Review: Diesel Crucible
In January of this year, rumors started flying about a new Diesel limited edition that would be made with some unique tobacco. Eventually dubbed Crucible, the cigar uses an Ecuadorian Medio Tiempo wrapper, along with a Honduran La Entrada Copan binder and filler composed of Nicaragua leaf from A.J. Fernandez’s Los Cedros farm in Estelí, Condega and an undisclosed leaf that is described as neither Nicaraguan nor Honduran. Because of the tobacco, the Crucible is limited to 1000 boxes of 12, or 12,000 cigars total.
The description from the Cigar.com newsletter in January put it thusly:
Diesel Crucible: A limited, one time run of about 10,000 cigars. We can’t reveal all of the secrets that make this cigar so rare, but one component is a very special filler leaf grown in Honduras. At the onset of the embargo, as tobacco growers and cigar makers fled Cuba, many came to Honduras in search of new land. Most initially settled in an area outside Copan, Honduras where they grew tobacco for several years due to the climate which they felt most rivaled their native Cuba. However, after several successful crops, disease and mold set in, thus rendering the land unusable, forcing growers into regions in other parts of Copan, Jamastrán and Talanga. Almost a decade ago, one particular grower returned to the region, planting various test crops with different seeds engineered to resist the diseases plaguing the tobaccos decades before. After years of failure, the first successful test crop was harvested in 2010 and the results were fantastic. The entire first crop from 2010 was purchased by AJ Fernandez and some was set aside just for Diesel Crucible. This tobacco is strong, robust and a great throwback tobacco from a bygone era that imparts a unique taste. Diesel Crucible will come in only one size, a large torpedo that’s complex and rich with competing flavors ranging from spice and earth to leather and nuts.
The Cigars International website has a slightly different and somewhat over the top description after the release:
Diesel Crucible utilizes a rare, extra-fermented ’Media Tiempo’ wrapper leaf – the key to this cigar’s awesome flavor, but also the reason for its exceedingly limited nature. Beneath this sultry wrapper, a powerful blend of bold tobaccos awaits. Nicaraguan long-leaf ligeros mingle with a ‘secret,’ proprietary strain of long-leaf ligeros. These tobaccos marry in the aging vaults, producing an eventful smoke opening with brute-like strength and flavor. A memorable blast of spice begins the experience, while a supporting cast of chocolate and espresso soothes the senses. Each Crucible burns slow, offering additional notes of spices, earth and sweet wood. The smoke is full-bodied, but the refined smoothness and balance is uncanny, in true AJ form. The level of complexity is equally outstanding. Nay! Outstanding is an understatement, Diesel Crucible truly is a pleasure to burn.
The Diesel Crucible joins three other blends in the Diesel line. In total, they are:
- Unholy Cocktail — (5 x 56)
- Shorty Ltd. Edition — (4.5 x 60)
- Unlimited — (Multiple Sizes)
- Crucible — 6 1/2 x 52
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Diesel Crucible
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
- Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Medio Tiempo
- Binder: Honduras
- Filler: Nicaragua & Proprietary Honduras
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $12.00 (Boxes of 12, $144.00)
- Date Released: April 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 12 Cigars (12,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Honduran wrapper is not overly attractive, almost a pale brown color with spots and veins all over the place. It is slightly spongy when squeezed and smells of manure, leather, hay and coffee.
The first third of the Crucible starts out with an almost overwhelming leather note and a strong amount of spice on the tongue and lips. Together with some black pepper, the spice creates an initial harshness, although both begin to die down around the fifteenth puff, but remain a strong note in the profile. Eventually, I am able to start tasting a few other flavors to go along with the dominant leather, mainly earth, bitter dark chocolate and wood. Both burn and draw are fine, but nothing outstanding. Strength starts out as a medium-full and seems to be going nowhere.
Much like the first third, the second third of the Diesel possesses a very strong, dominant leather note with undercurrents of earth and wood. At about the halfway point, the profile gets a bit more creamy with some sweet floral flowing in and out, but it never sticks around for long. Construction remains the same, i.e. ok, but the burn starts to wander a bit. Strength stays about where it was in the first third of the A.J. Fernandez-made cigar, a strong medium, but does seem to be edging up towards the full mark.
The final third stays the course for the most part with the leather note still easily the most dominant flavor, but I also taste oak, bitter espresso and just a tad bit of the sweet floral from the second third. However, about an 1 1/2 inches from the end of the cigar, the profile turns extremely harsh again, forcing me to put it down. Construction was actually a bit better in the final third with the burn evening up nicely. The strength did tick closer to the full mark as well, but never went over the line.
- Apparently, the original vitola for this release was supposed to be a Belicoso, but a Parejo was released.
- Interestingly, although the band for the Diesel Crucible is on the foot when they are sold, the Cigars International page shows them with bands on both the foot and in the normal position near the cap.
- Also interestingly, other than the background colors, the band design is the same for all of the Diesel lines. The Shorty Ltd. Edition line is the only release that has a secondary band.
- Of all of the Diesel lines, the Unholy Cocktail is easily my favorite. You really just can’t beat the price/flavor combination, and you can get them for about $3.00 per stick when you buy a box of 30.
- Despite a MSRP of $12.00, the Crucible sells at around the $6.00 mark.
- This obviously isn’t the first or last limited edition that Cigars International and Cigar.com have had this year. Normally we don’t review them, but 12,000 cigars is pretty limited. Of note, a My Father Corona for later in the year.
- Cigars International and Cigar.com are sister stores, now both part of STG Group, which also owns General Cigar Co.
- The construction of the Diesel Crucible is just ok. The burn was all over the place at different points in both samples I smoked, but the draw was fine on both cigars.
- The boxes of Diesel Crucible are individually numbered.
- This has to be one of the most unattractive wrappers I have seen in a while. Pale, dull and seemingly lifeless with spots all over it. Just not something that you look at and say, “wow, that is a nice looking cigar”.
- The ash is a dark grey color, interspersed with a few spots of white.
- The final smoking time for both samples was right at one hour and 25 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Diesel Crucibles, you can find them at Cigar.com.
The Bottom Line: Despite the almost overwhelmingly gushy description on the Cigars International page, this cigar is about the furthest thing from balanced that I can imagine. It is not a bad cigar by any means, but is fairly one dimensional (leather) and can get harsh at times, especially at the front and back ends. Having said that, the biggest problem with this cigar is undoubtedly the price. The Diesel brand was successfully built mainly on the alter of a great tasting cigar for a cheap price and I have a feeling that this blend would have to be extremely good in order to get the average Diesel smoker to even try it. Sadly, I just don’t think the flavor or complexity is there in the Diesel Crucible for that to happen very often.
Final Score: 77