The concept is pretty simple: a company picks a vitola—say 5 x 40—and chooses to make a variety of its blends in that specific size. Rather than adding the new cigars to the portfolio in a normal way—by selling each one of those new cigars in its own box—they are placed inside of a sampler. This is hardly a new concept—my first experience with this concept was probably the Lanceros Collection by Don Pepín Garcia, released 15 years ago—but it does seem like this is happening a lot more.

RoMa Craft Tobac is the company I most associate with the company thanks to its seven El Catador samplers, though some of those have included some regular production cigars. In less than 10 seconds, I can think of new for 2022 samplers from Alec Bradley, Jake Wyatt, Tatuaje and Micallef.

The Micallef Collector Edition is the aforementioned put a bunch of lines in a 5 x 40 vitola. Each sampler contains 16 total cigars, two each of the following eight blends:

Note: The following shows the various Micallef Collectors Edition vitolas. Some of these cigars may have been released after this post was originally published. The list was last updated on Dec. 31, 2022

88 Overall Score

First things first: in my limited experience smoking Micallef cigars, I've typically had issues with construction. I managed to smoke three of these cigars without any, other than minor burn issues, so I'm happy that construction issues were not a focal point. At various points while smoking the Micallef Reata Londres, I was confused about what I was tasting. Whether it's the funk, the petroleum flavors or the persistent grapes—abnormal flavors were a constant throughout each cigar. In the same way that I think natural wine has its place in the world, this flavor profile can work, but I'm not sure this was the intended result and would be curious to taste this alongside the two regular production Reata vitolas. Whatever the case, it's a cigar I'd smoke again and I certainly like the concept of the sampler and its size. Now I just need to get to Fort Worth.

None of the lines have previously been offered in this size.

Micallef’s Reata line is offered in two regular production sizes—Churchill (7 x 48) and Torpedo (6 x 52)—and the company calls it the mildest blend in the portfolio. It’s named after Reata, a restaurant owned by Al Micallef, with locations in Fort Worth, Texas and Aspen, Colo.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Micallef Reata Londres
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Micallef Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 40
  • Vitola: Corona
  • MSRP: $8 (Box of 16, $128)
  • Release Date: Oct. 5, 2022
  • Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Micallef Reata Londres is a small cigar with a wrapper that looks more mustard-like than I actually think it is. I suspect this is due to the vibrant red and blue colors in the main band, which create a lot of contrast. The aroma from the wrapper has nuttiness over a sweet bacon-like aroma—like a bag of bacon bits—and something that reminds me of Pine-Sol. The smell of the foot is pretty similar—it’s full compared to medium-full—and adds a weird pear sweetness and some white truffle-like funk to it. That pear flavor then adds some weird chocolate flavors in the cold draw, creating a very unique flavor that is quite foreign to my palate. If I take firmer cold draws, there’s also sharp citrus, sweet chocolate and black pepper.

A quartet of more pedestrian flavors—nuttiness over citrus, red apple and leather—is what hits my palate during the first puff. I’m surprised by how open the draw is on each cigar; it’s what I’d expect from a 55-60 ring gauge cigar, making it rather open given the thin vitola, though it didn’t get close to leading to point deductions. While the wrapper is not a Connecticut shade varietal, the flavors are rather reminiscent of what I’d expect from a cigar with that wrapper. Mixed nuts and black pepper are the main flavors, followed by a restrained cedar, some creaminess and touches of terroir. The finish has a fragrant nuttiness that is quickly overwhelmed by lots of creaminess. Oak, pear and a funky mushroom flavor round out the finish. Retrohales have pecans, some bourbon-like flavors—albeit without the alcohol burn—and something that sort of reminds me of the smell of gasoline. A generic grape flavor transitions into the finish where it’s joined by some sweet tomatoes, more of the funky mushroom flavor and some terroir. It’s an incredibly interesting profile, though I wish it wasn’t as dry. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Construction is great, highlighted by massive smoke production.

For the first part of the second third, the cigar gets more bitter; fortunately, that dissipates around the halfway mark. Fragrant peanut shells lead fresh earth, white pepper and leather. The finish has nuttiness over sawdust and some terroir-laden earthiness. After the bitterness leaves, the finish begins to taste more like the aroma of a jar of peanut butter and adds some herbal flavors. Retrohales have lots of peanut butter over some citrus, a mild celery-like vegetal flavor, black pepper and some more of the weird petroleum flavors. The finish has lots of the petroleum-like flavors along with black pepper and cedar. On one cigar, I start to taste lots of pepper around my lips during the second third, something that wasn’t prevalent early on. Flavor is full, body is medium and strength is mild-medium. Each cigar needs one touch-up to help with the burn during the second third, though if I wasn’t reviewing this cigar, I doubt I would have come up with any construction complaints.

There’s a pretty dramatic shift in the flavors as the final third gets going. Roasted flavors emerge, joining the earthiness and largely removing the terroir aspects. Leather, peach sweetness and touches of black pepper round out the secondary flavors. The finish is rather chalky with terroir and a peanut butter aroma returning, along with some herbal flavors. When I retrohale the cigar I find the chalkiness—albeit less of it—joined by flavors of green grapes, funky cheese and some mild herbs filling my nostrils. Once the smoke has departed my nostrils and some time has gone by, there’s earthiness and white pepper. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium. After the touch-up in the second third, the Micallef closes out the final third without any construction issues.

Final Notes

  • Samplers like these are advantageous for companies because they cut down on the different types of packaging needed. It reduces costs, lead times, inventory issues, etc. compared to if Micallef wanted to sell each of these eight different cigars in their own boxes.
  • I have not been to Reata, the restaurant.
  • Every time I go to Fort Worth, particularly the Sundance Square area where Reata is located, I have a good time. I wish I got out to Fort Worth more, but there are so many places in my home city of Dallas I want to visit.
  • If you are in Sundance Square and looking for a place to smoke a cigar, there’s a legitimate cigar bar called Silver Leaf that is a very nice place to do so.
  • I have a difficult time believing that this is the mildest blend in the Micallef portfolio. While the wrapper is light, what I tasted was not very mild.
  • At many times throughout the cigar, the flavor profile was quite strange. I’m guessing what I tasted isn’t exactly what’s intended and could be the result of some tobacco curing. While it was strange, I enjoyed the cigars, though I’m not sure I’d want to smoke a cigar that tastes like this regularly.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged one hour and 30 minutes, a lengthy amount of time for the small size.
88 Overall Score

First things first: in my limited experience smoking Micallef cigars, I've typically had issues with construction. I managed to smoke three of these cigars without any, other than minor burn issues, so I'm happy that construction issues were not a focal point. At various points while smoking the Micallef Reata Londres, I was confused about what I was tasting. Whether it's the funk, the petroleum flavors or the persistent grapes—abnormal flavors were a constant throughout each cigar. In the same way that I think natural wine has its place in the world, this flavor profile can work, but I'm not sure this was the intended result and would be curious to taste this alongside the two regular production Reata vitolas. Whatever the case, it's a cigar I'd smoke again and I certainly like the concept of the sampler and its size. Now I just need to get to Fort Worth.

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Charlie Minato

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.