Late last year, RoMa Craft Tobac—the company behind the Aquitaine, CroMagnon and Intemperance brands—made 50 samplers that included two of each of its four brands in a 5 x 50 perfecto size. Those went to Tobacco Locker of Port Charlotte, Fla. and served as the first time consumers had the opportunity to purchase the Aquitaine Mode 5, a size that is now part of the regular line.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would be doing a similar store exclusive, only this time with a 5 1/2 x 37 panetela size, one previously not offered in any of the blends. Formally, it’s listed as El Catador de las Panetelas, the sampler of panetelas, informally, it’s been referred to as the Panetela Project.

This time, the store is Just For Him and it serves as part of the Springfield, Mo. retailer’s 25th anniversary celebration. It’s limited to 225 units priced at $54 each, with a release date now pushed back to mid-September.

Like the perfecto sampler for Tobacco Locker, each sampler includes two of each of the company’s four current blends. El Catador De Las Panetelas Box 1 El Catador De Las Panetelas Box 2 El Catador De Las Panetelas

This marks the 17th release in the CroMagnon line.  

CroMagnon Vitolas

  • CroMagnon Anthropology (5 3/4 x 46) — Grand Corona — February 2011 — $8 (Boxes of 24, $192)
  • CroMagnon Cranium (6 x 54) — Gran Toro — February 2011 — $8.50 (Boxes of 24, $204)
  • CroMagnon EMH (Early Modern Human) (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — February 2011 — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186)
  • CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger (4 x 52) — Petit Robusto — February 2011 — $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156)
  • CroMagnon Mandible (4 1/2 x 60) — Petite Gordo — February 2011 — $7.25 (Boxes of 24, $174)
  • CroMagnon Mandible XL (6 x 60) — Gordo — February 2011 — Sampler Only (Not Pictured)
  • CroMagnon Atlatl (7 x 38) — Lancero — November 2012 — $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
  • CroMagnon Slobberknocker (7 1/2 x 56) — Gordo— November 2012 — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
  • CroMagnon Blockhead (6 x54) – Box-Pressed Gran Toro – March 2013 — $9
  • CroMagnon Fomorian (2013) (5 x 56) – Robusto Extra (Candela) – March 2013 — $7.50 (Boxes of 24, $180)
  • CroMagnon Epoch (7 x 49) – Churchill – February 2013 — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
  • CroMagnon Mode 5 (5 x 50) – Perfecto – $6.50 — March 2013 — (Boxes of 24, $156)
  • CroMagnon Venus (6 1/2 x 56) – Petite Salomon – September 2013 — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
  • CroMagnon Fomorian 2014 (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra (Candela) — March 2014 — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186.00)
  • CroMagnon Fomorian Barber Pole (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — March 2014 — Unreleased
  • CroMagnon Breuil (5 1/2 x 37) — Panetela — September 2014 — $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75)
  • CroMagnon Femur (10 x 133 1/3) — Femur — November 2013 — $50.00 (Box of 1, $50)

For those that end up taking appreciation for the blends, Just For Him will have the option to take on the panetelas as store exclusives. The Aquitaine and CroMagnon versions will be sold in 10-count boxes, while the Intemperance versions will be offered in boxes of 12.  

CroMagnon Breuil 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: CroMagnon Brueil
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Cameroon
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 37
  • Vitola: Panetela
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75)
  • Release Date: September 2014
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production*
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

It’s noticeably thin. That becomes a bit comical when you line it up for the photoshoot above and it has to sit next to the Femur, but otherwise things are fairly typical for the CroMagnon line. I do find that this broadleaf is a bit sweeter than I normally find on the CroMagnons, although there’s plenty of the typical moist barnyard smell I normally find. The foot smells like it was dipped in a bowl of milk and Cap’n Crunch, with a touch of barnyard of course. Much like the rest of the cigar, it’s similar to your typical CroMagnon, although I find this to be a bit milder and a lot fruitier. Otherwise it’s cereal, nuttiness, some unfinished sweet chocolate, lots of earth and barnyard.

Whatever start I was expecting for the Breuil is out the door. While one cigar tasted quite CroMagnon-like, the other two show an incredibly active profile with a lot more sweetness in the earth and cocoa dominant profile. There’s crisp coffee and earth underneath that, as well as some pepper notes. Where one sample shines in particular is the retrohale, which displays an intensely strong red pepper note, alongside charcoal and cinnamon, but it’s restrained enough that it dies down right at the moment of becoming overwhelming. That sample shows some green pepper, fresh toast, earth and remnants of barnyard on a sweet, but peppery profile. It’s aggressive, active but unfortunately reduced as the cigar goes out just past the one and a half inch-mark, completely unexpected and something outside of my control.

