Lighting up a cigar named Diesel, it would be fair to assume you’re in store for a fairly strong cigar. So when the company behind the Diesel brand says that it has created the boldest blend and called it Delirium, that could certainly be cause for some concern as to just what that cigar might offer.

In the case of the Diesel Delirium, which came out in March 2020, the folks behind the cigar are Justin Andrews, the senior brand manager for Diesel, and Abdel Fernández, better known as AJ Fernandez, who has produced the Diesel line since its early days as a brand limited to catalog and internet retailers. Since 2017, the Diesel brand has been made available to all retailers, and the Delirium marks the second limited edition for the line since that change, following up on the Hair of the Dog, which was released in March 2019.

To get this bold blend, the cigar uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Connecticut broadleaf binder, and Nicaraguan fillers that include tobacco from the volcanic island of Ometepe, which is known for delivering a distinctive flavor profile and strength. There is also a good bit of ligero in the filler, further adding to the cigar’s strength.

“Diesel Delirium is about disruption,” said Justin Andrews, senior brand manager for Diesel, in a press release when the cigar was announced at the end of February 2020. “It’s a cigar that demands the smoker’s full attention and while it follows Hair of the Dog, the two blends couldn’t be more different. Delirium’s definitely powerhouse of a smoke, but it’s not just that. It’s also about dimension and balance, and that begins and ends with the blend we developed. This is a cigar that we recommend enjoying when you have time to commit to really experiencing the full spectrum of taste it delivers.”

It was offered in a single, 6 x 52 toro vitola, which had an MSRP of $10 when it was released. Production was limited to 5,000 boxes of 10 cigars, making for a total run of 50,000 cigars.

Here’s what I said about the Diesel Delirium when I reviewed it in April 2020:

The Diesel Delirium makes no bones about its strength, which much like a carnival ride or horror movie, puts the burden on you as to whether or not you want to see if delivers. If you do, you’ll be greeted by a big, almost full flavor right from the start and a nicotine feeling that might have you questioning your decision by the end of the first third. But this cigar isn’t just strength and pepper; it does a very good job at delivering actual flavor, provided you like earth, black pepper and woods, with only occasional flirting with sweetness. Admittedly it’s not likely to be a profile for everyone, but if you lean towards the fuller end of the spectrum, the rewards are pretty compelling. If there’s one thing about the Diesel Delirium, it lives up to its name and billing, so be forewarned should you decide to fire up one of these potent cigars, and be sure to have a bit of white sugar on hand.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Diesel Delirium
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $10 (Box of 10, $100)
  • Release Date: March 2, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 3

The Diesel Delirium meshes a couple of interesting looks, and it’s a case where I like all of the components as well as the finished product. The colors of the band work well with the matte, earthy brown wrapper, which has a decent vein structure and lighter spots around those veins and almost completely flat seams. The foot band reminds me of an address sign that I’d expect to find at one of those stores that sells home decor and tchotchkes, and the main band’s differing fonts work well together. While it doesn’t look like the wrapper has much left in the way of oils and will be textured on my fingers, it is actually fairly smooth outside of the texture of the veins. In terms of firmness, the cigar is fairly average by current standards, with a bit of give but still on the firm side, and a bit firmer right below the band and just above the midway point of the cigar. The aroma from the foot is soft, full and powdery, definitely more of a textural first impression than one of actual smells. After that initial sniff, some black pepper takes over, followed by creaminess, cotton and a bit of cedar. Air moves well on the cold draw, delivering a more generic wood flavor that I’ll call firewood for simplicity, then a touch of creaminess and a tingle on the lips from the tobacco itself.

A woody, peppery profile with a bit of cream in the mix opens up the Diesel Delirium. Retrohales push the black pepper well into the forefront, delivering a hearty nose tingle but one seemingly smoothed out by a bit of time as well as creaminess in the background. The first inch sees the wood evolve and become a more significant contributor to the profile, though as it does the flavor becomes drier and takes a bit of the saliva out of my mouth. After knocking the first clump of ash off, the pepper softens just a bit and the creaminess is now the first thing I pick up from the puffs. The components haven’t changed much, rather, they seem to be undergoing a reordering more than anything. That’s not true of the retrohales, which are still fairly peppery but in a rather refined way, especially given their strength. Out of the creaminess comes a light earthiness with a bit of chalk in the mix, a change that moves the wood up to the secondary flavor while the pepper is sitting in third, still contributing but far from driving the profile. In a bit of an unexpected turn, the earthiness quickly gets overshadowed by seared orange peel, which gives both the flavor and aroma a bright and pleasant citrus sweetness. Flavor is an impressively smooth and refined medium-plus, body is medium, and strength is medium and feeling like it’s on the upswing at the end of the first half. Construction is very good with no major issues, and only an occasionally uneven burn line a minor issue.

Almost as soon as the orange peel comes in, it leaves without much of a trace other its smoky aspect, which increases and tacks itself onto the now richer, bolder earthiness. Then it’s the wood’s turn to get a bit of that smokiness, which stops short of taking on a charred flavor. The pepper component of the profile has largely held steady since the start of the second half, but as the second third comes to an end, I begin to get a more distinct sensation of both ligero on a general level and the volcanic soil that gives Ometepe its character. The result is a more robust, textured smoke on the palate, as I’m noticing that the majority of the creaminess has left the profile, which not only affects flavor but removes its softening effect. That, in turn, gives the retrohales a  bit more punch, though it hasn’t turned aggressive in the nostrils. As I note that, a bit of smoke lightly stings my eyes, the first misstep I can cite thus far. There’s now a bit of heat on the front of my tongue as well, as the Diesel Delirium carries a robust, earthy and peppery profile across the finish line, finishing up after just about two hours and 30 minutes of smoking time. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full, and strength is medium-plus. Construction is still very good with an easy draw, plenty of smoke, a fairly even burn line, and most impressively, a rock-solid ash.

92 Overall Score

I get asked about what kinds of cigars make the best candidates for aging, and while there isn’t a universal answer, starting with a lot of flavor and character generally seems to help. After two years of rest, the things about the Diesel Delirium that I took issue with have largely left the cigar, including the nicotine strength, which has toned down to the medium-plus mark. The core flavors are still there and still rich and dynamic, but the pepper has matured into a more refined expression that does what I want pepper to do, which is accent the flavor and tingle the senses without overpowering the experience. I wouldn’t have minded the creaminess to hang around for the entire smoking time, and I would have loved for more of that torched orange peel, but I’m happy to report that the Diesel Delirium now leaves me closer to deliriously happy with its profile than deliriously reeling from its strength.

Original Score (April 2020)
Redux Score (April 2022)
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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.