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Going back to work after a long weekend is never an easy thing to do, and neither is driving about 20 miles on crappy roads after our first real snowstorm of the season. But knowing that I’d get to smoke a stogie when I arrived gave me a little more of an incentive, so I trudged on and now I’m here.
I’m not the type of guy to judge a cigar for being cheap. If anything, I’ll bash an expensive stogie for not living up to its high price. But sometimes a cigar is so cheap that you can’t help but think there’s going to be something wrong with it, and the Oba Oba! Robusto Maduro that I smoked today goes for as low as $1.28—most sticks at that price point are a little less than impressive. But the Oba Oba! line is made by Tabacalera Perdomo, and that’s always a good sign.
To my surprise, this cigar looked, tasted, and burned like a cigar that cost easily four or five times as much. The wrapper was dark and toothy with a few noticeable veins and the construction was solid with only one or two minor soft spots near the foot. The last dollar-and-change cigar I smoked (don’t bother looking for it here, it was so bad I didn’t even write it up) burned terribly and had a very noticeable—ahem—barnyard scent to it (and not in a good way), but this cigar’s pre-light draw was nice and easy with some pepper and a little bit of sweetness.
The Oba Oba! Robusto Maduro burned a little jaggedly when I first lit it, but it straightened out in a matter of minutes. From the first draw I got very sweet smoke with notes of pepper and chocolate. Once I got past the first half inch, the burn was perfectly straight and corrected itself a few times throughout the smoke. The ash was sturdy and stayed on for about an inch at a time before falling off, and the toothiness of the wrapper gave the ash a cool polka-dotted look as the stogie burned, so it was nice to look at. I’ve never seen any of those things happen with a budget smoke.
I kept puffing away at the cigar and about halfway through I started getting a very recognizable coffee taste. This combined with a little bit of caramel sweetness and the ever-present chocolate note and made for a great sweet and spicy winter smoke. I expected the pepper to creep up on me later in the cigar but it stayed manageable all the way down to the nub. The cigar didn’t even get hot as I reached the last inch and a half, so I started smoking a little faster and got a pretty heavy nicotine buzz towards the end that left my head spinning. But hey, it serves me right for judging this tasty stogie because of its price.
I don’t know what kind of magic Tabacalera Perdomo had to perform to get this cheap smoke to taste so good, but whatever it was, it worked. I expected this cigar to fall under the “taking one for the team” category, but now I’d definitely keep a few of these in my humidor for everyday smoking.