If there is one company who has quickly become no stranger to single store releases and event-only cigars, it’s RoMa Craft Tobac. Just within the last ten months, they have done store exclusives for Podman Cigars and Riverside Cigar Shop, as well a cigar released just for the DC Cigar Tweet-Up.

The company’s latest creation, announced back in mid-February, is a store exclusive for R. Field Wine Co. in Hawaii, a store who is no stranger to store exclusives. There most notable store exclusive was the Tatuaje T110, which was an offshoot of the legendary Tatuaje Thermonuclear and ended up being the cigar that spawned the Fausto and Avion lines, as well as a handful of other store exclusives.

The origin of the name Venus for this size was explained on RoMa Craft Tobac’s Facebook page:

These fertility figurines are thought to have been at the center of a Cro-Magnon religious fertility practice. It is evidence of the culture that differentiates Cro-Magnon as Early Modern Humans from the more primitive Neanderthals.

The CroMagnon Venus is set for release on September 14 during an event at the Waikiki Yacht Club that will feature Skip Martin as the guest of honor. The event will include dinner, five cigars and beverages; additional details are in the notes below.

With the addition of the Venus, the CroMagnon line grows to 14 vitolas:

CroMagnon Vitolas

  • CroMagnon Anthropology (5 3/4 x 46) — Grand Corona — $8.00 (Boxes of 24, $192.00)
  • CroMagnon Cranium (6 x 54) — Gran Toro — $8.50 (Boxes of 24, $204.00)
  • CroMagnon EMH (Early Modern Human) (5 x 56) — Robusto Extra — $7.75 (Boxes of 24, $186.00)
  • CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger (4 x 52) — Petit Robusto — $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156.00)
  • CroMagnon Mandible (4 1/2 x 60) — Petite Gordo — $7.25 (Boxes of 24, $174.00)
    CroMagnon Mandible XL (6 x 60) — Gordo — Sampler Only (Not Pictured)
  • CroMagnon Atlatl (7 x 38) — Lancero — $9.50 (Boxes of 10, $95.00)
  • CroMagnon Slobberknocker (7 1/2 x 56) — Gordo— $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00)
  • CroMagnon Blockhead (6 x54) – Box-Pressed Gran Toro – $9.00
  • CroMagnon Formorian (5 x 56) – Robusto Extra (Candela) – $7.50 (Boxes of 24, $180.00)
  • CroMagnon Epoch (7 x 49) – Churchill – $10.00 (Boxes of 10, $100.00)*
  • CroMagnon Mode 5 (5 x 50) – Perfecto – $6.50 (Boxes of 24, $156.00)
  • CroMagnon Femur (10 x 133) — Gordo Petite Gordo — $50.00 (Box of 1, $50.00)*
  • CroMagnon Venus (6 1/2 x 56) – Petite Salomon – $10.00 (Boxes of 10, $100.00)*

    *Not yet released. 

Only six of these 14 vitolas are regular production: Anthropology, Cranium, EMH, Knuckle Dragger, Mandible and Mode 5. The CroMagnon Venus also happened to be on display in RoMa Craft’s booth at the 2013 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show. While it may sound odd to have a store exclusive on display at the industry’s biggest trade show, it makes a good bit of sense when you realize that RoMa Craft always leaves the door open for event-only and single store releases to become regular production cigars.

CroMagnon Venus 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: CroMagnon Venus
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Cameroon
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size:  6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Petite Salomon
  • MSRP: $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)*
  •  Release Date: September 14, 2013 
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

*MSRP is $10, but due to Hawaii cigar taxes, in-store price is $12.50 per cigar. Out of state orders will pay $10 per cigar.

The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is an earthy, rustic brown with a decent vein structure, some sheen and the beginnings of some crystallization as well as a good bit of tooth. There’s one soft spot near the foot, but otherwise it feels well filled and is a very solid presentation of the unique Salomon shape. The pre-light aroma has some fairly distinct notes of dry steak seasoning, not terribly peppery, spicy or even herbal, but definitely fragrant. The cold draw is a bit tight, likely due to the tapered head and foot, but the notes are slightly sweet, slightly juicy and fairly meaty. There’s a bit of pepper that lands on the front of the tongue, but it isn’t overpowering at all.

