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Diamondback, one of Altadis U.S.A.’s 2011 releases, was among a few other new cigars that stayed relatively under the radar. While nothing to this effect has been said explicitly by Altadis, it seems to me like Diamondback is their answer to Camacho’s ever-popular Baccarat—a mellow, sweet-tipped, Connecticut-wrapped cigar at comfortable price range. Having tried and enjoyed Baccarat, I wanted to see what this new stogie was all about, so I opened up a box of Robustos and put one to the test.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the construction of the Diamondback Robusto was solid with no soft or hard spots. The cap was very well applied, and after clumsily snipping some of it, the draw was firm but the flavors were generous. What really surprised me was the level of spice that this cigar produced on the pre-light in spite of its deceptively-light and velvety wrapper leaf. The pre-light draw was peppery and woody, and the sweet tip complemented the spice nicely.

Lighting this stogie was a cinch with a dual-torch lighter, and before I could even get my bearings, the Diamondback Robusto unleashed a surprisingly intense spice blast. I immediately realized that this was more than your typical mellow-bodied “background” smoke. Once the spice subsided, the flavors stayed somewhat creamy with some cinnamon and nutmeg in the background. I also got a nice oaky vanilla note that made me wish I had glass of something strong at the time, maybe a nice, smoky bourbon.

Further in, the pepper subsided to about half of its original strength, and the cigar took on a more traditional Connecticut flavor profile. From here until the final inch or so, I picked up cream, caramel, and a little bit of red and black pepper. On the retrohale, the baking spice from the first third came back a bit, combining with the cream and caramel to form a Chai tea-like flavor.

In the last inch and change, the smoke got a little less creamy and the earthy, peppery flavors of the Nicaraguan interior leaves made themselves known. While still coasting around mellow-to-medium-bodied, the cigar produced a much richer tobacco flavor in the final third, and with the sweetness of the tip just barely hanging on, I could really appreciate the straightforward, no-frills taste of this smoke. With just under an inch left (and with about an inch and a half of ash still clinging on), I set the Diamondback Robusto down in the ashtray.

As the name Diamondback might suggest, this would be the perfect smoke for sitting around with your buddies and playing some poker. While it was a bit peppery at the very beginning (definitely stronger than the Baccarat), the sweet tip kept it from getting out of hand, and the nicotine never quite caught up to me, so I was able to keep a clear head throughout the smoke. Especially considering the price, I’d definitely say this is one of Altadis’ better smokes, and I plan on keeping a few on hand for occasions that I wouldn’t quite call “special,” but are good enough for a stogie nonetheless.

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