This site has covered its fair share of cigars that are a part of a series, whether they be ones named for movie monsters or made exclusively for a retailer.
In the case of the Firecracker series, it’s a series notable for its vitola, a very distinct physical feature, and its strength. It also might be a series that needs a bit of clarification as to which retailers get it.
As for this latest installment, it’s a 3 1/2 x 50 short robusto, as well as a Nicaraguan puro that uses the same wrapper leaf that’s found on Perdomo’s 20th Anniversary Sungrown release. As for the binder and filler, Nick Perdomo Jr. told halfwheel that it contains a good amount of tobacco from the country’s Estelí region to create a full-bodied cigar that is “heavy in flavor.”
Perdomo produced 1,000 boxes of 20 cigars for the release, a total of 20,000 cigars, which were released June 2020. While a good portion of those went to Two Guys Smoke Shop in New Hampshire, the shop isn’t the exclusive retailer of the cigars.
It is where the series started, going back to 2007 and the Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label cigar that measured three inches long with a 50 ring gauge. Its cap was decorated with a long strand of tobacco that resembled a fuse, and with a release date around the July 4th holiday, the line was born. That cigar was created for Two Guys Cigars.
Since that first cigar, the Firecracker line has evolved into its own brand, though it is made at the Leyandas factory in the Dominican Republic. It is an ongoing offering from United Cigar Group, which along with Two Guys Cigars, is headed by David Garofalo.
The Firecracker series also includes several limited edition collaborations with other manufacturers that come in vitolas similar to The Firecracker, including Tatuaje, Fratello, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, Kristoff, La Flor Dominicana and RoMa Craft Tobac. These are part of United Cigar Group’s Series Unidas collection, which features collaborations with other manufacturers in a blend or vitola. As such, they are open to other retailers in limited quantities through United Cigar Group.
- Cigar Reviewed: Perdomo Firecracker
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Perdomo S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicargua
- Binder: Nicargua
- Filler: Nicargua
- Length: 3 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $7 (Box of 20, $140)
- Release Date: June 20, 2020
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Perdomo Firecracker checks the obligatory boxes for this series: it’s a very short robusto with a fuse-like string of tobacco coming off the cap and getting tucked behind the band. In particular, it comes through the cap of the cigar, making for an even more detailed presentation. If you’ve smoked Perdomo releases with the Nicaraguan sun grown wrapper, this should look pretty familiar. It’s well tanned, getting into a nutty brown shade but not particularly dark when compared a maduro or oscuro leaf. There’s a bit of vein structure, but it’s small and generally unobtrusive. While generally firm, it can skew a touch on the soft side in terms of how firmly it’s rolled, but it looks quite good. It also seems to have a bit of an unintentional box press, as it doesn’t seem as squared off as I’ve seen elsewhere, and it’s certainly not well defined. The foot has aromas of sweet, slightly oily mixed nuts, along with some very soft baking spices and just a bit of pepper. I could make the case for thick grape jelly on toasted wheat bread in one sample, something I find with ligero-forward cigars, though it’s not consistent among the three samples. There’s a bit more resistance on the cold draw than I would have expected, while the flavor has either the nuttiness or the sweetness, but rarely both. There’s also a backing flavor that lands almost squarely between woods, nuts, earth and cake donut.
The Perdomo Firecracker isn’t shy with its first puffs, offering a good amount of pepper and dry wood early on to start things on a full-flavored note, with some samples revealing a ligero finish to allude to what is likely forthcoming. Retrohales mimic those descriptors near perfectly, in case the strength and flavor through the taste buds wasn’t enough for one’s liking. At its strongest, some serious pepper comes in not long after to start working on the taste buds and pretty much anything in my mouth capable of picking up a physical sensation. When its a bit more restrained—and enjoyable—there’s a solid mix of nuts and woods that get accented with black pepper and that heavier ligero flavor, the latter of which can be accented with a retrohale when desired, making for a positive combination at times. For such a small cigar, it does not burn very quickly, with almost 30 minutes elapsed and I feel like I’m just getting into the second third. Other than that, smoke production is good if not overwhelming, and combustion has been good as well. Flavor is definitely at or near full for most of the first third, as are body and strength for the most part.