CroMagnon Breuil 2

By the second third, two samples are still without relight, but the phenomenal start of the other sample has been affected somewhat by the relight. All three cigars see a sweetness in the form of a citrus and the disappearance of the toast. Elsewhere, it’s a dominant earth, dark chocolate and espresso note. As for the red pepper, it remains, although the flavor has lengthened and loses the incredible finesse it had in the first third. It once again avoids becoming overwhelming, but the magic act that was the first third is gone. The body remains medium-full, which seems a bit odd in the face of full flavor and a pretty full nicotine content, although the latter drops to medium right after the halfway mark.

CroMagnon Breuil 3

The strength picks up in the final third, able to get back to full, although not the potent nicotine that the cigar started with. Flavor-wise, the earth and coffee remain, but there’s an added meaty flavor that seems to be brining touches of sweetness. The red pepper has now let-up, residing mainly on the finish creating a smoother profile and the myth of a sweeter cigar. While the citrus notes are greatly reduced, the lack of pepper makes it seem like things are much sweeter, even though that part of the palate is actually being affected less. Each cigar requires a relight in the final third, which is not ideal, although it has little affect on the flavor.

CroMagnon Breuil 4

Final Notes

  • There are a lot of ways to damage your cigars, letting them go out is usually the most effective way. The Breuil handled it better than most, and after one relight it was a more than enjoyable cigar. Unfortunately, after four, I would have likely moved onto another cigar if it was not for this review.
  • I smoked three samples for this review, all of which at one point or another suddenly went out. Even at a quicker smoking pace, two of the cigars simply would not cooperate after a certain point. The third sample, one that had been dry boxed at the IPCPR convention, avoided those issues until about an inch and a half was left in the final third.
  • For those that think the Breuil is simply a shorter version of the company’s Atlatl lancero—it’s not. Not only is it one ring gauge off, something that can have a gigantic impact given the width, but changing a cigar’s length even absent the ring gauge difference can also drastically affect its performance. Furthermore, Skip Martin told me the two cigars are actually made differently, with the Atlatls being made without the use of molds, whereas the Panetela Project uses molds.
  • On the note of thinness—these cigars are more challenging to roll than a typical 5 x 50 robusto, but it’s not just the rolling. The real issues for most manufacturers center around the adaptation of the blend ratio, you have a lot less room for filler, and making the cigars consistently. A slightly misplaced leaf in a 56 ring gauge can go unnoticed, a similar mistake in the smaller ring gauge could be the explanation of the issues I experienced.
  • As for the rest of the construction category, i.e. everything but the cigar going out, the ash burns evenly and holds to an inch, smoke production was fine and the draw was about where I would expect it for the size, just a tad bit tight.
  • The bands were a lot more challenging to take off than I have normally found on CroMagnons.
  • Strength peaks at full, settles at medium-full. A bit lighter in that regards than your typical CroMagnon, which makes a fair bit of sense given the amount of tobacco.
  • The name pays tribute to Henri Breuil, a French archeologist who made important discoveries in stone age research.
  • Just For Him will have the option to pick up any of the cigars as regular store exclusives. Whatever they do not take could then become an exclusive for another store(s) or an event exclusive for RoMa Craft Tobac.
  • This is the second release to commemorate Just For Him’s 25th anniversary, the first being the Quesada España JFH 25th.
  • Samples for this review were given to halfwheel by RoMa Craft Tobac at the 2014 IPCPR convention and trade show.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 25 minutes on average.
87 Overall Score

On one hand, the CroMagnon Breuil is the best cigar I’ve smoked from RoMa Craft Tobac—or at least the first inch and a half of one of the three samples I smoked. On the other hand it was a cigar that was good, but troubled. I reminisce on the first 15 minutes I had with the second sample—it demands that attention—a sublime experience besting anything from the factory, and running circles on the otherwise best cigar I smoked this year. Unfortunately, troubled is the way I would describe my three Breuil samples. Two, including the cigar with the aforementioned incredible first third, had destructive burn issues and the third managed to find a way to suddenly go out in the final third. I’d pay the price of admission to play the lottery solely in hopes of that incredible 15 minutes, but the overall experience fails to meet the expectations set by NicaSueño.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of 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.