Camaacho Diploma (2013)

Just prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, Camacho Cigars launched a major campaign known as the “bold standard”.  It was described by Camacho as “the most brazen move in their nearly 50 year history”.  This campaign not only involved rebranding their cigars with a new logo and new packaging, but it also involved line consolidation and blend changes. Camacho has decided at this time to focus on six lines.  The Camacho Diploma is one of those lines.  Of the six lines, the Camacho Diploma, this cigar underwent the largest amount of changes when compared to the original blend.  I recently have had an opportunity to smoke this cigar.  Overall, I found the changes to be a positive as this created an excellent smoking experience

There is no doubt that Davidoff and Camacho rolled the dice with this re-launch, but they also must have known the odds were in their favor.  While I don’t have any specific empirical data, it does seem like Camacho is back.  Several retailers have told me they feel a renewed energy (and sales) with this brand – something that hasn’t been seen in years.

As for the Diploma, this one has the highest price point of the six lines – in the $11.00 – $12.50 range.  It has one of the more elaborate bands in the series.  No doubt this one is going to be Camacho’s premium offering.

Let’s look a closer at the Camacho Diploma and see what this cigar experience brings to the table.

Blend Profile

As mentioned, the Camacho Diploma is undergoing the biggest blend change in the Camacho line. It has changed from an all Honduran puro to a multi-national blend.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habana 2000
Binder: Authentic Corojo Ligero
Filler: Corojo, Criollo Ligero,  Dominican Navarette Ligero

Vitolas Available

There will be five frontmarks for the new Camacho Diploma.  The product will be sold in boxes of 10 .

Robusto: 5 x 50
11/18: 6 x 48/54/48
Gordo: 6 x 60
Figuardo: 6 1/8 x 42 x 54
Churchill 7 x 48


For this cigar experience, I smoked the Gordo size of the Camacho Diploma.  The Ecuadorian Habana wrapper of the 2013 edition of the Diploma has a rich coffee bean color.  The surface of the wrapper is somewhat oily.  The wrapper does a nice job at hiding its seams and the veins are visible on the surface.

There are two bands on the 2013 version of the Camacho Diploma.  The primary band has a black, purple, and chrome font color scheme.  The Camacho text logo is displayed in chrome font on a black box with chrome trim.  Over the logo is the text “INFAMOUS SINCE 1962” in small chrome font.  Below the Camacho logo is “BUILT BOLD” –  also in a chrome font surrounded by a small stripe on each side.  Below the black box is a compartmentalized set of purple boxes.  The upper left box features the chrome font text “DIPLOMA” on a purple background.  The box below it says “A complex revved up smoke. Begging to be taken for a spin” – also in chrome font on a purple background.  The lower left box says “HAND BUILT IN HONDURAS” – also in chrome font on a purple background.  There is a right side box that has the Camacho scorpion logo in a pentagon – all in chrome font.  Below the set of purple compartmentalized boxes is another black section with chrome stripes and dotted lines going vertically down.

On the footer there is a black footer band that says “INFAMOUS SINCE 1962” in chrome font. The remainder of that footer band has chrome trim and adornments on it.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Camacho Diploma Gordo, I first went with my usual selection of a straight cut to remove the cap of the cigar.  I then proceeded with the pre-light draw  The dry draw notes provided a combination of coffee, leather, and some subtle mild citrus sweet notes.  I was a little surprised by I didn’t pick up any significant spice on the pre-light draw.  At this point, I was ready to remove the footer band of the Camacho Diploma Gordo and light this cigar up and see what the overall experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Camacho Diploma 2013 provided a mix of coffee, leather, and pepper.  There was also a background citrus flavor.  As for the three primary flavors, no one particular note really was more prevalent over the others in the early stages.  The only exception is I was able to pick up the pepper more prominently on the retro-hale.

Later in the first third, the pepper slightly receded.  The coffee notes remained in the forefront and were joined by some nut flavor.  The leather notes transitioned to more of a classic earth note. Meanwhile there still was a slight citrus component in the far background – more like a tertiary note.

In the second half, the pepper spice kicked up a bit and became the primary flavor. Meanwhile the combination of earth, coffee, and nut became secondary, but was not far behind the spice. Toward the end, the cigar got very earthy.  It seemed to lose a little gas in terms of the robustness of the flavors.  There was no harshness at the end of this cigar.  The resulting nub was still firm to the touch – and cool in temperature. 

Burn and Draw

Overall, the 2013 edition of the Camacho Diploma scored well when it came to the attributes of burn and draw.  The burn line to the Camacho Diploma remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring a low amount of touch-ups along the way.  Each touch-up seemed to keep the burn straight.  The Diploma was never in any danger of canoeing.  The resulting ash was a tight white ash with some darker speckling.  I was very surprised how well this 60 ring gauge held the ash.  The burn temperature was ideal.  As for the burn rate – this cigar burned very fast.  In fact I smoked each sample in about 75 minutes.  The fast burn did not have any other ill-effects on the smoking experience.

Burn of the Camacho Diploma (2013) 

The Camacho Diploma Gordo had a very nice draw.  This is a 60 ring gauge that seemed very easy to work with.  The draw was not overly tight and not loose.  Given the fact that the draw was not a loose one, so I don’t think that factored into the fast burn.  

Strength and Body

This is going to be one of the new Camacho Cigars where it definitely falls in line with the “Bold Standard”.   I found quite a bit of strength in this one.  While this won’t be a “knock you down” strength, I still the Diploma to be a full strength cigar.  While the Diploma did not seem to be a young cigar, I am wondering if age might mellow the strength just a touch.  Meanwhile there was some nice depth to the flavors.  I assessed the Diploma to be in the medium to full-bodied range. As for strength versus body, the Diploma is going to have a slight edge in terms of strength, but there still will be enough flavor to satisfy.

Final Thoughts

A few months ago, I had an opportunity to meet Coach Mike Ditka (who is working with Camacho on his own line of cigars). We talked for a couple of minutes and I forget how we got on the topic, but there was a point of the conversation when Ditka looked at me and said “I don’t care what anybody says, I like big ring gauge cigars”.  He was definitely passionate about this statement. When I smoked the Camacho Diploma Gordo, this seemed to be the type of cigar that Ditka would like.  After smoking it, this is a great option for the big ring gauge enthusiast as it has nice strength and excellent flavor.  I was still perplexed about why it burned so fast, but really the only negative was that it shortened a pretty good smoking experience.  I am curious to see how this cigar smokes in some of the other ring gauges – as well as how this one smokes with age. Overall, this cigar has some firepower, so I’m going to recommend it to a seasoned cigar enthusiast and definitely a “Mike Ditka” type.   As for myself, this Gordo still had enough to keep my attention, and it’s something that’d I get a Five Pack of and smoke again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Score: 90

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Union Cigar Company in Monroe, NC.