In 2004, Tabacalera Tropical, the company now known as Casa Fernández, released a cigar called Mombacho Thermonuclear named for the iconic stratovolcano in Nicaragua that last erupted in 1570 but is still very much part of the local culture and day-to-day activities due to its hiking trails and impressive views of Lake Nicaragua and the city of Granada.
Editor’s Note: There are two different Mombachos in the U.S. The one that most readers of this site are likely familiar with is the company known as Mombacho Cigars S.A., which sells its products as Tierra Volcan in the U.S., but Mombacho elsewhere around the world. This is a review of the Mombacho brand, which is made by Casa Fernández who owns the trademark in the U.S. The cigars are not related, other than the name. — CM.
It was a cigar that came out during a time when the cigar world was craving tremendous amounts of strength from new releases, and with the name of a volcano and the promise of “Thermonuclear Triple Ligero” on the band, the Mombacho found favor with the more hardcore, pepper-seeking cigar smokers.
Yet in 2005, the Nicaraguan puro got a reblend to make it even more powerful, using three leaves of ligero from Estelí, Nicaragua, a Nicaraguan corojo binder and a Corojo 99 wrapper.
As is known to happen, the Mombacho Thermonuclear Series began to fade from humidors, and it seemed that the cigar might be lost to history until some news came out earlier this spring.
In mid-April, it was announced that the Mombacho cigar would be returning, but with a new name, new factory producing it, and only one retailer in the country carrying it. The Mombacho Miami uses the same all Nicaraguan blend as the original cigar, but it is now being made at Casa Fernández Miami—instead of in Honduras—and is an exclusive to Serious Cigars of Houston, Texas.
The relaunched line comes in same three sizes as the original.
- Mombacho Miami Belicoso (6 1/4 x 54) — $9.95 (Boxes of 10, $89.55)
- Mombacho Miami Corona Gorda (6 1/2 x 52) — $9.90 (Boxes of 10, $89.10)
- Mombacho Miami Robusto (5 x 54) — $9.15 (Boxes of $82.35)
Each size is offered in boxes of 10, instead of the 15-count boxes the company used to use for Mombacho, but uses the same basic packaging, adding a secondary band that proclaims this to be an “Edición Limitada Miami.”
- Cigar Reviewed: Mombacho Miami Corona Gorda
- Country of Origin: United States of America
- Factory: Casa Fernández Miami
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
- Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- MSRP: $9.90 (Box of 10, $88.95)
- Release Date: April 23, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
While this may be called a corona gorda, in my mind it’s more of a slightly larger than average toro, and even more specifically, the vitola that has been dominating the marketplace in recent years when it comes to single vitola releases. It’s very well rolled with perfectly flat seams and no visual imperfections, with an incredibly dense core and no give whatsoever. The intricate network of tiny veins is something to behold, showing particularly well on this leaf and giving a bit of insight as to how these leaves get their nutrients. The aroma from the foot starts with a top layer of cake donut that quickly peels back to show some baking spices and a faint, generic sweetness. The cold draw is a touch firm, not impeding airflow but giving it a bit of a resistance along the way from foot to mouth. The aromas I picked up from the foot are repeated almost identically, though with just a touch more of the spice that begins crossing into pepper territory.
For not showing much pepper before being lit, the Mombacho Miami shows a fair amount once it gets burning, and immediately gets me thinking of the original Mombacho blend I smoked several years ago and the Thermonuclear Triple Ligero warning that sits on the band. Retrohales don’t pick up the same amount of pepper that the palate does in the first half an inch or so, but there are some indications that it is en route to both senses in much greater amounts than what is currently being offered. Indeed, each puff gets successively more pepper-driven, building to an yet-to-be determined level of strength while the cake donut and baking spice notes make occasional appearances in the foundation of the cigar’s flavors. The first clump unceremoniously falls off at just about an inch, with the cigar performing quite well through the first third. Even with the increasing amount of pepper, the Mombacho Miami remains quite well balanced in the first third of its journey, with some dry tobacco notes hitting the back of the throat and a well-textured smoke through the nose.
