Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havano Clara
Binder: Dominican (Cuban Seed)
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Peruvian, Brazilian
Size: 6 x 52 “Torpedo-Old School”
NOTE: After completing this review, I was informed that Cigar Federation online store now has them in stock.
From the Total Flame web site describing the Dark Line:
“Cigar Old school was selected one of the first cigar format – Torpedo combines the style and traditions of different cigars. Old school does not tolerate experiments and unusual for a cigar flavor, it should be recognizable and familiar to seasoned aficionados.”
I’m not exactly sure what that meant. But at the very least, Total Flame folks, use Spell Check.
From Total Flame Cigars web site:
“What man does not dream of riding into the sunset? To not make any stops, but just be one with the road searching for answers to all their questions about life, enjoying the stretch of highway beneath the chrome?
“It was a dream of Vladimir Roshchin and Maxim Privezentsev that became a reality. The owners of Total Flame Cigars met a few years ago at a cigar event in Moscow, Russia, and found they shared two common passions; cigars and motorcycles. Their ultimate dream was to develop a premium cigar that would be made of the finest tobacco the world had to offer, and to ride their motorcycles across all seven continents.
“In 2010, the first goal was accomplished. Total Flame Cigars was born. Vlad and Max traveled to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to develop their perfect blend. Smoking up to 30 cigars a day, over a period of many months, when they were finally were satisfied and were convinced their cigar was the best.”
The rest of the story can be read on the Total Flame web site.
Clearly, the entire theme of this brand is based on the love of bike riding. It isn’t the first and won’t be the last. The real proof will be in the pudding.
I was one of eight Cigar Federation members who won an eight pack sampler of these cigars on Cigar Chat on Cigar Federation moderated by Robby Rasmussen and Logan Lawler. Representing Total Flame was their director of operations: Callie Pullen.
CF had a contest in which the best questions posed to Callie would win. My questions were the most brilliant (Did I say that out loud?). Winning, for me, was a combination of the questions and tomfoolery on my part.
I told Robby and Logan I was saving for my transgender operation and some free cigars would be a nice gesture so that I could add a few sticks to my 4 count humidor.
Technically, I’ve decided to become a Eunuch as they were in 850 BCE. “Eunuchs would probably be servants or slaves who, because of their function, had been castrated, usually in order to make them reliable servants of a royal court where physical access to the ruler could wield great influence.” From Wikipedia.
I have this job interview coming up and one of the requirements is to not have any balls. Initially, I thought a 29 year marriage would suffice…but not so. So I found a doctor in the South Side of Milwaukee who will do the operation for $120. This job means a lot to me considering how hard it is for people my age to find work. It starts at $1.65 an hour and depending on how high my voice becomes after surgery, and the way the Saudi prince treats me, could soar to $3.75 an hour.
Medicare won’t pay for this. I checked. But they will pay to have my testicles reinstated if the job interview doesn’t work out. And, again at my age, I’m tired of them banging against my knees.
FTW means Forever Two Wheels. Or at least that is what Callie said it meant. She said there are alternative names using those initials; but not good for business.
Smoke Magazine gave the entire line ratings of 92 and 93.
Total Flame made their debut at the 2013 IPCPR trade show.
The construction is well done except for one seam that is a bit funky. The rest of the seams are invisible. There are some pretty big veins running the length of the cigar. The triple cap is sort of a hodge podge but more than acceptable.
The wrapper is a beautiful caramel color. It just shimmers with oil. Feels very smooth.
The cigar bands, on the entire line, are real works of art. Very hip.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, sweet tobacco, cocoa, strong cinnamon, citrus, and black licorice. Quite the odd line up.
Time to light up.
Smacked right in the puss with a boat load of smoke. The draw is great. I am literally blinded and can’t see the laptop screen. Sweet tobacco is first and right behind is the beginning of the Rise of the Red Pepper Empire.
It appears that all of the aromas are becoming flavors. Except for the creaminess that hits my palate extremely early in the smoke. There is a nice nougat element. Followed by gooey caramel.
A V burn begins on the back side and I lickety split attend to it.
The spiciness continues to rise until my eyes begin to water and my sinuses feel like they’ve been reamed.
The strength starts out mild/medium.
There is something complex going on here. Maybe a jambalaya of citrus, cedar, a tiny taste of anise..or Ouzo. A small amount of cocoa. A bit nutty. And a richer wood flavor. Can’t pin it yet. I will.
