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Review: Crémo “Excelsior” Robusto

by: Mark "Rocco" Picirilli and Chris “The V” Vuotto

 It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon here outside of Philly. Sunny, 70 degrees, blue skies, and zero humidity. So how to we choose to enjoy it? Well by sitting inside our local cigar lounge smoking cigars of course. However, today we have a good reason for doing so for a couple reasons. One, we’re doing our FIRST combined review and second because we’re reviewing a brand new cigar, the Crémo “Excelsior”.

This stick is a robusto (5x50) size with a Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Dominican/Nicaraguan filler. We’re told it’s a full bodied cigar by the maker, so let’s see if it lives up to that statement. We have also been told to be honest and direct with the maker and since we know no other way to be, that’s what they’ll get. Now, our sticks are cut, lit, and ready to be reviewed. Two distinct differences between us. One, I punch my cigars, Rocco cuts his. The other is Rocco is enjoying a cold Yuengling lager with his smoke where I have nothing but some water. Not sure if they will make a difference, but I at least wanted to make a note of them.

 First Impressions 

Rocco: Cut and toasted. At first draw, it was clean with good white smoke. After a few minutes in it was smooth and earthy. I would call it medium body at the start. Slight ting of pepper on my tongue after a few minutes and so far off to a good start. 

The V: The first thing I noticed is there isn’t really a smell to this stick. The wrap is on the lighter side, moderately veiny, with a triple cap. The band is is a simple band, ivory background with the Crémo in a deviating brown and silver surround. Simple, and effective. I took a dry draw of the cigar and noticed something sweet in the background, but have no idea what it is. The taste is “familiar” but I can’t for the life of me pin point it. After I lit it, however, that sweetness is nowhere to be found. The flavor become much, much stronger. For me, it seems like this is going to be a much more full bodied cigar and I’m only about four puffs in. The draw is easy and it’s producing nice white puffs of smoke. So far, so good. 

Early On 

Rocco: About 15 mins in. Razor sharp burn and tight ash. Perfect draw and it's starting to get more full bodied which I enjoy.  

The V: At this point, early on, the sweetness has returned. It has mellowed out considerably from the initial light. The burn is completely even as it should be this early in. It does seem to be burning pretty quick as well.  

Half Way Home 

Rocco: About half way in the burn is consistent and the draw has been good. Starting to get some sweet notes and some very unique flavors. It’s hard to pinpoint what they are, but its a good taste.  So far I am thoroughly  enjoying it. At the 3/4 way point the burn and flavors have been consistent. Draw is still perfect and the flavors are still complex. Earthy and creamy. I'm also getting a slight taste of pepper on the tip of my tongue again. 

The V: The burn? Still sharp. Flavor? Still mild to medium bodied to me. Very smooth and rich. Not to sound cliche, but it really does have a lot of creamy notes to it. I am enjoying this cigar a lot to be honest. Not really much else to say at this point since the profile hasn’t changed at all since early on. 

Home Stretch 

Rocco: Removed the band at the one hour mark and its been smooth as silk. For my palate, I would say it’s more of a medium bodied as opposed to full. This robusto took about 70 minutes to smoke which is a perfect timeframe for this size. Overall it was a very enjoyable and very good stick. No burn issues. Consistent smoke and draw the entire time. Lots of flavors and honestly, just a good all around smoke. I look forward trying out more of the line and if you have a chance to grab one of these, definitely give them a shot. You won't be disappointed.

The V: The cigar has gotten a little stronger and the flavor much more concentrated. Still, more of a medium bodied cigar vs. the full body I was expecting when I first lit it. My only issue, and this may be simply because I punched it instead of cutting it, is there is a bit of tar built up where the punch was made. Now, it’s not getting all over everything, and it’s only a small bit, but still it’s an issue and in the context of full disclosure I wanted to mention it.  

Rocco did not have this problem so I’m going to assume due to using a punch vs. a cut. Other than that, the construction and quality of this cigar was apparent throughout the entire session. For me, I would definitely add this to the regular rotation once they are released. I would say this cigar would be enjoyed by everyone from a cigar newbie to a seasoned cigar enthusiast.  When you see them in your local shop, be sure to give them a try!

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