Just before the end of 2021, Warped Cigars shipped a new, single vitola release to retailers that it calls Companion de Warped.

It’s a 4 1/2 x 48 Rothschild vitola that is made at TABACALERA LA iSLA, the Dominican factory opened by Hostos Fernández Quesada late in 2020. It is the second Warped release to be produced at the factory, joining Chinchalle, which was released in September 2021.

The blend uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Dominican binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, with about 80 percent of the filler coming from the Dominican. It marks just the second time that Kyle Gellis has used a Mexican San Andrés wrapper for a Warped cigar, with the other being the El Oso Mama.

Companion de Warped is offered in 25-count boxes and has a single cigar MSRP of $12.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Companion de Warped
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 4 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Rothschild
  • MSRP: $12 (Box of 25, $300)
  • Release Date: December 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Companion de Warped offers a lot to like at first glance: the fairly short vitola is more appealing to me than a large one, the wrapper is a dark brown that reminds me a bit of oily coffee beans, and the black and mint color of the band is unique and works pretty well with the color of the wrapper. The wrapper has a bit of an oily shine and some oiliness for the fingers, but I would stop short of saying it’s oozing oiliness. There are some decent veins and a bit of mottling, but nothing obtrusive or distracting on the wrapper. The cigars are generally on the firm side of the spectrum with a bit of give, and as I have found elsewhere, that give tends to show up closer to the foot than to the head. The foot offers a sweet, earthy and peppery aroma, suggesting a brownie made with a coffee infusion that somehow gets a bright black pepper. It’s also interesting because of how thick the aroma can be, while also being so light in body and rich in sweetness. One sample takes on a bit of a cherry sweetness, much like the smell I’d expect to find from pie filling or the fruit at the bottom of a yogurt cup. The cold draw is smooth and easy, offering a chocolate syrup note that is rich and slightly sweet but with almost no pepper. While it is quite good, it’s also a fraction of the sensory experience that the aroma offers.

Given the prelight aroma and flavor, I’m intrigued to see how the Companion de Warped will start, and it is an interesting midpoint between those two experiences. The chocolate syrup is present but thinner, the pepper is more prevalent than the cold draw but not as vibrant as on the aroma, whether experiencing it on the tongue or through the nose. The more I retrohale through the first inch, the more I pick up a bit of the coffee note as well, though now separated from the brownie sensation and making me think of dry earth and a fairly light bodied cup of black coffee. There’s also a decent amount of crisp black pepper through the nose that does an impressive job delivering a balanced yet stimulating sensation. By the one-inch mark, that coffee attachment begins to detach itself and I’m left with a bright white pepper that has a touch of creaminess through the nose. The first third smokes very well with an easy draw, even burn line and good smoke production. Flavor is a smooth medium-plus, body is medium-plus, and strength is mild thus far.

As the second third gets underway, retrohales reveal a more prolonged experience of pepper, and now one that has just the slightest bit of red chili pepper joining the experience. The flavor seems to be wanting to add a bit of creaminess, but as of the moment it can’t get past the shift in earthiness, which is getting lighter and a bit edgier to my taste buds. Yet there is still a steady mellowing of the flavor’s intensity as the second third gets underway and before the burn line gets to the midway point. Once the burn line hits the midway point, it’s not long before the cigar begins to swing the pendulum back towards the fuller end of the flavor spectrum, turning the profile more textured, and dare I say more robust, but the combination of flavor and retrohale is stellar during this transition. The final puffs of this section bring back some black pepper, which gives the profile a bit more of an edge while keeping it still agreeable to the palate. There are also some very brief flirtations with a bit of sweetness in the aroma and retrohale, but it never returns in full. Flavor and body are both are still in medium-plus territory, while strength is getting closer to medium. The draw is still smooth, the burn line is still even, and smoke production is still very good.

There is a definite shift to a more textured profile as the final third gets underway, a change to which I can’t quite attribute a main driver given that the pepper and earth seem quite similar to where they were in the second third. It is clear that the sweetness, whether it be the chocolate from early on or the budding sweetness from the second third, has completely left the profile. That leaves a fairly hearty earthiness that really coats the palate, while retrohales offer a lingering tingle for the nose. When combined, the two deliver a profile that really fills my head, almost feeling like it extends beyond just my nose and mouth. With just over an inch left, heat becomes a bit of a factor in the profile, and while it might not be related, the cigar now has some appreciable nicotine strength. There’s also a more lingering finish that is earthy and reminds me of how good coffee can hang around the taste buds. Flavor finishes medium-full, body is medium-plus, and strength is medium-plus. Construction is still fantastic and flawless, requiring no attention.

Final Notes

  • I have to start by giving credit to the rollers and bunchers at Tabacalera La Isla, as these three samples smoked as well as any cigar I’ve had in recent memory.
  • I don’t recall seeing the colors on this band very often, though it does remind me of those used by Platinum Nova.
  • Seeing these colors makes me wish I had a better knowledge of design history, as they feel to draw from a certain era yet I can’t quite put my finger on it.
  • One of the cigars hit me with a bit of nicotine, though not enough to knock me out or even have me thinking about some white sugar.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 20 minutes on average.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop, JR Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars carry the Companion de Warped.
92 Overall Score

If you like an earthier, robust, and decently peppery profile, the Companion de Warped should deliver quite well. The flavors are rich and balanced, and impressively complex on a number of occasions, missing only some more pronounced creaminess and sweetness that it tries to get to multiple times, making for a valiant effort at being a truly stellar cigar. The flavors and aroma are able to shine so brightly because of how well-made the cigars are, as each of the three samples smoked flawlessly from start to finish. A very impressive cigar that offers an immense amount of flavor and stimulation in a compact vitola and wastes no puffs in delivering a very enjoyable smoking experience.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.