While the name Meerapfel might not be the most well-known to cigar consumers, or it seems like the company just launched in 2022 with the release of its Richard line, the company has been around quite a bit longer. And while most consumers might not have smoked a Meerapfel Cigar release yet, there’s a pretty decent chance that many of those people have smoked tobacco grown by the company, which is known for being the preeminent grower of Cameroon tobaccos in Africa.

But as other companies that have largely operated behind-the-scenes have done, Meerapfel decided to bring its name back to finished cigars, beginning with the Richard line that shipped to stores in October 2022. The line is named for Richard Meerapfel, who passed away in 2003, and was heralded by some as saving Cameroon wrapper from extinction in the early 1990s. He is also the father of Jeremiah Meerafpel, who has become the face of the company, and his brother, Joshua.

The cigar is a 5 3/4 x 52 parejo vitola with a twisted cap and comes with an MSRP of $86 per cigar in the U.S. or €94 per cigar in the Meerapfel’s home market of Belgium. The size is being released in 10-count boxes that the company describes as chests, which are rather unique as inside each box is a tray that can be used to either display the cigars or as an ashtray.

It is the first of seven vitolas the company has planned for the line, though no timeline has been announced for when the other six will be released.

  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto (5 3/4 x 52)
  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Robusto (4 7/8 x 50)
  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46)
  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Pyramide (6 1/8 x 52)
  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Lonsdale (6 3/4 x 43)
  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Churchill (7 x 47)
  • Meerapfel Cigar Richard Lancero (7 1/2 x 40)

The MSRPs for the other vitolas will range from $38-63 or €41-68 in Belgium, and each vitola will be limited to a release of just 613 boxes of 10 cigars per year.

“A tribute to our past; respecting our future,” said Jeremiah Meerapfel in a press release. “The UberLuxury is an expression of tradition, values, and respect. It is the mission of Meerapfel to preserve and perpetuate this expression.”

The Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto’s is offered in incredibly impressive packaging, so impressive that it won halfwheel’s 2022 Packaging Awards, scoring high marks for its incredible level of detail as well as its overall presence, as the ashtray is several times larger than a traditional two-slot ashtray.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Undisclosed
  • Factory: Undisclosed
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Length: 5 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: $86 (Box of 10, $860)
  • Release Date: October 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production*
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

*Production is limited to 15,325 cigars per year.

The first thing about the Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto that catches my eye is the design of the head, which reminds me of the Fuente Fuente OpusX BBMF, though maybe a touch shorter. It’s definitely not a pigtail or fan cap, but rather the tobacco seems to be sprouting up and blossoming from the top of the cigar. It’s not quite as pronounced as I recall seeing on BBMFs, but it is fairly close. The band’s intricate design is a close second, and I will touch on that more in the final notes. The wrapper has a dry texture to my fingers, reminding me of thick paper or even parchment in some ways. It’s a good-looking leaf, with a decent number of very small veins and then some texture that is seemingly from the binder underneath. All three wrappers have an even color that has a good mix of reds and browns, though there is one cigar that appears to have a water spot above the band. The cigar is rolled fairly firmly, and given what I assume is a fragile leaf, I’m not inclined to inspect it too intensely. The foot has a light aroma to it, somewhere between fruity and floral depending on the sample and how my olfactory nerves are working on a particular day. That said, it does have a decent body to it, filling my nostrils quite nicely, with the third sample reminding me a bit of a freshly baked bran muffin. The cold draw is a tick open on the first cigar but better on the other two; and while I don’t pick up a ton of flavors from the cold draw, I do get a bit of tingle on both my lips and tongue. The best flavor I can make the case for is some dehydrated red apple, both in taste and texture, while there are some floral touches that stand out in one particular cigar.

The Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto starts off much more vibrantly than I was expecting, leading with a drier, more peppery profile and the cigar produces copious amounts of smoke right out of the gate. Retrohales are almost equally as vibrant, softened a touch by a bit of creaminess that I don’t pick up on my taste buds. There’s an interesting warmth to the smoke in the first inch, and with a bit of the dried red apple flavor from the cold draw joining the profile, the thought of apple pie does cross my mind. There’s a touch of pepper in the middle of the flavor, while the outer edges of the flavor have a bit of green apple and white pepper, which creates an interesting tingle in my nostrils and on the front half of my tongue. The creaminess that was only in my nostrils eventually makes its way down to the taste buds, softening the overall profile but not muting the dry woodiness that has picked up a bit of cedar as the burn line reaches the one-inch mark. The apple and pepper combination turns into a spicy sensation right after I knock off the first clump of ash, making for an interesting change that has me intrigued by a flavor I can’t quite identify but is having a more pronounced impact on my taste buds. All three cigars burn absolutely beautifully with plenty of smoke and an even burn line, while the draw is right around ideal. Flavor starts full and vibrant before finishing this section at medium-plus, body is medium, and strength is mild.

