Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sungrown (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan Viso (Estelí)
Size: 7 x 33
Today we take a look at the Crux Ninfamaniac Dark. And there is a “light” simply called Ninfamaniac.
The cigars made their debut on cigar shelves spring of 2014. This is a regular production cigar.
Both Ninfamaniacs are produced at the Plasencia Cigars, S.A. Factory.
From the Crux Premium Sticks web site:
“The Crux Ninfamaniac and Ninfamaniac Dark pay homage to a classic Cuban Ninfa, but with a distinctive twist. The Ninfamaniac has a tapered cap and foot. They are the only true ninfa 7 x 33 in regular production by any manufacturer in the U.S. In fact, achieving the perfect Ninfamaniac vitola takes an extraordinary combination of skill and craftsmanship. Produced by a single buncher and formed on Cuban mats by only two rollers, they are an example of the highest standards set by Crux Cigars.”
The brains behind Crux are Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers. These gentlemen own a B & M in nearby Minnesota. It is called Tobacco Grove. Of course, they should be my mortal enemies as they cheer for the Vikings while I cheer for the Packers. But I will give them a pass on that.
The Crux Ninfamaniac Dark is a strange looking stick. A cross between a rectal thermometer for a goat and a long cured German sausage called Landjäger.
The stick is jam packed yet not a single soft spot. The oily, dark coffee bean wrapper shimmers in the light. Which of course there is none as it is cloudy and 25 below zero here in Wisconsin. But we are not, Thank God, getting pummeled by snow like the Eastern Seaboard. That’s usually our job but not this year.
Seams are invisible and the few veins there are nearly invisible due to the dark and shiny wrapper. Both ends are closed tight in a perfecto shape. And the shape to all (I bought 2) is perfectly round. Like a $1200 pool cue stick.
I clip the cap and find aromas of dark, dark cocoa, blackberry, earthy tobacco, and wood.
Time to light up.
I clip the foot about 1/16” to make sure I get an even burn to start with.
I’ve now reviewed the Bull & Bear, Classic, and the Passport. Each one was exceptional. Magnificent cigar blends…and they were not given to me. I paid cold hard cash to get them. So I don’t owe Crux a thing.
Considering how thin and packed this cigar is, the draw is perfect.
The first puffs are flavors of dark chocolate, sweetness, powdered sugar (Like a doughnut), Cream, intense earthiness, and something fruity. Like Eric Anderson. There is a savory component and it lay in a bit of smokiness and a campfire. The wood becomes very strong.
I intend this to be a short review. I will do it in halves rather than thirds.
Brown sugar and spice show up for the first time. The spiciness is black pepper. And it grows with each puff. There is a pastry-ness to the brown sugar as if it were caramelized.
The Crux Ninfamaniac Dark is taking that bit of the profile and making it so intense that is like eating a French pastry. A Napoleon with blackberries and nuts on top.
Here it is: Dark chocolate, creaminess, spice, nutty, blackberries, wood, and extreme earthiness.
I’ve smoked 2” in 12 minutes. The strength moves to medium/full.
Flavors are going Bozo crazy on me. There is a slight smoky cured meat element. Very subtle and very nuanced. Maybe it was the power of suggestion saying it looked like one of my favorite snacks: the Landjäger.
Charlotte worked on and off in a San Diego German butcher shop for years in the late 70’s and then again in the early 2000’s when we moved back there.
The shop was a Ma and Pa shop and they really loved Charlotte. I can’t remember the name of the shop or the owners. But one day, the owner showed me his smoking room. Oh my lord! It was as if I died and had gone to heaven. He made his own Landjägers. You didn’t eat them right away. You took them home and let them sit on a plate, uncovered for a week and then you ate them all til you were sick. Pure meat. No fat.
Back to the Crux Ninfamaniac Dark. This is a great, “I’ve got to run some errands, Honey” cigar.
The price point. $6.00. Perfectly fair. A great deal for this quality. I predict a 30 minute smoke.
