In July of 2012, the team behind cigar social networking site Cigar Federation launched a brand of their own, Ezra Zion. The brand’s two releases—Honor Series Reagan and Inception, now known as Jamais Vu—were received with general praise, including finishing 22nd on the halfwheel Consensus 2012. Now it’s time for the company’s new release, Tantrum.

Earlier this month, we broke the news on the newest Ezra Zion, a limited edition. Brooks covered the details here:

Nicaragua-based cigar brand Ezra Zion will be releasing a new blend in May named TANTRUM, which will be sold in a single 4 11/25 x 44 (4.44 x 44) Petit Corona vitola. The blend is a Nicaraguan puro with a Criollo wrapper and Ligero aged since 2005 and 2006.
The TANTRUM, will come in boxes of 28 priced at $266.00 with each individual cigar retailing for $9.50. Only 1,500 boxes of 28 cigars will be released.
Concerning the unique name of the cigar, Chris Kelly of Ezra Zion says:

Every blend name for Ezra Zion has a story behind it. When the three of us were brainstorming ideas about doing a small cigar with big bold flavor, Kyle likened the idea to having your first child, ‘It’s amazing to look at. It captivates you. It enthralls you. And you realize that you’ve never loved anything more. But, then when she’s going ballistic at 3 am, you wonder how anything that small and gorgeous could produce such a colossally intense and mind-blowing experience.’ A perfect analogy for this blend; hence the name TANTRUM.

While the bulk of the orders for the TANTRUM will be sold at the upcoming IPCPR show in Las Vegas, there will be a small number released and sold at events starting in May. Ezra Zion will also be releasing two other new blends at the IPCPR show, although details remain unknown for now.

The cigar is set to debut today at an event at Michael’s Tobacco in Keller, Tex.

Ezra Zion Tantrum 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Ezra Zion Tantrum
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Factory: Casa Fernández Miami
  • WrapperNicaraguan Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 4 11/25 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 44
  • Vitola: Petit Corona
  • MSRP$9.50 (Boxes of 28, $266.00)
  • Release Date: April 26, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 28 Cigars (42,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2

The string of cigars without bands continues for me, but as per this tweet these will be receiving main and foot bands similar to the rest of the Ezra Zion portfolio. Elsewhere, the cigar looks great: relatively seamless wrapper, an interesting array of veins, average oils and a rectangular press. Both the actual texture of the wrapper and the overall firmness of the Tantrum are soft to the touch with the latter to the extreme cases. There’s some barnyard coming from the wrapper, but not much else. The foot displays a great sweet and roasted cedar, an enjoyable leather and tartness—overall it’s quite smooth. As far as the draw goes, it’s open with flavors of cocoa, fading leather and fruits—restrained, medium and developed.

From the get go the Ezra Zion displays great smoke production with the first third beginning with flavors of cedar and cocoa—both quite sweet—and a nuttiness and faint peppers on the finish. While the Tantrum begins restrained when resting, once you take a draw an insane amount of smoke simultaneously enters your mouth and exits through the foot. In the early stages, the cigar continues to get sweeter at one point reminding me of a Rocky Patel Java, although with flavors of cedar, nuttiness and saltiness making their presence known.

Ezra Zion Tantrum 2

Unfortunately, the second third begins with added harshness and some notable tunneling. While the smoke production continues in near excessive levels, the flavor profile of the Tantrum is noticeably less sweet. Cocoa is still the dominant note, but it’s a different variety from the initial third and particularly changed by the underlying and strengthening grassiness. Strength remains medium, while body is somewhere in the medium-full category.

Ezra Zion Tantrum 3

It takes a few puffs for the flavor of the final third to really start developing, but as the last inch and a half nears there’s a massive strength increase. Once the flavors change, it’s in a big way. The Tantrum is significantly grittier than ever before with heavier nuts and toastiness joining the fray as the cocoa disappears. At around the inch mark the Petit Corona becomes noticeably harsher, but it’s actually enjoyable and seems to add to the experience. 

Ezra Zion Tantrum 4

Final Notes:

  • It doesn’t translate well given that we as a site use fractions, but the size is supposed to read 4.44 x 44. The cynical version of me has to ask when we are going to see the 6.66 x 66, 7.77 x 77 or 8.88 x 88.
  • As has become the motto at halfwheel, smoke slow. I’d say even closer to two minutes, although there were times in which I was concerned about whether the cigar would go out, but fortunately the Tantrum did not.
  • It is crazy how soft the cigar is. If this was not a cigar that I was specifically intrigued in trying, there is no way I would actually purchase a Tantrum, it is just too soft. This is something Ezra Zion will need to fix in my opinion, I think it will be a huge issue for retailers.
  • By the final third the softness became a serious issue as the top of the cigar was mushy and disfigured.
  • I dry-boxed one of the cigars for just under 72 hours at around 50 percent RH, it had little effect on both the lack of firmness and the smoking experience.
  • For those that are concerned by the Java comment above, a few things. First, it was temporary. Second, there were plenty of other flavors that were a counter to the sweetness. Finally, it wasn’t an exact copy of a Java, but it had a mixture of flavors centered around sweet cocoa that were akin to a Java. I think it’s a closer cocoa flavor to the generic one found in traditional cigars than it is to the Rocky Patel Java, but the actual combination of notes is kind of how the Java’s flavor is layered.
  • While this is the first real limited edition for Ezra Zion, the company’s initial release, Inception, was forced to change its name fairly early on in its history. So in some ways, there’s a limited amount of Inceptions.
  • I’m not a fan of the all caps names, but to each their own.
  • The first two third featured a cigar that was comfortably what I would describe as medium. The final third was full.
  • As noted above, I smoke slow and smoked the Tantrum even slower. Final smoking time for the 4.44 x 44 was one hour and 20 minutes.
  • The cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by Ezra Zion.
  • As mentioned above, a few stores will get the Tantrum before its IPCPR 2013 release, as of right now, only Michael’s Tobacco in Keller, Tex. has been announced as a retailer.
89 Overall Score

There are two problem Ezra Zion will face with Tantrum: price and how soft the cigars are. While both could change, the latter seems more likely. While there were issues with tunneling—the draw and smoke production were both excellent and far from concerning. That being said, if I walked into a shop and picked up a cigar this soft, I'd have some questions. None of Ezra Zion's releases have been particularly in the value range, albeit, none are tougher pills to swallow than the $9.50 price for a 4.44 x 44. All that being said, this is a good cigar. There are three defined and enjoyable profiles that combine for a harmony that a lot of cigars fail to achieve. I think the price is perfectly acceptable for what the cigar gives you, even in it's small form, but it won't be surprising to me when many turn down an opportunity to smoke just one because of the aforementioned concerns.

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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 have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.