Profile: Nicaraguan tabacco from The Placencia Family Farm
Nicaraguan Puro (Wrapper, Bimder, Filler)
The Crux Bull and Bear sports a beautiful, oily sheen. There are a few noticeable veins on the wrapper, but it enhances the aesthetics of the cigar itself. With a color similar to a deep-brown coffee, the Bull and Bear’s aroma has my mind and taste buds bumping into each other, trying to recall all of the aromas and tastes I’m about to experience! Let’s light up!
Upon initial toke, there’s an immense array of flavors. A spicy cocoa flavor stands out initially — not cocoa like hot chocolate, but that of bittersweet, pure cocoa. The spices are fluent and plentiful. It may take some time to pick out all the spices I get. We can definitely start with baking spices (nutmeg, slight cinnamon). There’s some white pepper, maybe cardamom? A hint of leather emerges. I’m almost an inch into this delicacy; the flavors are still pouring out. Cedar arrives upon the retro-hale. This Crux Bull and Bear is a real treat!
The Crux line of cigars comes from the creative minds of a brick-and-mortar establishment named Tabacco Grove in Minnesota, owned by Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers; they are made by the Placencia Family at the Placencia Family Farm. The Crux Bull and Bear is definitely a winner so far!
Nearing the end of the first third, I’m picking up a smoky Caramel on the exhale/retro-hale. Very pleasing sweetness marries exceptionally well with the cocoa, pepper, and baking spices.
Going into the second third, the sweetness of the Caramel complements the coca and cardamom. The leather eases but is still noticeable. I sense something like a Chinese five spice upon the exhale. Don’t worry; the five spices don’t overpower. It’s actually a pleasant compliment. There’s a nutty element coming through now. I’m getting Almond, Hazelnut, and Cashews. WOW!! It’s almost like I’m smoking a “grown folk’s” candy bar! This will be close to a two-hour cigar. I do not want this to end anytime soon. Just saying!
I opted not to have a spirit with the Crux Bull and Bear for this review, but I know exactly what I will have with the following three I smoke. I am a bourbon and high-end Scotch guy, so I can say that a Premium Bourbon, such as Angel’s Envy Rye or even Early Times BIB, will bring ALL of these flavors together, resulting in a fantastic way to unwind, relax, and enjoy! For the Scotch drinkers, I’d pair with Balvenie 14, Double Oaked, or The Macallan Classic Cut!
As we near the end of the second third, all the flavors are still present and upfront. The only flavor that has taken a back seat is the leather. Surprisingly. The Cashew and Hazelnut are really merging with the spices, smoky Caramel, and cocoa. With my palette, I usually notice more leather and spice the closer I get to and into the final third. The Crux Bull and Bear does NOT disappoint!
Unfortunately, we’ve reached the final third, all. Man, I don’t want this to end! As I just said, in the last third, spice notes really take over. In the case of the Crux Bull and Bear, all of the original flavors and notes I picked up on from the beginning have done nothing short of become more and more prevalent during the smoking experience of this beauty. However, in the final third (and the end of the second third), I am really starting to taste a slightly less-than-sweet raisin. Very interesting, yet very complex. There’s so much going on with the Bull and Bear. As this wonderful masterpiece comes to an end, I want another! As of this review, there has been nothing bad I can say during my enjoyment.
This level of complexity will have you wanting to fire up another. If you have the time, why not? The burn has been even throughout. The draw has been exquisite. I used a V-cutter for this cigar. The wrapper did not even think about unraveling. The oily sheen got shinier and shinier throughout my smoking experience. I’m having a flavor bomb explode with every toke.
As a person who’s been smoking cigars for quite some time, I will say that even though the Crux Bull and Bear is listed as a Full Bodied Cigar, its mellow and pleasant nuances lead me to classify it as a Medium to Full Bodied Cigar. I would not hesitate to introduce the Crux Bull and Bear to someone who has not been smoking for a long period of time. Its mellow nature wouldn’t overpower a newbie. As I wrap this review up, I’d like to hear from those of you who’ve had the pleasure of smoking this wonderfully crafted masterpiece. If you haven’t had the pleasure of smoking the Crux Bull and Bear, please do yourself a favor and take some time to try one, preferably from The Mason Cigar Manor, if you’re in the greater Cincinnati area. We’d like to hear about your thoughts on this cigar. Please share your flavor experiences and enjoyment with us at The Mason Cigar Manor. We’d love to hear what you think of the Crux Bull and Bear.
Chef is friend of the Mason Cigar Manor and contributing writer/reviewer for Mason Cigar Manor. We look forward to hearing more from Chris!