In May, Jeremy McDonald—the longtime national sales manager for Caldwell Cigar Co.—announced he was striking out on his own and creating his own cigar company. Two months later, we learned the name of that new company was Wildfire Cigar Co. and that the first two blends were being produced at Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. factory in Nicaragua.

“I have partnered with a factory that I love and respect, and together we are crafting some damn fine cigars for one purpose: To find commonalities in other humans and enjoy those moments together,” said McDonald in a press release. “The ethos is simple; I want to sit, share a cigar, learn, be present, and take in every moment with people I love. I named the company Wildfire Cigars because it only takes a spark to catch fire.”

The debut blends include both a limited edition and regular production line named The Single and The Revivalist respectively. While The Single is available in only one vitola—specifically, a 7 x 50 Churchill—while The Revivalist is being sold in three sizes. Blend-wise, The Single is made up of an Ecuadorian habano dark wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder as well as filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.

The Single features an MSRP of $14 per cigar and is limited to 750 boxes of 10 cigars that started shipping to retailers on Sept. 20. In addition, although fulfillment is being handled by Illusione Cigars’ warehouse located in Nevada, McDonald has stated that he is not hiring anyone else to assist him with the sales of the cigars at this time.

  • Cigar Reviewed: The Single
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Churchill
  • MSRP: $14 (Box of 10, $140)
  • Release Date: Sept. 20, 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: 750 Boxes of 10 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Covered in a rustic and mottled espresso brown colored wrapper, The Single also features plenty of both tooth and veins along with some noticeable oil. The cigar is quite hard when squeezed, but there are no soft spots on any of the samples that I could find after an inspection. The aroma from the wrapper is a surprisingly modest combination of cedar, hay and barnyard while the foot includes notes of barnyard, cinnamon, orange peel, roasted coffee beans and a slight floral flavor. Finally, after a straight cut, the cold draw brings flavors of some of the same cinnamon and orange peel along with peanut shells, vegetal and some honey sweetness.

The profile of The Single starts off with a massive toasted bread note that quickly morphs into what becomes the top flavors of peanut shells and freshly roasted coffee beans. Secondary notes of leather, hay, cedar, anise and slight vegetal flit in and out, while the retrohale features both black pepper and honey sweetness seemly pulled directly from the cold draw. Construction is excellent so far, with near perfect draws after straight cuts, no burn corrections needed on all three samples, but the smoke production is on the thinner side of normal. Flavor is medium, body is medium and the strength hits a point between mild and medium by the time first third comes to an end.

Coming into the second third of The Single and the peanut shell note—albeit now more of a peanut butter flavor—has easily overtaken all others to take the main spot in the profile, followed by coffee beans, hay, cedar, barnyard and earth. In addition, there is a bit more of both the black pepper and honey sweetness on the retrohale. Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw continue along their excellent paths for each of the cigars I smoked for this review, and the smoke production actually increases slightly in both amount and density. Flavor has increased slightly to a point above medium, body is still at a solid medium and the strength is now just below the medium mark.

Although the final third of the cigar begins much like the second third, there is a major change in the profile that happens about eight puffs in specifically in regards to the main flavor, which has turned into a distinct—albeit more boring—combination of hay and cedar. Additional flavors of generic nuts, earth, leather tack, barnyard, vegetal and cocoa nibs show up at various points, while the finish has picked up a slight espresso bean note that sticks around until the end of the cigar. Unfortunately, while the retrohale still has plenty of black pepper, the honey sweetness has dissipated enough that it has become more of a background note. Construction is excellent on two cigars, while the third needs one minor correction about halfway through the third to stay on track. Flavor ends at medium-plus, the body ends solidly in the medium range and the strength is a solid medium by the time I put the nub down with slightly less than an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • Both The Single and The Revivalist seem to feature almost the exact same main and secondary bands; in fact, the only difference that I can see is the names of the cigars that are printed on those secondary bands.
  • Along with the above, the main band is printed with the slogan Leaves Burn. Stories Live.
  • Despite the explanation in the quote earlier in the review, I find it a little odd that a cigar company named Wildfire has a logo of what looks to be a bonfire that was presumably designed to be burned.
  • McDonald was with Caldwell since before the company launched in early 2014 and is also a partner in Down&Back, LLC which is the distribution company for the Caldwell, La Barba and Lost&Found cigar brands.
  • The construction on all three samples I smoked for this review was excellent, with wonderful draws and only one sample needing correction with my lighter in the final third.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 51 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of The Single cigars, site sponsor STOGIES World Class Cigars has them in stock here.
89 Overall Score

While I am naturally a bit cautious when it comes to the first release from any new brand, McDonald’s history in the cigar industry had me sit up and take notice when I heard of Wildfire Cigar Co. It turns out that at least one of those debut creations is a credit to his experience: The Single is flavorful and nicely balanced, with enough changes between thirds to keep me interested. Yes, there was a noticeable decrease in the honey sweetness on the retrohale at the end that left me feeling a bit underwhelmed when it comes to the final third, but the excellent construction for all three samples did a good job in making up for it. I have not smoked any of The Revivalist cigars as of yet, but the experience I had with The Single definitely has me looking forward to trying them.

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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.