Before Crux Cigars has gotten the chance to debut its new Passport blend, the company announced that it would be expanding line. When it was originally announced, the Plasencia-made cigar was to feature three sizes, now retailers will have a chance to choose between a total of five vitolas.
Passport uses a wrapper and binder from Jalapa, Nicaraguan and fillers from Estelí, Nicaragua and the Jamastran Valley in Honduras. It’s one of three formal lines offered by Crux Cigars, a brand founded by retailers Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers. It, along with Classic and Bull & Bear, feature multiple vitolas of a specific blend, where as Ninfamaniac, Skeeterz and the new Sports line are all offered in a single shape within the line.
The Crux Passport No. 4 is one of two vitolas in the line offered with what the company calls a “marblehead cap.” It’s a rounded cap, similar to one found on the Cuban 109 vitola. The cigars are not considered belicosos and the cap is not finished with a pointed tip.
- Crux Passport Lancero (7 x 40)
- Crux Passport Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 44)
- Crux Passport Toro (6 x 48)
- Crux Passport Half Corona (4 x 42)
- Crux Passport No. 4 (4 7/8 x 47)
The Half Corona and No. 4 are the two new sizes of the cigar. Crux says they will ship the cigars immediately following the trade show.
Cigar Reviewed: Crux Passport No. 4
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Plasencia Cigars, S.A.
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Filler: Honduras (Jamastran) & Nicaragua (Estelí)
Size: 4 7/8 Inches
Ring Gauge: 47
Vitola: Robusto Minor
Release Date: July 2014
Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There’s wet leather and a bit of grass from the wrapper. It’s a much different story from the foot with cedar, candied apple and floral flavors. While the outside of the cigar has a very earthy characteristic, the foot is much sweeter. Cold draw is a mixture of both: cedar, floral, oregano and other herbal notes. It’s slightly open on each of the three samples I smoke, but nothing that seems to concerning.
It’s a creamy cedar start with a bit of nuttiness. All three samples take different turns, but I find very little sweetness at the start. What is similar is a mixture of leather, earthiness and a sweet and salty chocolate note. It’s a great combination, one that I honestly wish I could find in more cigars. Construction is good, although the ash could be more even.
The salty note remains in the second third, but now there’s a big espresso flavor upfront. Cedar and grass dominate the finish, but things are largely the same as the first inch or so. At the hallway point a meatiness seems to be emerging from the espresso flavors, but it never seems to fully connect with palate. Construction remains the same: decent ash, above average smoke production and a touch-up or two. Strength is medium, although starting to build a bit.
At the one inch mark the Passport No. 4 takes a dramatic turn—the toastiness picks up adding wheat notes to the express flavor. Lemon adds itself to the finish, which pairs oddly well with the espresso notes. Unfortunately, the grassiness is picking up a bit and not for the better. By the time I put it down, the Passport No. 4 is medium-full and I’m led to believe that it would have hit full if there was an inch and half more.
- While I don’t feel like I smoked three different cigars, the three samples I smoked were not identical. Not really sure what to chap it up, although the cigars definitely shared a lot of similar traits.
- No matter the blend or size, Crux’s pricing is very aggressive. I’d imagine a large part of this strategy comes from Haugen and Rogers’s experience as retailers in the tax-heavy state of Minnesota, but it’s also a agnatic help to new brands. The company does not have a cigar in their portfolio with a suggested price over $8.
- That being said, some of the pricing is a bit wacky. The Lancero is less than the Toro and the difference in pricing between the sizes seems a bit off.
- Crux puts a Swarovski crystal on each box. I’m not sure that helps sales, but it’s definitely a unique selling point.
- Delays in the cigar business happen and Crux is no stranger to them on just about every front. It’s not something that I think is related to the commitment to the brand from Haugen and Rogers. Rather, the pair understand you only have one shot to get it right. They’ve accepted the delays and taken their time, which is something to respect.
- Crux will be debuting at the 2014 IPCPR convention and trade show. They are one of a handful of new brands, but the number is most certainly a handful, and not the dozens many in the cigar business try to make it out to be.
- Some of my favorite cigars have been in the 109-cap style, including the legendary Edmundo Dantes.
- There were a few touch-ups needed, nothing major, but also not a perfect cigar.
- Cigars for this review were provided by Crux Cigars, who is an advertiser.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 15 minutes.
I think this is a great size, but the Crux No. 4 never really reached a point where the cigar was great. The flavors work fine together, but it’s not my favorite cigar I’ve had from the company. I think this blend works well in the Half Corona size, particularly in the idea that you are short on time. The Half Corona is fuller, more active and overall—more complete. Crux makes good, sometimes very good cigars, at great prices—and that’s a great start to a winning formula. Even though this isn’t my preferred size, I’d have no issue recommending a five-pack or more.