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Cigar Review – Brick House Robusto

As far as sticks that Cigar Aficionado gives high ratings to go, the Brick House Robusto is a different kind of smoke. They gave this one a 92 percent rating last year and ranked it at the number 17 spot in their Top 25 Best Cigars of 2010 list, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a great cigar. It is, however, out of the ordinary for a cigar that retails for less than $5 per stick.

Brick House, originally a Cuban puro, was one of Julius Caeser Newman’s very first brands, and was named after his childhood home. Today’s reincarnation of the brand is made entirely of Nicaraguan tobacco by J.C. Newman’s grandchildren, Eric and Bobby Newman. The wrapper, a Nicaraguan-grown Havana Subido, was a medium shade of brown with some oily sheen, and was evenly covered in fine veins. The filler swirled nicely at the foot of the cigar, and was consistently firm throughout the length of the stick. After clipping the triple-seam cap, I took a few pre-light draws and got cocoa, baking spice, and raisins. I also noticed that the draw was nearly effortless.

The cigar lit pretty easily with a single torch, and right off the bat a ton of smoke came through. Initially I got a flash of red peppery spice with some faint syrupy sweetness in the background, along with a little bit of cocoa. Inch by inch the spice built, hovering somewhere between red and black pepper. There was definitely a lot to the flavor profile, and I had trouble picking it all out in one smoke, so I puffed away pretty rapidly. Despite my smoking speed, however, the draw stayed cool all the way to the nub.

About halfway through, the cigar’s colossal ash fell off. Almost immediately after, the spice started to mellow a little while the syrupy sweetness came to the foreground. The fading spice allowed some really nice floral notes to come through, along with a bit of citrus bitterness, which was not quite at the level of orange zest, but more like the white part between the skin and the fruit—I think it’s called the pith. Whatever it was, it was really nice and went well with the sweetness.

I had about two inches left of the cigar and I was hit with a momentary wave of coffee flavor, which quickly morphed into cocoa and cherries in the span of about a quarter inch. The chocolate and cherry notes also disappeared pretty quickly, giving way to a rich, leathery, distinctly Nicaraguan tobacco flavor. I definitely recommend smoking this cigar as far down as you can, and if you have a pipe, throw the nub in there and smoke it the rest of the way down. I definitely would’ve if I brought my pipe to work.

The Brick House Robusto is the definition of a value cigar—I’ve had cigars that cost two or three times as much that weren’t nearly as well-made and well-rounded. I could’ve lit up another one of these just as soon as I put down the first, so I’ll be smoking as many of these as I can in the future. And at under $5 a stick, they’re definitely not out of my reach.

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