|Chess Extreme Maduro – Torpedo I|
The Chess Extreme Maduro is one of several lines of cigars produced by a boutique cigar company called Chess Cigars. Chess Cigars was founded by Håkon Aanonsen who goes by the nickname of “Hawk”. Hawk is from Norway and was originally an importer for Cuban cigars. Hawk moved on to creating his own cigar brand. He eventually was able to open his own factory in Villa Gonzales Santiago in the Dominican Republic with a gentleman by name of Willis Cabrera (who runs the operations) – thus Chess Cigars was born. Since then, the company has been able to establish a U.S. based distribution with a company called Rancho Maduro Cigars (that also does online sales). We recently had an opportunity to sample the Chess Extreme Maduro blend. Overall, this cigar provided a nice medium strength, medium-bodied quick smoke.
The Chess Extreme series is focused around short, big ring gauge cigars. The cigars range from 3 3/4 to 5 inches in length. They also range from a 58 ring gauge to a 64. There are two blends in the line, a corojo and a maduro. For this assessment, we will focus on the maduro. The Extreme series is mentioned on the Chess Cigars’ web-site as a personal favorite of Hawk’s.
Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at the Chess Extreme Maduro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Chess Extreme Maduro is a multi-national blend of tobaccos from three countries.
Wrapper: Brazilian Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan, Ligero 98, Corojo Seco
A similar blend exists for the Chess Extreme Corojo, but it uses a Corojo wrapper as opposed to the Brazilian maduro.
As mentioned, the Chess Extreme Maduro is geared for short, larger ring gauge smokes. There are five frontmarks available – and these are common to the Extreme Maduro and the Extreme Corojo blends. The cigars are packaged 20 per box.
Chess Extreme Gordo I : 3 3/4 x 58
Chess Extreme Gordo II: 4 x 60
Chess Extreme Gordo III 5 x 60
Chess Extreme Torpedo I: 4 x 64
Chess Extreme Torpedo II: 5 x 64
For this cigar experience, I sampled the Torpedo I – which is a short, thick torpedo. The Brazilian Maduro wrapper has a classic coffee bean color to it. The wrapper is thick and has an oily complexion. There are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins. The cigar is well-constructed and there are no soft spots on inspection of the cigar.
There are two bands on the cigar. The primary band is a band common to many of the lines under Chess Cigars. It features an orange and red “chessboard on it”. Overlaying the chessboard is the name “Chess” in large gold lettering. To the lower right of that text is the text “Cigars” in a smaller gold font. To the left of the “Chess” name it says “Handmade” in small black font. To the right of the “Chess” name it says “Dominican Republic” – also in small black font.
Directly below the primary band is a secondary band. This band has a red background with the text “EXTREME” in gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience of the Chess Extreme Maduro Torpedo I, I went with a straight cut to clip the torpedo tip. I went with a smaller cut to try to maximize the length of the cigar experience. When I commenced with the pre-light draw, I was treated to what I would expect from a maduro smoke – notes of leather, coffee, and some mild notes of cedar. Overall I would say the pre-light draw to the Extreme Maduro was satisfactory. At this point, I was ready to toast the foot and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.
Like the pre-light, the smoking experience to the Chess Extreme Maduro had a lot of classic maduro smoking characteristics. The initial flavors yielded a mix of leather, earth, pepper, and some cherry sweetness. There was no dominant flavor early on and the cigar definitely provided some flavor nuances very early on.
The leather and earth notes soon transitioned to more of a richer coffee flavor. The coffee and cherry notes became the primary flavor notes while the pepper took on a secondary role. As the cigar progressed through the first half, the coffee notes took on some chocolate characteristics – becoming more of a mocha.
As the Chess Extreme Maduro moved into the second half, the mocha notes were still present. There also was a nice creamy note that joined the pepper in the background. The cigar remained flavorful until the end. There were no harsh notes. The resulting nub was soft and a bit on the lukewarm side.
Burn and Draw
Overall, the Chess Exteme Maduro performed well – especially for a cigar with a larger ring gauge in a torpedo format. The burn line required some touch-ups to keep the burn line straight – but nothing out of the ordinary. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color and had some flaking along the way – but again nothing major. The burn rate was ideal. The burn temperature was pretty much ideal until the end where it did get a little warm.
The draw was very good on this cigar. Once again for a large ring gauge torpedo it impressed me. I found it needed little maintenance and made for an easy cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
The Chess Extreme Maduro was not an overpowering maduro blend. I found it to fall right in the middle of the spectrum for strength as I assessed the cigar to be medium strength. As for the flavors, I definitely found them to have some depth and be on the robust side. I assessed the Extreme Maduro to be a full-bodied smoke. There definitely is an edge with flavor over strength. In fact, I felt this cigar could have benefited from having just a touch more strength.
While I smoked several of the Torpedo I vitolas, I felt this cigar probably is still better in the parejo formats that are offered. In general short torpedoes literally cut short the smoking experience. This is not a knock on the Chess blend, but more of a general commentary on cigar shapes and sizes. Overall this did provide a flavorful cigar smoking experience. While many knock a big ring gauge, I felt this blend performed relatively well in a 64 ring gauge. I found this to be a nice cigar for a novice enthusiast looking for a quick full-bodied smoke – without being overpowering. I think the experienced cigar enthusiast who likes a big ring gauge looking for a classic maduro profile will enjoy this cigar. As for myself, there was enough going on with this cigar to keep my interest and one that I’d be willing to pick up and smoke again.
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Chess Cigars. The request was initiated by Chess Cigars to myself (Cigar Coop) to provide an assessment. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.