Last year, three of the cigar industry’s more well-known members decided to collaborate together and create a new blend that was shown off at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
Those people were Robert Caldwell of Caldwell Cigar Co., Matt Booth of Room101 and Abdel Fernández of AJ Fernández Cigar Co. and the cigar was named The Truth, although it did not have that name for very long. It turned out that Tatuaje Cigars, Inc. owns a trademark for La Verite—which translates to the truth in French—and as a result, the name of the new line was changed to The T., with the period.
Naming issues aside, The T. is a Nicaraguan puro rolled at Tabacalera AJ Fernández Cigars de Nicaragua S.A. in Nicaragua. While four of the five vitolas are packaged in boxes of 20, the Short Churchill size—the subject of this review—is packaged in boxes of 10.
The new brand launched in five different vitolas.
- The T. Short Churchill (5 1/2 x 48) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- The T. Robusto (5 x 52) — $11 (Boxes of 20, $220)
- The T. Toro Grande (6 1/2 x 56) — $12 (Boxes of 20, $240)
- The T. Toro (6 x 52) — $11.50 (Boxes of 20, $230)
- The T. Lonsdale (6 1/2 x 44) — $12 (Boxes of 20, $240)
Here is what I said in my original review back in December:
I don’t mind saying, I was a bit skeptical when I first heard of this three-way collaboration, but my concerns turned out to be groundless. In fact, I love just about everything about this release: the flavors are distinct and complex, the construction on all three samples was excellent and the balance was no slouch either. I don’t care what Caldwell, Booth and A.J. Fernandez call their joint project, I call it a good cigar.
- Cigar Reviewed: The T. Short Churchill
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Short Churchill
- MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
- Release Date: Oct. 27, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
As with the first samples I reviewed last year, The T. is covered in a dark brown wrapper that features both obvious oil as well as some slight tooth when it is rubbed with my finger. In addition, the cigar is fairly firm when squeezed and it has a box-press that is about halfway between soft and extreme levels. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of leather, barnyard, bread, earth and nutmeg, while the cold draw brings is full of strong mesquite, hay, earth, leather, black pepper and slight citrus.
The T. starts out immediately with a very distinct powdery dark chocolate note as the dominant flavor, along with other notes of leather, hay, freshly roasted coffee beans, bread, gritty earth and slight citrus. There is quite a bit of black pepper on the retrohale for the first 10 puffs or so. The cashew and barbecue flavors that were so dominant the first time I smoked the cigar are still present, although the strength of both are reduced quite a bit. The second half of The T. features many of the same flavors, including the dominant dark chocolate and leather, but the nutmeg note morphs into a toffee sweetness that continued to be a significant part of the profile until the end of the cigar.
Construction-wise, The T. features an excellent draw after a simple straight cut, as well as a burn that is close to razor sharp for the entire one hour and 16 minutes of the smoke time, albeit after a quick touch-up in the first third. The overall strength is also a bit lower than the first time I reviewed it, ending up at a point just south of medium, while the smoke production was well above average from the foot.
While I was thrilled with how much I enjoyed The T. when it was first released—in fact, it took the ninth spot in halfwheel’s 2017 Top 25—I was very interested in how a little bit of time would change the profile. It turns out, the answer is not much. Yes, the cold draw has significantly more distinct mesquite flavors than the first time around, there is less red pepper on the retrohale and the dark chocolate flavor has become more dominant, eclipsing both the cashew and barbecue notes that were so prevalent are down a bit, but the profile is still extremely complex and the construction is still top notch. It was very good the first time around, it was very good the second time around, and it just makes me look forward to The T. Connecticut, which shipped to retailers last week.