While at the IPCPR show earlier in the year, the folks at RoMa Craft handed us a sample of a new vitola they were playing with, the CroMagnon Atlatl or CroMagnon Lancero. While the Atlatls in both the CroMagnon and Aquitaine blends have been handed out at various events for the last few months, they have never been for sale until last week when they debuted at Podman Cigars . We posted the information in a news story last week:
Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac announced on Twitter that the CroMagnon Atlatl and Slobberknocker would be offered for sale shortly through Tim Podwika’s podmancigars.com. Atlatl, a 7 x 38 Lancero, and Slobbernocker, a 7 1/2 x 56 double-capped Parejo, have previously been offered by Martin and his partner Michael Rosales at some 20 events around the country since this summer. “We had so many people asking us for these,” Martin told halfwheel. ”They were created to spur innovation in our factory, Nica Sueno, and to be something special for events but Tim has been doing so well with the line that we wanted to give him something special and give those who aren’t close to an event a chance to try them.” Martin says he expects the cigars to arrive next week with the Atlatl retailing for $9.50 and the Slobberknocker retailing for $12.00. He said he expects Podwika to offer three-packs to start and left the possibility of expanding the two offerings to other accounts.“Ultimately, we don’t want it to be a ‘unicorn’ cigar,” said Martin. “We want it to be something that represents what we believe is our strategic advantage that being that we own our own factory and produce very high quality cigars with superior tobacco at a very competitive price point.”
Says the Hava Cigar website about the Atlatl vitolas:
The Atlatl is a 7 x 38 lancero available in both the CroMagnon and Aquitaine blends. Yes, we said a lancero in the CroMagnon blend was impossible, but the amazing team at Nica Sueno have proven me wrong. As with the Slobberknocker, each cigar is hand bunched, pressed and rolled by a single master torcedor.
Here’s the official art for Atlatl: There are now seven different vitolas in the CroMagnon line. They are:
- Anthropology (5 3/4 x 46) — Grand Corona — $8.00 (Boxes of 24, $192.00)
- Atlatl (7 x 38) — Lancero — $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)*
- Cranium (6 x 54) — Gran Toro — $8.50 (Boxes of 24, $204.00)
- EMH (Early Modern Human) (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186.00)
- Knuckle Dragger (4 x 52) — Petit Robusto — $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156.00)
- Mandible (4 1/2 x 60) — Petite Gordo — $7.25 (Boxes of 24, $174.00)
- Slobberknocker (7 1/2 x 56) — Gordo— $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00)*
*Neither the Atlatl or Slobberknocker are currently offered in boxes. This comment from Martin indicates 10-count packaging will be used.
- Cigar Reviewed: CroMagnon Atlatl
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tobacco NicaSueno
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Cameroon
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 38
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
- Date Released: May 4, 2012*
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
*The cigars were first given out at events in May, they were released for sale in November.
The Lancero is quite dark, obviously a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with many veins. While there is some oil present, the Atlatl is rough to the touch. Just by looking at it, you can tell the lack of mold as it is a bit rough around the edges. It has a great amount of give when squeezed and the aRoMa off of the wrapper is strong barnyard, hay, manure and leather.
The first third of the CroMagnon Atlatl starts out with strong flavors of bitter espresso, leather, oak, dark chocolate and anise with a large black pepper hit on the retrohale that almost makes my eyes water. However, the dominant flavor at the beginning is a gritty earth note that, which starts to wane bit by bit after the first 15 puffs. There is a nice—albeit light and intermittent sweetness as well—and I am hoping that it gets stronger. The burn and draw are both excellent. Strength ends the first third just a bit below the medium mark.