The burn rate seems to accelerate as it crosses into the second third, as it’s not long after I start this section that it seems like I’m at the midpoint of the cigar. The creaminess and apple flavors fade away as part of this process, leaving a dry, woody and slightly peppery profile for my taste buds to embrace. But it’s the transition that is quite enjoyable and really impresses me, as after a rather vibrant start, the cigar is now asking for attention to its more nuanced flavors, drawing on cedar, a bit of red chili pepper, black pepper, along with varying and evolving levels of the creaminess and apple from the first third. At some point right around or just past the midway point, the cigar takes on a longer, more pronounced finish, with a more intense dry wood and black pepper combination now sitting on my taste buds well after I finish a puff. Even with this change, there is still some nuance to explore, though retrohales become increasingly important in adding that extra layer of dimension, as passing the smoke through my nose reveals a bit of apricot and a more pronounced black pepper that builds up on the exhale and leaves a very pleasant tingle in its wake. The profile finishes up this section by getting a bit smokier, just a touch sharper, and a bit drier on the finish. Flavor is still medium, though medium-plus with retrohales, while body is medium and strength is mild. I can’t say enough good things about the construction of the cigar, as it burns essentially flawlessly. My only note in that regard is that the second third sees the cigar burn more quickly, even without a change in my puffing rate.

I really don’t have a lot to complain about or ask for as the Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto gets into its final third, though I can’t help but think that a cigar with this kind of pedigree should be offering a more dynamic experience that has me struggling to keep up with all it has to offer, sort of like trying to transcribe a symphony in real-time. Cedar and black pepper lead the profile as it begins its final third, while creaminess begins to return through the retrohale and then on the taste buds. While I don’t want to say that this cigar doesn’t taste like a typical Cameroon-wrapped cigar, at this point it doesn’t. I don’t know if it should, as the company has only disclosed that the blend uses a vintage Cameroon wrapper, but I do find myself comparing it to my memories of the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos blend, which is my reference point for cigars that use Cameroon wrappers. The final puffs sharpen up the profile a bit more, not necessarily changing the core flavors, but they hit my taste buds with more focus than previously. It’s not enough to keep me from smoking the cigar down to a tiny nub, in one case assisted by a draw poker, because as long as I space my puffs out enough to minimize the heat, the profile stays very enjoyable. Flavor finishes up around medium-plus, body is medium-plus, and strength is medium-minus. Construction is truly flawless, and the three cigars I smoked would each easily rank in the top 10 best-constructed cigars I have smoked this year.

Final Notes

  • I really do admire the intricacy of the bands; seeing these and thinking about the people that not only came up with the design but the means to execute it makes me appreciate just how little I know about how so much of the world works.
  • The center part of the band makes me think of something I might see on top of a dessert at a celebration of some sort; it is incredibly intricate and almost looks edible.
  • The left side of the band is embossed with 1876, a nod to the year the first Meerapfel cigar factory was built, essentially the birth of the Meerapfel we know today.
  • James Suckling, formerly of Cigar Aficionado, penned a tribute to Richard Meerapfel after his passing that is definitely worth a read to learn more about a man who certainly played a big role not just in the lineage of this cigar but in many of the cigars that are smoked today.
  • In February 2023, Meerapfel Cigar released its second line, named Meir, in honor of Meir Meerapfel, who set up the Meerapfel cigar factory in the village of Untergrombach, Germany, in 1876.

  • Meerapfel Cigar created a new line called Création de Coeur, which the company uses exclusively to raise money for charity. While there are no details about the blend, it is different than the lines that are sold in stores. The company says that Meerapfel family covers all of the costs associated with the cigar and then donates the cigars to raise money for charity.
  • The first box was sold at a March 8 event at restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville de Crissier outside of Lausanne, Switzerland. It benefited the charity Morija, which provides humanitarian aid and development programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The band of Création de Coeur features hearts.
  • The Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto didn’t hit me with much in the way of nicotine strength. The first cigar stayed with me for a bit, though I’m inclined to chalk that up to it being smoked first thing in the morning and on a relatively empty stomach.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
  • Correction (March 20, 2023) — the original version of this review stated that the cigars came in 25-count boxes, when they come in 10-count boxes. It has been updated and we apologize for the error.
91 Overall Score

While I generally have no issues with our review process, there are times when I wish that we did completely blind reviews, and this is one of them. The Meerapfel Cigar Richard Double Robusto has been on my radar since its announcement. It is challenging to completely overlook the price and presentation of this debut cigar, though as always, neither play any role of any cigar reviewed on halfwheel. The cigar itself is impressive in many ways; I could go on and on about how incredibly well constructed it is, as once each sample was lit I didn't have to even think about a touch-up or any other sort of construction issue. In terms of flavor, there is a bit of a journey to be taken, as the cigar starts off quite vibrantly before eventually settling as it gets into its second third, a transition that is more enjoyable than I was expecting, particularly as I heeded the call to pay attention to the nuances of the tobaccos that were being revealed. If anything, the progression through the second third is where the cigar really shines, even though it is also the part when I want the cigar to give me more upfront and vibrant flavors. I find it hard not to want this cigar to be so forthcoming with its flavors that I can't miss anything, yet it is that invitation into exploration where I find myself wanting to go back to with a few more samples, much like I would want to watch certain movies again, listen to jazz records with more intention, or spend more time in an art gallery to see what else I can find in the details of the exhibits. The rating that this cigar gets isn't going to be indicative of all that it has to offer, and certainly those who only look at the above number in context of its pricing, or with a response that they could get that same number for a fraction of the cost will miss what this cigar is seemingly about. All I can say is that if you can find some and are willing to take the plunge with a clear mind and clean palate, the experience is certainly an enjoyable one.

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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.