|KILO by Miami Cigar and Company|
The KILO is a cigar that appears headed for release by Miami Cigar and Company. The mastermind behind this cigar is Miami Cigar Assistant Director of Marketing Barry Stein. Several weeks ago, we did a feature story on the background with this particular cigar project. Stein is a well-known person in the cigar world. He is considered by many to be a pioneer in the world of online cigar journalism before joining Miami Cigar and Company. The project originally started as a learning exercise for Stein as he took a trip to the La Aurora factory in the Dominican Republic. Upon his return, Stein took his finished “project” to various cigar shops in the Miami, Florida area where it began to receive positive feedback.
Word got back to the Miami Cigar offices on the positive feedback and the company saw the potential for a fit in the marketplace. Last month, Stein took the cigar to the Chattanooga Tweet Up and Cigar Festival where it received further positive feedback. In an interview he did with us last week on Stogie Geeks, Stein announced the product was getting a “soft launch” at Primo Cigar Shop in Santa Fe New Mexico on September 20th. If all continues to go good, the product could be heading for a full launch this Fall. Just prior to the Stogie Geeks interview, I had an opportunity to smoke the KILO. No doubt about this one, Stein and Miami Cigar and Company have a winner in their pipeline as this is an excellent product.
In terms of the inspiration of the name and the packaging, Stein explained on the Miami Cigar and Company blog:
“… one night while watching Cocaine Cowboys I thought KILO had a cool ring to it. The first plan was a five pack wrapped in newspaper with a duct tape type band. It was a twisted tribute to Miami which was built largely on drug money of the 1970′s and the 1980s. Despite having the green light, I was worried about the novelty of the packaging but I liked the name.
“After researching KILO I learned that gold bars are stamped 1 KILO because of their weight of 2.2 pounds. Now I just needed to come up with the band design. I was sitting in the office with Manny Iriarte and told him of the cigar and the concept. Part of the agreement I had with Miami Cigar was that I had to create everything myself. I told Manny, I needed to come up with a band, that wasn’t too graphic intensive and he drew a sketch for me and that would become the band. Gold, with cold foil embossing of the word KILO, and a faint 1 hidden behind the name.”
In terms of what the cigar smokes like, Stein had a goal to make a cigar that didn’t taste like a cigar that came out of the La Aurora factory. Stein told us last month, “”I wanted to show that the Dominican factory that we work with La Aurora can produce something as strong as something that comes out of Nicaragua”. Stein described the cigar to us as a strong cigar that “will put tears to your eyes”.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the KILO. Since this was a pre-release cigar I smoked, this write-up will use our “pre-review” format to document my thoughts and perspectives on this cigar. Once the cigar is officially launched, I will revisit this cigar and provide an assessment rating and score. As a disclaimer, this write-up was based on a single cigar experience.
For KILO, Stein leveraged La Aurora’s vast tobacco library and came up with a true multi-national blend with tobaccos from five countries.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Two Dominican Ligeros, Nicaraguan Ligero, and Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Stein told us the original blend was done in a 5 x 50 Robusto size. In our discussion with Stein on Stogie Geeks, he mentioned there are plans for a corona and a 6 x 60 size.
For this cigar experience, I smoked the KILO in the robusto size. The wrapper has a classic Ecuadorian Sumatra look as its coloring is a combination of coffee bean and colorado red. There is also some darker marbling that can be see on the surface. The wrapper itself has a slight amount of oil on it. There are several visible wrapper seams and several visible veins. There is a slight ruggedness to the wrapper, but it also has a nice charm to it as well.
The finished band product is all gold colored. There edges of the band are more of a finished/polishd gold while the main body of the band has a duller finish. On that main body is the name “KILO” embossed on it (I admit, I didn’t notice the faint “1”, but I wasn’t looking for it). The back of the band has the Miami Cigar and Company logo in gold.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to starting to smoke the KILO, I started things off with my usual selection of a straight cut. After the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw yielded a combination of pepper and some cedar sweet/spice. I could also detect a hint of cinnamon on the tongue. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the KILO to be excellent. At this point I was ready to light up the cigar and see what the smoking phase would bring to the table.
The start of the KILO pretty much picked up where the pre-light draw left off. I detected some pepper right out of the gate. I also detected the notes of cedar sweet/spice and cinnamon. As the cigar moved through the first third, I was treated to a host of flavors. The primary notes became a combination of pepper, cedar sweetness, and some natural tobacco. There also were some secondary notes of cinnamon, earth, and coffee. Like the pre-light draw, the cinnamon tended to linger on the tongue. The retro-hale definitely had a strong pepper component.
As the KILO moved through the second third, it took on more of an earthy profile in the forefront. Some of the cedar and cinnamon notes floated between the forefront and background. The pepper had receded to a secondary note on the tongue while the coffee notes were more of a distant tertiary note.
The last third saw the pepper move into the forefront joining the earth notes. There also was a nice sugar cane note that surfaced in the background – providing an excellent balance on the flavor profile. The end of the cigar was on the spicy side, but not harsh. The cigar produced an excellent nub – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The KILO scores very well in terms of its construction – and this is reflected in the burn and draw of the cigar. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups. There resulting ash was firm and tight with virtually no flaking during the smoking experience. The ash had a light gray color with some darker speckling in it. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the KILO|
The draw was excellent. It was not too tight and not too loose. This made the KILO a low maintenance cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
As Stein told me, the KILO is a strong cigar. When I smoked it, there was no question that this was the case. The KILO definitely delivers some fire-power and I assessed it to be full strength cigar from start to finish. As for the flavors, while they had some nice depth, they still were medium to full-bodied range. The KILO is definitely a cigar where the strength has the edge over the body. At the same time, there still was plenty of flavor in this cigar to keep me interested.
Overall, while I did smoke a single sample, this cigar made a very favorable impression on me. Stein told me that one reason why Miami Cigar and Company moved forward with this project is because they felt there was a market for this. I totally subscribe to that theory. If you like a cigar with some fire-power, this is going to be the cigar for you. One thing that might get overlooked with this cigar is the complexity in the flavor profile – as I definitely picked up a lot of flavors along the way. I’m very curious to see how this cigar smokes in the corona and 60 ring gauge formats, but overall my gut tells me the robusto might be the ideal vitola here.
Stein definitely succeeded in his goal. This is a cigar that I would have never figured came out of La Aurora or the Dominican Republic. This is definitely a cigar for a more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this cigar is one I would smoke again – and if the subsequent cigars smoke as good as this one, it could be worth a box-split or a full-box.
Body: Medium to Full
Source: The cigar for this assessment was provided by Barry Stein at Chattanooga Tweet-Up. The sample received was in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.