Earlier this year I had the opportunity to attend the Smoke Inn Great Smoke in West Palm Beach, FL and by now you have read my recap on this outstanding event. The package of goodies was awesome, but while I was there I secured myself a box of the new Hand Gripper cigars from Moya Ruiz.
Keeping with interesting innovations in cigar packaging, the team from Moya Ruiz once again showed a new way of packaging cigars with the Hand Gripper. The cigars are an exclusive for Smoke Inn and come packaged in 12-count cardboard boxes with two sleeves of three pairs of 5 x 52 robusto cigars. Each pair of cigars is connected at the head of each cigar with a coiled wire (close exam shows it is a 3 conductor low voltage cable). This was an easy yet brilliant way to connect the two cigars. Each cigar is also covered with a large outer sleeve with the look of a “nurled” grip finish like you may have on a real hand gripper.
Danny Moya of Moya Ruiz Cigars explained his inspiration for the Hand Gripper:
“For us the concept was simple, let’s create something that’s never been done before. We are the only company that has a utility patent to be able to connect two cigars together so we came up with The Hand Gripper. As a small company to be a part of Smoke Inn’s Microblend™ Series is a dream come true. We are honored to join some of the great cigar companies that are part of this series. We couldn’t be more thankful to Abe and the entire Smoke Inn team for supporting us since day one. “
Each Hand Gripper is easily dismantled as the wire is just inserted in a hole at the head of each cigar. Before you remove one, you may want to play with the pair in front of your friend just for fun. There is very light tension from the coiled wire so squeezing the two cigars together does not impact the construction.
Moya Ruz describes the Hand Gripper blend as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
The Hand Gripper is produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Factory and were limited to only 300 boxes containing 6 pairs of cigars (12-count box). MSRP has been set at $99.00/box which works out to be $8.25/cigar.
I have had these resting in my humidor since February so it was time burn a pair to ash, so that is what I did. Here is my take on Moya Ruiz Hand Gripper.
The Moya Ruiz Hand Gripper dark brown, slightly veiny, cigar that has a decent oily sheen to it. It is finished with a simple cap that has a small hole in it where the wire was inserted. The cap is wrapped with a thick band of leaf. I will note that the first cigar I sampled, I chose not to cut it and just use the small hole to draw through. I noticed some significant burn issues with it and went with a straight cut for the second which performed much better.
Once the outer sleeve is removed you will will see the single band that brands the cigar using the unique Hand Gripper logo.
Running the Hand Gripper along the nose I did not pick up any significant aromas along the barrel but the foot was quite interesting. For some reason, and this was on both samples, I picked up a sweet, almost bubble gum like sweet, aroma off the foot.
As I noted, the first sample I did not cut, but I went with a traditional straight cut for the one I am reviewing. The cold draw was fairly open and delivered notes of very mild pepper and natural sweetness.
With the pre-light out of the way, I fired it up using a dual flame torch lighter to bring the foot to a fine orange glow. The foot took to the flame nicely. I drew in the first puffs of cedar and sweet smoke to start the journey.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial notes of cedar and sweetness
- Touch of dryness fills in the background
- White ash evolves on a medium to thick char line
- The early smoke is quite smooth with no bite to it
- As I note the smoothness, a gentle peppery burn appears on retro-hale – but only lasts for a short time
- Solid ash grows
- Butternut enters along with a hint of wood approaching the end of the first third
- Full volume of smooth smoke
- The ash fell near the second third revealing a well formed and centered burn cone
- Moving through the second third, there was a slight wave/ off burn
- By the midway, notes of nut and spice fill the palate
- Hint of coffee entering in the final third
- White pepper kicks up moving through the final
- It did burn a tad hot in the final
- Wrapper developed a small crack near the nub
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Overall, the Moya Ruiz Hand Gripper is more than just some gimmick cigar. The Hand Gripper had a smooth and flavorful array of notes delivered through a decent burn. If you are looking for a break from strong peppery smokes, this is on that will give your palate a break yet still offering flavor and aromas. From a construction perspective, it had a minor off burn deep in the second third and the wrapper did develop a small crack as it got to the nub. The smoke also burned a tad hot in the end. This is still worth picking up a box while they are still available. I rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-1) Off Burn; (-2) Smoke a Tad Hot in Final; (-1) Small Wrapper Crack in Nub; (-1) Wave in second half
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box