Cigar Review: Bandolero Firecracker

In 2006, from the creative mind of David Garofalo, the Firecracker line was born. The first cigar on the market with a long piece of tobacco at the head was shaped like a ‘wick’ or ‘fuse’ to capture the name of the line; Firecracker. After a few years on the market, the limited release Firecrackers came to life as United Cigars collaborated with a new manufacturer every year to create a celebration cigar for the nation’s Independence Day.

This year in 2022, United Cigars tabbed Nelson Alfonso and Selected Tobacco to produce the limited edition cigar of which only 1,000 boxes of 20 have been made. The regular production Bandolero is available in three different series, but the Firecrackers pulls from two them to create this unique cigar. The blend for the Bandolero Firecracker is derived from the Clandestino line (Series C) that uses filler leaves from Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and undisclosed tobaccos. The filler is held together with an Ecuadorian binder and a dark Ecuadorian wrapper that is typically used on the Aventureros line (Series A).

Cigar Review: Bandolero Firecracker
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Undisclosed
Length: 3.5″
Ring Gauge: 50
Size: Firecracker

The Look: Packaged in 20 count wooden boxes, the Bandolero Firecracker is laid out in two rows of 20 cigars. The band features the brand name with the number 50, which denotes the ring gauge of the cigar and the word Firecracker on a white background. The cigar is packaged in cello, that is cut at the foot. Nelson Alfonso does this with many of his cigars to allow the foot of the cigar to breathe in the cedar during aging. And of course, the cigar has the signature fuse coming from the cap. It’s dark, oily and well packed with a nice weight to it.

The Notes: The cold draw of the Bandolero Firecracker serves up notes of fudge, salted cashews and a touch of red pepper while the aroma from the foot serves up a subtle manure which is considered the ultimate compliment to a tobacco grower along with cedar and a faint sweetness.

Once the cigar is toasted and lit the initial notes are white pepper, molasses and a touch of earth. As we progress into the first half the pepper notes intensify giving the cigar that Firecracker kick you expect from the yearly release. As we move into the fist half of the cigar, notes of salted cashews, cedar and earth dominate with some white pepper on the aroma of the cigar. The retrohale of the Bandolero Firecracker adds even more complexity to the cigar with a burst of red pepper but also brings salted caramel to the mix with a dash of salt-water taffy which brings me back to my youth on the Jersey shore.

The second half of the cigar sees notes nuts, with an abundance of pepper on the finish, aroma and retrohale. Additionally, notes of salted caramel dominate the palate with a hint of chocolate on the front end. The finish serves up cedar, while the retrohale sees black pepper. It’s a cigar you don’t want to put down, and you hold on to as long as you can.

The Finish: The question is inevitable. How does this compare to previous versions. It’s an unfair question, but it’s also a valid question. Why is it unfair? Every blend is different, so it hits differently just like last years did to the one before and so on. It’s not the strongest firecracker to date and considering the history of the line that is to be expected. What it is, is the most complex Firecracker made to date and thats no small feat considering the size of the cigar. It also further solidifies my opinion that Nelson Alfonso might be the best blender in cigars today.

Score: 95
Price: $8.99 / $159.99

Bandolero Firecracker

Bandolero Firecracker Foot

Bandolero Firecracker Burn