In late March, RoMa Craft Tobac brand owner Skip Martin posted a photograph of a new project they were working on, a 10 x 500 ring gauge cigar they named the Femur, which references one of the few intact fossils discovered at the CroMagnon archeological site in Aquitaine, France. After much experimentation, the size was lowered first to a 235 ring gauge, then to a 215 ring gauge before settling on the final 133 1/3 ring gauge, which is directly proportional to the CroMagnon Mandible in both size and allegedly blend.
In the months before the IPCPR trade show where it would make its debut, Martin showed off multiple photos of the process of producing the cigar, including the molds, samples without a wrapper and side-by-side comparisons:
RoMa Craft owner Skip Martin explains the idea behind producing such a large cigar:
I get it, the whole craze around bigger and bigger cigars is confusing. In fact, since I started making cigars in 2010 my own preferences have moved more towards smaller ring gauges and shorter cigars. I smoke more of the Intemperance BA XXI “Intrigue’, a 4 x 46 Petite Corona, more than any other cigar we make. That said, I wanted to make something for IPCPR, something special to give loyal retailers who placed orders at the show. We went through a number of options, but we decided that nothing represented what we are about any more than a special cigar to display.
A few people have slapped together tobacco to make special shapes (footballs) or humongous cigars, but I wanted to know how big we could make a cigar using the same exact tobacco and processes we used for our production cigars. We started with the 235 ring gauge, but it required that some corners be cut (eg. multiple wrapper leafs). In the end, the 10 x 133 format was feasible, and theoretically it could be smoked the same as any other cigar we produce.
I’m not going to tell you our blend, but there are four fillers. X% of A, X% of B, X% of C, X% of D. The Mandible and Femur share the same proportions, which have an increased proportion of ligeros than our other 5 vitolas in the line.
Here is a photo of the CroMagnon Femur next to a CroMagnon Mandible:
RoMa Craft Tobac sold the Femur at the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention. The cigars are priced at $50.00 per piece and will come an individual coffins. At this time, Martin says the cigars will begin arriving in retail in November. A total of 200 Femurs are expected to be made.
The coffins look like this:
When the Femur is released, there will be a total of 14 different vitolas in the CroMagnon line. They are:
CroMagnon Anthropology (5 3/4 x 46) — Grand Corona — $8.00 (Boxes of 24, $192.00)
CroMagnon Cranium (6 x 54) — Gran Toro — $8.50 (Boxes of 24, $204.00)
CroMagnon EMH (Early Modern Human) (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186.00)
CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger (4 x 52) — Petit Robusto — $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156.00)
CroMagnon Mandible (4 1/2 x 60) — Petite Gordo — $7.25 (Boxes of 24, $174.00)CroMagnon Mandible XL (6 x 60) — Gordo — Sampler Only (Not Pictured)
CroMagnon Atlatl (7 x 38) — Lancero — $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
CroMagnon Slobberknocker (7 1/2 x 56) — Gordo— $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00)
CroMagnon Blockhead (6 x54) – Box-Pressed Gran Toro – $9.00
CroMagnon Formorian (5 x 56) – Robusto Extra (Candela) – $7.50 (Boxes of 24, $180.00)
CroMagnon Epoch (7 x 49) – Churchill – $10.00 (Boxes of 10, $100.00)
CroMagnon Mode 5 (5 x 50) – Perfecto – $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156.00)
CroMagnon Venus (6 1/2 x 56) – Petite Salomon – $10.00 (Boxes of 10, $100.00)CroMagnon Femur (10 x 133 1/3) — Femur — $50.00 (Box of 1, $50.00)*
*Not yet released.
Cigar Reviewed: CroMagnon Femur
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 10 Inches
Ring Gauge: 133 1/3
Release Date: November, 2013
Number of Cigars to be Released: 200 Total Cigars
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
There is only one word to describe the CroMagnon Femur: MASSIVE. Held in your hand (or hands), it is so large it is almost comical and the cigar takes two hands splayed apart to cover it from cap to foot and still has a bit left over. Yet, the wrapper is a gorgeous deep mocha brown, and it is obvious that great care was taken when actually rolling it. There are a few veins visible, but the wrapper is silky smooth to the touch, almost slick. There is a very obvious triple cap that looks excellently applied and there is very little give when it is squeezed. Aroma off of the wrapper is strong barnyard, cedar, leather and slight black pepper.
It takes a while to light, but once it gets lit, it stays that way for the first couple of inches, which was one of my biggest concerns. First flavors are earthy, dark chocolate, cedar and leather, along with a very slight nuttiness that comes and goes. There is a very strong bitterness that is strongest in the first few puffs, but after about 10 puffs, it recedes to the finish, but is still quite noticeable. Construction-wise, the burn is surprisingly good—although not even close to razor sharp—but the draw is way, way too loose, and it feels like I am sucking through a tunnel. Smoke production is massive and billowy, while the strength does not even come close to the medium mark by the end of the first third.
The second third of the Femur holds very few changes or surprises, with the bitterness from the first few puffs starting to become more prominent in the overall profile. The other notes of earth, dark chocolate cedar and leather are still present, but not as distinct, and the flavors start to become quite muddled after the halfway point. The draw is still much looser then I would like, and the burn has needed frequent touchups, but nothing too major in that regard. Surprisingly, the strength has not yet reached the medium mark, and really does not seem to be getting any stronger at all.
