Last month Fox Cigar Bar held its second annual Foxtoberfest Cigar & Beer Festival in Gilbert, Ariz. A number of manufacturers attended the event, but three of them brought an exclusive cigar with them as well. The three manufacturers—La Flor Dominicana, Boutique Blends (Aging Room/SWAG) and Ortega Cigars—brought new blends for the event.
The three are:
- SWAG Foxtoberfest (6 x 52) — 200 Packs of 5 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars) — $7.99 (Packs of 5, $34.99)
- La Flor Dominicana Foxtoberfest (6 1/2 x 54) — 150 Boxes of 10 Cigars (1,500 Total Cigars) — $8.00 (Boxes of 10, $80.00)
- Ortega The Fox (6 1/2 x 38) — 200 Soft Packs of 5 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars) — $7.99 (Soft Packs of 5, $34.99)
The SWAG Foxtoberfest is a Dominican puro using different leaves from the rest of the company’s lines. Like the release from Ortega, the SWAG Foxtoberfest was sold in five-packs. They looked like this:
- Cigar Reviewed: SWAG Foxtoberfest
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma
- Wrapper: Dominican Habano
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Dominican
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $7.99 (Packs of 5, $34.99)
- Date Released: October 19, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Packs of 5 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The SWAG Foxtoberfest is a really nice looking cigar sporting a mottled light brown wrapper that is applied well. It is extremely soft, supple and oily and a slight squeeze of the cigar reveals only a few minor soft spots. With such an oily feeling wrapper, the aroma coming off of it is a big milk chocolate note. Clipping the cap and taking a cold draw I get more of the milk chocolate notes with some heavy chili pepper spiciness overlaying it.
Starting out the first third I get some of the earlier chocolate along with some toast, a bit of spice and a very big, bold black pepper note. The draw is the tiniest bit tight and the aromatic smoke is quite plentiful. While the burn is a little rough it is staying even for the most part. With the chocolate fading, the rest of the flavors have morphed into a deep, rich profile of wood notes, spice and still a ton of black pepper. Medium grey ash holds to well over an inch before it drops off. The profile continues to develop nuanced notes including some roasted coffee beans and caramel.
Moving into the second third of the SWAG, the bold cornucopia of flavors have become somewhat muted. While I can still discern the notes of wood, spice, coffee and caramel, the pepper has virtually disappeared and any hints of it are held far in the background. The burn has become quite squirrely and I’ve had to make numerous touch-ups here and there. With the draw opening up slightly, I see an increase on even the plentiful amount of smoke earlier. Wood and coffee notes are at the forefront of the profile with the others fading slightly further into the background.
Continuing the trend, the final third sees the entire profile fading even further with some bitterness showing up, though I still get hints of the delicious profile from earlier. The profile of the Foxtoberfest has reminded me of a dying candle, giving off less and less light until only the slightest flame remains. Adding to the cigar’s now seemingly constant touch ups is a relight as well, which doesn’t help the waning notes. With only a little bit left to the cigar, the flavors have deteriorated into a muddied, bitter mess that gives an unfortunate ending to the whole thing.
- The first two samples I smoked seemed quite over humidified, so with the final sample I put it in my ~50% RH humidor to let it settle down for a couple weeks. The third sample I smoked was definitely an improvement, showing off the profile that the first two only hinted at.
- It should be noted, the cigars for the review were purchased at the event and transported using Bovedas, meaning that unless the ones we got were just an anomaly, people were probably smoking cigars that were wet.
- There will be some who question whether reviews should be done of cigars that aren’t in seemingly ideal conditions. In this case, it’s hard to say that anything being done is unfair to the cigar. The reality is this is a single store release, the cigars were purchased the day they went on sale and as such consumers risked the same experience I had. Even so, it’s been a month since the cigars went on sale and even with dry-boxing, they still need more rest.
- For those unclear with the relationship behind SWAG and Oliveros. Oliveros is the parent company who once produced an eponymous line, and now makes brands under the Boutique Blends Cigars distribution label. That name is used to describe the distribution of Aging Room and SWAG. It is very similar to the model Oliva has with STUDIO TOBAC.
- At this point, it appears Oliveros has been entirely discontinued. The actual parent of the company was Habana Cuba Cigar Co.
- The band for the Foxtoberfest is much like the regular SWAG band except it uses a brown color instead of the red background seen on the regular line.
- Interestingly, Thompson Cigar has an exclusive cigar called the SWAG Puro Exclusivo Spin Habano. It features what appears to be the same band and is offered in a variety of sizes, including a 6 x 52 Toro.
- Both the SWAG Foxtoberfest and the Ortega The Fox are planned as being store exclusives for Fox Cigar Bar.
- At the time of writing this review, Fox Cigar Bar still had these available for purchase. You can call them at 480.917.3117. Don’t forget to tell them halfwheel sent you.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged right around two hours.
Given that the first cigars I smoked were wet, it was nice to see a few weeks drying out produced a experience. Unfortunately however, the SWAG Foxtoberfest still seemed to devolve into a mess by the final third of the cigar. I’m confident rest will continue to improve this cigar, as the difference between the first two and the third I smoked was immense. The initial profile of the cigar was phenomenal and I was very sad to have it fade as I smoked it. At the moment, half the cigar is very good and half is bad; and that’s enough for me not to want to smoke anymore right now. I don’t think you would be foolish buying a five-pack if Boutique Blends or the flavors from the first half are your thing, but don’t expect anything except disappointment at the moment. The cigars need time, more time.