You may have seen these in the humidor of your local tobacconist, but more likely, you bought them online from Cigars International. You did this because you’re neither rich nor a snob. As much as you love your local B&M, about all you can buy there for around three bucks is a crappy bundle cigar that tastes like smoldering cardboard in a sad dumpster. No, friend, you saw these on the CI daily deal and picked up a 10-pack for $35. Huzzah! People legitimately buy these things all day for more than twice that, but not you, because alimony and child support.
What do you pair with a cigar that promises to kick your palate’s butt? Whatever kind of not-too-expensive brown liquor you happen to have lying around. Dewar’s and Johnnie Red did the trick, but on the lighter and more nuanced side, so did Bastille 1789, you fancy French whisky imbibing bastard! Make no mistake, this is a rich, mouth-filling cigar that just about overloads your ass with straightforward Nicaraguan tobacco goodness.
The webpage promises a “velvety smoke” that delivers “oak, earth, toast, wood, and leather.” Sure, we’ll go along with that. But the upfront character is simply raw earthiness and tobacco. It also promises a finish of “toast and charcoal” but toward the end, that chariness gets more than a little bit too intense and borders on unpleasant. There are two solutions here: keep the band on as a guide and toss it as the burn line approaches, or smoke it a lot slower during the final third while keeping re-lights to a minimum. That’s not always possible however, since the oily wrapper and ligero-heavy blend conspire to require at least occasional touch ups.
Sometimes you want to furrow your brow and search for deep nuances of flavor and aroma while perusing one of the most valuable vintage books in your collection. (Or at least you used to, until your wife got the house and its contents in the divorce.) Lately, you just want to come home to your 700-square-foot, sparsely furnished rental apartment at the end of a long day, collapse into the plastic Adirondack chair on your tiny balcony overlooking the community pool, and scratch your balls while unwinding with a kick ass cigar. With a Man O’ War Ruination Belicoso in hand, that’s not such a bad place to be.
F: Nicaragua, Honduras
Strong, straightforward, and satisfying. A hearty Nicaraguan smoke that will crush your palate with earth, wood and leather. Mouth-filling and unapologetically unsubtle.