I smoke a lot of bundle and “bargain” cigars this time of year because I don’t have the luxury of a man cave, an air-conditioned garage, or a wife who doesn’t give a damn. She does, so I don’t smoke inside the house. And around the time I emerge from the domicile to sneak an evening cigar the thermometer is just dipping below 100 degrees, so it’s either something short, or something cheap that I can toss after half an hour. Either that or I go back into the house looking like Fred Biletnikoff after the Super Bowl. (Sorry to get old school on you youngsters out there, but if you’re old enough to smoke you’re old enough to watch ESPN Classic.)
That is not to suggest that the FP Habano 98 is a second class citizen. It is in fact a bundle cigar made by La Tradicion Cubana for Fuller’s Pullers in Madison, Wisconsin, and it’s available for about two bucks a stick. The torpedoes are 6 1/2 inches long and the barrel of the cigar is a 52 ring gauge. The wrapper is a Nicaraguan Habano 98, which I think is a criollo leaf, and the filler is a Nicaraguan and Dominican blend.
This is a decent looking torpedo with a moderately dry wrapper and a somewhat odd looking head. It’s well constructed, and when the tip is clipped it draws perfectly, but the head is sort of lumpy and crooked, like the crown of a crumpled wizard’s hat.
But it burns straight and tastes pretty good, which in the bargain category makes it a winner from the start. It’s a mild cigar which builds at the mid-point to a medium body. The wrapper imparts a pleasant aroma of cedar and spice which hints at what the LTC robusto offers, but the FP H98 doesn’t have the same depth or complexity. (Nor would I expect it to.) The flavor is straightforward mild tobacco with a woody character up to the half-way point where it takes on a tinge of soot. At the two-thirds point the flavor gets muddier and it’s pretty much downhill from there. Like most bundle cigars I find this one is best smoked to the 50 yard line. Beyond that point and you’re on your own.
This is a pretty good cigar for a couple bucks. If you’re in the market for a high quality mild econo smoke it’s worth a look. If there’s another cigar with a wrapper this good selling for under two bucks it would definitely pique my interest.