We started hearing faint rumors about a brand of cigars that would be backed by various large cigar retailers more than a year ago, although details were very scarce at the time. Eventually we learned that the brand would be called Sindicato Cigars, and that it would be headed by none other than Jim Colucci, the former executive vice president of sales and marketing of Altadis USA.
Sindicato Cigars launches with three different blends: Hex, Affinity and Casa Bella. The Hex will have a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers, the Affinity will have an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic while the Casa Bella uses a Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. There will be another blend released in early 2014 named Sindicato, a box-pressed Nicaraguan puro with an unfinished foot which will be limited to only 100 retailers for the first six months.
We had all of the details in a news post back in July:
Sindicato Cigars, the cigar company formed by a group of retailers that will makes its IPCPR debut later this week, has officially announced the trio of lines that they will offer at the trade show, as Member Chairman Abe Dababneh sent out details of their launch on Thursday afternoon.
The Sindicato Cigars Hex is “a bold and hearty smoke (that) delivers complex flavors,” according to the company’s promotional information. It uses a select dark Ecuadoran wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler that is being produced in Condega, Nicaragua. It will debut in five sizes, all packed in 21-count boxes:
- Sindicato Cigars Hex Robusto (5 x 52) – $6.95 (Boxes of 21, $145.95)
- Sindicato Cigars Hex Figurado (5 1/4 x 52) – $7.25 (Boxes of 21, $152.25)
- Sindicato Cigars Hex Toro (6 x 54) – $7.95 (Boxes of 21, $166.95)
- Sindicato Cigars Hex Churchill (7 x 54) – $8.75 (Boxes of 21, $183.75)
- Sindicato Cigars Hex Perfecto (6 1/4 x 52) – $6.95 (Boxes of 21, $183.75)
The Sindicato Cigars Affinity uses an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to create a medium bodied smoke that the company describes as “rich, flavorful and complex.” It will debut in six sizes:
- Sindicato Cigars Affinity Corona (5 1/2 x 46) – $5.95 (Boxes of 21, $124.95)
- Sindicato Cigars Affinity Robusto (5 x 52) – $6.50 (Boxes of 21, $136.50)
- Sindicato Cigars Affinity Toro (6 x 54) – $6.95 (Boxes of 21, $145.95)
- Sindicato Cigars Affinity Gran Toro (7 x 54) – $7.30 (Boxes of 21, $153.30)
- Sindicato Cigars Affinity Belicoso (6 1/4 x 52) – $7.30 (Boxes of 21, $153.30)
- Sindicato Cigars Affinity Churchill (7 x 56) – $7.30 (Boxes of 21, $153.30)
Completing Sindicato’s debut portfolio is the Sindicato Cigars Casa Bella, a value-based cigar that will be offered in five sizes with MSRPs under $2.10. It uses an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to create a “smooth, flavorful mild to medium bodied smoke.” All five sizes are packed in 20-count bundles.
- Sindicato Cigars Casa Bella Corona (5 1/2 x 44) – $1.65
- Cigars Casa Bella Robusto (5 x 52) – $1.70
- Sindicato Cigars Casa Bella Toro (6 x 54) – $1.85
- Sindicato Cigars Casa Bella Churchill (7 x 52) – $1.95
- Cigars Casa Bella Gran Toro (6 x 60) – $2.10
Sindicato Cigars formally announced their formation in early March but has been largely quiet since that time. The group has brought on former Altadis USA Executive VP of Sales & Marketing Jim Colucci as President/CEO of the company.
The blend of the Hex is described on the Sindicato Cigars website:
A unique and special cigar made from aged rare tobaccos carefully selected and blended in Condega, Nicaragua. The wrapper is a rich, dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper crafted by the finest torcedors to create an unforgettable smoking experience. This bold and hearty smoke will deliver complex flavors and is destined to become a favorite of cigar smokers.
