In September 2018, Marrero Cigars announced two fairly major milestones in its company’s history: the first was a brand new factory located in the Dominican Republic named MCR Factory that is owned by Joel Vazquez-Marrero and Felix Gonzalez; the second was a new cigar named the Artistico Salomon, a 7 x 62 salomon vitola which features elaborate decorations on the wrapper made of tobacco.

Fast forward to July of this year, when Marrero Cigars began shipping its latest project in the Artistico Series named Aquatico 45. Like the aforementioned Artistico Salomon, the Aquatico 45 incorporates designs on the wrapper that are created by using tobacco leaves of different shades and varietals; however, that is where the similarities end. Not only does the newest release feature a foot that is cut at a 45 degree angle as well as a different blend compared to the Salomon, but the designs on the wrappers are made up of marine animals like whales, sharks and seahorses.

In terms of blend, the Aquatico 45 is a Dominican puro—including three different Dominican-grown wrapper leaves: habano rosado, Connecticut and candela—as well as an olor binder and a filler mix of habano 2020, criollo 98 and corojo tobaccos. Marrero told halfwheel that there are approximately 20 different designs in the series, with each box of 10 cigars containing 10 different designs.

Each figurado is priced at $16 and measures 6 inches long with a ring gauge that varies from 54 to 62. Only 250 10-count boxes are being produced, and they began shipping to retailers at the end of July.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Marrero Aquatico 45
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: MCR Factory
  • Wrapper: Dominican Republic (Candela, Connecticut & Habano Rosado)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54/62
  • Vitola: Figurado
  • MSRP: $16 (Box of 10, $160)
  • Release Date: July 31, 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 250 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

There is no doubt that the Marrero Aquatico 45 is one of the most visually stunning cigars I have seen in quite a while: the combination of multiple details and very well done art made out of nothing more than tobacco leaves is spectacular. The cigar is quite firm when squeezed and the wrapper features numerous bumps and veins running up and down its length. Aroma from the wrapper and foot is a surprisingly light combination of sweet oak, leather, manure, mesquite, earth and vanilla sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of peppermint, leather, barnyard, creamy oak, almonds and indeterminate sweetness.

After a bit of time to get it lit evenly, the first third of the Marrero Aquatico 45 starts with a profile that has a fair number of flavors, albeit not one that is obviously dominant at this point: creamy oak, hay, generic nuts, earth, leather and a touch of floral. While there is some black pepper present on the retrohale, it is nowhere close to overwhelm anything yet, including a faint peppermint note pulled over from the cold draw. The finish features some light vanilla sweetness as well, but it is just not strong enough to have much of an impact at this point either. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple Dickman cut while the burn is surprisingly even, considering the steep 45 degree angle the foot is cut to. Smoke production is extremely dense off of the foot and the strength is close to a non-factor, struggling to hit a point between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

The flavors in the profile of the Marrero Aquatico 45 become more regimented in the second third, including a strong almond note easily taking the dominant spot. Other flavors of creamy oak, espresso beans, bitter chocolate, floral, hay and a touch of yeast flit in and out as well, while the vanilla sweetness on the finish is a bit stronger as well. Although the draw remains excellent, the burn begins to give me some minor issues around the halfway point, enough that I touch it up in order to prevent it from going wonky on me. Strength-wise, the Aquatico 45 has increased a bit, but still fails to reach the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end. 

While it is not a major change by any means, a number of flavors from the first two thirds of the Marrero have all but disappeared as the final third begins, including hay, floral and the black pepper on the retrohale. Having said that, the creamy almond note easily remains the dominant flavor in the profile, followed by lesser notes of earth, coffee beans, creamy oak, barnyard, leather, dark cocoa nibs and cloves. In terms of construction, the draw continues to give me no issues, while the burn has evened up enough for me to not have to worry about it. Finally, the overall strength does manage to pass the medium mark right before I put the nub down with about an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • If you have never heard of Felix Gonzalez, he is a veteran of the Dominican cigar industry for over 30 years who has spent time with Arturo Fuente, Davidoff and La Flor Dominicana, according to a press release issued by the company.

  • While it is obvious that each design took quite a bit of planning, skill and talent to create, there are even more intricate details present that might be missed unless you really study the cigar closely. For example, the crocodile that was on one of the cigars I smoked for the review actually has an eyeball that is no bigger than a tip of a large pencil.
  • One of the largest questions I had before I started smoking these was exactly how to light it: either torch the entire foot flat at the same angle it is cut, or try and light the foot perpendicular to the cut. I decided on on the former, and as you can see from the photographs above, the burn easily caught up to a nice, even line within the first two inches.
  • I smoked three of the cigars from the photo of the different designs above—the crocodile, shark and fish—and while there was a bit more of a grassy note in the profile of the latter due to the candela wrapper, it was not as overt as I thought it would be.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by Marrero Cigars.
  • Final smoking time averaged two hours and three minutes for all three samples.
87 Overall Score

Yes, the Marrero Aquatico 45 is extremely interesting from a visual perspective, but there is obviously more to a cigar than looks, so I was extremely interested to see how it would actually smoke. The answer turned out to be mixed: while the construction was excellent overall on all three samples, the actual profile was quite linear regardless of the wrapper used, albeit still enjoyable. That is not to say there were not differences in the profiles, of course—the candela wrapped cigar featured more grass and barnyard, while the habano rosado was sweeter on the palate and the Connecticut was creamier overall—but I was surprised at just how consistent the blend tasted between all three. There is some obvious value in smoking a cigar that is essentially a piece of art, but if you are looking for that plus a complex profile, I would go with something like the La Flor Dominicana Salomon Único.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.