Coming into the second third of the CroMagnon Atlatl, the earthiness remains the dominant note, while the other flavors of dark chocolate, slightly bitter espresso, oak and leather are starting to shine through a bit more. The pepper on the retrohale has calmed down a bit, while the sweetness has increased to the point where I can identify it as a licorice note. The construction is still wonderful, giving me no problems at all. While the strength has increased noticeably, it ends the second third at only a solid medium. The final third of the Atlatl sees a decrease in the black pepper and an increase in the licorice sweetness. While the other flavors remain pretty much the same as the first two thirds, the smoke production increases to ridiculous levels. The earthiness in the profile remains, but the grittiness seems to have dissipated for the most part. The burn and draw remain impressive, and it is a very easy cigar to nub. The overall strength ends well under the full mark, a very nice surprise given what the CroMagnon blend is known for. Final Notes
- According to Wikipedia, an Atlatl is a weapon used by the CroMagnon man that:
consists of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The atlatl is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The atlatl is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.
- The Lanceros in both the Aquitaine and CroMagnon lines are rolled totally by hand, with no molds used.
- When asked about the Connecticut Broadleaf used on the CroMagnon line, Skip Martinhad this to say:
US Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Maduro, like we use on the CroMagnon and Slobberknocker, is the bane of my existence. It is impossible to find and the yield sucks. It is crazy expensive. It is also my favorite when matched with strong Nica filler. Love-Hate. I would have never used this wrapper if I had known CroMagnon would be a production cigar.
- While the Atlatls will continue to be sold in very small quantities by Podman cigars, they will also be available at all RoMa Craft events.
- An interesting side note is that RoMa Craft will also be introducing another event cigar, a 6 1/4 x 44 Lonsdale in both of the Intemperance wrappers called the “A.W.S. IV”, which will be sold at Charmed Leaf in extremely limited quantities early next year.
- When asked how many of the Atlatls have been rolled, Skip Martin said, “We’ve been rolling 50-150 per week since May. 2500-3000? We’ve given out or sold. 100% of May-June production. They age minimum 4 months.”
- The CroMagnon Atlatl feels one RG larger then the Aquitaine Atlatl when compared side by side, most likely due to the nature of hand rolling and thicker leaf.
- Interestingly, when I talked to Skip Martin, he told me that when they tried to roll Lanceros with molds in the two blends, they could never get samples to draw well consistently, which was one of the main reasons RoMa Craft had not introduced that vitola in their lines. However, one of their best rollers asked to try and roll them by hand, using no molds, and that ended up solving the problem.
- After smoking this cigar, I immediately realized the similarities with the Cain F Lancero, and to a lesser extent, the LFD Double Ligero Lancero. Not in profile or flavors, but in the fact that the Lancero format in both blends seems to make the blends quite a bit more complex as well as decrease the strength to manageable levels, so that it does not overwhelm the nuances.
- The smoke production for this cigar was well above average, especially in the final third.
- The CroMagnon Atlatl had fabulous construction all the way through to the end of the smoke, never giving me even a hint of a problem. In fact, every one of the RoMa Craft cigars I have smoked have preformed flawlessly.
- At times, the Connecticut Broadleaf flavor is a bit overwhelming in the Atlatl, but I honestly did not mind that at all.
- The final smoking time was right at 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- On a personal note, I have talked with both Skip Martin and Michael Rosales many times over the past two years, and you will not find people who are more dedicated to their craft and to their products. Just wonderful people to be around, talk to and smoke with.
- The cigars smoked for this review were give to halfwheel by RoMa Craft at the IPCPR show.
- If you would like to purchase some of the CroMagnon Atlatl cigars, your best bet is to watch Podman Cigars for announcements on when they get them in stock, or check out RoMa Craft’s website for an event in your area.
Honestly, I never loved the regular CroMagnon line, as I felt that the strength that was present in the blend overwhelmed the flavors, which I am aware quite a few broadleaf like. Thankfully for me, the Atlatl is a bit more complex and is not even close to as strong. While the Connecticut Broadleaf profile is sometimes a bit pervasive, the signature notes shine in this vitola with dark, chewy, and dense flavors. This is easily the best of the CroMagnon vitolas to me, but while this is a good cigar, honestly, the Aquitaine Atlatl, which I smoked to compare the two, is the better of the two by a fairly wide margin. However, if you love the CroMagnon blend, this vitola has quite a bit in common with them, with the added benefit of more complexity and less strength.