Sindicato debuted Hex at the IPCPR 2013 trade show and convention in July. The boxes of Hex look like this:
Cigar Reviewed: Hex Perfecto
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Casa de Ortez Estelí
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Size: 6 1/4 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
MSRP: $6.95 (Boxes of 21, $183.75)
Release Date: October, 2013
Number of Cigars Released: 150,000 Total Cigars
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Hex Perfecto is an interesting vitola with a bun on the cap and an open foot. The wrapper is a dark espresso, smooth to the touch and with a little oil present, while the bun is securely attached. There is a bit more resistance than normal when squeezed and the aroma coming off of the wrapper is a combination of coffee, leather, sweet chocolate, hay and earth.
The Hex starts off the first third with a strong and dominant leather note, along with bitter coffee, dark chocolate and gritty earthy notes also present at various points. There is very little sweetness present at this point in the cigar, but there is a decent amount of black pepper on the retrohale, enough to impact the profile. Smoke production is sparse, but both the burn and draw are excellent. Strength-wise, the Hex Perfecto barely moves out of the lighter medium range by the end of the first third.
Unfortunately, the second third of the Hex starts out pretty much the same as the first, with flavors of leather and chocolate leading the pack. Other flavors of earth, dark coffee and nuts flow in and out, but none strong enough to really dominate the leather note. Construction-wise, the draw is fine and burn is razor sharp with the ash not falling for the first time until very close to the halfway point. The black pepper on the retrohale is still strong enough to notice, but it really seems to be dissipating quickly, and the strength has not budged much, ending the second third just a little closer to the medium mark.
The final third of the cigar is a virtual carbon copy of the first two thirds with flavors of espresso, earth, leather, meaty and chocolate. There is still a noticeable amount of pepper on the retrohale, but the slight sweetness that was present in the first third is all but gone. The one standout is the construction with the draw and burn really hitting all of the high notes. The strength has not increased much, and ends the cigar firmly in the medium category.
- Yes, there is an upside down cross – known as the Cross of St. Peter, named after the fact that Peter asked for his cross to be inverted when he was crucified due to the fact that he did not feel worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus – in the Sindicato logo and the first word is SIN. It makes sense when you look at the logo layout and understand what they are trying to do, since the “cross” in the logo forms the “t” in the name at the bottom, but it is there just the same.
- For those who are unaware, the symbol of an upside down cross has been used as an symbol by Satanists, mostly because it is the opposite of one of the iconic symbols that Christianity has used for thousands of years. Of course, those same Satanists probably should have realized that the Pope has an upside down cross carved into the back of his chair that he has used in the past.
- All six of the vitolas in the Hex line have buns on the caps.
- As of the time of this review, Hex is supposed to ship sometime around the middle of October, while the Affinity ship date has been changed to November 15th. The Casa Bella has already shipped and is in stores now.
- The total number of Affinity blend, estimated at 250,000-300,000 cigars during the IPCPR show, has also been lowered to around 100,000.
- With cigars that have this feature, I usually just pull the bun off of the cap, but on all three samples draw was still a bit too tight, so had to cut them to open it up.
- All retailers, both Sindicato members and not, will receive the cigars at the same time when they ship.
- We covered the Sindicato booth recently at the IPCPR 2013 show, which you can see here.
- Along with the aforementioned Sindicato release in early 2014, Sindicato Cigars is working on a maduro version of the same blend for release later in 2014.
- The vitola of the Hex perfecto is strongly reminiscent of the Tatuaje Anarchy.
- The smoke production on the Hex is fairly average, but the burn and draw were excellent for all three samples.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Sindicato Cigars at the 2013 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged about one hour and 40 minutes.
Hearty? Perhaps. Bold? A bit. Complex? Not so much. Sindicato was definitely one of the brands I wanted to try from the most recent IPCPR show, based on who was in charge, and the unique circumstances behind who was behind it. What could a company funded by some of the largest retailers in the country and headed by a cigar legend come up with? Well, at least in regards to the Hex, the answer is: nothing special. While it is a good-looking cigar with some decent flavors and great construction, it had nothing overly distinctive or interesting to really set it apart. It will probably sell fairly well based on the price point, but the lack of complexity really hurt the overall profile.