The lancero is an interesting vitola; flat-out shunned by some yet coveted by others, it has become a rarity in the release of the majority of new cigars. If the size does get added to a line, it seems more as a token to appease some fans, rather than stemming from a belief that the vitola has the merits to stand on its own.

Such is the case with one of the latest releases from Duran Cigars, who responded to a mix of colleagues, retailers and consumers that wanted to see the company’s Neya F8 blend in a lancero format. The result: the Texas Tactical Lancero.

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Announced in mid-July ahead of the 2016 IPCP Convention & Trade Show, the cigar takes the line’s blend of an Ecuadorian corojo maduro wrapper grown at Duran’s Fincas Azan farm with Nicaraguan tobaccos underneath and highlighted by ligero from Estelí that gives the cigar its strength, and rolls it into a 7 x 40 vitola with a small pigtail cap.

It becomes the seventh size in the company’s Neya F8 line, joining the Patriot (5 x 52), Gringo (5 x 58), Toro (6 x 56), Yankee (6 x 60), Loyalist (6 1/2 x 54) and Big Jack (7 x 70). While the name may suggest that this is a release limited to Texas, that isn’t the case, as the cigar is a regular production size that is available to all Duran Cigars retailers.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Duran Cigars Neya F8 Texas Tactical Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Nicatabaco S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 40
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $8 (Boxes of 15, $120)
  • Release Date: September 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Neya Texas Tactical Lancero is comes dual banded and with a short, tight pigtail of a cap, providing plenty to look at in case the reddish-brown wrapper isn’t enough. The capa is slightly mottled in its coloration and doesn’t show much in the way of veins, as they are small and easily blend into the leaf’s appearance, while the fingers pick up a slight bit of texture that ranges from fine grit to near velvet. The first and third samples I smoked was incredibly firm, with just a bit of give from the outer layer quickly revealing a stiff core, while the second offered slightly more give but not enough to change my thoughts on how this was rolled. The foot’s aromas are mild and slightly meaty, somewhere along the lines of pepperoni and nondescript cured salami, though there can be a bit of floral or fruit sweetness pulled out as well. The cold draw shows no issues moving air while the profile is a bit smokier, manifesting as roasted almonds and a bit more of the sausage note, though juicier than it was via the nose.

The Neya Texas Tactical Lancero opens up with a rich and flavorful treat for the palate, complex with notes of pork, earth and a damp wood note that fluctuates between cedar and bark. While pepper deserves inclusion on that list, it is so much more prominent in the nose via retrohales that it seems best to reserve its inclusion to that portion of the experience. It’s a bright expression that gets supported by light fruit, and while the intensity is much greater, immediately summons mind  the thought of a glass of Gewütrazminer. Chalk enters the profile after the first clump of ash departs, while black pepper follows closely behind as the flavor gets a bit drier. Retrohales continue to be lively and peppery, while there is a lingering tingle in the nose and on the palate. The first third of the lancero burns quite well, with more smoke production that I generally expect from a cigar of this shape save for the third sample, which is rather stingy with it.

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The strength of the Neya takes a step forward at the start of the second third, as the pepper is a bit fuller and there’s more earthiness to the overall flavor, something that manifests by the smoke coming across as thicker on the tongue than it did earlier. Trace amounts of red apple sweetness are sporadic but enjoyable and give the smoke a touch more complexity, something that is establishing itself as one of the cigar’s high points. Near the midpoint, the smoke regains some of its lushness from the first third and dryness becomes a bit of an afterthought, which has my palate thankful as persistent dryness of the mouth is not something I enjoy. There are more pivots in the flavor through the second third, though it can be hard to pin them down to exact words, Roasted nuts, pork, sausage and salami all come to mind at times, each with decent helpings of pepper that get more aggressive in the nose as the final third gets closer, with a very subtle orange liqueur sweetness beginning to creep in as well. One sample develops a palate-shocking dry flavor that is waxy and hard to place, other than to say it is not a logical progression of the cigar.

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A chocolate undertone begins to emerge at the start of the final third of the first cigar as the Neya Texas Tactical Lancero continues to perform near flawlessly with plenty of smoke, a much better experience than what’s found in the second cigar, which continues on with a dry and sour taste that makes me think of bad Christmas candy, something like a mint gone horribly wrong. A bit of it creeps in to the third sample but is a fleeting appearance, saving the cigar from taking the same wrong turn that the previous one did. The final two inches develop some combustion issues as the cigar seems to have retained a bit too much moisture, something that gets picked up via the flavor as well. When burning, however, the cigar takes another sizable step in its flavor and aroma progression, with strawberry and cranberry sweetness marking the otherwise smoky and campfire aroma, while hints of earth and dark chocolate.

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Final Notes

  • None of the three samples offered quite the same experience; the first sample set the high mark and performed the best of the three, while the second ran into that bizarre flavor and the third had the draw of a cold, thick milkshake.
  • While we don’t necessarily deduct points for consistency, the fact that I couldn’t tell you with confidence exactly what you’ll get from this cigar should you purchase it should be concerning.
  • The redux of this cigar could be interesting as we only use one sample, thus making the difference in scores quite drastic.
  • The original Neya line, called the Neya Classic, was released in 2014. The F8 line came shortly thereafter, using a maduro wrapper in place of the Classic’s Ecuadorian habano to contribute added strength.
  • Speaking of strength, I can’t say that I got much of it, though the cigar does have its stronger than average moments and ends up in the medium-plus category for me.
  • Also at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Duran Cigars released the Azan Blue Connecticut, which features an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that comes from the first crop of Connecticut seed grown at Fincas Azan, a farm in Ecuador owned and operated by Roberto Duran.
  • The company also released the Duran Nicatabaco Factory Blend No. 5 Connecticut, a bundle offering.
  • In May 2014, Alec Bradley announced a cigar with a similar name, the Texas Lancero, though it was anything but a long and slender cigar, measuring 7 x 70.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Duran Cigars.
  • Final smoking time was two hours and five minutes on average.
  • Site sponsor Cigar.com and Cigar Hustler carry the Neya F8 line, but does not yet list the Texas Tactical Lancero as being for sale.
78 Overall Score

The number that sits to the left represents a few things, namely how good the cigar can be when it draws properly and offers some impressive complexity, as well as how off-putting one sample in particular became and the overly tight draw of another. It's not as good of a number as the first cigar deserved, which is a shame, but serves to note the consistency issues the the cigar had. If I could confidently say that you'd get the experience that the first cigar offered, it would be an easy recommendation; instead I offer guarded optimism that it's worth a try with a caveat that you might not get as ideal an experience as the company intended.

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