This is a very nice change from the usual Nicaraguans we all smoke. One gets used to the stereotypical flavors of the Nic blends so when something really different hits you, it takes some serious focus.
The char line is behaving itself nicely since that first touch up.
At the 1” mark, the cigar takes off. There is a flavor explosion. Man, it just changed in the blink of an eye. From nicely subtle…to get the hell out of my way, Jew boy. (I’m a Jew so I can say that. You can’t.) I think that’s what my dad used to say to me a lot. Not sure.
The most affected flavors are the sweet components plus the red pepper. Wow. Nice cigar blend, Total Flame.
The strength has made its move. It is just entering the medium/full zone. The spiciness is blasting away. And the caramel and cocoa and sweetness are booming.
It’s nice to be surprised by a cigar once in a while.
Four of the blends are around $5 each. So far, the two I have reviewed; this and the Total Flame FTW Toro Limited Edition 2013, are unique blends. The FTW runs at $9.50 each
The cigar became a bona fide flavor bomb about 2 paragraphs ago. The cigar tastes like a fancy Starbucks concoction.
I passed the second third a few minutes ago. The explosion of flavor came just before that.
I can’t tell yet if this is a Wally Guse cigar or a Marco Lebron cigar. Wally likes them mild/medium while Marco likes his ass kicked.
The blend is now perfectly balanced. Smooth as real whipped cream. With a ginormous long finish. I’m in love with this cigar. For a bunch of Russians who are big shots in their mother land, ride motorcycles and came to this country as adventurers…well, all I can say is that a lot of regular blenders should be ashamed of themselves. For a first effort, the boys hit the 10 ring.
I am at the halfway mark. There are no new flavors. Just the earlier described ones with a ton of intensity. But at the same time, there is a secondary level beneath that is subtle and nuanced. A swig of water and the flavors explode like dynamite on my palate.
Remember, not pallate, not pallet, not pallete…PALATE.
The char line is still on point. And the wrapper is totally crack free. Nice construction.
Time to remove the double cigar bands. The secondary band comes off like a champ. The main band has too much glue on it so I use my X-Acto carving blade to remove it..and I do it without so much as a nick to the wrapper. You gotta get one of these. Go to Amazon. Two blades for $5. Way better than my fancy, and expensive, folding knives.
The wrapper shimmers with oiliness as it sits in my ashtray with the sun on it. But it is here that I notice that the cigar is a bit lumpy. Not much of a criticism, but there it is.
There are glue remnants where the glue was. Just nitpicking. I’ve gone through most of my 8 pack and just have the two left for review. Bummer.
The cigar hovers at medium/full but not a sign of nicotine.
The last third becomes even more expansive with flavor. Truly, the sweet spot. I’ve only had these cigars for a couple of weeks. I’m sure that more humidor time will make that sweet spot travel back to the first inch.
We all know that the devil is in the details. And a roller screwing up the placement of the cigar band can totally ruin the cigar experience. I smoked the first one and did not have this problem. So I hope this is just a one off experience. What a mess. I will try to avoid photographing this side. Not fair to Total Flame. Anyone can get a mistake. And every other of the 5 I smoked had no such troubles. Murphy’s Law that of the two Dark Lines I had, I would end up reviewing the one with glue issues.
Oh shit, the crack is expanding to the other side too. Drat!
I grab my Kingpin cigar glue and try to fix it. This stuff is great. I have four or five bottles of this stuff. They have maybe 4 different flavors but once the glue dries the aroma and flavor dissipates so it doesn’t interfere with the cigar flavor. Get some.
The cigar looks like I stepped on it.
Back to the cigar flavors…the strength hits full bodied. So Wally, I’m sorry. Marco, this one is for you, baby. Write it down.
Most of the cracks are near the foot and I’m hoping that it will burn away before my next photo.
I manage to control the wreckage and get my last photos without the cracks showing too much. The Reviewer’s Union makes us take an oath not to exploit one bad cigar. And I’m trying.
This is a really great cigar. And you shouldn’t let my one bad experience keep you from investing in some of these great cigars. Shit happens.
Cigar Federation just added them to their online store in 5 packs. Total Flame is a comer. The quality is excellent. And they are as good as any boutique cigar out there.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS