While many cigar companies opted to introduce value-priced offers at Tobacco Plus Expo 2020, Ventura Cigar Co. took a completely different approach.
Ventura is owned by Kretek International, the same company that owns the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE), and for a number of different reasons, the late January trade show was a showcase for the brand. It decided to introduce two 6 x 52 toros in its Archetype line.
Archetype launched in 2016 with the branding inspired by the writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, specifically about the character archetypes that define people. The latest offerings are Pupil and Master.
Both cigars are made at Joya de Nicaragua. The Master is a Nicaraguan puro, while Pupil uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers. Pricing for both is $15 per cigar and each comes in boxes of 20.
- Cigar Reviewed: Archetype Pupil
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $15 (Box of 20, $300)
- Release Date: February 2020
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
“This is going to be a pain to photograph,” is my first thought. The band is incredibly interesting but its silver on white metallic design is something that gives me concern as a cigar photographer. The good news for you is that you probably aren’t overly concerned with that. What you might be concerned with is the condition of the wrapper, as am I, since two of the samples have tears. It’s nothing major, but as with many Connecticut-wrapped cigars that are sold without cellophane, I suspect that will be added at some point to avoid this issue. Outside of that, the wrapper looks good with no discoloration or water spots. I don’t get a ton of aroma from the Pupil’s wrapper, and what it does offer smells a bit like a pretzel with some barnyard flavors. The foot is substantially fuller with cranberry muffins, an artificial bourbon flavoring and some forest candle-like smells. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s some company selling a candle that is marketed towards a male audience that smells like this. Cold draws are sweet with a semi-sweet chocolate, candied oranges and a bit of barnyard.
Once lit, I’m greeted with a chamomile tea flavor and oak. It’s a bit dry, but not as dry as many Connecticut-wrapped cigars. After an inch or so the flavor develops into an earthy base with some sweet fruitiness and a bit of creaminess underneath. Retrohales have a very even mixture of Worcestershire sauce, a not-sweet barbecue sauce, muted fruitiness and white pepper. The finish has some nuttiness, white pepper and bark. Flavor is full, body is medium and strength is medium. Construction is fine, though the ash on one sample is particularly messy and the burn is super slow.
I don’t pick up a ton of changes in the initial mouth flavors in the Archetype Pupil as it enters the second third. It’s still quite earthy but there’s a crispness, almost like an unsalted potato chip, that is adding a new dimension. When I go looking for it I can still find the sweet fruitiness, but it’s much more buried. Retrohales are dominated by a toastiness with a slight bit of harshness and a mild lemon flavor. The finish is drier than either of the other two tasting components, with some brown mustard, a toastiness and some nuts. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. One cigar needs a touch-up to help a portion that isn’t burning, but otherwise things are fine on that front. The burn is still super slow and I feel like the cigar is smoking a bit hot, not based on the actual temperature of the smoke but by a sometimes muted and harsher profile.
The policy at halfwheel is to write tasting notes in the present tense but I’m not really sure how to do that this time around, so here’s what happened. My first sample was moving along and then suddenly it went out. I went to relight it using the normal process of knocking the ash off to get a flat base, lighting around the rim of the cigar and then lighting the center part while taking a big puff in and then blowing the smoke out through the center. Two minutes later, the cigar was out again. This process repeated itself a couple more times and by this point the ash had turned into a firm cone that no longer was going to knock off without the assistance of a knife. I ended up repeating this until a point where the cigar would burn down to get the photograph you see below and scoring the cigar based off of how things were going before the relights happened, but docking the cigar for the relights. With the second sample, I paid extra attention to keeping my puff rate up as I neared the final third. I thought I was in the clear, but with just less than two inches left, the cigar got to the same place. The same relight procedures repeated itself before I gave up on the cigar. For my third sample, I decided to just ignore what the cigar was telling me and smoke quicker. That worked and I was greeted with a profile led by cedar and earthiness with a sweetness and black pepper underneath. Retrohales had dry leaves, some sour barbecue sauce, acorns and a creaminess. The finish seemed to alternate between the acorns and the creaminess, though never both at once. Flavor ends up full, body was full and strength was medium-plus. I didn’t bother making tasing notes of the other sample as they just turned into a harsh and toasty mess, the default profile I get when I have to full relight a cigar a number of times in a short period.
- It’s not entirely clear if these cigars are coming in cellophane. Mine showed up without cellophane, though an image of the box on the internet shows cigars wrapped in cellophane. I asked a representative for Ventura but didn’t hear back by the time it was time for this review to be published.
- I really am not sure what to make of the issues of the cigar staying lit in the final third. This gets particularly complicated by the fact the third sample managed to settle into a groove where I could go back to a more normal puff rate and never went out.
- It almost seems like there was some sort of hump the cigar needed to get over and once it did, things were fine. Unfortunately, the sample size here is pretty small.
- Adding to the difficulties is the fact that at times, the flavor profile seemed like the cigar was being smoked too fast. The temperature of the smoke never really showed that, but the flavors got muted like the cigar did. As if that wasn’t enough, the cigar burned super slow.
- For what it’s worth, the final sample’s flavor didn’t seem to get punished by an increased puff rate. My advice for anyone smoking these would be to smoke quickly.
- While it seemed like it would be a strong candidate for “hardest cigar band to photograph” it actually ended up being pretty easy.
- I’m a big fan of the packaging here, it’s very well executed with a good design, nice printing and I think the combination works. The silver and white combination isn’t always easy, and a lot of times I’m not a particular fan of the metallic silver, but this is a great example.
- I believe the band is supposed to be a portrait of Carl Jung.
- There’s some printing on the inside of the band.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time ranged from two hours and 20 minutes to nearly three hours. The final sample took just under two hours and 40 minutes.
The Archetype Pupil is not an easy cigar to smoke. For much of the cigar, it seemed like I was smoking it too fast, yet the cigar was burning incredibly slow. Then the final third happened. Without special attention, keeping the cigar lit in that section was a struggle. Relighting the cigar was challenging and frustrating. Combine all of that with the $15 price of admission and this becomes a hard cigar to recommend. All of that said, if you are able to keep the cigar lit, the Pupil provides a much more mature profile than the lighter wrapper would indicate. Flavor-wise, it’s one of the best cigars in Ventura’s portfolio, but my lasting impression will be my frustration with keeping the cigar lit in the final third.