It has been the year of the comeback.
A host of companies have begun releasing cigars from various moments of yesteryear, largely due to regulations brought on by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) which have created advantages for cigars that were on the market prior to Feb. 15, 2007 while simultaneously making it more challenging to introduce new products.
It’s also seen a few faces from years past reemerge; enter Michael Argenti. While Argenti returned briefly last year as part of La Gran Llave, that venture lasted less than a year before being acquired by A.J. Fernández.
Six months later, Argenti had a new, yet familiar project to show off: Entubar.
The line debuted in 2009 from Berger & Argenti, a company owned by Argenti, his brother Al, and the late Enrique “Kiki” Berger. In an industry that oftentimes is lacking innovation, Entubar certainly brought a lot to the table.
The cigars were notable because of their feet, which featured a small, centered cylinder of tobacco that extended about of an inch from the foot. It was a concept designed to highlight the entubado method of rolling, where bunchers roll the filler in long cylindrical tubes.
A Connecticut version was added shortly thereafter, then the Entubar V32—which featured a tube of ligero—and then an even more ambitious project, V3-D which featured a larger cylinder protrusion and then the normal thinner tube on top of that, i.e. three different levels to the bottom of the cigar.
Unfortunately, V3-D never came out and the company disappeared in 2012.
That was the last we wrote of Berger & Argenti and I’m not sure I expected to be writing about the company five years later, but here we are.
The 2017 version of Entubar uses a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This is different from the original cigar which featured an Ecuadorian wrapper and no Dominican tobacco.
Packaging is quite a bit different from the original, which is on the left.
It’s offered in six sizes, notably less expensive than the earlier versions of Entubar.
- Berger & Argenti Entubar Munchito (3 3/4 x 44) — $5.99 (Boxes of 20, $120.99)
- Berger & Argenti Entubar Corona Macho (4 5/8 x 48) — $8.99 (Boxes of 10, $89.90)
- Berger & Argenti Entubar Robusto (5 4/8 x 54) — $9.49 (Boxes of 10, $94.90)
- Berger & Argenti Entubar Double Corona (7 5/8 x 55) — $10.49 (Boxes of 10, $104.90)
- Berger & Argenti Entubar Torpedo (6 7/8 x 56) — $11.74 (Boxes of 10, $117.40)
- Berger & Argenti Entubar Gran Toro (6 5/8 x 64) — $12.99 (Boxes of 10, $129.90)
- Cigar Reviewed: Berger & Argenti Entubar Corona Macho (2017)
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 4 5/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Corona
- MSRP: $8.99 (Boxes of 10, $89.90)
- Release Date: July 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The original Entubar was noted for its distinctive foot band, which looked like crime scene tape. The band was to let customers know they needed to light the entire foot, not just the nipple. That concept carries over to the 2017 version of Entubar, only the band is much subtler and definitively more hipster. Aroma off the wrapper is a mixture fo peppermint, cocoa and leather. The foot is a bit awkward to try to smell at once, but it delivers gingerbread, graham cracker, some spiciness and the classic Nicaraguan mixture of sweet cocoa and strong pepper. The cold draw is similar with the chocolate and pepper mixture being the real standouts, somewhere around medium-full.
It’s been a while since I’ve lit an Entubar. While the process is still essentially the same as any moral cigar, the protruding foot does require a bit more attention to make sure not only that it is lit, but also the rest of the cigar. Once that is done, I pick up some popcorn, earthiness, orange cream, and some underlying saltiness, all around the medium-full mark. While the flavors of the Entubar are detailed, they don’t mesh together particularly well, something that extends well into the first third. Charred earth takes over the profile, surrounded by chocolate milk, burnt popcorn, and the saltiness. I pick up some leather and a different sort of toastiness through the nose, but once again, it doesn’t come together into a profile that I find particularly admirable. Flavor is medium-full in intensity, while body is full and strength is medium-plus. One sample starts a bit differently, notably it’s much stronger during the first few minutes and then began to fade out.
While the ash held incredibly well for the first third, once I knock it off, each cigar shows a bit of tunneling. On one hand, it’s extremely impressive to see the stacked inch-plus long ash; on the other hand, I would have liked to avoid the use of a lighter. As for the flavor, the Berger & Argenti Entubar continues to be quite toasty with bread, red woods and saltiness surrounding it. Through the nose, there’s orange peel and burnt caramel, both of which are overwhelmed by the saltiness.
The Entubar gets sharper in the final third with the pepper increasing notably. I still feel like I’m sitting by a burning campfire, as opposed to a balcony in the city, but the flavor finally seems to be coming together in a sensible manner. There’s a bit of woodiness and more sweetness, particularly as the saltiness dissipates, but the back of my throat is now covered in pepper. Smoke production, which had never been an issue, recedes quite a bit in the final third, which notably begins with only an inch and a half left.
- Here’s a closer look at the hipster-like band.
- The other brand Michael Argenti launched at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show is equally fascinating: Cuban Copy, which is supposed to be non-Cuban replicas of classic Cuban cigars. Think JR Alternatives, but in boxes.
- One of the few cigars I want to try but still have not is an Entubar Lancero. From what I recall, some were produced internally, but the cigar was never released.
- I’d also like to smoke the never-released V3-D.
- Of note, Entubar was a really expensive cigar back in the early 2010s. The regular line started around $12 if memory serves correct and the V3-D was planned to be a $20 cigar. This is one of the rare of instance of a brand getting cheaper, though it’s not the same cigar.
- I would highly recommend using nothing but a single-flame torch lighter for something this small. Trying to light this with a triple flame would probably result in a lot of accidentally burning of various parts of the wrapper, something that is particularly unfortunate given the diminutive size of the cigar.
- Strength was medium-plus.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Berger & Argenti.
- Final smoking time was a lengthy one hour and 15 minutes.
If you like strong cigars and the flavor of Mexican San Andrés, this is right up your alley. The small size concentrates the core flavors down into a punchy experience that is overall enjoyable. It is however, not very complex in this format. I really enjoyed the original Entubar particularly for its balance; and while I found a larger size—I believe the 5 3/8 x 54 robusto—of the new blend to be complex enough, the Corona Macho is not. This vitola even further to the punchy side of things, which wouldn't be a problem if the cigar was a bit more harmonious. I don’t feel comfortable saying if you liked the original Entubar Quad or the V32, try this size, but I’m curious to explore the rest of the line to see if it can resurrect the good memories from yesteryear, just don't call it a comeback.