In 2017, Davidoff of Geneva USA brought back one of the most storied labels in Camacho’s history: Diploma.
And it did it in style.
When I first saw the indigo-colored packaging, I realized that halfwheel’s annual packaging awards had a clear front runner. The packaging did its job and ended up winning our top spot in 2017. Inside each of the 9 1/2 pound boxes were 18 triangular coffins, while inside that was a 5 x 54 Honduran puro was made entirely of high-priming corojo leaves.
As for the cigar, it too was quite good.
Here’s what I said when I reviewed it in November 2017:
While Camacho’s Honduran home has made some cigars I like, I oftentimes find myself wanting more complexity in its cigars. Yesterday, Brooks Whittington asked me what I thought of the cigar and I told him: not what I was expecting. This is finesse in spades. As I told him: no matter how many times it says “bold” on the box, it’s not. There are times in which the strength creeps up, but it’s lighter than a typical Camacho and the strength and body are oftentimes masked in the balance and symphony of flavors. There is of course one large problem, the price. At $20 per cigar this is a special occasion cigar for the vast majority of people and that’s fine, from start to finish it delivers on that moniker.
- Cigar Reviewed: Camacho Diploma Special Selection
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A.
- Wrapper: Honduras (Corojo)
- Binder: Honduras (Corojo)
- Filler: Honduras (Corojo)
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Robusto Gordo
- MSRP: $20 (Box of 18, $360)
- Release Date: Nov. 1, 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,800 Boxes of 18 Cigars (32,400 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
Once removed from its coffin, this does not give the impression of the most premium cigar on the market, as it looks like a normal robusto in cellophane. The wrapper itself isn’t the prettiest thanks to a heavy dose of veins. It’s also a bit spongy to the touch. The aroma from the wrapper is medium in intensity with barnyard, fresh mud and a touch of sweetness. The foot is medium-full and one of the more bizarre sensations I’ve smelled from a cigar. It reminds me of a rotting pumpkin. There’s also some weird sweetness and a bit of pepper irritation. For those wondering, this cigar was stored out of its coffin, but in cellophane. The cold draw is open with flavors of rum, paprika, corn tortillas, a bit of Dr. Pepper sweetness and some pink salt. Everything happens in succession, so it’s just one flavor after another.
The Camacho Diploma Special Selection starts with toasted bread, almost a pita flavor and some leather saltiness. Eventually, the toast beats out the bread and takes over as the main flavor. Behind that is some earthiness, saltiness, leather and irritation. Retrohales have white pepper, leather and nuts. Flavor is full, body is medium-plus and strength is medium-full. I’m not sure if it’s the open draw or the spongy firmness, but the Diploma is smoking very quickly and just a bit hot. I try to slow down, but the flavor seems to do better when it’s smoked quicker.
Flavors change quite a bit of the second third with earthiness taking over. There’s a melon-like accent, which is nice. White pepper remains on the top of my mouth and a coffee flavor is mixed in. While the first third was very much one flavor after another, the second third is more of a compact sensation. The finish is drier with some creaminess, oak, earthiness and white pepper. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-plus and strength is medium-full. The final third is nuttier with lots of cashews and burnt coffee. The finish is nutty with soy sauce, red pepper and an alcohol-like burn. Retrohales have red pepper and nuttiness before a great bread finish. Flavor finishes full, body is medium-full and strength creeps into medium-full.
After a rather underwhelming start, the Camacho Diploma Special Selection came alive in the last two thirds. But I much preferred the fresh version of this cigar compared to where it’s at nearly three-years later. The finesse that I once raved about is not really present until the last two inches the cigar, and even then, it’s nowhere near what it once was. I don’t think the cigar got bad, rather, it got worse. I’ve got a few more left and will be curious to see what it’s like in another five years, perhaps the finesse will return in a cigar that will likely tastes very different than it does today.