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Noob Reviews #4: Helix 550 Maduro

Noob Reviews: A new smoker’s guide to the best beginner smokes.

Helix 550 Mad 4Alright fellow noobs. It’s time to step out of the comfortable land of tame, light-colored, non-threatening wrappers and try something different: the maduro. The darkness of the maduro wrapper is generally a bit off-putting to new smokers. It’s wrongly perceived that dark means strong. Dark means heavy. Dark means run away. The reality is that you can just as easily find light-colored wrappers that will put you on the floor and dark maduros that smoke like a cream puff. This happens to be one of those maduros.

Helix 550 Mad 3The Helix 550 Maduro is covered by a tough, dark Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that could easily rival Kevlar for options in body armor. It boasts striking veins and a glossy, smooth tooth. The inner workings of this stick are no less sturdy due to its Honduran binder and 4 jam-packed filler tobaccos, hailing from Mexico, Brazil, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. All this is adorned with a sharp, metallic, sci-fi-esque band that you’d imagine someone smoking in Blade Runner.

Once I got this guy rolling it had some nice flavors right from the jump. Coffee and damp wood set the stage with some smooth black pepper helping out as well. The pepper was interesting in that it didn’t tingle or sting the palate as it usually does. This makes it a great candidate for curious smokers who generally don’t prefer pepper in their stogies. The body was mild to medium and left a gentle sweetness in the mouth. Leather, chocolate, and clove all popped in briefly to make sure things were going smoothly.

Further along in the cigar, the chocolate revved up considerably to contend with the smooth, damp wood flavor. The initial sweetness on the finish came out to the forefront as delicious, chewy, sweet malts along with some echoes of leather and roasted nuts. At this point the near 3 inch ash finally gave in and fell to the ground, kindly posing for the camera on its way down.

Helix 550 MadHelix 550 Mad 2The cigar finished with the sweetness slowly increasing, getting deeper and more syrupy. Out of the blue I was hit with a punch of vanilla on the draw with cream on the finish. Delicious! This calmed down quickly, but remained in the profile, blending perfectly with the malts. I found myself wanting to pair this stick with ice cream.

The Helix Maduro is the perfect place for beginners to start with darker wrappers. It comes on humbly to get you comfortable and then lulls you into its deep layers of sweet creaminess. Between that and the mild, friendly pepper, this cigar is sure to convert any play-it-safe smoker. Break the maduro stigma and get your start here.