Boutique and Altadis go together like B.J. Raji and ballet, but it looks like boutique is the word being used to review the new Warlock cigar. It used to be a boutique was a place girls went for clothing and accessories, but not any more. Now Altadis, the mammoth cigar manufacturer, is dangling a dainty tobacco treat before our eyes and dazzling us with its boutiquiness.
I suppose it’s a testament to the efficacy of the Altadis marketing department, or perhaps it’s only an indication of the gullibility of consumers in general (your truly not excepted) but I defy anyone to identify a “boutique” cigar without the band. It’s just not possible, and furthermore, it’s not necessary. The proof is in the puffin’, not the puffery.
Warlock is blended by Omar Ortez, which says more than any advertising slogan or buzzword ever could. Ortez is doing great things for Altadis; from his Originals, which have been out for a few years, to last year’s Don Diego Fuerte, he’s blending much more interesting and bolder cigars for this industry giant. And without letting Altadis off the hook for making some massively popular and incredibly boring cigars, I have to say that it’s nice to be able to find these sticks on the shelf.
With all the “boutique” nonsense floating around this cigar I expected it to be a Nicaraguan puro, but it’s not. It has an Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder, and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Five wide-mouthed sizes are (widely) available:
- Churchill 7 x 54
- Toro 6 x 54
- Robusto 4 3/4 x 54
- Belicoso 6 x 54
- Corona 5 1/2 x 44
The Warlock robusto is rugged but rich in appearance. The wrapper is dark, mottled, and exhibits a nice sheen of oil. It’s veiny, but attractive nonetheless. The roll is solid and the draw is fine. The head is rounded off and finished with a plain but functional single cap. The only thing that yells “boutique!” here is the band, which foregoes ornate gold foil for some hipster gothic script.
The burn is haphazard, but doesn’t really need correction unless you’re compulsive about a straight-edge burn. The ash is a bit flaky and loose, but not particularly problematic.
Overall construction: Very Good.
The Warlock robusto starts out smoothly, which was surprising until I reminded myself that this isn’t a Nicaraguan puro. The initial flavor is woody, but it’s not nearly as robust I expected. The finish is strangely short for a cigar billed as full-bodied and “powerfully intoxicating.” The flavor is balanced, but not as pronounced as I anticipated.
The flavor builds in the middle section, remaining primarily woody with notes of earth and coffee on the side. There is still no pepper. On the nose there is spice aplenty, but it’s subtle (and actually quite nice). Sweet notes of caramel blend with the coffee and wood to produce an aroma that is almost Illusione-esque.
Finally in the last section the pepper arrives, bringing with it some char. The power of the blend is evident at this point as well, but it’s not exactly brutal. Most medium-bodied cigar buffs will be able to smoke this one without difficulty.
The Warlock robusto is a fine smoke, though it was not what I expected. It’s balanced and well made, and I like the Ecuadorian Habano cover leaf a lot. The price is not bad either — around 6-7 bucks for the robusto.
On the other hand, I would be much more inclined to smoke this cigar again if there were a size with a 46 or 48 ring gauge. I’m getting a little tired of the 50+ RG trend.