I’ve been a big fan of pop music for about as long as I can remember. When I was in high school and college, I remember not only being excited for new music to come out, but also for the remix.

When I got into smoking cigars and eventually covering the cigar industry, it seemed that the same pattern was also present. A cigar company would put out a cigar, and then not long after the maduro version would come out, often to a good amount of excitement of fanfare.

But in the case of Patina Cigars, a maduro line was the third to arrive, having been released in April 2020, nearly three years after the line’s Connecticut and Habano versions, which were released in May 2017.

Brand owner Mo Maali said that the goal of the Patina Maduro is to “challenges conventional expectations of a maduro cigar with a beautiful mix of balance, flavor, and strength.” He added that its addition gives Patina “three dynamic offerings that cover all consumer profiles.” How he did that though, remains a mystery, as he isn’t disclosing any details the blend.

The company released two sizes for the Patina Maduro’s debut, both of which are found in the company’s Connecticut and Habano lines:

  • Patina Maduro Rustic (5 x 52) — $10.95 (Box of 16, $175.20)
  • Patina Maduro Oxidation (6 x 56) — $13.95 (Box of 16, $223.20)

Maali said more vitolas are in the works for a future release, though with factory closures and other disruptions to the cigar-making process, he wasn’t able to specify when those other sizes will be released. He also didn’t disclose what the other sizes will be, though his other lines offer a 6 x 52 toro, a 6 x 46 corona and a 7 x 49 Churchill, so those might be good starting points for guesses.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Patina Maduro Rustic
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Nicaragua American Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Not Disclosed
  • Binder: Not Disclosed
  • Filler: Not Disclosed
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $10.95 (Box of 16, $175.20)
  • Release Date: April 13, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

My inspection of the Patina Maduro Rustic starts at the label holding the cellophane closed, as I notice it says Patina Rustic Maduro. While it took me a moment to remember that Rustic was the name of the vitola, it also made me think about how many times someone has described a cigar as looking rustic because of the color or appearance of the wrapper. I can’t say that I would describe the cover leaf on this cigar as being rustic, far from it in fact. It is an evenly tanned shade of brown, toffee-like in some lights, more chocolate in others, but very good looking regardless. It’s a bit on the matte side, with a very fine texture on the fingers, even though I don’t always see a lot of tooth. There’s also hardly any prominent veins to be found, with the ones I do see small and flat, almost as if they had been pressed back into the leaf. It is a fairly firm cigar but still has a bit of give, with good consistency in firmness. The foot’s aroma has an initial sweetness that is strong, a bit sharp and just a touch boozy. While I think it smells familiar at first glance, the more I investigate the less I can pin down. There is some barnyard, creaminess, and the kind of pepper I would expect to find on rye whiskey. However, I keep coming back to this idea of boozy ice cream when putting them together: a thick, creamy vanilla with cognac or something similar mixed in, along with a bit of caramel. The cold draw is a bit tight and has a bit of a buttery texture to it at first, followed by some kettle corn, black pepper, and the same kind of alcohol component I found on via the aroma.

The first puffs of the Patina Maduro Rustic offer what I might consider a somewhat more rustic profile due to some dry black pepper starting things off, with dry woods behind that, the combination of which wakes up the front half of my tongue as well as my lips with its tingle. Retrohales have about as much pepper as the palate gets, though it adds a bit of chalk and doesn’t deliver quite the same tingle, but it can be much punchier when it’s really performing. While maduro cigars tend to offer some sweetness, there is absolutely none to be found in the early going, as the profile is almost bone dry. At the one inch mark, a bit of earthiness enters the profile and while it is a fairly upfront flavor, it doesn’t linger nearly as long as its companions. The cigar performs very well in its first third, with a nearly ideal draw, even burn line and good smoke production, though it’s not much of a match for a nearby fan. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium, and strength is just a hair over medium.

The second third doesn’t begin with much fanfare or a distinct flavor profile, instead, it hangs onto what the first third established fairly quickly after the cigar was lit. The profile is still dry and forthcoming with black pepper, which through the nose has a bit more clarity and tingle than it did earlier. The dry wood flavor is also still there, and while it’s not the most complex of flavors, it is remarkably balanced and clean. One sample dampens that wood and the result is quite good, taking on a bit smokier profile and a much more fragrant aroma, one that I can’t recall experiencing and thus has me relishing the experiencing of tasting something new, which unfortunately doesn’t happen as much as I’d like. Not long after that, however, the effects of the profile begins to be felt on a more physical level, as the top and back of the throat gets a bit of a tingle that starts to become just a bit irritating. There is just the most casual flirting with sweetness, a black grape juiciness that tastes like it was just misted on the rest of the profile in the same way a craft cocktail or more gastronomic dish gets just a light touch of a flavor. The technical performance remains near perfect, with the flavor still medium-full and occasionally flirting with being full-flavored, while body is medium-plus and strength ticking up into medium-full territory as well.

If there is one thing that the Patina Maduro Rustic seems to have in spades, it is the consistency of flavor. The cigar seems laser-focused on a combination of dry wood and black pepper with varying degrees of earthiness, and doesn’t seem too interested if even considering exploring sweetness, creaminess or any other flavors. That said, that new, fragrant woodiness that one sample offered continues on into the final third, and it is definitely for the cigar’s betterment. While I’m still getting a bit of irritation, I don’t necessarily think it’s the fault of the tobacco, as it doesn’t taste rough, young or anything else that might fall under that umbrella. Rather, the profile just elicits a reaction of a dry mouth and what all else comes with the sensation of the same taste buds being stimulated for just shy of two hours. Even at the end, heat isn’t much of a factor, particularly with some disciplined puffing, leading to the cigar being more than capable of getting down to one inch or just under of unburnt tobacco. The construction is fantastic with no issues of note, while the proverbial slash line finishes just shy of full in flavor, medium or just a tick north in body, and medium-plus in strength.

Final Notes

  • I’m going to be thinking about the pre-light aroma of this cigar for some time; I’m not crazy about calling it boozy, but it definitely smells like there’s something that makes me think of liquor, whether it’s a bottle of Armagnac or a Bananas Foster.
  • What I find most interesting is that despite how much I picked up before lighting the cigar, there was hardly a puff where I even thought of it once the cigar was lit.
  • We are often asked about why we smoke three cigars for a review or why we don’t do group reviews, and the answer is the same to both questions: consistency. We value cigars that offer consistency, and the Patina Maduro Rustic does that quite well. Not only in the profile, but the progression of the cigar from start fo finish.
  • While I didn’t see a lot of tooth on the first cigar, the second sample had an abundant amount of it and it was much more visible.
  • While I didn’t think there was much strength from the Patina Maduro Rustic while I was smoking it, it did leave me feeling just a bit woozy afterward. It may have been the recently warmer days compounding the effect, but this one might sneak up on you.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
90 Overall Score

While the Patina Maduro Rustic may be a bit singular in terms of its flavor profile, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad cigar. Rather, it’s a cigar that seemingly does the most with what it has to work with, which is always an admirable thing to say about a blend. If you’re not a fan of dry wood and pepper with minimal if any sweetness or softening flavors, this is probably not the cigar for you, and speaking personally it’s a profile that I like but as I noted I’m not sure I’d want it in the quantity that this robusto offers. But for a go-to, predictable cigar with a profile that is about as forthcoming as any I’ve smoked in a while, I have to give the Patina Maduro Rustic a lot of credit for delivering definition, balance and upfront flavor, and some well-earned bonus points for that mystery flavor and aroma in one sample.

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