|La Colmena Unico Especial by Warped Cigars|
The La Colmena Unico Especial is a cigar that will debut at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show by Warped Cigars. The Unico Especial is a variation of a new line being launched by Warped Cigars called La Colmena. The Unico Especial is a cigar that is only going to be sold to retailers that are attending the IPCPR Trade Show in person. The La Colmena line is one of several new releases planned by Warped Cigars. If you have not heard of Warped Cigars, it is worth taking note here. This is a boutique company that I think will be making a lot of noise over the next few months. In the case of the La Colmena Unico Especial, this is one special cigar. I’ve recently had the opportunity to smoke this cigar. This is simply an outstanding cigar – and it’s one definitely worth taking notice.
Warped Cigars is run by Kyle Gellis. Gellis is going into the IPCPR with three new lines – El Oso, La Colmena, and Flor de Valle. In addition, the company also has launched a series of cigar cases and its ceramic Jaridor humidor. El Oso and La Colmena are being made at the famed El Titan de Bronze factory in Little Havana, Miami while Flor de Valle is being produced by Casa Fernandez in Nicaragua. In terms of the name, La Colmena is Spanish for “the beehive”.
Without further ado, let’s break down the La Colmena Unico Especial and see what this cigar brings to the table. This cigar assessment is based on a single cigar smoking experience. While this cigar is making its debut at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show, we’ve been told that this specific cigar smoked was a part of the actual production run.
The wrapper on the entire La Colmena line is an Ecuadorian DeFlorada leaf. If the wrapper sounds familiar, this is something El Titan de Bronze has worked with before – most notably on Chinnock Cellars’ Terroir. The blend components are similar across the whole La Colmena, but as mentioned this is a slightly modified version.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian DeFlorada
Binder: Dual Ecuadorian
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
As mentioned the Unico Especial blend is available in one size – this a 5 x 48 belicoso. The Unico Especial comes packaged in a commemorative cedar-lined tin containing ten cigars- with each package hand-numbered.
|Packaging of La Colmena Unico Especial (Photo supplied by Warped Cigars)|
Each vitola (including the Unico Especial) will be rolled by a level 9 toreador who has specific responsiblities for rolling an assigned size. For completeness we include all three sizes.
|La Colmena Unico Especial (Top), Amado No. 44 (Bottom)|
Unico Especial: 5 x 48 (MSRP $15.00) by Jose Santiesteban
Amado No. 36: 6 x 36 (MSRP $12.50) by Raf
Amado No. 44: 5 1/2 x 44 (MSRP $14.50) by Reynaldo
The Ecuadorian DeFlorada of the La Colmena Unico Especial has a light brown color with a (very appropriate) honey colored tint to it. The wrapper itself has a fair amount of oil to it. There are some visible thin veins, but most of the wrapper seams are well-hidden. The belicoso tip has somewhat of a sharper tapering to it. The cigar has a covered footer, but the covering is bunched toward the center of the footer creating a unique tail-like effect on the cigar.
|Footer tail of La Colmena
The band has an olive green, gold, and white color scheme. At the center of the band is a modern gold colored stripe pattern that represents a beehive shape. This logo sits on an olive background with a white circular trim to it. The front of the band has a gold octagon shape to it. There is a thick olive stripe protruding to the left and right of the octagon. On the left side is the text “WARPED” in white font. On the right side is the text “LA COLMENA” in white font. The remainder of the band has white and gold trim.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my La Colmena Unico Especial, I went with a straight cut to cut the belicoso tip. I only cut about half of the tip so I could be sure to get the tapering effect of the belicoso. From that point I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw of the Unico Especial yielded a mix of wood, cream, and an interesting herbal spice note. Overall I was quite pleased with this pre-light draw – and actually found it on the unique side. At this point, I began to light up my Unico Especial. I started lighting the tail and then completely toasted the footer. I was now ready to see what this cigar experience would deliver.
The start to the La Colmena Unico Especial seemed to pick up where the pre-light left off. I first detected the unique herbal spice note. The spice was not overpowering. This was joined by a natural tobacco flavor, some background cream, and then some background wood notes – in that order. The spice on the retro-hale was along the lines of the herbal spice.
Midway through the first third, the flavor profile remained the same, but a subtle fruit sweetness emerged in the background. This sweetness seemed to be the right amount without overpowering the other flavors.
At the start of the second third, the Unico Especial changed up quite a bit. The spice was transitioning from the herbal spice, and seemed to move toward a classic black pepper. The natural tobacco now very much had a nut taste to it. The spice and nut flavors were the primary ones while the cream, wood, and fruit notes remained secondary. This stage of the cigar was a textbook example how a complex flavor profile operates.
Toward the midway point, the nut flavors were now firmly in control. I saw a slight increase in the cream and fruit flavors – joining the spice as a close secondary. The spice had now transitioned to a black pepper. The black pepper could also be detected in the background.
The last third still saw the nut flavors primary with the pepper spice close behind. The fruit and cream notes dialed back again. This is the way the cigar experience would come to a close. The cigar was flavorful right until the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The La Colmena Unico Especial maintained a straight burn line from start to finish. This cigar really required minimal touch-ups along the way to keep it burning straight. The silvery gray ash was tight and thick and came off in nice chunks. The burn temperature of this cigar was ideal. The burn rate for this cigar was a little fast – even for a 5″ cigar. In the end, the only negative about the faster burn was that it shortened the cigar experience as I didn’t find any other adverse effects.
|Burn of the La Colmena Unico Especial|
For a figuardo shape, I was very impressed with the way this cigar drew. Usually this is an area I am very picky on, but this cigar drew like a champ. The draw was not too tight, and not too loose. The tip of the belicoso was well constructed and not prone to getting soft.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find the Unico Especial to be a powerhouse, but it did not need to be. The medium level strength of this cigar was all that was needed here. The flavors had some nice depth, and weighed nicely on the pallet. At the same time, they didn’t overwhelm the pallet. I assessed the Unico Especial to be a medium to full-bodied cigar. In terms of strength versus body, this is definitely a cigar where the body has the edge.
The idea of making a cigar available only to those who go to IPCPR is a good one – and it does provide a nice incentive of going to the trade show. The cigar also needs to be a special one to do this. The La Colmena Unico Especial fits the bill. The smoking experience of this cigar was incredible. While we don’t score packaging or appearance, one cannot help but look at the cigar itself and the packaging (the tin canister) and be impressed. This cigar does have a $15.00 price point, but it smokes as I would expect a cigar at this price to do so. Warped Cigars had an excellent release with the El Oso, and now the Unico Especial takes things to the next level. This is a cigar that I’d recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s clearly a box (canister) worthy cigar – and it’s one I would easily smoke again.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
News: La Colmena Unico Especial to Be IPCPR Exclusive by Warped Cigars
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
* The cigar for this assessment was given to Cigar Coop by Warped Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence the review.