Now in its third release, RoMa Craft Tobac’s CroMagnon Fomorian has become a staple of the annual D.C. Cigar Tweet-Up, which was held March 13-14 in and around our nation’s capitol this year. The Fomorian is a spinoff of the company’s CroMagnon EMH release, which uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper on top of a Cameroon binder and fillers from Nicaragua.
The Fomorian traces back to a small number of EMHs that Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac said had aesthetic issues with the wrapper and that would have been kept at the factory for smoking at the factory. But instead of using them for that purpose, Martin asked that candela wrappers be put on them.
In 2013, the cigar was an incredibly small release, with just ten boxes of 24 cigars produced along with a handful of singles for a total run of 250 cigars. With the growing popularity of the company and subsequent increase in demand for the cigars, the team of Michael Rosales and Skip Martin increased production to 2,400 cigars for 2014’s event, producing 100 boxes of 24, with single stick prices increasing from $7.50 to $7.75. In addition, any Fomorians not sold at the D.C. Tweet-Up were offered to CroMagnon retailers across the country.
For 2015, the cigar returned in a nearly identical release, with 100 more cigars produced for a total run of 2,500 sticks.
It’s the 18th release for the CroMagnon line.
- CroMagnon Anthropology (5 3/4 x 46) — Grand Corona — February 2011 — $8 (Boxes of 24, $192)
- CroMagnon Cranium (6 x 54) — Gran Toro — February 2011 — $8.50 (Boxes of 24, $204)
- CroMagnon EMH (Early Modern Human) (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — February 2011 — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186)
- CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger (4 x 52) — Petit Robusto — February 2011 — $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156)
- CroMagnon Mandible (4 1/2 x 60) — Petite Gordo — February 2011 — $7.25 (Boxes of 24, $174)
- CroMagnon Mandible XL (6 x 60) — Gordo — February 2011 — Sampler Only (Not Pictured)
- CroMagnon Atlatl (7 x 38) — Lancero — November 2012 — $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
- CroMagnon Slobberknocker (7 1/2 x 56) — Gordo— November 2012 — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- CroMagnon Blockhead (6 x54) – Box-Pressed Gran Toro – March 2013 — $9
- CroMagnon Fomorian (2013) (5 x 56) – Robusto Extra (Candela) – March 2013 — $7.50 (Boxes of 24, $180)
- CroMagnon Epoch (7 x 49) – Churchill – February 2013 — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
- CroMagnon Mode 5 (5 x 50) – Perfecto – $6.50 — March 2013 — (Boxes of 24, $156)
- CroMagnon Venus (6 1/2 x 56) – Petite Salomon – September 2013 — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
- CroMagnon Fomorian 2014 (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra (Candela) — March 2014 — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186.00)
- CroMagnon Fomorian Barber Pole (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — March 2014 — Unreleased
- CroMagnon Breuil (5 1/2 x 37) — Panetela — September 2014 — $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75)
- CroMagnon Fomorian 2015 (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra (Candela) — March 2015 — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186.00)
- CroMagnon Femur (10 x 133 1/3) — Femur — November 2013 — $50 (Box of 1, $50)
While Martin said in 2013 the Fomorian may be made into a regular line, that’s only partially become the case, as they have become regular production for the D.C. Tweet-Up with extras showing up at other stores, but they remain far from what could be considered a true regular line.
- Cigar Reviewed: CroMagnon Fomorian 2015
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Candela
- Binder: Cameroon
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Robusto Gordo
- MSRP: $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186)
- Release Date: March 13, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 24 Cigars, Unspecified Number of Bundles (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Getting the obvious out of the way, the wrapper is a fairly uniform shade of green, but with just enough variation and a prominent vein structure that gives it plenty of visual depth, almost inspiring an image of what I think the Incredible Hulk’s skin would look like. It’s a well-rolled and very firm cigar with just the slightest bit of give, and the cap is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly applied. The seam lines are clean but very visible, though given the number of veins they hardly stand out. The minimalist band is even more appropriate given the wrapper leaf as I would hate to see it covered up by an unnecessarily large band. Off the foot there is a sweet, vegetal and grassy note that pulls the senses in a couple directions, distracting it from the soon-to-follow nostril-clearing punch of pepper with a bit of a wheat bread note still to come after that. The cold draw is near perfect in terms of airflow and offers a much subtler introduction, with a bit of cool sweetness and just a faint amount of smoky, earthy pepper coming out after a few seconds.