Unfortunately, the bitterness starts to overwhelm any other flavors that might be present in the profile right at the start of the final third of the CroMagnon Femur, and while I continue to smoke it, the process has become laborious. The burn is still uneven requiring touchups, but not horribly so, and the draw has actually tightened up a bit, which is a welcome change in that regard. As the final inches burn down, the bitterness gets worse and worse, and I am forced to give up smoking before I wanted to with about 2 1/2 inches left, as the profile had turned extremely bitter and just downright nasty by that point. Strength-wise, the Femur flirts with the medium mark, but never actually hits it.
- When I saw the first photo of this cigar posted on March 31st, I honestly thought it was an early April Fools joke using a photoshopped photograph.
- I did have to touch this up and relight it quite a few times especially after the first third, but even with that, the burn and construction overall was extremely good, considering the size and amount of tobacco that was in the cigar. The fact that this monstrosity can actually be smoked the same way as a cigar that is a fraction of its size really is a true testament to the rollers.
- I really wish these should come with a proportionally sized band, a la the OpusX Football.
- Martin told me that I am the first person to smoke one of the Femurs.
- The weight of the Femur I smoked was exactly 6.6oz or 187 grams and change, while a CroMagnon Mandible that I weighed was 18 grams, which means that one Femur has as much tobacco as 10 Mandibles. This also means that since I smoked 7 1/2 inches of the Femur, I essentially smoked the equivalent of 7 1/2 CroMagnon Mandibles in a continuous 5 1/2 hour time period. For the record, Skip Martin says when he is at the factory, he has been known to smoke nonstop for up to 18 hours straight.
- The box these come in are specifically made to hold them, and are extremely solid in construction.
- Here is a video of the cigar being bunched.
- I did have to touch this cigar up quite a bit over the total smoking time, but honestly, not as much as I expected. I did have to take a spoon to the middle of the foot a couple of times to scoop out ash, as the middle of the cigar went out every once in a while.
- As with the OpusX Football, I expected the Femur to knock me out in the strength department, and just like with the Football, nothing could be further from what actually happened. The overall strength never even hit the medium mark, which surprised me enough to ask Skip Martin about it. His response was:
Flavor/body from the wrapper, nicotine from the ligero…but the ligero we use is specifically selected for flavor, not strength. It is a common misconception that our cigars are strong. In fact, most of our cigars are
high in body, but lower in nicotine content. It is much harder to make a cigar with flavor than it is to make a cigar that is harsh/super strong.
- That being said, I was shocked when I finished the cigar. I burnt through a lot of tobacco and didn’t really feel the nicotine. It definitely didn’t feel like two Mandibles, let alone seven and change.
- Special thanks goes out to Kent Pennington of Elite Cigar Cafe, who put up with the amount of smoke that the Femur put out, and supplied the lighter, the scale sued to weigh it and took this video of me lighting it.
- When I asked Skip Martin how many wrapper leaves were used on each Femur, he told me just one. “US Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Maduro… same as the other cigars in the line, but the largest 200 leaves we could find out of about 100,000.”
- One of my largest concerns other than if it would actually stay lit was the draw, and that proved to be as problematic as I feared. Even though I only cut out a hole less than a half inch large in the cap, the draw was still open as hell, making it extremely difficult to get any resistance when drawing in the smoke. I was able to—barely—get enough suction to actually smoke it.
- While it hard to believe, there are larger cigars being rolled and sold on the market, although we can’t find anything being sold currently that is both longer and thicker. The Bazuka El Monstruo is thicker at 8 1/2 x 140, the Puros Indios Chief is longer at 18 x 66 and the there was of course the Gran Habano Corojo #5 El Gigante, it was 19 feet long and three feet wide.
- The final smoking time was exactly five hours and 40 minutes, from 10:15am to 3:55pm.
- The cigar smoked for this review was given to halfwheel by RoMa Craft Tobac at the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention.
- If you want to get ahold of one of the CroMagnon Femurs, your only option is to try and get one from one of the retailers who purchased them from RoMa Craft during the IPCPR show. Martin did mention that they held 50 of the 200 total that they rolled back, and that there is a possibility that those remaining cigars would be used for future projects, giveaways or raffles.
It would be easy to look at the combination of almost obscene ring gauge and length on the CroMagnon Femur and dismiss it out of hand as nothing more than a publicity stunt or joke, and I would imagine that is what some people reading this review will do. Look beyond those thoughts, however, and you will see a very different purpose for this cigar. For RoMa Craft Tobac it was an experiment, to see if they could actually make something this big that could be smoked. There is no doubt the Femur is too large, tastes pretty bad after the first third, and serves virtually no purpose other than as a conversation piece. However, they did succeed in making something beyond that, a functional cigar, even if at the limits. As with many of the "art cigars" we have reviewed, scoring is neither easy, nor pretty. While I definitely tasted a little of the CroMagnon profile, especially a combination of dark earthiness and dark chocolate flavors, but those were mostly relegated to the first third of the smoke. Unfortunately, the scores we give are based predominantly on flavor, which in the case of the Femur, might not even be half the case. Much like with the OpusX Football, the purpose was to push the limits and produce something that actually smoked like a regular cigar, for that at least, it's hard to find fault.