The cigar world was a very different place in 2002 than you see today: mainstays like Tatuaje and Illusione didn’t exist, the average price of a cigar was quite a bit lower and limited edition cigars were not a mainstay.
It was into this world that Camacho released its very first Liberty blend.
The Eiroa family had purchased the Camacho brand in 1993, from the family of the deceased founder, Simon Camacho. The original Liberty blend was released in July 2002 and consisted of a Honduran puro available in five different vitolas: Churchill (7 x 48), Corona (5 1/2 x 44), Rothschild (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 50) and Torpedo (7 x 54.)
However, unlike the vast majority of the Liberty releases that would follow, the 2002 version was packaged exclusively in boxes of 50 cigars—10 cigars of each of the five sizes. Only 500 total boxes were made priced at $500 each, meaning there were a total of 25,000 cigars, each of which carried an MSRP of $10.
Since that time, the series has consisted of different vitolas, blends and release numbers, but the cigars have historically been released around the Fourth of July holiday, which explains both the name and the patriotic theme.
To date, there have been 23 different releases of the Camacho Liberty series spanning 16 years.
- Camacho Liberty 2002 Churchill (7 x 48) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2002 Corona (5 1/2 x 44) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2002 Rothschild (5 x 50) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2002 Toro (6 x 50) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2002 Torpedo (7 x 54) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2003 (8 x 52) — 1,250 Boxes of 20 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2004 11/18 (6 x 48/54/48) —1,500 Boxes of 20 (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2004 Amendment XII (8 x 54) —1,500 Boxes of 20 (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2005 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2006 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2007 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2007 Executive Travel Bag Edition (6 x 48/54/48) – 5,000 Bags of 4 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2008 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2009 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2010 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2011 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2012 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2013 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2014 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2015 (6 x 48/54/48) — 2,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (40,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2016 (6 x 48/54/48) — 3,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (60,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2017 (6 x 54) — 3,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (70,000 Total Cigars)
- Camacho Liberty 2005 Throwback (6 x 48/54/48) — 1,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: Camacho Liberty 2002 Churchill
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Tabacos Rancho Jamastran
- Wrapper: Honduras
- Binder: Honduras
- Filler: Honduras
- Length: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $10 (Boxes of 50, $500)
- Release Date: July 2002
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
I was expecting the Camacho Liberty Churchill 2002 to look old, but I was not expecting a great looking milk chocolate wrapper that is both dry and rough to the touch like parchment, although there was still a bit of oil visible in the right light. The cigar is firm when squeezed and has obviously shrunk a bit, as the band was so loose that it almost falls off multiple times as I inspect it in my hands. Aroma from the wrapper is extremely faint cedar, leather, earth and dark chocolate while the cold draw features a few more notes, including a very distinct spiced apple, leather, tobacco, hay, cinnamon, very light banana bread sweetness and—somewhat surprisingly—a bit of spice on my tongue.
The first third of the original release Camacho Liberty starts off with a very bland oak flavor dominant, as well as other notes of hay, stale bread, leather, bitter dark chocolate and slight cinnamon. The interesting flavor is on the finish: a distinct mineral saltiness that reminds me of times in my childhood when I licked salt from salt mines. The retrohale features some white pepper as well as some very slight indistinct sweetness, while the finish is extremely dry. The draw has a great amount of resistance after a simple straight cut, while the burn is both wavy and not bad enough to need touching up so far. Smoke production is in the normal range—albeit extremely thin in body—and the strength through the first third is totally nonexistent, meaning it barely makes it past the mild mark.
The flavor profile of the Camacho Liberty Churchill changes very little in the second third, with the same generic oak note followed by notes of leather, earth, dark chocolate and hay. Unfortunately, the one major change is the mineral saltiness on the finish, which—while certainly still obvious—is receding noticeably as the second third burns down. The retrohale retains most of the white pepper and same indistinct sweetness from the first third, but there is some spice present at all by the halfway point. Construction-wise, the draw continues to impress, but the burn becomes problematic enough around the start of the third that I am forced to touch it up before it gets out of hand. Unsurprisingly, the overall strength moves very little, closing out the second third closer to the mild mark than the medium one.
Aged oak is the familiar dominant flavor during the final third of the Liberty Churchill, followed by lesser flavors that are very familiar: earth, dark chocolate, leather, ground coffee and cinnamon. The sweetness continues to be so mild that I could never place it accurately, while the mineral saltiness has all but disappeared on the finish. There is a touch more white pepper on the retrohale compared to the second third, but it is a small consolation prize when taking the bland flavors into account. Thankfully, the burn evens up nicely and remained that way until the end of the cigar, while the draw continued to give me no issues whatsoever and the smoke production level remains even. Strength-wise, the Camacho Liberty seems to go nowhere at all, ending up essentially exactly where it was at the end of the second third about halfway between mild and medium.
- The mineral saltiness that dominated the first third reminded me instantly of something I hadn’t thought of in at least 10 years: when I was eight-years-old or so, my family lived in Germany and we would visit the town of Salzburg about once every six months. Whenever we would visit, one of the places we had to go was the Berchtesgaden salt mines, where my siblings and I would beg my parents for a gift pack containing squares of salt taken from the mine. The flavor I was tasting in the first third reminded me strongly of the flavor I tasted when I licked those squares, a combination of natural salt and minerals.
- There is a very noticeable difference between the size of the band on this cigar compared to later releases.
- Much like Los Libertadores—the precursor to Litto Gomez’ La Flor Dominicana brand—I am astounded that despite the number of cigars produced, this is the first time I have seen an original release of the Camacho Liberty, let alone smoked one.
- My sample still had the price tag attached to the band that read $11.09.
- I can’t emphasize enough how fragile this wrapper is: it cracked when I cut the cap and small pieces continued to flake off during the entire time I was smoking it, although it never threatened to unravel at any point. Having said that, both the burn and the draw were excellent and I only had to touch up the cigar once in the second third.
- The cigar smoked for this review was given to halfwheel as a gift from an original box.
- Camacho is now owned by Davidoff of Geneva, which advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 22 minutes.
I have smoked a large number of aged cigars over the years and to me, the vast majority fall into three categories: those that don’t taste anything like what they did when fresh, but have great flavors nevertheless; those that are obviously well past the point that they should have been smoked, but still have some redeeming qualities; and those that have become so bland that it is almost not worth smoking. Unfortunately, the original release Camacho Liberty Churchill that I smoked for this review leaned closer to the latter than the former two categories. Yes, the mineral saltiness that dominated the finish in the first third—and that was present throughout the first two thirds of the profile to a much lesser extent—was interesting, but that was basically the only unique flavor that was noticeable. I am extremely glad to have smoked this cigar based on the history alone, but if you have any that you have put away for a special occasion, I would pull it out post-haste.