It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally a package of cigars will arrive here at TNCC headquarters that catches us by surprise. A package that we weren’t expecting, a package in which the sender didn’t reach out for our address, no introductory emails were sent ahead of time… a box just shows up. How did they find us? Are they watching me right now as I type this? The small white box from Crux Cigars left me shaken and disturbed, and all these questions and more kept pounding my mind over and over again like a… no, no, of course I’m being just a bit dramatic here. We get sent cigars often and we try to review as many as we can – unless they’re terrible and then we politely don’t write or talk about them. So Crux sent us a handful of their latest blend and it, thankfully, wasn’t terrible so I wrote the words that you’re about to read below…
Size: 6 1/4 x 52 (toro)
Wrapper: Nicaragua (habano seco)
Price: $13.49 (Crux Epicure Habano boxes are currently on sale at Famous Smoke Shop and you can save $20 off your purchase of $100 or more by using promo code TNCC20)
The Epicure Habano is draped in a veiny, milk chocolate brown wrapper that features a minimal amount of surface oils. The wrapper emits a leather aroma and there’s just a touch of sweetness found when sniffing the foot of the cigar directly.
After experiencing a cold draw consisting of mesquite, mint, and some sweetness, the Epicure Habano is set on fire. I’m immediately greeted by a nice spice through the nose. The spice starts off mild and grows puff by puff into a medium-strength nostril sting. There’s a dominant woodsy flavor on the draw accompanied by a lesser leather note. The cigar is drawing smoothly with just the right amount of resistance and the resulting smoke production is copious.
At around the 1” mark, both a mineral and a faint floral component begin to simultaneously emerge behind the spice. Interestingly, soon after that the spice completely disappears – one puff it’s present and the next it has vanished and been replaced by a not unpleasant mustiness. The fleeting floral note is still hanging around but the retrohale’s mineral has ejected from the Epicure Habano’s profile along with the MIA spice. I find myself asking myself, “Self, what exactly is this cigar trying to do here?” Self doesn’t have an answer to that question, yet. The Epicure Habano seems to be burning rather slowly as I’m almost 30 minutes into the smoking experience and I am still well within the first third of the cigar*.
The woodsy and leather notes continue to rule the roost as far as the draw is concerned. Those flavors have been super consistent from the beginning, unlike the retro’s frequently evolving profile. Speaking of which, a slight saltiness has hopped on the saddle to ride along with the mustiness. It’s an unusual combination but it’s far from objectionable at this point. Construction has been very good thus far with no issues to report. I do thump off the nicely-formed grey ash at the beginning of the second third simply as a precautionary measure. Protect your laps, boys and girls, your pants will thank you for it.
The retro’s saltiness and floral component have both faded away giving way now to a lightly roasted coffee note. The draw remains the same. If you’re on the hunt for complexity in the Epicure Habano, the action is all through the nose. The cigar’s strength remains on the mild side of medium, especially with the total absence of that initial spice.
With the burn line rapidly approaching, I removed the cigar’s band and was surprised to discover that what I had thought was a secondary strip of brown paper running through the center was actually exposed wrapper leaf. It’s an impressive aesthetic touch. Construction remains stellar in the cigar’s final act and the flavor profile as a whole remains unchanged as well: must, light coffee, woodsy and leather notes. In other words, the second half of the Epicure Habano is unfortunately less interesting than the first.
The cigar’s strength does increase to medium territory at the beginning of the final third, so that development alleviates the boredom somewhat. As far as pairings are concerned, I’m going to recommend going with your favorite cup of coffee. The Epicure Habano begins to burn a bit hot towards the end signaling me that it’s time to say goodbye.
Featuring highly consistent woodsy and leather notes on the draw and a fun, complex spinning wheel of rapidly changing flavors via the retrohale in the first half, the Epicure Habano is unlike any other premium cigar that I’ve smoked recently. And that’s a good thing! So pick up a handful of the Epicure Habano (I much preferred the toro size to the robustos that Crux also submitted for review), blow some smoke out your nose, and let us know what you think.
*Total smoking time was 1 hour, 55 minutes