The smoke starts producing a very enjoyable aroma that is lead by pepper as soon the flame hits the foot of the cigar. The first puffs are what I have come to think of from the CroMagnon line: earthy, a bit peppery and rustic. However, there seems to be this sweetness lying underneath the earthy flavors, almost making me think of sweet red wine that sings on top of all the other flavors by the time the burn line is aout half an inch along. Before I can get my mind around that note, there is a quick change to another flavor  that isn’t immediately identifiable, but it is incredibly good. There’s thoughts of rolls of warm French bread with a thick crust, topped with a bit of dry roasted pork.

CroMagnon Venus 2

This interplay between sweet and savory continues into the second third of the CroMagnon Venus, with each side meshing beautifully into the other. There are trace notes of earth and pepper that start to build around the midpoint, but it is a clean earth, or at least cleaner than I recall the CroMagnon blend being, but make no mistake about the Venus, it shows the same core note the fans of the line have come to love: rustic earth and a solid backing of clean pepper. Heading into the final third of the cigar, the taste locks in to the term smoky and expresses it beautifully.

CroMagnon Venus 3

The final third of the CroMagnon Venus starts with just the slightest bit of sourdough bread sourness on the middle of the tongue. It quickly goes away and returns to the flavor that I have come to know from the CroMagnon line: earthy, peppery and fairly intense, falling into the medium-full flavor category with a decent though not overpowering amount of strength, a flavor it rides out well until it’s time to put the cigar down.

CroMagnon Venus 4

Final Notes:

  • I don’t ever recall getting the sweetness I found in the first Venus I smoked from any other CroMagnon cigar. Maybe I just happened to get a Cameroon leaf that was bursting with flavor as the second one didn’t have the same intensity, but that first cigar was fantastic because of the back and forth dance of rich, fruity sweetness and savory, smoky earth.
  • Skip Martin of RoMa Craft told me that he often hears how different vitolas affect the CroMagnon blend, and attributes that to the fact that the blend proportions are exactly the same in every size and shape—except the Mandible, which has additional Ligero—and that the variation is derived from the ratios of filler to binder and wrapper, as well as by the physics of the vitola.
  • As a follow-up, he said he loves the tobacco used in the CroMagnon, not a specific flavor profile. He said that the Blockhead, Mode 5 and the Venus “have really opened up the experience of smoking a CroMagnon.”
  • RoMa Craft has made consistency within each format a priority.
  • Brooks visited and photographed Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño earlier this year, the company is in the process of finishing its new factory.
  • We are missing the Mandible XL for the collections photo above. If you have one, let us know, we’ll make it worth your time.
  • I was really impressed by how clean the flavors of the RoMa Craft CroMagnon Venus are. They are never muddled nor do they leave an unpleasant flavor on the tongue.
  • The vitola name “Petite Salomones” seems somewhat a contraction in terms, almost like “little giant.”
  • RoMa Craft recently added bands to the CroMagnon and Aquitaine lines, per this comment from Skip Martin.
  • Martin mentioned that he is working on an Aquitaine Venus for another retailer but that he hadn’t had a chance to try the samples yet.
  • Charlie reviewed the first cigar from RoMa Craft Tobac’s new flagship line, CRAFT, here.
  • If you would like additional information on attending the launch party event on September 14, e-mail Marvin Chang of R. Field Wine Co. at [email protected]. Incidentally, the event runs from 5–9:30pm.
  • If you would like to pre-order the cigar, you can contact Marvin at the same e-mail.
  • It’s a shame to think that those on the island will pay $25.00 more per box than anyone else. Let this be another reminder why you should be vigilant in asking your legislators to keep tobacco taxes low and why you should join the fight to defend your cigar rights.
  • The cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by R. Field Wine Co. at IPCPR 2013.
  • Final smoking time is about one hours and 40 minutes.
89 Overall Score

The Venus does a commendable job showing off the flavors of the CroMagnon line, and I'm inclined to think that with each subsequent release, the quality of both the tobacco and production is only going to get better and better. This may be the most dialed in and cleanest expression of the CroMagnon blend that I have smoked, and that makes it one worth putting some effort in to acquiring. The interplay between sweet and savory found in the first cigar was nothing short of fantastic and is another feather in the cap of RoMa Craft.

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.