Camacho’s Corojo Diploma was among the first cigars I reviewed for this blog, so when I cracked the humidor last night and heard that groan from Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” I knew it was time to revisit one of Camacho’s Special Edition corojo cigars. Sometimes you just want a super heavyweight, and this is one of them.
The 11/18 shares a lot of the same characteristics as the Diploma, but the shape is certainly different. The 11/18 is a bulbous figurado that starts out at the head at around a 48 ring gauge, expands to about a 54 in the center and then narrows again to a 48 at the foot. It’s a rough looking cigar with a ruddy but very oily and thick wrapper, and a cap that looks like it might have been applied by school children. (Obviously it wasn’t, since it cuts perfectly, but aesthetically it leaves something to be desired.)
Like Camacho’s other Corojo cigars, this one is pure unadulterated Honduran leaf from Camacho’s farms in the Jamastran valley. Simplicity itself. The seeds used for this tobacco are descended from the “original” Corojo developed in Cuba, a strain which is no longer in use in Cuba due to its susceptibility to disease and mold. The Special Edition cigars (Diploma, 07/05, and 11/18) are loaded up with extra powerful sun grown ligero from these special corojo plants.
I enjoyed a hearty meal of meat and potatoes in preparation for my after-dinner smoke, and having retired to the porch with a glass of Talisker and this Camacho 11/18 I got right to work. After cutting this cigar with some care I was met with a spicy pre-light flavor with a little salt. The roll is solid and well packed, but it draws really well.
The first third of this beast is full-flavored, but relatively tame. Up front I noticed a sweet cereal taste (as in grain cereal with sweet tobacco overtones, not Fruity Pebbles) which I remember as fairly unique to the Diploma size. I haven’t noticed this with the standard Corojo Monarca, or any other cigar for that matter. There’s also a lot of salt here, and it’s surprisingly smooth. Full flavored, absolutely, but with no harshness. Just the way it should be.
After an inch or so I ran into the problem that everyone speaks of with respect to this cigar: it really does not want to burn evenly. I struggled with the burn throughout the length of this stick and had to correct it every ten minutes, which is usually enough to make me throw out what I’m smoking and head to the humi for another one. But I had this one by the horns, and anything else after this particular cigar would taste like slightly warmish air.
At the mid-point the power of this cigar is at full tilt. The aroma is rich and heady, almost sulfurous, and the flavor is incredibly complex with leather, pepper and sweet tobacco. The aftertaste is earthy and lingering with a very long finish. About half an inch into the two-thirds section, after the bulbous part was nearly consumed, this cigar threw me aside like an old dish rag. At this point the flavor is so overpowering that I think it loses a lot of the subtleties that characterize this smoke. The nicotine content is also very high at this point and if you’re not used to it you really have to take it easy. I walked away with a mild headache and had to go lie down for a while.
The 11/18 is a real work of art I think everyone should try at least once, and if you love full-bodied cigars you’re going to get hooked. The only nagging issue with this cigar is a badly uneven burn. But corojo is rather notorious for having this problem, so this may just be the price you pay for a cigar of this caliber. Well, not the only price. These retail for around 9 to 10 USD per stick.
It’s quite a ride, though not one I’ll be taking everyday.