The Meerapfel family has over 150 years of experience in various aspects of the tobacco business. Today they are best known for being tobacco brokers and, in particular, are known for brokering tobacco out of Cameroon, Africa. In addition, the Meerapfels work with Arturo Fuente Cigar Company on its international distribution outside the U.S. In 2021, Jeremiah Meerapfel announced he was creating a new ultra-premium cigar brand with the Meerapfel name. In this case, it wasn’t just an ultra-premium brand, but it was one he calls UberLuxury. UberLuxury involves using the highest quality of materials with the highest level of craftsmanship – much like Patek Philippe does when making watches. In the case of this new Meerapfel UberLuxury line, the cigars pay homage to past generations of the Meerapfel family. Today we look at a cigar that pays homage to Jeremiah Meerapfel’s father, Richard, the Meerapfel Richard, in the Double Robusto format.
Four lines are being planned in the Meerapfel line. Each is an ultra-premium UberLuxury line done in small-batch, limited production releases. Each will pay homage to different generations of the Meerapfel family, starting with Richard Meerapfel and going back to Jeremiah Meerapfel’s great, great grandfather Meir Meerapfel. The Meerapfel Richard and Meerapfel Meir lines have been released at press time.
Richard Meerapfel is considered one of the legendary figures in the history of the premium tobacco business. Richard would venture into Cameroon and the Central African Republic to cultivate and export the Cameroon leaf. He also developed a friendship and business relationship with the Fuente family, leading to the Meerapfel family becoming involved with Arturo Fuente International – and the Fuentes leveraging the Cameroon leaf in many of their brands.
Finally, to give an idea of where the Meerapfel Richard stands in terms of how it priced – the cigars go from $38.00 to $86.00. The Double Robusto is the $86.00 cigar in the line. The Richard is packaged in a “chest” containing an ornamented casket, which is a tray that can be used as an ashtray, so that (along with the size) plays into the pricing. Let’s break down the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto without further ado and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Besides the Cameroon wrapper, not much is disclosed about the other tobaccos used for the Meerapfel Richard, nor is the factory or country of origin known.
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Factory: Not Disclosed
The Richard line will be offered in seven sizes:
Robusto: 4 7/8 x 50
Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 46
Double Robusto: 5 3/4 x 52
Pyramide: 6 1/8 x 52
Lonsdale: 6 3/4 x 43
Churchill: 7 x 47
Lancero: 7 1/2 x 40
All sizes will be presented in 25-count chests except the Double Robusto, which is presented in a ten-count chest with an ornamented casket. A total of 613 boxes per size is planned on an annual basis.
The Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto had a medium brown color to it. There was some mottling that was present on the surface of the wrapper. At the same time, there wasn’t much in the way of oils present on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. Most of the wrapper seams were not noticeable. The cigar itself is finished with a fan-tail cap.
As opposed to pulling the fan-tail cap off, a straight cut was used to simultaneously remove the cap and the fan-tail of the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of dried fruit, earth, and baker’s spice. This was one of my better pre-light draw experiences in 2023. With the pre-light draw ritual completed, it was time to toast up the footer of the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto opened up with wood, earth, natural tobacco, and baker’s spice notes. As the cigar burned through the early phases of the first third, the earth and natural tobacco notes went primary. The wood and baker’s spice settled into the background, where notes of fruit joined them, and then, a little later, some black pepper. Meanwhile, there was a combination of fruit, baker’s spice, and a slight amount of pepper on the retro-hale.
Just before the midway point of the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto, the fruit notes made their way into the forefront, joining the earth and the natural tobacco. Meanwhile, in the background, the baker’s spice diminished and the black pepper decreased. Meanwhile, the wood notes morphed into cedar notes.
By the final third, the earth, natural tobacco, and fruit remained at the forefront. The pepper, cedar, and baker’s spice remained in the background, with the pepper the most prominent of those notes. This is the way the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto performed excellently. This cigar did not require frequent touch-ups to a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line. The ash was on the firm side. This was an ash that had almost a silvery-gray color to it. Meanwhile, the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto maintained an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw to the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto was open. This wasn’t a loose draw. At the same time, this draw had no adverse effects – other than I would prefer a little more resistance on the draw.
Strength and Body
The Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto started within the mild to medium range for both strength and body. By the time the cigar reached the second third, both attributes had progressed to the medium range. As the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto made its way through the final two-thirds, a slight increase in strength and body occurred, but in the end, the cigar remained in the medium range for both attributes. The strength and body balanced each other nicely for the duration of the smoking experience, with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The packaging of the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto was quite impressive. This is a scenario where photos simply do not do justice. The wood boxes might look simple, but in person, they are impressive. The “casket” serves as a tray for the cigar in the book. This casket is much larger than one might think.
The band is quite unique and one that also was impressive. The band had a gold lattice structure with the Meerapfel logo in the center.
The $86.00 price point aside, the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto was a cigar I was looking forward to smoking. The cigar did not disappoint me. I had an opportunity to smoke two of these cigars and each time, it took me on a fantastic voyage for an hour and 45 minutes. The flavors were the star of the show. It’s very difficult to say any cigar lives up to an $86.00 price point. What I can say is that much like there is a market for a Patek Phillips watch, there is a market for an UberLuxury product such as the Meerapfel Richard Double Robusto. I can also say this cigar performed spectacularly and is one worthy of a special occasion smoke. Therefore, it’s a cigar I would buy and smoke again. This cigar scored 92 points – a rare and high score on Cigar Coop these days. This also far exceeds the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence, which is 90 points.
Key Flavors: Earth, Natural Tobacco, Fruit, Baker’s Spice, Wood, Cedar, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted