Kilo Cigar Review by David Garofalo
I promised Barry Stein I would do an in-depth and possibly painstaking review of his brainchild Kilo, since the IPCPR trade show in July but I put it off for 3 months for a couple of reasons. To let the cigar rest and to be honest with you, I really didn’t want to do it. For those that know my palate, you understand that I favor milder smokes. This, which I have smoked once before in pre-production was not a cigar I would gravitate towards and if I honestly review it, as I vowed, I might not give it a favorable review. I am a little worried I might hurt Barry’s feelings and nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings, especially Barry’s who is very sensitive if you don’t know it… that’s right Barry… sensitive, but you asked for it so here we go.
There are two sizes of KILO, both are available in 18 count boxes: Robusto: 5 x 50 (retail $9.00) and Toro: 6 x 52 ($9.50) which will be the one I will review today. The blend consists of an Ecuador Habano wrapper, the Binder is a Nicaraguan Corojo and all Filler tobaccos are from Nicaraguan featuring three variations of ligero. Ligero is the tobacco from the top part of the plant. It’s the very last priming or tobacco picked from the plant. It’s the tobacco that gets the most sun, nutrients and strength.
The cigars were rolled in Esteli Nicaragua at a new factory called Aromas de Jalapa, under the watchful eyes of Noel Rojas, a man who I have never met personally but Barry tells me he is a good man and makes really good cigars and expects him to be the next big thing… let’s see.
Aesthetically the cigar is beautiful. Cocoa brown, evenly bunched with no soft spots, nice triple cap and a clean unique aroma. My process of smelling the cigar occurs in two places. The aroma of the wrapper and the foot (open end) of the cigar. Smelling the fillers enables me to detect any youth of the tobacco and there is none… this cigar uses well aged and properly fermented tobacco for sure.
Pre-Light taste – this is before I light the cigar, I cut it with a guillotine cutter to open up the flavor as much as possible without cutting too low and causing the cigar to unravel, but cutting enough to get as much flavor as possible. Here it comes… Unmistakable warm Popcorn flavor and hints of cedar… oh, as a popcorn fan, maybe, just maybe I might really enjoy this cigar.
Using a triple-jet Vertigo Lighter I carefully toast the foot of the cigar and take my first pull as the flame lights up the cigar. I braced myself for the sudden impact and was pleasantly relieved that it didn’t assault me. Oh, yes, there was no denying its full flavor and strength but it was not overpowering or unpleasant at all…yet. As far as the popcorn flavor goes, that is long gone or covered over by spice but I can taste the cedar component even after it is lit. Black pepper is prevalent and building. As not to get plowed over by its strength I plan to smoke this Kilo slowly.
The burn line is tight and even, showing once again, good aging and an outstanding well-constructed roll. Now the cigar is picking up in strength with dark coffee notes… I’m enjoying it but I’m getting concerned that it will quickly get over-powering but not quite yet.
Half way down it has evolved into full-flavored and full-bodied and I feel it in the back of my mouth and resting on my chest. I’ve introduced some black coffee to drink now and it became very noticeable that coffee is a perfect match in taste as the coffee notes have even exceeded the pepper flavor that was so very dominant in the first half.
As I said I would smoke this cigar very slowly and I am amazed how slow it burns and how little it smolders between puffs. When I get back to smoking, it is still lit and ready for me… I love that. This is a sign of a cigar that was well maintained through its life as a finished cigar. Perfectly humidified inside and out, perfect burn line meaning the place where the wrapper meets the ash, like a very thin mascara line, again showing the sign of mature tobacco.
Just a couple of inches left and I’m feeling it… it is strong, no denying it. The flavors and quality are very good, even better than good but… and here’s where it gets negative for me, it’s simply too strong for me personally to enjoy much longer. I would normally be tapping-out at this point but I won’t.
I feel the strength in the pit of my stomach, it’s not getting me sick but concerned. I smoke a lot of cigars everyday but this might possibly be my last today, because it overpowered my taste buds and I feel any light cigar flavor will be non-existent.
My conclusion: I did it! I feel like I climbed a mountain or something. This cigar started and finished full flavored but started medium bodied, quickly built to medium-full and ended full or can I say very full-bodied. Lots of spice with coffee and cedar notes and was a great cigar for a seasoned cigar smoker. For the new cigar smoker or the mild smokers, not something I would recommend to them but for the leather tongues, full-bodied fans… pick some up and take it for a ride… you’ll love it.
As for a number rating, I believe the cigar magazines would love to give it a big rating as they sway to this profile and I don’t. Putting my taste profile aside and being as objective as possible I will say 91 which is very good for me. I’d love to see what this factory could do to a milder cigar or a milder blend line of Kilo in the future.