A distinct and—for me, at least—very pleasant aroma starts to come from the cigar as soon as its lit; it’s hard to put exact words to it because of its complexity, but it has touches of sweetness, barnyard and pepper that are all bright and blended together perfectly. The first puffs of the CroMagnon Fomorian are remarkably dry and show just a bit of pepper on the trailing end of the finish, though the nose quickly gets some more from the aroma and retrohales by the time the burn line is about half-an-inch along. As the first third continues to develop, there is a stark contrast between how punchy the cigar is in the nose versus how smooth and relatively mild on the palate, as it feels like the nose gets all the pepper while the tongue gets a pepper-free mix of subtle sweetness and earth. The burn has been fairly even and sharp through the first inch, with the ash hanging on well and just shedding a couple of flakes. As the cigar rests I begin to get notes of fresh cut grass, though a bit duller than the actual thing, but thinking I can pull off a solid retrohale proves to be foolish as the pepper is as strong as ever and I can only manage the slightest amount through the nose. While it’s still in the early stages, a bit of cream starts to emerge from the cigar, with nuts and dry woods tagging along.
While it didn’t make much of an appearance in the first third, the pepper really starts to become noticeable in the second third of the CroMagnon Fomorian, pushing the creaminess to the side and taking over on both the palate and in the nose. I still have yet to manage a good full retrohale due to the pepper, and now it’s crept onto the palate as well. Still, the cigar stays very well balanced and there’s room for a bit of smoky earth in the background. With the pepper now in play much more, the strength begins to build steadily past the midpoint and I’m feeling more of a physical effect from the cigar. There is also a significant slowing of the burn rate past the midpoint, and something that leads me to think I will be dryboxing the final sample before smoking it to see if that helps the process.
By the start of the final third it’s pretty easy to notice that the burn rate has begun to slow down, and I’ve found myself touching up each of the three samples, partially due to the lingering flavor that the Formorian leaves on the tongue, and as such a bit slow puffing rate. I will say that even though there’s a bit more of a physical reaction, it’s certainly not overpowering, a testament to Skip Martin’s comments that many of RoMa Craft’s cigars aren’t high in nicotine content. There is still a slightly vegetal and grassy undertone to the cigar with sweetness mainly in the nose from the aroma, but it’s certainly a more robust and earthy cigar than you might expect from a candela, especially when the occasional char note appears. While I am careful not to puff too fast on the Fomorian and risk getting the cigar too hot and thus bitter, the burn line feels like it slows to an absolute crawl in the final two inches, but the flavor stays perfectly balanced and enjoyable down to a small nub.
- During the 2013 D.C. Tweet-Up when the CroMagnon Fomorian was first released, there was also a barber pole version that was never released for sale, but was given out to some people.
- As Brooks Whittington noted, Fomorians were said to be ancient pirates from Ireland, with versions of the story making them out to be either giants or elves and often with misshapen facial features, and the connection can be drawn to the more modern day image of the redbearded pirate with an eye-patch, hook hand and peg leg.
- The legendary Femur is part of the CroMagnon family, just like the Fomorian. Brooks Whittington reviewed the 10 x 133 1/3 cigar in October 2013.
- In the story about the 2014 release of the Fomorian, Charlie Minato broke out a word you rarely see or hear: decuple. It means to increase by a factor of ten.
- While the wrapper on the Fomorian is one of the more durable I have seen used on a candela, I still had the occasional issue with it splitting, once after lighting and once at the head of the cigar
- I had forgotten that the CroMagnon line uses two bands, one on top of the other. The base band is white and features several hieroglyphic-style symbols, including the CroMagnon skull logo, while the top band is black with “CROMAGNON” embossed on it and the RoMa Craft logo on one end.
- If you want to get some retrohales in, I highly suggest doing it early. I simply couldn’t handle them after the first third.
- A 24-hour dryboxing seemed to help the third sample a bit, but the combustion of the second half was still markedly different from that of the first half.
- Final smoking time was about two hours and 20 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Cigar Hustler appears to be the only site sponsor with Fomorians left in stock.
One of the best things I can say about a cigar is that it’s simply a darn good cigar and leave off any pretense or qualifiers. While some might look at the CroMagnon Fomorian as a good candela, or a good cigar when you want something different, neither of those apply here, as it’s simply a darn good cigar. Yes, the wrapper is a different color than 99.9 percent of what you will find in your typical humidor, and yes that makes this cigar stand out. But at the end of the day, it’s balanced, offers plenty of very enjoyable flavors, burns well save for a fairly slow final third, and leaves me wanting another. If that doesn’t constitute a recommendation, I don’t know what does. Too bad there aren’t more of these to go around.