By now you’re likely aware of the partnership between Camacho and legendary football player and coach Mike Ditka. Launched in 2012, the two have partnered on a number of releases in the past three years, all of which have a distinct tie-in to football.
The line debuted with a trio of blends, The Player, The Coach and The Hall of Famer, which were released in December 2012. In the spring of 2013, the Camacho Ditka Throwback was announced, then the Camacho Ditka 89 in November 2013 and the Camacho Ditka Signature in the summer of 2014. It would be a year before the next project, the Camacho Ditka Gametime was announced, with the cigar arriving in October 2014.
For the Ditka Gametime, a limited edition 6 1/2 x 54 vitola was crafted using a Nicaraguan wrapper, Brazilian mata fina binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Honduras.
The cigar is limited to 50,000 sticks, split into 2,500 boxes of 20 cigars, with an MSRP of $11 per cigar and $220 per box.
- Cigar Reviewed: Ditka Gametime by Camacho
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Agroindustria LAEPE S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Honduras
- Length: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Gran Toro
- MSRP: $11 (Box of 20, $220)
- Release Date: Oct. 9, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Gametime is a sizable pole of a cigar, feeling big even in this age of toro as middle ground. Its wrapper has some heavy mottling in spots, taking it darker than its already dark tan shade but stopping short of being black. I feel a couple of soft spots in one of the samples that come across as either being underfilled or having very soft, pliable tobacco. From the foot I get a light, sweet and fruity aroma, with notes of pear and white peach being most distinctive. The cold draw varies quite a bit, from offering just a touch of restriction to the air flow to being much too loose. Flavor-wise, it is neutral and hard to describe, almost a bit of buttered English muffin in one sample with a touch of cocoa to simple tobacco with a bit of oil in the others.
The DItka Gametime kicks off with a good bit of leather and pepper, with smoke absolutely billowing off the foot of the cigar with each puff. The first couple of retrohales are also on the peppery side, not as big and explosive as I’ve found in other cigars but certainly offering a good bit of punch. Through the first inch the Gametime is drawing and burning well, though the trail of ash it leaves in its wake might have you thinking otherwise; a dark gray clump that flowers and dimples at points, though I must give it credit for hanging on pretty well. Notes of roasted coffee and oatmeal enter the mix in the first third, and as the pepper backs off just a bit the cigar presents a much more balanced flavor and the opportunity to develop things well from this new starting point, which the Gametime uses to transition from the first to second thirds, while the retrohale keeps a good amount of its peppery potency.
The start of the second third sees the coffee note step forward a bit, and if pairing this with a cup of joe, the combination might come across as a bit of overkill. The pepper has abandoned the palate for the most part, staying present in the retrohales but in a much more subdued way, and as that happens the smoke from Ditka Gametime evolves its mouthfeel as well. It’s now a bit creamier and a slight bit oily, making me think of peanut butter both in flavor and texture. Just about the midpoint the pepper returns from its hiatus, lighter than it had been before but still potent, while the cigar begins to pick up a slightly oily presentation. Through the midpoint the draw tightens up just a bit and the burn rate slows down considerably, and what seemed like a 90 minute smoke is looking more like well over two hours. The aroma continues to unfold as strength from the cigar picks up, as the nose gets lots of that creamy peanut butter note with pepper still playing a prominent role.
Between the increased time it is taking to get through the Ditka Gametime and the relatively cold air on these winter days, the final third of the cigar can’t come soon enough, and unfortunately the flavors aren’t ones that stand out. There’s a bit of low-grade cocoa powder, while the pepper hangs around for a bit of strength and bite. I continue to get a slightly oily texture from the smoke, which helps soften its rougher edges a bit, though one sample showed far fewer than the other two, and the resulting experience was much better and more palatable. The draw, burn and smoke production all remain excellent, and depending on how agreeable this is to your palate, you can smoke it fairly far down or call it quits with an inch or so left and not feel like you’ve been shortchanged, as the pepper remains prominent enough to keep the senses engaged. There’s little if any nicotine kick from the Gametime, meaning that even after two-plus hours with this cigar, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been through 60 minutes of full-contact action.
- In the second cigar I smoked, which had the loosest cold draw of the bunch, there were a few times where I could hear the tobacco combusting as I took a draw. While this may not be a dead giveaway as to some sort of problem, it’s not something I like to experience when smoking a cigar.
- I was a bit surprised to find small bits of tobacco coming out of the head in some of the samples. Maybe it was just unlucky, but picking small bits of tobacco out of my teeth is not something I enjoy.
- Camacho wasn’t Mike Ditka’s first foray into cigars; in 2001 he released the Mike Ditka Championship Series with Graycliff, which Brooks Whittington reviewed in January 2012.
- Ditka’s line is part of Camacho’s Custom Built series along with Matt Booth’s Room101 Cigars and Rob Weiss’ B.G. Meyer.
- Camacho is part of Davidoff of Geneva USA, which advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 20 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Davidoff of Geneva USA.
- Site sponsor Cigar.com has the Camacho Ditka Gametime in stock.
The Ditka Gametime by Camacho is a perfectly enjoyable cigar, though far from one that offers flavors that will call out to your palate and demand its attention. For the most part rough parts were fairly limited, though they weren’t completely absent. The best thing about the Camacho Ditka Gametime is that it seems to blend into whatever your coinciding activity might be, whether its watching a game, socializing with friends or just enjoying a cigar on a relaxing day. While it’s certainly not the big game, it’s far from a meaningless exhibition.