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There are two types of cigars: those that sell and those that don’t.

While the consumers that read this site are probably not regular customers of flavored cigars, retailers know one thing about them: they sell.

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While the packaging says Java by Drew Estate, Java is actually a Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Inc. product. It’s a partnership that has spawned four blends, Java (Maduro), Java Latte, Java Mint, and now Java Red.

Red was introduced at this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, and it is supposed to invoke flavors of cherry, dark chocolate and coffee according to the company’s marketing material.

It’s offered in six sizes, four of which are box-pressed. The 58, a 5 x 58 size, is square-pressed, while the Java Red Petite Corona is round and also has a pigtail.

  • Java Red Petite Corona (4 1/2 x 38) — $7.05 (Boxes of 40, $282)
  • Java Red Corona (5 x 42) — $8.30 (Boxes of 24, $199.20)
  • Java Red Wafe (5 x 46) — $7.50 (Boxes of 40, $300)*
  • Java Red The 58 (5 x 58) – $10.55 (Boxes of 24, $253.20)
  • Java Red Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) — $9.20 (Boxes of 24, $220.80)
  • Java Red Toro (6 x 50) — $9.75 (Boxes of 24, $234)

*Not pictured.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Java Red Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Box of 40, $300)
  • Release Date: 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

I make an effort to not read about the cigars I’m reviewing and that applies here. My notes suggest this is a sharp box-press, though it’s admittedly rectangular and not a uniform square. There are a lot of flavors coming off the wrapper with chocolate at the forefront on top of what distinctly smells like a jar of maraschino cherries. The foot is a bit more like a traditional cigar from the wrapper, though it’s still quite sweet. There are a lot of woods mixed with the maraschino cherries over touches of chocolate ice cream and pepper. The cold draw is somewhere in between the two with chocolate chip ice cream and a wafer cone, along with the ever-present maraschino cherry, somewhere around the medium-plus level.

The Java Red begins with me tasting flavor not in the smoke, but around the lips. Like many flavored cigars, there’s some sugar on the cap and it quickly is transferred to the lips. This inevitably takes place on the cold draw, but the flavors of the cold draw are sweet and strong enough that it’s not as apparent as when the cigar is lit. That’s because the smoke itself is medium with some woods and spices, i.e. contrasting. As the first third develops, it remains quite woody with a deep earth note and charcoal. This contrasts nicely against the sweetness of the cap and reminds me of a smoked Manhattan cocktail. There’s a burning sensation thanks to a black pepper that sits on the top of the mouth. Flavor is medium-full through the combination of the artificial sweetness and the smoke. A touch-up is needed on all three samples, though the ash holds for an inch.

There’s not a ton of development flavor-wise within the smoke. A sunflower seed saltiness joins the woody flavor, but it’s still very earthy. Through the nose, I pick up a blast of cinnamon powder, though thankfully avoid coughing a la the cinnamon challenge. After the halfway mark, the finish turns very toasty thanks to the building sunflower seeds. Like the first third, this all combines nicely with the sweetness on the lips, but I’m admittedly bored. Strength picks up to medium-full, while the flavor remains medium-full. Touch-ups are needed, but the Java Red smokes fine for an inch and a half after the touch-up.

The Java Red doesn’t change much in the final third. Toastiness continues to pick up from the middle point while the pepper recedes. Strength decreases a bit to medium, which is where it was in the first third. Keeping with the theme of staying the same, the cigar struggles to remain lit, though unlike earlier touch-ups, the lighter is getting continual use to get the cigar below the one-inch mark.

Final Notes

  • Rocky Patel discontinued the Wafe size across the Java lines, but brought it back earlier this year.
  • Whenever reviewing a flavored cigar we seem to need to make a disclosure: I have nothing against flavored cigars, but they aren’t something I typically smoke. I evaluated this cigar just like I would any other, because after all, it’s still a cigar.
  • I’m responsible for picking what cigars the site reviews and I’m a strong advocate for our reviews of flavored cigars. I think it’s important, particularly when you take into account that if Java was its own company, it’d probably be around the 25th largest cigar company based on sales volume.
  • When I talk to consumers–and even some manufacturers–about flavored cigars, many are surprised by just how big they are. Most people are familiar with ACID and that’s oftentimes it. Java, Miami Cigar & Co.’s Tatiana and Davidoff of Geneva USA’s Baccarat are absolute behemoths in terms of sales.
  • Flavored cigars get a bad rap, one that I think is largely rooted in peer pressure. Many of the same people who claim, “I’ll never smoke a flavored cigar,” say it with a cocktail, a soda or a coffee next to them. As Patrick Lagreid has noted before, humans are predisposed to like sweet flavors. People generally like sweet things; I think many people don’t like flavored cigars because of the perception surrounding flavored cigars.
  • While I picked up the cherry note in spades before the cigar was lit, it never made it into my notes once I actually started smoking the cigar. For me the sweetness was sugary with chocolate being the most notable of the flavors beyond that, but still not really a defining feature.
  • Strength surprisingly got to medium-full, though it only lasted for around 30 minutes.
  • While I’m not opposed to smoking flavored cigars in general, the Java Mint is not something I ever intend on smoking. Mint chocolate has not been a combination of flavors I’ve found particularly appealing.
  • Rocky Patel never listed the blend components, though a scan of online retailers suggests this is a Nicaraguan puro.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 20 minutes to one hour and 40 minutes depending on the sample.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co.Cigar Hustler, Corona Cigar, Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) and JR Cigar carry the Java Red.
81 Overall Score

While this might not be something many of our readers would ever consider buying, many people will. I’ve smoked some other flavored cigars over the years, including Javas, and my biggest issue with the Java Red is it just seemed flat after the midway point. There wasn’t a ton of development from the tobacco and I oddly found myself needing more flavors. While there’s a good chance I’ll never smoke another one of these in my life, I’m not opposed to it. It’s a decent enough cigar, but not my cup of tea. Those who just scroll down to the score will probably assume it’s due to my opposition of flavored cigars, it’s not; rather, burn issues were a problem across all the samples I smoked.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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