For at least its first few months, MBombay is likely to be known as “that company with that band.” It’s a reference to the company’s bands, which are massive and intricate.
If you want to know more about the brand, it’s from Mel Shah, a computer engineer who decided to open up Fame Wine and Cigar Lounge in Palm Springs, Calif. more than a decade ago. More recently, he created a house blend, which eventually became MBombay.
MBombay entered the market with Classic, an Ecuadorian Connecticut-wrapped cigar, and Maduro, which features a dark Brazilian mata fina wrapper. On Monday, the company will ship Mōra, a limited production line offered in both Lancero (7 x 38) and Toro (6 x 52) formats.
Both feature a Dominicana Havana corojo wrapper from the 1997 vintage, Peruvian binder and Dominican and Ecuadorian fillers. The wrapper is lighter than the Maduro, darker than the Classic, although the cigar is easily recognizable from a protruding shaggy foot.
- MBombay Mōra Lancero (7 x 38) — $13.49 (Boxes of 15, $202.35)
- MBombay Mōra Toro (6 x 52) — $14 (Boxes of 15, $210)
Its name comes from the Sanskrit word for peacock, which is featured in the center of the MBombay bands. Shah told halfwheel retailers will be limited to just two boxes per month. Mōra, like the rest of the MBombay lines, are made at Tabacos de Costa Rica, some times referred to as Vegas Santiago S.A., the Costa Rican factory responsible for Cuba Rica, Byron, Atabey and others.
- Cigar Reviewed: MBombay Mōra Toro
- Country of Origin: Costa Rica
- Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica
- Wrapper: Dominican Havana Corojo
- Binder: Peru
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Ecuador
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $14 (Boxes of 15, $210)
- Release Date: August 18, 2014
- Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 4
There’s nothing wrong with the wrapper, but it gets lost behind the larger and colorful band and the shaggy foot. Aroma from the dark earth-colored wrapper, which is about the same color as the beans served at my favorite Mexican restaurant, is sweet with cocoa underneath some burnt wood. The foot is far more lively with sweet floral notes and the aforementioned cocoa. The cold draw is unique with an uproot sweet floral flavor that is not Cuban, although somewhat similar. There’s a creamy butterscotch and a touch of acidic citrus, although my attention normally turns to the draw, which is some rendition of tight.
A few pieces fall out of the foot, nothing new for a shaggy foot. There’s a banana note, the familiar sweetness and some burnt wood. I normally want to take a few quick puffs at the beginning of a shaggy foot, just to make sure it’s solidly burning, unfortunately the Mōra can quickly turn harsh. After getting into the wrapper there’s an earthy core with lemon, peppermint and some burnt meat flavors. A grassiness comes and goes, never for very long, but it definitely adds a new dimension to the slightly sweet profile. Body is full, although its quite smooth and the MBombay is medium in strength. Every sample I smoke has a tight draw and I’m somewhat concerned about the burn, but I make it out of the first third without any of the Mōras going out.
There’s a generic nuttiness that appears two inches in, eventually developing to a peanut flavor. It’s joined by a watered down Worcestershire sauce flavor, although the slightly sweet earth is still very much present. The lemon is harder to pick up, although citrus tang and sweetness is definitely found in the retrohale. For about an inch, strength notches up a bit, although it quickly reverts to medium by the end of the second third. As for the draw, the Mōra is still quite tight and I’m still concerned with the strength.
A refined lemon pepper flavor emerges from underneath the harshness, it’s a great way to open up the nose. Retrohales are still fuller than the medium mouth feel, enough so that I would not recommend engaging it more than a half dozen times an inch. The MBombay’s draw shows signs of opening up on two samples, but it’s somewhat too little too late as far as I’m concerned. What’s not lacking is the flavor, which ends the cigar with a nice developed nuttiness as the sweetness dissipates. With an inch left, the cigar does a good job informing me it’s done and I call it a day.
- The draw was tight across all of the Mōras I’ve smoked. I would recommend getting a bit more aggressive with the cutter. It was never plugged, it just required cutting significantly more than my norm, which is to take off as little as possible.
- On that note, the cigar definitely concerned me quite a bit in terms of going out. It didn’t need to be puffed on every 45 seconds, but you do need to watch it.
- And to close out comments on construction, the burn was far from even for most the cigar, but I never felt like I needed to touch it up and would eventually work its way out, only to then become uneven later on.
- I don’t even want to calculate how long the bands took to design. While it’s large, it does not look misplaced. I do think it might serve MBombay’s interest to follow in La Sirena’s footsteps and add a smaller band underneath the large band given you are required to remove that band fairly on into the cigar.
- My best explanation of strength is medium in the first, medium-full for a few minutes of the second third, and mild-medium by the end of the cigar.
- Given the Spanish-centric naming of cigars, we see a lot of cigars with various accent marks, but I cannot think of another cigar that has a macron, which is the Greek symbol represented in this case by a line above the ō.
- There are many retailers who have come out with cigar lines. What I find somewhat unique about Mel Shah is that he started the MBombay brand as unbanded cigars for his own store, well before releasing them to other accounts. His choice of factories is also quite a unique one.
- Samples for this review were given to halfwheel by site sponsor MBombay.
- Final smoking time was a slow two hours.
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I found the Mōra to be enjoyable, but it has its annoyances, mainly centered around construction. While never problematic, it is slightly behind many of the cigars on the market today and not helped by the price point. The flavors are deep and actively change throughout the profile, particularly when you have a mindset that allows you to think about them. While I struggle with the $14 price point, I do think this might be able to carve out a niche at that price level as the vast majority of cigars north of $12 are either much stronger or much lighter.