During the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Asylum 13 showed off a unique release named Medulla Oblongata, named after the part of the brain that handles involuntary functions like breathing, sneezing and vomiting. The new cigar features a similar blend to the Asylum 13 Corojo, but uses higher primings of tobacco to give it a different profile. That blend includes a Honduran corojo wrapper covering more Honduran tobacco used in both the binder and filler.

However, the most interesting aspect of the release might be the fact that each box contains two different cigars that have the same blend and same dimensions. The difference is that one is box-pressed and one is round.

Each 50-count cabinet contain 25 round parejos—the Medulla—and 25 box-pressed cigars—the Oblongata—meaning there are technically eight different sizes amongst the four sizes. The regular production cigars were shipped to retailers in August and are being produced at Christian Eiroa’s El Aladino factory located in Danlí, Honduras.

  • Asylum 13 Medula 50 × 5 (5 x 50) – $7 (Boxes of 50, $350)
  • Asylum 13 Oblongata 50 × 5 (5 x 50) – $7 (Boxes of 50, $350)
  • Asylum 13 Medula 52 x 6 (6 x 52) – $8.25 (Boxes of 50, $412.50)
  • Asylum 13 Oblongata 52 x 6 (6 x 52) – $8.25 (Boxes of 50, $412.50)
  • Asylum 13 Medula 60 x 6 (6 x 60) — $8 (Boxes of 50, $400)
  • Asylum 13 Oblongata 60 x 6 (6 x 60) — $8 (Boxes of 50, $400)
  • Asylum 13 Medula 80 x 6 (6 x 80) – $9.50 (Boxes of 50, $475)
  • Asylum 13 Oblongata 80 x 6 (6 x 80) – $9.50 (Boxes of 50, $475)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Asylum 13 Oblongata 50 × 5
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: El Aladino
  • Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Filler: Honduras
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $7 (Boxes of 50, $350)
  • Release Date: August 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

When viewing the Asylum 13 Oblongata 50 × 5 for the first time, I was a bit taken aback by the fact that you can barely see the actual cigar at all, due to the tissue paper wrap that covers three-quarters of its length, ending just under the band. Once that is removed, it revels a milk chocolate brown wrapper that is almost slick to the touch, although there is very little overt oil visible. The Oblongata features a not-quite-exteme box-press and is quite firm when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of barnyard, campfire, peanuts, oak and espresso, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong gritty earth, aromatic cedar, barnyard and hay with a touch of indeterminate sweetness.

Starting off the first third, the Oblongata 50 × 5 features a combination of earth and creamy peanuts as the dominant flavors, along with lesser notes of oak, leather, hay, black licorice, dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. I am picking up a significant amount of spice on my tongue as well as some distinct graham cracker sweetness that is present on the retrohale, both of which seem to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. There is also a large amount of black pepper on the retrohale to start, but it recedes quickly to more manageable levels after 10 puffs or so. Smoke production is quite copious off of the foot, and both the burn and draw are excellent so far, while the strength in the blend hits a point between mild and medium by the time the first third comes to and end.

The graham cracker sweetness from the first third of the Asylum 13 Oblongata continues at about the same level as the first third, but the pepper on the retrohale has receded noticeably by the halfway point, although there is still enough to make an impact on the profile. The dominant flavors continue to be a combination of gritty earth and creamy peanuts, followed by other flavors of coffee beans, dark cocoa, bread, hay and oak. Smoke production has increased slightly compared to the first third, while both the burn and the draw continue to impress. The overall strength has increased, but not by much, and still falls short of medium range by the end of the second third.

Coming into the final third of the Asylum 13, and the profile becomes noticeably less distinct overall, with the creamy peanut flavor taking over the dominant spot in the profile. Other flavors include earth, graham cracker sweetness, grass, leather and dark chocolate, while the black pepper on the retrohale has actually increased slightly. I am also picking up a bit of salt on my tongue about halfway through the final third, but it was gone as quickly as I noticed it, never to return. Construction-wise, the burn has become a bit wavy, but is not bad enough to touch up, and the draw is still excellent after a v-cut. Finally, the overall strength finally hits the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • I love the idea of having a box of 25 box-pressed and 25 non-box-pressed cigars, but the 50-count box containing both sizes is not exactly cheap. I would think a 20-count box containing 10 of each version would sell quite well.
  • While the boxes at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show had the cigars in the order of the part of the brain it is named after—that is, with the Medulla on the left and the Oblongata on the right—a number of retailer boxes actually have the two cigars reversed in the order. In addition, a photo of the box on the CLE website shows the cigars in the wrong order as well.
  • The color of the band is fairly similar to the color of the wrapper, leading to a fairly bland overall look after you take off the paper wrap.
  • Speaking of the tissue paper wrap, I found the easiest way to pull it off is to grab the bottom and pull slowly.
  • While it was not the first thing I thought of when I heard the name of this cigar, it did bring the line from the movie “The Waterboy” fairly quickly.
  • The construction on these was extremely good, with just one sample needing a touchup in the final third, and the draw was incredible on all three after I cut them with a v-cutter.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 24 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Asylum 13 Oblongata cigars, site sponsors JR Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars have them in stock.
89 Overall Score

I have never been a huge fan of Honduran tobacco when compared against Dominican, Nicaraguan and even Cuban tobacco, but the Asylum 13 Oblongata may do quite a bit to start changing my opinion. While the profile is quite earthy on the palate, it never becomes overwhelming, and the ever present creamy nuttiness and vanilla sweetness—which tops out just after the second third has ended—really helps the overall balance shine. Construction was excellent across all three samples, and the presentation was easily above average, making  this a cigar that you should definitely try for yourself, even if Honduran tobacco has not been up your alley in the past.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.