The Chinese Finger Trap is the second limited edition cigar by MoyaRuiz Cigars. The cigar keeps true to MoyaRuiz theme of incorporating a theme of games into its cigar brand names. In this case, it pays homage to a popular novelty item. In addition, it is a cigar that pays homage to the Cigar Dojo community which was instrumental in the early success of the company. Incorporating this theme was not without controversy, and this came in the form of the packaging design of the boxes. In this assessment, we will take a closer look at the cigar and the blend itself. This is a cigar that stands on its own, no matter how its packaged – and it continues the excellent work that MoyaRuiz and its partner factory La Zona.
A Chinese Finger Trap is a novelty item by which it traps the fingers of a “victim” inside the two ends of small flexible cylinder. The design of the primary band will resemble a Chinese Finger Trap. MoyaRuiz c0-Founder Danny Moya informed Cigar Coop that the band is not meant to be an actual finger trap. While there were attempts made to do so, ultimately a decision was made to not make it the actual novelty due to concerns of possibly damaging the cigars.
The Chinese Finger Trap follows up MoyaRuiz’s 2014 limited edition release, the Nunchuck. This was another cigar done in tribute to the Cigar Dojo community. That project featured cigars stored in pairs fused together by a tobacco stem creating a “Nunchuck” design.
The controversy on this has come around the packaging of this cigar. This is around the resemblence of a retro-game box and how it could be tied to children in a time the cigar industry is in a battle with the FDA. When the final boxes would hit the market they were tweaked in design. While there was a lot of controversy about the initial design of the boxes, there wasn’t much talked about that there was a tweaking. The tweaking made the packaging look less like a popular brand of games.
Some may question the decision here to review this cigar. Our decision comes down to supporting two principles: 1) Freedom of the Press; and 2) Free Market Economics. In terms of Freedom of the Press, we are reporting on a legal product here that children cannot buy (I also find it ironic the box says “For Ages 21 and up” where in many states an 18 year can buy this product). I do realize even with the tweaking some may still question the packaging. MoyaRuiz isn’t the first case where packaging / branding can be questioned. We’ve seen packaging in the form gun boxes, the inclusion of trading cards, cigars named after a popular food item, and even a very popular cigar line named after a lawless individual. I never heard any questioning of reviewing those cigars – especially in today’s “politically correct” environment. Simply put -you have a choice on whether to purchase this product or not. This is how free market economics comes into play. This assessment is here to let you know how the cigar smokes.
Now, without further ado, let’s explore this cigar itself and see what it brings to the table.
The blend components of The Chinese Finger Trap are not disclosed. As with all MoyaRuiz Cigars, The Chinese Finger Trap is produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona SA)
The Chinese Finger Trap is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. The cigars are packaged in ten count boxes. A total of 1,000 boxes were produced.
The wrapper to The Chinese Finger Trap medium brown wrapper with a slight colorado tint to it. The wrapper itself has a light coating of oil on it. On the surface of the wrapper are some visible veins that are on the thin side. There are also some thin visible wrapper seams.
The cigar is covered with a paper sheath that resembles a Chinese Finger Trap. There are different color options that are available (see above). While this is not an actual bamboo Chinese Finger Trap, the design does have a nice bamboo effect.
When the sheath is removed, there is a secondary band. This band is a traditional sized one. The band has a bright gold colored background. On the background is the text “THE CHINESE FINGER TRAP” in a retro-styled Asian-influenced font surrounded by frame-like design. To the left is the text “MOYARUIZ CIGARS”. To the right is the text “LIMITED EDITION 2015”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting my Chinese Finger Trap cigar, I removed the finger-trap sheath. I then proceeded to clip the cap of the cigar and then move on to the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw provided a mix of caramel sweetness and natural tobacco. While it wasn’t the most complex pre-light draw, it was a very good one. At this point I was ready to light up The Chinese Finger Trap and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The start to The Chinese Finger Trap provided a mix of black pepper, caramel, and natural tobacco. I also detected a slight floral note in the background. This was shortly followed up by a vanilla note. On the retro-hale, I found a floral spice note present.
During the first third, I found the vanilla and floral notes increased. By the second third of the smoking experience, I found the vanilla and floral notes were now the primary notes with the natural tobacco and caramel notes secondary. During this stage of the smoking experience, I detected some black pepper in the background. The black pepper also was now present (and dominating) on the retro-hale.
Toward the end of the second third, I found the floral and pepper notes took over. The vanilla notes and natural tobacco notes were now secondary. This is the way the cigar experience held until the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found The Chinese Finger Trap to perform quite well on its burn. The burn path remained straight from start to finish. The burn line itself had minor jaggedness, but this was cosmetic and in most cases didn’t require a touch-up. The resulting ash had a near white color. The ash itself was firm and came off the cigar in clean chunks. There wasn’t much in the way of flaking either. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
I found the draw to perform well, but there was a little snugness that seemed to surface from time to time. This wasn’t a plugged draw. I usually like a little resistance on my draw, but there were a couple of times the snugness was more than I prefer.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, the Chinese Finger Trap is not going to deliver a nicotine bomb. Overall, from start to finish, I assessed the strength of this cigar as being on the upper end of medium. As for the flavors, they had some weight on the palate. When factoring in the retro-hale, The Chinese Finger Trap was a full-bodied smoke from start to finish. When looking at strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body.
When looking at The Chinese Finger Trap from a pure tobacco standpoint, this cigar is not a cookie-cutter cigar as it delivers a unique flavor profile with plenty of complexity. The vanilla notes this cigar produced really stood out for me. I did find the first two thirds of this cigar were the parts where this cigar really shined. I did find the flavor profile was less interesting during the last third, but it still was an enjoyable cigar. Overall, the La Zona factory is having a banner year and The Chinese Finger Trap is another example of the great work coming out of this factory. This is a cigar I’d recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast. There may be a little too much body for a novice, but I would not discourage one from trying. As for myself, this was an enjoyable cigar. It’s one I would smoke again – and it’s easily worthy of a box split.
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split