Camacho Criollo

Just prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, Camacho Cigars launched a major campaign known as the “bold standard”.  It was described by Camacho as “the most brazen move in their nearly 50 year history”.  This campaign not only involved rebranding their cigars with a new logo and new packaging, but it also involved line consolidation and blend changes.  Camacho has decided at this time to focus on six lines.  The Camacho Criollo is one of those lines.  I recently have had an opportunity to smoke this cigar.  Overall, this might be one of the sleepers of the Camacho Cigars relaunch as this delivered a very good flavor profile.

The Camacho Criollo is based off the Camacho Havana line.  When the consolidation of the lines occurred, a decision was made to reblend this as the Camacho Criollo (since it used a Criollo ’98 wrapper).  However, a decision was also made to use this opportunity to upgrade the blend as well.  The old Camacho Havana has now been discontinued.

Let’s look a closer at the Camacho Criollo and see what this cigar experience brings to the table.

Blend Profile

When the Camacho Criollo was announced, we were the first media outlet to publish the full blend and vitola information.  There are two big changes in the Camacho Criollo from the old Camacho Havana.  First up the cigar is no longer a Honduran puro.  The blend now incorporates some Dominican Piloto Cubano tobacco in the filler (no doubt leveraging being a part of Davidoff).  The second change is that Criollo wrapper now comes from a fourth priming instead of a third priming.

Wrapper: Honduran Criollo ’98 (4th priming)
Binder: Authentic Corojo
Filler: Honduran Criollo and Piloto Cubano (Dominican)

Vitolas Available

There will be seven frontmarks for the new Camacho Criollo.  The product will be sold in boxes of 20 except for the tube offering which will be sold in boxes of 10.  The brand also has plans for 4 packs for this line.

Robusto: 5 x 50
Corona 5 1/2 x 44
Toro: 6 x 50
Figuardo: 6 1/8 x 42 x 54
Gigante: 6 1/2 x 54
Churchill: 7 x 48
Robusto Tubos: 5 x 50

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the toro-sized vitola.  The Criollo wrapper of the Camacho Criollo has a nice chocolate color to it.  There is some amount of oil on the surface ofthe wrapper. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.

The band to the Camacho Criollo is a bright yellow color with black font.  it features the text “CAMACHO” representing the brand’s bolder font.  Above that logo is the text “INFAMOUS SINCE 1962” in a smaller font.  Below the “CAMACHO” text is the text “CRIOLLO” in a very small black font with a thin black line below it.  Below that the brand’s new scorpion logo – also in black font.  The remainder of the band has black trim.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to my smoking experience of the Camacho Criollo, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut.  After the cap of the cigar was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase.  The dry draw notes treated me to chocolate, leather, and a little floral spice.  There was also an interesting raw honey sweetness in the background.  That sweetness would play a key role in the smoking experience.  While I didn’t consider the pre-light draw to be overly “bold” on the Camacho Criollo, I found it to be very flavorful.  At this point I was ready to light up my Camacho Criollo and see what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start of the Camacho Criollo started out with some earth notes.  In the background there was some background red pepper and chocolate.  A little further in the background was some of the raw honey sweetness that I got on the pre-light draw.  The pepper slowly developed on the retro-hale and also had some of the red pepper qualities that I got on the tongue.

By the end of the first third, the earth and pepper notes were primary.  The honey notes increased slightly in intensity, but were still a secondary note.  The chocolate notes were more distant as a tertiary note.

In the second half, the honey notes joined the pepper as a primary note.  The earth receded into the background.  The Camacho Criollo demonstrated good balance and never got too sweet.  The cigar closed out flavorful with no harshness.  The resulting nub was firm to the touch, but seemed to be slightly on the warm side.

Burn and Draw

From a burn standpoint, I did find that each of the Camacho Criollos I smoked did require several touch-ups along the way.  While the cigar did not tunnel or canoe, there were still more touch-ups than I prefer.  The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color.  For the most part it was firm, but it was prone to flaking from time to time.  The burn rate was ideal.  Even though the burn temperature was a little warm at the very end, the burn temperature was pretty much ideal for most of the cigar experience.  The warmer finish to the cigar really had no adverse effects on the flavors at the end.

From a draw standpoint, the Camacho Criollo performed flawlessly.  The draw was not too loose and not too tight.  I found this an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.

Strength and Body

Given the focus around the “bold standard”,  I paid particular close attention to both of these attributes on the Camacho Criollo.  I’ve smoked several of the new Camachos and while I don’t think this is the boldest one when looking at strength and body, it still has enough to satisfy those looking for boldness.

The Camacho Criollo starts out medium strength, but the strength does increase.  By the second half, the strength moves into the medium to full range.  As for the flavors, they also start out medium-bodied.  The flavors progress to medium to full-bodied by the start of the second third. By the start of the second half, the body is truly “bold” as I found the flavors to be full-bodied.  In terms of strength vs. body, I did find the body to have a slight edge.

Final Thoughts

The reblends of the Camacho Criollo (Havana) and Camacho Diploma underwent the two biggest amounts of changes to their blends.  Any time a brand repackages and reblends staples of their line, there is always risk.  I do think Camacho has succeeded with these changes – especially with the Criollo.  Overall, I think the Camacho Criollo delivers an outstanding flavor profile.  It also does a great job at delivering bold flavors without overwhelming you with too much strength.  The reblends of the Camacho Corojo and Camacho Corojo Maduro might get a little more attention because Camacho is so much associated with Corojo, but the Camacho Criollo should not be overlooked.  I’d probably still steer this cigar more toward an experienced cigar enthusiast since it is on the fuller side.  As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely smoke again.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st third), Medium to Full (Start of Second Third), Full (Second Half)
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 92

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Union Cigar Company in Monroe, North Carolina.