During the 2020 Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) Trade Show, I met up with Tre-J Cigars CEO Jay Clark. We had a fun and engaging conversation that started with him handing me a sample of his company’s newest blend, The Negotiator, which was also shown at the 2019 PCA trade show. Our conversation got into depths of engineering, manufacturing, and business rather than cigars, but Mr. Clark eventually tied it all back together when he explained the background behind the Negotiator blend.
As the story went, Jay used to hand out small cigars like, The Negotiator, at the bargaining table and would declare:
“When I finish my cigar, I’m walking whether we have a deal or not.”
The blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Mexican San Andres
- Binder – Dominican Olor
- Filler – Dominican, Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian
The Tre-J Cigars Vicarias The Negotiator is expressed in a single 4.5 x 48 Box Pressed vitola. It hand crafted at Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L – the home of Casa Cuevas and has an MSRP set at $6.95. The Negotiator comes packaged in 21-count boxes.
For this review, I sampled two Tre-J Vicarias Negotiators.
The Tre-J Cigars Vicarias Negotiator is a short box press cigar that has a gritty dark brown and marbled wrapper. There are some noticeable pressed veins that run through the barrel. The cigar is well packed and is finished with a simple cap.
A single band adorns the Negotiator, using a dark blue, copper, and silver motif. The center of the band has a stop watch, signifying there is only so much time to complete a negotiation. The bottom of the band declares this as “THE NEGOTIATOR” in bold copper.
As I ran the Negotiator along the nose, I noted there was little aroma coming off the barrel but the foot exuded a musty barnyard scent.
I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder, and proceeded to take in some cold draws. The draw was just fine with restriction and offered notes of earth and pepper with a light natural sweetness.
Satisfied with the pre-light, it was time to start the clock and take the Vicarias “The Negotiator” on a journey. I used a double flame torch to warm the foot to an even orange glow, and drew in the first puffs of enticing cocoa notes. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Cocoa notes start the journey right from the first lit puff
- Touch of leather enters
- Amazing full volume of smoke – mouth filling puffs
- Smooth draw
- Woody notes add to the profile as the pre-light pepper starts to reveal itself
- Light grey ash forms a fairly even burn
- Barrel gets a tad squishy after and inch plus of burn
- Sweet fruit aroma appears at the end of the first third
- Sweetness moves onto the palate
- Off burn forms midway but does not require a touch-up
- Long solid ash falls and revealed a flat but fairly centered burn cone
- Walnut adds to to the profile as the aroma shifts a butter note
- This is a truly pleasant taste experience
- Cream adds to mix through the second half with a malt like nuance
- Smoke gets hot deep in the second half
- Mild to Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was right around 1 hour
Overall, for a small vitola, the Tre-J Cigars Vicarias The Negotiator was nothing short of a flavor bomb that kept my palate interested from foot to nub with ever evolving tastes and aromas. The draw was error free. There was a bit of an off burn midway just before the long solid ash fell and the smoke got a tad hot near the end. In the final analysis, I would say this is worth picking up a fiver of and I rate his a 91.
Point Deductions: (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Slight Off Burn; (-1) Barrel Get Squishy; (-2) Smoke Gets Hot in Final
Bonus Points: (+1) Extreme solid ash; (+1) Extremely complex in flavor and aroma