CroMagnon was not only RoMa Craft Tobac’s debut line, but it was also the personal blend made for brand co-owner Skip Martin. In the little over two years since the line first debuted, some things have changed, while others remain the same. While the cigars still lack bands,  there are now boxes, more retailers and 13 different releases. Since the initial five debuted, every extension—announced or released—has been on some sort of limited basis, at this year’s IPCPR trade show that changes with the debut of the Mode 5.

We covered the release in a news story back in March:

Earlier today Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac announced that the CroMagnon Mode 5 will become the sixth regular production vitola of the company’s debut line. The move will come at IPCPR 2013 in July with the 5 x 50 Short Perfecto being offered in boxes of 24, as opposed to the boxes of 12 that the company reserves for the two event-only and single store releases, the Atlatl and Slobberknocker. Martin tweeted the news earlier:   The Mode 5 was announced in February as an event only cigar, Martin told halfwheel he already has informed the factory that the cigar will be a regular production release and as such changed the box count to 24. On the RoMa Craft Tobac website the Mode 5 carries an MSRP of $6.50 meaning boxes will retailer for $156.00 plus applicable local taxes.

As mentioned above, there are now 13 different vitolas/releases in the CroMagnon line that have been released or announced. They are:

  • 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)
*Not yet released.

CroMagnon Mode 5 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: CroMagnon Mode 5
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Cameroon
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156)
  • Release Date: March 2013
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The Mode 5 is a wonderful looking cigar with a dark espresso brown wrapper that has a significant amount of oil present on it and is quite toothy to the touch. There is an ideal amount of resistance when squeezed, while the aroma coming off of the wrapper is strong barnyard, leather, manure and sweet cedar, along with a slight scent of ammonia.

The first third of the CroMagnon Mode 5 starts out with a great dominant gritty earth note, along with flavors of leather, oak, bitter espresso and dark chocolate. There is a wonderful cinnamon note that ebbs in and out throughout the third, along with a somewhat generic sweetness underneath. Black pepper punishes the retrohale for the first 10 puffs or so—and although it does start to calm down after that—it is still a major part of the profile. The burn and draw are excellent so far—and the smoke production is enormous—almost to the point of being distracting. Overall strength starts out strong, and only gets stronger, ending the first third well in the medium category.

CroMagnon Mode 5 2

While the profile is still predominately earthy in the second third, it is also noticeably sweeter with a distinct fig flavor that comes and goes throughout the second third. There is also more leather along with flavors of gritty coffee, oak, cinnamon and barnyard. The black pepper on the retrohale has decreased, but it is still very noticeable. While the smoke production continues to be almost obscene, both the burn and draw are spot on. The strength has increased to just under the full mark by the end of the second third.

CroMagnon Mode 5 3

The final third of the CroMagnon Mode 5 remains about the same flavor-wise. While the earthiness decreases slightly, the plum-like sweetness kicks up another notch, as does the cinnamon note, which is especially noticeable on the retrohale. The amount of black pepper has leveled out, as has the smoke production. The construction remains excellent to the nub and the strength ends up well into the full range by the time I hit the nub.

CroMagnon Mode 5 4

Final Notes:

  • The name Mode 5 is a reference to the classification of tools used by early modern humans.
  • The scent of manure and barnyard coming off of the wrapper is one of the strongest I have smelled in a long time. It literally radiates off of the cigar.
  • I photographed the RoMa Craft Tobac factory while in Nicaragua earlier in the year.
  • RoMaCraft Tobac will also debut a new limited edition line called CRAFT 2013 La Campaña de Panamá Soberana at the 2013 IPCPR trade show. The wrapper for that cigar will be culled from the best leaves used for the Aquitaine line.
  • The similarities of the Mode 5 to the Intemperance BA XXI The Envy/Intemperance EC XVIII The Faith are hard to deny. In fact, they are exactly the same vitola, and use the same mold as well.  The main differences are that the foot on the Mode 5 is cut a bit higher up, and there is no exposed foot.
  • When asked about the Connecticut Broadleaf used on the CroMagnon line, Skip Martin had this to say:

    US Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Maduro, like we use on the CroMagnon and Slobberknocker, is the bane of my existence. It is impossible to find and the yield sucks. It is crazy expensive. It is also my favorite when matched with strong Nica filler. Love-Hate. I would have never used this wrapper if I had known CroMagnon would be a production cigar.

  • This does not look like a 50 ring gauge cigar to me, and in fact, I checked it on a ring  gauge chart to make sure. And was proven wrong.
  • Like the Intemperance line, the CroMagnons will be getting bands added at some point in the future. It should be noted, this has been in the works in some form for years.
  • Skip Martin mentioned that he and business partner Mike Rosales have been smoking versions of these since March of 2011.
  • Having not seen a full list of the sizes together, I was honestly surprised at how many vitolas have been added to the CroMagnon lineup in recent months.
  • The smoke production from the Mode 5 is astounding, almost overwhelming, and it does not slow down at any point during the entire cigar.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were give to halfwheel by RoMa Craft Tobac.
  • The final smoking time for both samples smoked averaged one hour and 15 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase some of the CroMagnon Mode 5 cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigar King and Tobacco Grove, are all CroMagnon dealers, and will most likely carry them when they are released.
89 Overall Score

As I have said before, I have never been the largest fan of the CroMagnon blend in general, finding it too overpoweringly strong to the detriment of complexity for my tastes, a fact which I remind Martin of almost every time I see him. However, the Mode 5 is a different animal entirely. While still an unabashed full strength cigar, it has noticeably more sweetness, balance and complexity than almost all of the other CroMagnon sizes and I adore the vitola. Do I like it better than the Intemperance or the Aquataine blends? Not even close, but interestingly, I do like it a bit more than the Atlatl Lancero, and the Mode 5 will become my go-to-vitola in the CroMagnon line when it is released.

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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.