What initially lured me to the Tempus line of cigars was not the company behind the smoke — Alec Bradley — even though AB rolls out some really nice affordable blends. Nor was it the flashy yet tasteful band. What got me was the factory — Raices Cubanas in Honduras, where they also roll Illusione and Cruzado cigars for Dion Giolito.
So needless to say I was pretty excited to get my hands on a few of these a couple months ago. By the time I finally acquired them I’d read many favorable reviews and my appetite was whetted. I ripped open the five-pack, put four in the humidor, and reached for my cutter. But wouldn’t you know it. After all that pent up anticipation the first cigar I try is plugged. GAHR!
I tried to smoke it anyway, but after half an hour of fruitless struggle I gave up. With one down and four to go I decided to let the new arrivals unwind for a bit in the humidor. Fast forward a couple months and their performance is either very much improved, or that tight one was an anomaly.
The Genesis is the corona entry in the Tempus lineup. They were originally released (to much acclaim) in May of 2008, along with the standard robusto, torpedo and churchill formats, in addition to a lancero. Recently a large perfecto has been added. In line with the Latin theme (tempus is Latin for time) the vitolas have very Roman sounding frontmarks:
- Centuria (7 x 49 churchill)
- Imperator (6.1 x 52 torpedo)
- Terra Nova (5 x 50 robusto)
- Creo (7.5 x 41 lancero)
- Magistri (6.5 x 53 perfecto)
- Genesis (5.5 x 42 corona)
Alan Rubin, the man behind Alec Bradley, says that the Tempus has been in development since 2001. It has taken that long to work the blend, hence the name Tempus (I presume.) The cigar was built around the wrapper leaf — a rich and bold Honduran Criollo 98. Beneath the hood there is an Indonesian binder and a blend of corojo and criollo tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.
The rough and veiny wrapper is lacking in aesthetic appeal, but the complexity of flavor and aroma of the cigar proves once again that looks can be deceiving. The caps on some of these sticks are bumpy and irregular, but they are nicely mounted, some with triple and others quadruple seams.
I would classify this as a fairly aggressive medium-full bodied cigar. It starts up with a zingy sweet char and a leathery aroma. The flavor is earthy with a good dash of pepper. There is a mild bite on the tongue, but it mellows after about half an inch. At this point the smoke takes on a somewhat musky quality.
Two thirds of the way in and I’m picking up more woody notes — that sweet char remains, but it is augmented by a sweeter, woodier aroma. The burn is very good, but the ash has a tendency to crack and fall off. The draw problems I had with that first Genesis are all but a distant memory — the rest of them were just about perfect in that department.
Forty five minutes later and I’m entering the last leg of this corona — the woody core is still beating strong, accompanied now by a return of that initial peppery spice. The aroma retains that musky element that cropped up early on, but now there’s a sweet corojo-like caramel edge to it.
This cigar is best approached slowly — smoking it quickly, or pulling on it too forcefully, results in a smoke that is both more aggressive and less complex than it should be. There’s a decent kick to this smoke as well, but nothing that warrants concern. My only complaint was that it wasn’t quite as smooth as I had hoped, but smoking slowly helped to minimize the bite.
Overall I’d say the Tempus Genesis offers a lot of complexity in a small package, but it lacks gentility, and there may be some consistency issues in construction.
And who knows? Maybe the rough edges on this cigar will be tempered by time… so to speak. In any case, with its very reasonable price (in the 6 to 10 USD range) and fantastic aroma I will most definitely be trying some other sizes in the line.
Final score: 87
Other Reviews of Note:
Her Humidor reviews the Genesis
Brian’s take on the Terra Nova for the Stogie Review
Jamie endangers his designer cut-off t-shirt with the Genesis