I've got another one I'm really excited to try tonight. It's another one that's pretty tough to find, but I've seen it again and again on Instagram, so when I saw it at S&A Cigar Shop in my hometown of Watertown, Massachusetts while I was home last week, I knew I had to give it a try. There's very little information out there about this one; believe me, I've looked. It's a Crow Cigar Toro, and is the Private blend of Jonás Santana. This happens to be a fellow cigar lover who I follow on IG (it's actually through his posts that I discovered the previously-reviewed Big Papi cigar by El Artista; in fact, I believe this particular cigar is another partnership with El Artista), and I loved that one, so I'm looking forward to trying this one out. Going to try my best to remain objective while reviewing it, though.
Cigar: Crow Cigars Jonás' Private Blend
Vitola: Toro 6” x 54
Price: Um, damn. I actually forget.
Origin: Dominican Republic
Rating (out of 10): 9.5
This is a stunningly beautiful stick; it has a nice, dark chocolate colored maduro wrapper, which is lightly veined, slightly toothy, and absolutely gleaming with oils. There's a neat, closed foot, invisible seams, and a flawless cap. The band is black with thin red edges, and the name of the cigar, “Crow,” scrawled in red, with an image of a crow imposed in front of it. On the reverse side, the band indicates its Dominican origin and identifies it as “Jonás' Private Blend.”
This is some flawless construction. There is a small crack near the foot, but it looks new, so I'd be willing to bet it happened while I was traveling back to Hawaii. It cuts cleanly (I used my punch on this one) without any trouble.
There's a nice woody aroma to this stick, along with some subtly earthy undertones. It's a closed foot, which I don't see often; I'd have expected it to prevent detecting anything from the foot, but I'd be wrong on that count— The foot is even earthier, and I'm picking up a faint scent of what I think is coffee...? Maybe. I'm not certain.
The cold draw is open and earthy. There's a strong flavor of cocoa there, along with some woody and earthy notes.
There's a fantastic cedary aroma as the closed foot lights and begins to burn. First draws are sweet and creamy, lending a soft vanilla to the profile, along with cocoa and some very subtle notes of sweet hay. There's also a slight spiciness to it, particularly on the finish.
I already wish I'd bought more than one of these while I was home. I'm only at the start; I can't offer a final opinion just yet, but I'm enjoying it enough already that I'm fairly certain it's not going to surprise me and turn out terribly.
As it develops a bit more, it takes on a more cedar-and-coffee profile, with a black pepper spicy zinger on the finish. About an inch in, most of the cocoa I was picking up early on has diminished significantly, replaced by the coffee. The cocoa is now a subtle undertone.
There is some slight unevenness to the burn. Not sure if it's the cigar itself, or the breeze. Still, the ash is white and solid, and the burn looks like it wants to self-correct, even if it's not quite getting there entirely.
The spiciness has faded quite a bit by the second third, and the cocoa has returned to the front, pushing the coffee back a bit.
Apparently the diminishing spice was only momentary, because there it is again!
There's a nice creaminess that kind of lingers on the lips as this smokes, adding a sweet chaser to the spicy finish.
The burn has mostly evened out by this point, leading me to think the strong breezes I had going on earlier were behind the burn issues in the first third.
In the final third, the coffee has re-emerged as the primary flavor between in cocoa/coffee duality, still balanced off the cedar. These two have been doing an interesting dance back and forth all along.
Some rich, sweet tobacco notes get to shine through in the last third, as well.
Down to about the last inch, and a quick touchup is needed to fix an inward burn (where the cherry burns into the barrel, but the wrapper and binder have stopped burning).
Probably made it to about 3/4” to 1/2” left before it got too hot to keep on smoking.
The red-and-black motif of the band, along with the Crow association, have me thinking of the Celtic war goddess, the Morrighan. Coincidentally, the day of the week associated with her is Tuesday, which just happens to be the day I'm smoking this (honestly, it wasn't on my mind when I started this review). Just an interesting link to my own background there.
Seriously, I wish it was easier to get my hands on these without having to travel home. Not that I don't love going back home to Boston and to Watertown (where I grew up), but it's quite expensive to go back, and I pretty much only get to go once a year, maximum. It's a fantastic full-bodied cigar, and the relative rarity of it only makes it that much more enticing to me. The fullness of flavor and its war-goddess association make this a cigar well-suited to warriors, and it's the kind of smoke I would gladly share with those I serve with out here.