Originally launched in 2012 by Mitchell Orchant, the managing director of C. Gars Ltd in the U.K., Inka Secret Blend Cigars are Peruvian puros that are produced at Tabacalera del Oriente in Peru. According to the company, each cigar is made with 100 percent Peruvian tobacco that has been aged for a minimum of at least three years.
“It’s the kind of cigar that leaves me wanting to smoke another one immediately as it doesn’t blow your palate out with strength,” said Orchant. “…very little salt, enough acidity, no bitterness and plenty of sweetness.”
Last month, Orchant announced that after three years, the Inka brand has become his best-selling non-Cuban brand, and that he would be offering the cigars to the U.S. market for the first time, albeit under the slightly different name of Inca Cigars.
Our news story had more information about the release:
While both cigars are Peruvian puros, Orchant told halfwheel that the U.S. version has a different combination of viso and ligero fillers and less seco than the U.K. version. In addition, Orchant said that the U.S. version uses “natural Colorado maduro shade,” while the U.K. versions have various wrappers.
The Inca Secret Blend launched in two vitolas: Secret Blend Imperio (6 x 60, $10.25 each) and Secret Blend Tambo (6 x 50, $9.50 each), both of which are sold in boxes of 20. A third size, the Inca Blend Roca (5 x 50) is expected to be added shortly, also in 20-count boxes. In addition, the first 500 boxes of each vitola have been marked as “Edición Limitada Inaugural,” although the blend is the same.
- Cigar Reviewed: Inca Secret Blend Tambo
- Country of Origin: Peru
- Factory: Tabacalera del Oriente
- Wrapper: Peruvian Colorado Maduro Shade
- Binder: Peru
- Filler: Peru
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190)
- Date Released: April 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Inca Secret Blend Tambo is covered in a reddish-brown wrapper that, while quite smooth to the touch, has several obvious veins running down its length. It is appropriately spongy when squeezed and there is a touch of oil present. The aroma coming from the wrapper is a combination of strong dark cocoa, baker’s spices, cedar, manure and grass, while the cold draw brings flavors of hay, leather, tree bark and barnyard, with a bit of a floral note thrown in.
The Tambo starts off with a dominant flavor of anise, along with lesser notes of gritty earth, leather, oak, coffee, tobacco and grass. There is an interesting—albeit fairly slight—floral sweetness that is pulled over from the cold draw that makes itself known every once in a while on the retrohale, where it combines with a nice amount of white pepper. The finish is slightly bitter, but not overly so, and the smoke production coming from the foot is solidly average. The draw is just a touch loose for my tastes, while the burn is razor sharp so far and the strength is virtually non-existent, barely hitting a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.
There is an interesting but fleeting buttery creaminess that shows up on the finish in the second third of the Inca Secret Blend Tambo, which combines nicely with the flavors of oak, leather, tobacco, dark cocoa and coffee. The floral sweetness from the first third has turned more generic, and I am also picking up a bit of black pepper on the retrohale, but there is no indication at this point that either note is going to increase enough to majorly affect the profile. The draw has tightened up nicely, and the burn continues to impress, while the smoke production has seemingly increased a tad bit. The overall strength is still very light, and it fails to hit the medium mark by the end of the second third, although it does seem to be rising.
The final third of the Inca is quite consistent with the second third, throwing me nothing new other than the sad fact that the creamy butteriness disappears. The flavors of leather, oak, espresso, chocolate and anise flit in and out, with none of them really dominant over the others at any one point. While both the sweetness and the black pepper remain in the profile, it is still quite generic, and it starts to recede more and more as the final third comes to a close. Construction-wise, the Tambo is a joy to smoke at this point, with a wonderful draw and a razor sharp burn line that I don’t even have to think about. As expected, the strength does increase, but not all that much, and hits a point close to medium before I put the nub down with less than an inch left.
- The name of this vitola, Tambo, loosely translates into inn. In Incan society, Tambos were buildings that were used for military purposes as well as lodging and locations to house supplies for travelers.
- There is no doubt that the packaging for these cigars is interesting, but it almost crosses the realm into gaudy. Of course, the Incas themselves were not exactly reserved individuals when it came to decoration, so perhaps the overly flashy box and bands fit right in.
- The Inca Cigars website says that each and every one of the Inca cigars are draw tested, a very impressive feat.
- The cigars are being sold and marketed through Orchant’s Robert Graham 1874 Inc. company, and Alec Bradley is handling the fulfillment duties.
- The construction of all three samples was excellent overall, just a joy to smoke in that regard.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 25 minutes.
- The cigars for smoked for this review were supplied to halfwheel by Inca Cigars.
I have to be honest, I was expecting something a bit more engaging, or at least original, in a cigar made entirely of Peruvian tobacco. It is a smooth blend no doubt, but the flavors that it presents are just not all that interesting or unusual, other than the creamy butteriness in the second half that was all too fleeting. A decent enough blend, and one that just about anyone could find something to like about, but don't expect anything astoundingly different.