Since Diesel made the move from a catalog- and internet-only brand to one that is available to all retailers in 2017, there’s certainly been no shortage of cigars released to introduce the brand to those who might not have been familiar with it.

The latest entry is the brand’s second limited edition—at least since changing its availability—the Diesel Delirium, a cigar that General Cigar Co. bills as the boldest blend to bear the Diesel name. That assertion comes by way of an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Connecticut broadleaf binder and Nicaraguan fillers highlighted by tobacco from the company’s Ometepe region—known for its volcanic soil and distinct taste—as well as a good bit of ligero, the leaves that comes from the top of a tobacco plant and are the strongest and most flavorful.

“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.”

The cigar is available in a single 6 x 52 toro vitola that comes packaged in 10-count boxes, with individual cigars priced at $10 per cigar. Production was limited to 5,000 boxes, each of which features an interior lid that lists off a number of maladies often associated with delirium in a motif that is reminiscent to old-time pharmacies and medicines.

  • 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 Review: 3

Keeping with the trend of the 6ish by 52ish single vitola releases, the Diesel Delirium’s toro vitola feels immediately recognizable and thus a bit less than inspiring. The wrapper is a very earthy brown color; visually it’s on the matte side but tactilely feeling like it has some oil to it. It also provides for an interesting visual with the wrapper; while I normally wouldn’t advocate this combination of black and brown, it works and the gold and red bring things together pretty decently. There’s also a good bit of tooth in between the veins. The cigar feels well-rolled, firm without being hard, and there’s not much visually to suggest otherwise, though a jagged seam right under the one cigar’s band catches my eye. Aroma off the foot is sweet and earthy, reminding me of picking blackberries off the bush in terms of the overall smell. There’s black pepper in the mix as well, though it is hit or miss as one sample had none and the other two had quite a bit. The cold draw skews more towards the earthy side with less sweetness, adding a bit of wood, latte foam and the occasional pinch baking spices. There’s only a pinch of black pepper here, and it feels like it is coming more from the physical contact with the cigar than the flavor.

The Diesel Delirium certainly does its best to start full-flavored, leading with a flavor that has me thinking both ligero and Ometepe, though not necessarily in their most elegant expressions. There’s not a lot of pepper on the palate, but there is plenty of mouthfeels, an interesting physiological reaction to the smoke. For pepper, a retrohale is the better bet early on, though it too feels restrained given the cigar’s billing. Don’t mistake that as being mild; rather, it’s just not as strong as one might be led to believe given the profile. That said, it feels like I’m getting some nicotine strength out of the cigar before the one-inch mark, so I’ll be interested to see how that develops. After the first clump of ash drops, the profile feels like it gets dense and a bit shy, hanging on to the still slightly sweet earth for a puff before black pepper bursts through and opens up everything, including some woodiness that pushes the cigar into a much drier profile. The cigar burns well through the first third with an easy draw, plenty of smoke, and a fairly even burn line. It sits no less than medium-full in flavor and strength, and most often in full territory, while body isn’t far behind.

Once the first third of the Diesel Delirium is completed, it feels like the cigar has pretty much laid out most of what it has to offer: plenty of earth, hearty amounts of pepper, interludes with a bit of sweetness, and a good amount of woodiness that continues to dry the profile. One cigar also has a bit of chalkiness that adds to the dryness but thankfully doesn’t skew the profile beyond that. There are some great hits of white pepper to be found via retrohales right around the midpoint line, potent but not overpowering, and at times brings in a meatiness and the aromas of a just-used grill that have me thinking of a summer barbecue we’ll be enjoying before long. As the second third begins to come to a close, there is a smoky, chocolate flavor that begins to emerge and rise above the earthy, slightly peppery base. It’s not too sweet that it disconnects from the rest of the flavors, rather just sweet enough to separate itself a bit. It’s also not terribly long-lasting, as the profile turns dry and woody as the final third appears on the horizon. The technical performance remains very good; the burn line has evened out well, smoke production is still plentiful, and the draw remains smooth and easy. 

As the burn line gets into the final third of the Diesel Delirium, the flavor builds on the woodiness of the second third and gets a good bit more robust and dry, which evolves the earthiness into a place that calls out for some sort of beverage to rehydrate the palate. There’s also a bit more nicotine strength coming out from the cigar, enough that it has me thinking about what the effect will be when I stand up after the cigar is finished. The cigar hasn’t deviated too far from its starting point, evolving but not moving into sweet creaminess or anything that would say this cigar has really transitioned into a different profile. The final puffs of the Diesel Delirium bring on a bit more robustness and strength, making for a finish that isn’t as ideal as I would want for my own preferences, and leading to the cigar being laid to rest with just about an inch left. Strength is medium-full in this section and definitely full on a cumulative level, as is flavor and body. Technical performance has been very good at a minimum, and often stellar.

Final Notes

  • Delirium is a defined mental condition, which Mayo Clinic calls “a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of the environment.”
  • I must admit that the first thing I thought of when I saw the foot band was something that would display the address of a house.
  • There’s an interesting moment of clarity when you realize you have purposefully gotten up early to smoke “the boldest Diesel blend to date” first thing in the morning.
  • That said, I found the Delirium to be much more enjoyable later in the day and after a meal.
  • The Diesel Delirium packs some unquestionable strength, enough so that I turned to some white sugar to help neutralize the effects after each cigar.
  • As Justin Andrews noted in his statement, this is quite a different cigar from the Diesel Hair of the Dog, which I found to be offer more sweetness and creaminess while sill packing a good bit of pepper and woodiness. If it were between the two—and this has nothing to do with the scores—I’d be inclined to go with the Hair of the Dog as it’s more aligned with my palate and preferences at the moment.
  • This is the second time that the Diesel line has used the Delirium name, the first coming in 2014 as an exclusive to Cigars International.
  • General Cigar Co. advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by General Cigar Co..
  • Final smoking time was two hours minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Corona Cigar Co. and Famous Smoke Shop carry the Diesel Delirium.
87 Overall Score

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.

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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, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.