto: 5 x 50
- Toro: 6 x 52
- Gordo: 6 x 58
- Churchill: 7 1/2 x 50
I received a sample of the Indian Motorcycle Cigars Maduro Churchill at the 2015 IPCPR and it has rested now for about 11 months in my humidor. I have to say I looked at this cigar many times when deciding what to enjoy at night, and the extreme rugged look kept me turning away, but looks can be deceiving and perhaps one should not judge a book by its cover or in this case cigar by its wrapper.
The Indian Motorcycle Cigars Maduro is a wrapped with Connecticut broadleaf maduro with a Dominican Republic binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Central American including HVA Ligero, Nicaraguan Seco, and Piloto Cubano. As I mentioned, the look of the cigar is rugged with large protruding veins throughout and a blotchy leaf.
The band is designed to look like you were smoking this cigar while working on your bike. It has the classic Indian Motorcycle logo in the center with a bright shiny red background and what I would describe as motor oil smudges along the sides. On the bottom it is declared as an Ultra Premium Cigar”.
I actually like the band, as it builds on the overall rugged look.
I don’t get much on the sniff test but the cold draw had a strong musty earth flavor to it. The draw was properly open. As I rolled it about my lips I also picked up a hint of red pepper.
I fired this up with a single torch lighter taking my time to warm the foot to get it ignited well. It took to the flame nicely and was greeted with a small amount of red pepper and then a delicious cinnamon and coffee mix. I have to say it again, don’t judge the book by the cover! There is a has a long fruity, dried currant, finish that sticks to the palate. The ash, which lasts for about an inch, is decent with a thick char line. The coffee and fruit continues through the first third.
The Indian Motorcycle Cigars Maduro is a slow burner. As it gets into the second third the cinnamon dances back in and a developing sweetness appears with a hint of butter.
The final third brought some bitterness and charred oak flavors with a hint of the early red pepper. I would have to say this stage was not as enjoyable as the 1st two-thirds of the smoke. The strength was pretty much a solid medium throughout.
Overall the Indian Motorcycle Cigars Maduro Churchill was a decent cigar. It had some unique flavors (dry currant and cinnamon) that I don’t always get in a cigar. It burned extremely well, especially considering the many predominant veins throughout. If I was to pair this with a beverage it would be a dark espresso or possibly a nice peaty single malt.