The cake donut note begins to morph into a warm pretzel as the Mombacho Miami’s second third gets underway. While I’m waiting eagerly to see just how much pepper this new edition of the Mombacho offers, the cigar shocks my palate by backing off on the pepper quite considerably, getting into a medium strength and body profile by the midway point and giving the blend a chance to show its complexity. However, this cigar doesn’t beat around the bush when it wants to show its peppery muscle, and depending on the way the breeze is blowing can be an all-out attack on your senses at times, including a real eye irritant. The pepper buildup gets going again just ahead of the midway point, steadily increasing in amount and force both in the nose and on the tongue, yet it never quite gets brutish with its power. The final puffs of the second third are greeted by a fairly sudden return of the pepper as the cigar teases the setup of a pepper-driven final third.
Some very clean, refined black pepper starts off the final third of the Mombacho Miami as the strength continues to inch forward, though a bit of sourness has crept in as well, leaving a less-than-ideal lingering finish on the palate. I find myself wanting some sort of flavor changes from the Mombacho Miami, yet they don’t seem to be coming other than by way of changes in the pepper content. There are a few points where a respite reveals a slight sweetness in the cigar, aloe-like in some samples and a more generic, heavy sweetness in others. In the final inch and a half, heat begins to come into play, slightly altering the flavor towards a sharper, brasher profile that repeats the sour notes on occasion while also picking up a bit of a hard candy profile, almost like someone’s first attempt at trying to make some. Briefer puffs mitigate that quite a bit, as the pepper trails off and a dry cedar note comes in to close the cigar out.
- I still remember smoking the original Mombacho in 2010 at a store called Shades of Havana in Peoria, Ariz., which unfortunately is no longer in business.
- In fact, that cigar made such an impression on me that I took a picture of it; this is from Sept. 18, 2010.
- I don’t know if the cigar was solely to blame, but during the second sample my eyes got incredibly irritated by something, reaching the point where I had to rinse them out a few times. If you can, smoke it with the breeze at your back, not coming towards you.
- The expression “sneaky strong” can be used at times with the Mombacho Miami; it’s not an in-your-face strength, but the pepper will certainly be felt at times and often not in direct correlation to what your senses might be picking up.
- This is definitely not a solid choice to smoke on a hot day in Phoenix or wherever you might be, as the strength seems to get compounded by the heat and dry air. Best to smoke it on as comfortable a day as possible as it will certainly challenge your fortitude.
- Construction was nearly flawless on each sample, and the consistency from sample to sample was among the best I’ve experienced in recent memory.
- A tip of the hat to CigarCyclopedia.com and Perelman’s Pocket Cyclopedia of Cigars for some help with the background of the Mombacho Thermonuclear Series.
- The word thermonuclear has been used elsewhere in the cigar world, most notably by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, who created the never-released Tatuaje Thermonuclear several years ago as a joke because of just how strong it was. It was no joke, however, and became the basis for the Tatuaje T110, PJ40th, M80, Fausto line, Avion line, and several store exclusives.
- Viaje has also used the term nuclear to refer to some of the cigars in its Skull and Bones line; the red banded cigars are named for nuclear weapons, while the white banded cigars are named for non-nuclear bombs.
- EO Brands released the 601 La Bomba Nuclear, a 6 x 50 toro, back in June 2011.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Casa Fernández advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 15 on average.
- The only place to get the Mombacho Thermonuclear Edición Limitada Miami is Serious Cigars in Houston. Fine them here or by calling 866.372.4427. Be sure to tell them you heard about it on halfwheel.
I can’t recall the last time that I ever found myself disappointed by the strength in a cigar, especially one where it’s by no means lacking, yet there was just something about the Mombacho Miami that had me yearning for what be a unattainable memory from nearly six years ago of the original Mombacho Thermonuclear Series. That said, there’s not a lot to complain about when it comes to this cigar: strength is plentiful and for the most part very clean, with little in the way of irritation. Complexity and the number of transitions could certainly be improved, but given the power the cigar has at the moment, it seems possible that those could develop with time without necessarily sacrificing the plentiful amounts of pepper. They say you can’t go home again, and that is certainly the case with the memories of the original Mombacho, but this revamped version isn’t a bad substitute.