I launched this site in 2017, and at the start I was writing a review every day. That slowed by the end of the year, and in 2018, this site was largely neglected. I was still smoking, but not finding (or making) time for reviews. I have therefore set a challenge for myself: to make time for at least one review a week until at least the end of March of this year. Hopefully by then I'll have made it a habit and I'll be giving this site the attention it deserves.
I'll be smoking a cheap one tonight, a Thompson Explorer Habano. These ones are less than $2 a stick, so... that's where the bar is going to be set before we start. I've written before about cigars that are fine smokes despite a low price tag, but these are almost... too inexpensive. I'm doing this review more out of curiosity than excitement.
Cigar: Thompson Explorer Habano, by Thompson Cigar Co.
Vitola: Robusto, 5” x 50
Price: $26.50/box (of 20)
Wrapper: Javan Habano
Filler: Dominican Cuban Seed
Body: Mild to Medium
Rating (out of 10): 8.1
There's a colorful band on this one, featuring the Thompson company name against a map motif, flanked by a pair of fish. There is a secondary band beneath that one, marking the cigar as an Explorer Habano. Neither band is securely affixed to the cigar, and both slide off the stick easily.
The wrapper is brown and veiny, and feels like dry leather, with only the slightest oily sheen. There is some slight discoloration.
The cap is far from perfect; it is wrinkled, and there is a hole in the top, but I'll take it easy on that since I'm just going to cut it, anyway. The cut is fine, Thanks probably to my Xikar XO cutter.
The barrel smells distinctly of wood, with notes of fruit and cocoa at the foot.
The cold draw offers a slight bit of resistance, and offers very little in the way of flavor. Perhaps the slightest hint of coffee.
Notes of cedar and coffee to start. Soft coffee retrohale. The appearance of this cigar had me concerned, but the flavor's actually not bad. Burn is nearly perfectly even, too. Nice,white, solid ash.
Not nearly as bold and spicy as I'd expect from a Habano wrapper. Maybe there's something different about Javan Habano than Nicaraguan.
The burn has taken a slight angle to it, and the ash is beginning to curl somewhat. As it continues, it's starting to canoe somewhat. Giving it a touchup.
Flavor is consistent going into the second third. Not really any change. Nice and consistent. Not bad for a relaxing smoke. But not much more.
Last third... no change. Still burning evenly after that touchup earlier, though.
Thompson's Explorer Habano exceeded my initial expectations, but it's certainly not an “experience.” For its price, it's a fantastic casual smoke, and might go nicely with coffee in the morning. It's not going to go head-to-head with any Fuentes or Davidoffs anytime soon, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a bad cigar. It's pretty decent, for its price.