At the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Nomad Cigars showed off a new release that had been in development for a while. In fact, before it was released the original name of the cigar was changed: as owner Fred Rewey was in Nicaragua doing final checks on the blend and boxes, the FDA announced its plans to regulate deemed tobacco products. As a small form of protest, Rewey changed the name of the cigar to Martial Law.

Interestingly, the Martial Law is actually based on one of Rewey’s most popular existing blends: the Esteli Lot 8613, which was released in April 2015. However, this release will come from Fabrica Oveja Negra, the Estelí, Nicaragua-based operation that is perhaps best known for producing the Black Label Trading Co. brand.

Nomad owner Fred Rewey had this to say in a text exchange when I asked him how much of the blend was changed in the Martial Law compared to the 8613:

Not as much as you would think, but the addition of Esteli ligero and removing of some Jalapa really changed the blend… a lot. It took a bit to get the balance of Condega Ligero to Esteli Ligero correct. Something I picked up when I blended the dual ligero C-276.

Originally, when blending, I thought it would simply become an amped up version of the 8613 (and would market it that way). I had to bail on that part of the idea because it really became a completely different cigar in a real hurry. Using the 8613 as a comparison/jumping off point didn’t work.

In terms of vitola and blend, the Martial Law is a 6 x 50 toro wrapped in an Ecuadorian habano leaf and incorporates a Nicaraguan Jalapa binder filler tobaccos from all four main growing regions of Nicaragua: Condega, Estelí, Jalapa and Ometepe. The regular production cigar carries an MSRP of $12 packaged in boxes of 12, and was shipped to retailers last year in mid-July.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Nomad Martial Law
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 12, $144)
  • Release Date: July 16, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Nomad Martial Law is covered in a nutty brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch with an abundance of oil present. There are very few veins noticeable, and it is just short of hard as a rock when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is fairy tame, with notes of barnyard, black pepper, earth, dark chocolate and raisin sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy oak, leather, hay, pepper, gritty earth and the same raison sweetness.

Starting out, the first third of the Nomad Martial Law features a dominant toasted bread note on on the palate, while other flavors hay, creamy oak, floral, almonds and espresso beans come in behind. There is a small but noticeable floral note on the retrohale, along with an obvious caramel sweetness on the finish, both of which combine nicely with some black pepper that is also present. Both the burn and draw are excellent so far, with neither giving me even a hint of a problem and the smoke production is extremely copious off of the foot. The overall strength starts out between the mild and medium ranges, although it is obviously still increasing as the first third comes to an end.

Coming into the second third of the Nomad Martial Law, the toasted bread note giving way to more of a creamy cedar flavor, along with other notes interspersed throughout that are strong enough to make an impact on the profile, including yeast, anise, hay, leather and a touch of spice. The floral note from the first third has disappeared totally by the halfway point, replaced by a slight mesquite note, and both the caramel sweetness and black pepper continue to make an impact. Construction-wise, the draw continues to impress, but the burn starts to give me some issues, forcing me to touch it up a couple of times to stop it from getting out of hand. The strength passes the medium mark by the time the second third ends.

The caramel sweetness morphs into more of a raisin note in the final third of the Nomad Martial Law combining fantastically with the still dominant creamy cedar note. Other flavors of espresso beans, leather, earth, salted peanuts and tea leaves flit in and out, and while the mesquite from the second third is still evident, it is fading fast. Thankfully, the burn has evened up nicely, while the draw continues to impress, but the big story is the strength, which takes a bit step forward right at the end, hitting a point close to the full mark just as I put the nub down with about an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • Nomad is distributed by Boutiques Unified.

  • When I took the foot bands off of the cigars, it took a small piece of the wrapper with it each time, although not enough to cause any major issues with construction.
  • In fact, other than a couple of touchups on each sample, the construction overall was quite good, and smoke production was well above normal, even for a toro.
  • The cigars smoke for this review were purchased by halfwheel. Nomad did send a couple of samples of the martial Law, but those cigars were not used for this review.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 48 minutes.
91 Overall Score

After smoking three of them, the Nomad Martial Law can be summed up in two words: flavor bomb. To me, there is no doubt this is a better blend than the Nomad Esteli Lot 8613 it is based on: it is more balanced, more complex, and just more interesting overall. In fact, while profile of the Martial Law has other flavors, both the overriding creaminess as well as the sweetness that starts out as caramel in the first third before morphing to a raisin note in the second half steal the show. The nicely integrated medium-full strength, good construction and perfect amount of black pepper on the retrohale is just icing on the cake. A very easy cigar to recommend if you are looking for a well blended, sweet and creamy blend, but if you prefer more earth, pepper and strength, you should probably look elsewhere.

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.