If you’re familiar the flavor and strength of ligero tobacco, you will immediately recognize it in the Perdomo Firecracker, particularly on the finish of the cigar as it comes as a second wave of flavor and physical sensation. While the first third hinted at it, the second third is pretty forthcoming with it, leaving a slightly heavy and peppery finish on the senses. It also works its way down the throat and into the upper chest as this section wraps up, leaving no doubts about the cigar’s strength. There are points where it does overshadow the other flavors, but when it doesn’t and things stay in balance, it gives the cigar some good complexity, leaving the lighter wood and nuts flavors to still shine. There are puffs where I get a bit of earthiness from the cigar, almost a bridge between flavor and strength, though the more I try and latch onto them, the quicker they seem to disappear. This section wraps up still full in flavor, body and strength, while construction is generally very good, with only the burn line getting occasionally uneven.
I’m surprised to be writing this, but the final third of the Perdomo Firecracker has a bit of softness to the smoke’s texture, something that in the second sample has been slowly developing but which now has done so enough to catch my attention. There is still some of the core flavors to be found, as well as lip-tingling pepper, but the cigar has managed to make it just a bit more palate-friendly than it did in the first sample. One thing that becomes consistent is the growing role that heat plays in things. Given the cigar’s short length, the final third picks up more of the core’s warmth, transferring into the flavor and onto my taste buds. That means a bit sharper flavor than what has been offered thus far, as well as more tingling on the lips and tongue. Otherwise, the cigar performs quite well, burning evenly, giving me decent amounts of smoke, and a problem-free draw. As might be expected, flavor stays at or near full, body is not far behind, and strength is definitely full.
- The way that the cigar was photographed is not indicative of how I would have smoked this cigar, meaning I would have taken the band off almost immediately and removed the fuse of tobacco from the side.
- This brings up an interesting point, as Nick Perdomo and I had an extensive discussion about when to remove the band of a cigar. He advocates doing it as late in the smoking experience as possible, to allow the inner heat to warm the goma and thus reduce the risk of tearing or damaging the wrapper. I generally agree with the theory, but I’m also one to remove the band as early as possible, as there is something about leaving it on that makes me feel like I’m wearing a suit with the tag still on the sleeve.
- While I’m all for a strong cigar, I do think that overdoing the strength comes at a real cost. While I appreciated the strength of the first sample of the Perdomo Firecracker, I found a lot more enjoyment from the second sample, which was just slightly less strong and allowed other flavors to have a more prominent role.
- The final third was easily the least enjoyable portion of each cigar, but almost solely due to the increased heat factor, which sharpens up the flavors too much for my liking.
- Unfortunately, once you feel that heat kicking in, it’s almost impossible to get enjoyable puffs out of the cigar, as it’s just too overpowering.
- The first cigar had enough strength to give me a gut punch and leaving me feel less than ideal. The other two weren’t as strong, but still packed a decent amount of nicotine strength.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was 55 minutes on average.
If there's something that the Perdomo Firecracker is likely to be suspected of by a potential consumer, it's the strength, and it certainly delivers on that. The first cigar probably did so too well, though there is something intriguing and appealing about getting the distinct flavor of ligero to come through to the palate so unabashedly. Of course, that means much greater flavor intensity and nicotine strength, which makes for a debatable tradeoff. The cigar does its best when it shows that added bit of restraint, not necessarily limiting the strength, but not letting it dominate and drive the overall experience. In those instances, the Perdomo Firecracker is a very enjoyable cigar, albeit not the most complex you'll ever smoke. Given its short length and the rapid introduction of heat to the profile, the final third doesn't add much to the score or enjoyment, which is a shame as it seems like that is where things really start to come together. Overall I'm impressed and pretty satisfied with the Perdomo Firecracker; if nothing less, it definitely earns its deserved place in the series.