Asylum 13 Ogre

This past November, Asylum Cigars announced the Asylum 13 Ogre.  This cigar caught the attention of many for three reasons.  First up, the cigar is a barber pole.  Secondly, this isn’t any barber pole, but this is a barber pole that uses candela as one its wrapper.  Finally, this cigar is enormous – a huge 7 x 70 vitola.  While some many call these characteristics gimmicky, there is no doubt that barber-pole, candela, and large cigars have an appeal to cigar enthusiasts.  In the end, it will come down to the overall cigar experience provided by the Ogre.  I recently have had an opportunity to smoke the Ogre, and overall  I found the cigar to deliver a very good flavor profile and one that definitely differentiates itself nicely.

Asylum Cigars made its debut around the time of the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show.  The company was started by Tom Lazuka and Kevin Baxter.  In addition, Asylum Cigars is partnering with Christian Eiroa and his Fabricas Unidas (formerly Tabacaleras Unidas) company for this venture.  The Ogre marks the fourth blend to be released under Asylum Cigars.  This has been branded as an off-shoot of the Asylum 13 line, but given the Ogre is a barber-pole, it is considered a different blend.

A barber-pole that has a candela wrapper is considered different.  Candela has been used on barber poles elsewhere.  Orlando Florida retailer Corona Cigar Company uses candela on its three wrapper house barber pole called Tres Capas.  A couple of years ago, Cigar Dave reported that Fuente was developing a candela barber pole version of its Between the Lines cigar, but nothing has really surfaced on that since.  In a way, this marks(what we believe is) the first major release of a candela-based barber pole.

As we mentioned late last year, barber-pole wrapper cigars appear to be an emerging trend for 2013.  Let’s take a closer look at the Ogre and see how this cigar stacks up.

Blend Profile

Not much has officially been disclosed on the blend of the Asylum 13 Ogre.  It has been mentioned in several places the wrappers are both candela and habano maduro.

Wrapper: Candela/Habano Maduro (barber pole style)
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Vitolas Available

At the time of this write-up, the Asylum 13 Ogre is available in a single size – a 7 x 70 vitola.


The Asylum 13 Ogre has the candela and maduro wrappers arranged in the style of a “barber pole”.  Given the size of this cigar, the tobacco leaves used on this barber pole are quite large. The candela wrapper is more of a faded green and less what of what I would describe as a “Kermit the Frog” (brighter) green. The maduro wrapper is a classic coffee bean color. There are some oil and some veins. Given the contrast of the wrapper colors, the wrapper seams are quite visible.   The cap to the cigar has a maduro leaf while there is candela around the footer. This big ring cigar was well-packed with no soft spots.

The Asylum 13 Ogre uses the same band design as the core Asylum 13 line. The band is mostly black and white with some red. In white font is “Asylum 13” on a black background. There is a thin red dotted design on the front of the band. There are what I would categorize as white skull/flower-like designs that adorn the band as well.

The footer of the cigar is covered with tissue paper. Given that candela is a fragile wrapper and this is a  large ring gauge, this is a very smart move by Asylum to protect the footer from cracking.


The footer of the Asylum 13 Ogre is covered with
tissue wrap

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my cigar experience with the Asylum 13 Ogre, I went with a straight cut.  I did have a large ring gauge cutter, so I was able to remove a good piece of the cap.  I then moved on to begin the pre-light draw. The cold draw provided a nice mix of coffee, cream, mint, and spice notes. Overall, the pre-light draw was impressive. At this point I was ready to begin the toasting process of my cigar and see what the Ogre would deliver.

Flavor Profile

Right off the bat, there was an interesting mix of candela and maduro qualities. There some classic candela flavors of cream and grass in the forefront. The chocolate and pepper notes in the background provided some maduro characteristics. As the cigar experience of the Asylum 13 Ogre progressed to the five percent point, the cream notes moved into the forefront while the grass, chocolate, and pepper notes were secondary. This pattern continued throughout the first half of the cigar, but from time to time I noticed some mint notes surface from time to time.

In the second half of the Asylum 13 Ogre, the grass and pepper notes moved back into the forefront. The chocolate notes remained in the background. The pepper definitely continued to increase in the second half and eventually pushed the other flavors into the background. The end of the cigar was not spicy. I was surprised to get a firm and cool nub at the end of this cigar. This was especially surprising because there was candela (which tends to burn warmer) and that the cigar had a large ring gauge.


Firm and cool nub of the Asylum 13 Ogre

Burn and Draw

On the plus side, the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. While the Asylum 13 Ogre had a cool finish, there was no point that this cigar burned warm. As I mentioned above, candela wrapped cigars have a tendency to burn warm, so this is a positive. On the negative side, this was a very tough cigar to burn straight. This seemed to be more of a problem in the first half than the second half. It required many touch-ups and it did seem to be a battle. The ash was a salt and pepper color and was prone to flaking.

As for the draw, it was excellent. For a large ring gauge cigar, it was not hard to get a nice draw. The larger ring gauge took a little getting used to a puff and rotate pattern, but once I got into a rhythm, this seemed fine.

Strength and Body

Candela wrapper cigars tend to be on the milder side in terms of its strength and body.  The best way to describe the Asylum 13 Ogre is that it is an “amp’d up candela”. From a strength perspective, the Ogre starts out mild to medium. By the second half, there is an up-tick in strength into the medium range.

The flavors of the Asylum 13 Ogre start out medium-bodied. The flavors build more depth as the smoking experience progresses and by the second half, it hits the medium to full-bodied range.  As for the balance between strength and body, the Ogre definitely emphasizes body over strength.

Final Thoughts

On the core Nicaraguan puro Asylum 13 line, I’ve found the brand has done a very good job at creating an excellent flavor profile for geared toward large ring gauges. For the Asylum 13 Ogre, I think they also create a very good flavor profile for a 70 ring gauge. I’m definitely curious to see how this would smoke in a more traditional ring gauge. The un-evenness of the burn was a problem on the cigars I smoked.  If the burn was a little more even, this cigar would have scored higher. I’ll definitely smoke this again to see if that improves over time. This is a nice change of pace cigar, but it would be one I’d recommend to someone who is not adverse to smoking a big ring gauge.  As for myself, there was enough going on here where I’d pick it up again.


Burn: Fair
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 89

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.