If there’s a signature size for RoMa Craft Tobac, I’d argue it’s the 5 x 56 box-pressed robusto gordo size that is known as EMH in the company’s original CroMagnon line. The size is found in RoMa Craft’s first four lines, but the Neanderthal line—introduced in 2015 and now a family of eight vitolas—still has neither a 5 x 56 size nor a box-pressed vitola.
One of those two facts changed with the ninth size of the line: LH. At 4 3/4 x 56, it’s close to the EMH, but for most, the more important fact is that it’s the first box-pressed vitola for the line.
It debuted in mid-September, with the first 100 boxes going to Fine Ash Cigars in Glendale, Ariz. An additional 1,400 boxes were scheduled to ship over the last couple of months completing the 2019 release. Like many RoMa Craft cigars, the Neanderthal LH will be sold in limited quantities but is an ongoing release.
- Neanderthal HN (5 x 52/56) — May 2015 — Regular Production
- Neanderthal SGP (4 1/4 x 52) — June 2015 — 250 Boxes of 15 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Neanderthal HoxD (4 x 46) — August 2015 — 600 Samplers of 2 Cigars (1,200 Total Cigars)*
- Neanderthal GD (4 1/2 x 52) — October 2015 — 325 Samplers of 2 Cigars (650 Total Cigars)
- Neanderthal OM H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — August 2016 — 333 Boxes of 15 Cigars (4,995 Total Cigars)
- Neanderthal KFG (4 3/4 x 56) — 2017 — Regular Production
- Neanderthal JCF (5 1/4 x 50) — 2017 — Regular Production
- Neanderthal HS (5 3/4 x 46) — 2017 — Regular Production
- Neanderthal LH (4 3/4 x 56) — 2019 — Regular Production
*Now regular production.
The Neanderthal blend uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over a Connecticut broadleaf binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. The line is notable for its flat caps and the use of Pennsylvania Green River One Sucker, a type of ligero that is one of the more powerful types of tobacco being used by companies today.
- Cigar Reviewed: Neanderthal LH
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
- Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
- Binder: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
- Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & U.S.A. (Pennsylvania)
- Length: 4 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $13.35 (Box of 15, $200.25)
- Release Date: Sept. 17, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
One sample has a lot of veins, including some that run up to the cap like the picture above, but otherwise the LH is exactly what I would expect from a Neanderthal: the main band mimics the color of the University of Texas, the wrapper is a bright milk chocolate color and the cap is flat. The aroma from the wrapper has some bizarre flavors. There’s a weird cranberry flavor, manure, leather, lots of acidity and a sensation that reminds me of a leather cleaner I’ve used before. The foot smells like a bag of uncooked and unwashed white rice with some sweetness and a flavor that reminds me of eating chocolate-covered fruit. The LH’s cold draw has a cocoa flavor, the familiar white rice, ground coffee and raspberry; i.e., it’s quite similar to the foot.
While the foot and cold draw are quite similar, the first puff is very different. I struggle to get the smoke production that I’d like and there’s similarly not a ton of flavors, just tastiness and some burnt raisins. Three or four puffs in, there’s a ton more smoke and a lot more flavors. An inch into the cigar, there’s some corn whiskey, a fair bit of mineral flavors, a bell pepper skin and some faint hints of peppermint. Retrohales have even more of the corn whiskey flavor, some lemon tea and the mineral flavors. Oddly, the finish is rather creamy. Construction is good, but the burn is slow and I find myself needing to smoke a lot quicker than I’d like to.
I expected some change in the Neanderthal LH, but the second third isn’t what I was expecting. For much of the next inch-and-a-half, the cigar tastes like mole. There’s some mineral flavors and white pepper, but for the most part, it’s got the rich and diverse group of flavors that make up the Mexican sauce. Retrohales are brighter and more intense, I imagine it’s quite similar to if I try to sniff sweet orange chicken sauce though my nose. There’s some of the familiar white pepper as well, but it’s a lot of thick, semi-sour and sweet oranges. Retrohales continue to have the creaminess, though the orange chicken sauce lingers as well. Flavor, body and strength are medium-full. Construction remains fine though I’m still having to smoke quicker than I’d like.
And then the heavens open. The Neanderthal LH provides another drastic transition and I am once again all about it. There’s peanut shells, some charcoal, a non-corn whiskey flavor and some watered down rum flavors. I don’t get any pepper upfront, but I find some on the back of the throat, which I think is a residual effect from earlier. Retrohales suddenly have a ton of flavor flavors, a wasabi-like flavor but without the burn, and some more of the peanut shells. At times, the floral flavor morphs into a blueberry muffin, but with less than an inch left it’s a ton of floral flavor. Curiously, if I smoke slower I get a lot more pepper. The finish reminds me of the Pennsylvania ligero, which I once smoked by itself. Once again, flavor, body and strength are medium-full.
- RoMa Craft Tobac co-founder Skip Martin is a fan of the XIKAR MTX scissors and has mentioned that’s his preferred method for cutting the flat cap. I actually think a knife is even easier and used the new Le Petit by Les Fines Lames to remove the top part of the cap, though my non-cigar oriented Kershaw would have worked just fine.
- The main band uses the orange made famous by the University of Texas, the college Martin roots for. Michael Rosales, the other half of RoMa Craft Tobac, is a University of Oklahoma fan. You’ll find those colors on the company’s newest line, Baka.
- My tongue was pretty beat up by the end of smoking each sample, sort of like taking an electric toothbrush straight to the tongue for a minute or so. It wasn’t a super lasting sensation, but it’s not something I find on a lot of cigars.
- I think this cigar, particularly the great final third, would pair terribly with coffee and, in particular espresso. I just think that a lot of what coffee physically does to my palate would drown out the nuance in cigars. Similarly, a strong mineral water also seems like a pairing that would not go well.
- I actually think that something sweeter, perhaps like a Champagne or maybe even Sprite, would do a lot better.
- The wasabi-like flavor I found is not that uncommon for me in cigars. I pick up the flavor a lot of times when retrohaling Cameroon tobacco, though that sensation has the burn.
- I never really got the full strength or the effects of full strength that I remember from my first Neanderthals. I’ve mentioned this before, but I think that certain cigars affect certain people differently. For me, this doesn’t have the same thump as an Arturo Fuente Añejo, which for some reason seems to always give me that punch.
- Final smoking time rated from two hours and 15 minutes to nearly three hours. The difference was related to the smoke rate, which I learned pretty early on in the first sample needed to be noticeably quicker than average.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Neanderthal LH cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Huslter, Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigars all have them in stock now.
Much like styles make fights, I think that sizes oftentimes make blends. I had high hopes for this vitola when it was announced as I always thought the Neanderthal blend needed just a bit more physical space to shine. The first third of the LH didn’t impress me as much as I hoped but by the final third, I was downright surprised by what I was tasting. The LH succeeded in giving the blend more space to shine, but a floral sensation was something I never would have imagined. Baka might be all the RoMa Craft fans wants to talk about this month, but the LH deserves attention. While a floral favor is something normally associated with a blend that is delicate, the LH keeps its robustness though it's more refined than the rest of the Neanderthal line.