Last July, Ace Prime showed off a new release meant to pay tribute to the heroes who fight in anonymity and sacrifice out of deep-rooted honor, regardless of recognition or acclaim. Named The Sergeant, the 5 x 58 robusto gordo was released as an exclusive cigar for retailers that attended the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show.

“I was inspired by the life of my dear friend and US Marine Corps Sgt. Brian Acevedo, one of the most altruistic and self-giving persons I know,” said Luciano Meirelles, master blender, president and co-owner of ACE Prime, via a press release. “Brian is the living example of what is to put the lives of others before your own. He has encountered peril many times and stood his ground. This cigar honors every man and woman who bravely committed to unconditional altruism.”

Blend-wise, the new cigar incorporates an Ecuadorian corojo 99 wrapper covering a double binder of leaves grown in Connecticut though ACE Prime is not disclosing specifics about the binders that are being used other than it is a hybrid seed as opposed to a more traditional broadleaf. The Sergeant uses filler tobaccos from Nicaragua including ligeros from Estelí and visos from Jalapa and Pueblo Nuevo.

“Luciano and I blended this cigar mindful that this product represents the most noble values of humanity and that’s why the hands and hearts involved into the craft of this cigar, everyone, understood the honor of being part of this project,” said Eradio Pichardo, master blender and co-owner of ACE Prime and Tabacalera Pichardo, via a press release.

The Sergeant is being made at the Tabacalera Pichardo factory in Nicaragua and has an MSRP of $10.50 per cigar.

  • Cigar Reviewed: The Sergeant
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Pichardo
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Corojo 99)
  • Binder: U.S.A. (Connecticut Hybrid)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí Ligero, Jalapa & Pueblo Nuevo Visos)
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 58
  • Vitola: Robusto Gordo
  • MSRP: $10.50 (Box of 20, $210)
  • Release Date: Nov. 23, 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Sergeant is covered in a medium brown wrapper that features a noticeable reddish tint and the wrapper is both quite smooth to the touch and features a noticeable amount of oil. The cigar feels very dense when held in my hand, but does have some nice give when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of generic wood, almonds, earth, leather and manure, while the foot brings notes of oak, nuts, hay, chocolate, cardboard and black pepper. After a v-cut, the cold draw features flavors of oak, leather, earth, cocoa nibs, espresso beans, sourdough bread and a slight raisin sweetness.

It takes a bit longer than I expected to get the foot lit, but once it is burning, I taste a fairly strong leather flavor that quickly changes to a combination of earth and oak. Secondary flavors of hay, sourdough bread, generic nuts, coffee beans and slight floral flavors flit in and out, while the retrohale features both strong black pepper and light berry sweetness. In terms of construction, the draw is excellent after a v-cut and there is plenty of thick smoke, but the burn runs into issues early on two of the three samples. Flavor is medium, body is just above medium and strength ends the first third at a solid medium.

There are not many major changes in the profile during the second third of The Sergeant: the top flavors continue to be a combination of oak and gritty earth, albeit more of the former than the latter at this point in the cigar. Additional notes of leather tack, hay, coffee beans, toasted bread and slight citrus fight for space in the profile, and while there is more black pepper on the retrohale compared to the first third, the berry sweetness has not increased nearly as much to compensate. Construction-wise, both the draw and the smoke production continue along their excellent paths, while the burn has evened out for one of the two samples that was giving me issues. Flavor remains at a solid medium, while both body and strength are at a level slightly above medium, but still rising.

Consistency is the name of the game during the final third of The Sergeant, with both oak and earth easily remaining the top combination flavors on the palate, followed by notes of espresso beans, hay, leather, tree bark, generic nuts and slight cinnamon, although none are ever strong enough to threaten the main flavors in any way. There is still quite a bit of black pepper on the retrohale, but unfortunately, the berry sweetness note decreases even more, leading to some balanced issues. The Sergeant continues to feature a wonderful draw and plenty of smoke production off of the foot, but the burn on two of the samples once again becomes problematic enough to need correcting twice each in quick succession. Flavor ends at medium, while both the body and strength hit the medium-full mark just as I put the nub down with about an inch left.

Final Notes

  • As I have mentioned in past reviews, my father was career military and spent 32 years in the Army before retiring as a “full bird” colonel. Since he volunteered to go to Vietnam and passed the tests to become a helicopter pilot (instead of being drafted) he joined the Army as a lieutenant, which is the lowest commissioned officer rank. This is in contrast to a sergeant, which is one of the higher enlisted/non-commissioned officer (NCO) ranks.
  • While there are a surprising number of books named “The Sergeant” or with Sergeant in the title, when I initially saw this cigar moniker, the first thing that popped in my mind was the excellent The Brotherhood of War series by the legendary author W. E. B. Griffin that I read multiple times while growing up, which features a slew of books named after military ranks. Somewhat ironically, The Sergeant is not the name of one of the books.
  • I think it would be interesting to have a series of cigars named after different ranks in the military and I am a bit surprised something like that has not been put on the market yet.
  • Having said the above, there are a number of companies that have released cigars that feature a military theme of some sort or that are intended to help people in the military. One example is Southern Draw Cigars’ IGNITE Series, which is composed of a series of different cigars released at specific retailers around the country that is intended to help raise money for three types of different charities: helping active-duty, deployed, military veterans and their families; premium cigar rights and cigar retail associations; and organizations that help the needy, homeless and hungry population, many of whom are U.S. military veterans.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged one hour and 21 minutes for all three samples.
  • If you would like to purchase any of The Sergeant cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler and Corona Cigar Co. all have them in stock.
84 Overall Score

While The Sergeant has plenty of oak and earth notes as part of a moderately enjoyable profile, that is pretty much all there is to it. Its flavors just don’t change all that much between the start and the finish and an aggressive pepper on retrohale throughout that not only drowns out some nice berry sweetness that I wish was stronger, but also gives the balance of the entire profile issues at certain points. In addition, while the draws were excellent and there were no major construction issues, each of the three samples I smoked needed a correction in at least two different thirds. In the end, while The Sergeant has its moments of enjoyment, the profile is just too linear to distinguish itself from the multitude of other cigars on the shelf.

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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.