Flavors don’t know when to stop. The spiciness keeps on keeping on. The others in my list are more potent and delicious with each puff.
The sweetness breaks on through to the other side with about 2-1/2” smoked. And the smoky, meaty component becomes very strong.
A sip of Diet Coke creates a brand new Egg Cream. The Landjäger Egg Cream.
Construction is perfect. Not a single issue with the burn, wrapper or cap.
Today will be a double review day as this review will be on the short side…for me. For a lot of reviewers, I’ve already passed their word limit. But I like to blather on..and on…and on.
I reach the halfway point at 20 minutes. Mind you, I am smoking the Crux Ninfamaniac Dark the way you should smoke a cigar. A puff every two minutes. It gives the cigar some relaxation time to regroup. And a chance for your palate to rest. I don’t practice that rule in real life.
I still want to try the original Ninfamaniac and the Skeeterz but that will have to wait until April. I am spending my small cigar budget for March on a new ESP LTD fretless bass. Thanks to the help of music partner, Rick Tunstall.
I still have a Passport and a Ninfamaniac Dark to smoke. Woo Hoo.
This cigar blend is friggin ridiculous. In fact, the whole line of Crux cigars is outstanding. Every single one will be on my Top 25 list this year regardless of what year they came out. I don’t go by release date because I am not as lucky as the cigar insider reviewers that have instant access to the new stuff; nor do I have the money at the right time and right place.
The smoked meat actually permeates the air around me. That’s a first.
The creaminess actually usurps the cocoa in order of intensity. Right behind is the smoked meat and then the blackberry and sweetness. And then the black pepper.
The nice thing about Crux cigar blends is that they need very little humidor time. I’ve reviewed every single one after putting them in my humidor for less than two weeks. Now that is a forward thinking company.
I don’t care if my readers laugh at me for using that term too often in their opinion. So I have dialed it back. But that is what the Crux Ninfamaniac Dark is. A massively, intense flavor bomb. The last 2” are out of this world. I would love more. But I must wait for April.
The Crux Ninfamaniac Dark finishes out at around 35-40 minutes. More than I predicted.
I highly recommend this cigar. A real winner. Perfect construction. Flavor bomb. One of the most intense cigars I’ve smoked.
And it finishes at full bodied.
And now for something really, really different:
I’ve never told this story to anyone but a few close friends. That is because telling this story makes people think I’m friggin’ nuts. But I had a close encounter of the third kind.
So if you thought I was nuts before this story, this should confirm your feelings.
It was 1999. I worked at a place in Phoenix that expected us to start at 6am. I lived about 20 minutes away and it was all freeway.
Naturally, it was dark outside when I left for work. I hadn’t traversed but a few miles when I saw something strange ahead of me, on the left side of the freeway; maybe half a mile up.
As it got closer, I could make out a form. It looked like those old fashioned helicopter clear bubbles from the Korean War. But in this case, all I could see was the bubble. It was like clear glass. As it approached, I saw a figure inside.
But this bubble had no wings or helicopter blades or jet engine or propellers. No outward sense of what propelled this thing.
It was just a bit smaller than the size of a helicopter bubble. The figure inside looked like a normal sized man. And the bubble moved slowly as if it were observing the cars on the freeway.
All of a sudden, it did a dive and a swoop into traffic. Cars swerved to miss it and luckily no fender benders occurred.
The bubble swooped up gracefully and went back to the left side of the freeway hovering above the frontage road next to the freeway. It seemed to be toying with the drivers.
It hovered on the freeway just above us. As I slowed down, I could see the figure inside. But now the glass had an opaque-ness to it and I couldn’t make out specific features of the individual driving this thing.
I opened the window to listen and there was no sound coming from it. Nothing. It was deadly quiet. I saw no heat signature emitting from the thing which would identify some sort of propulsion system.
It just hovered about 6 feet off the ground and the figure stared out on to the freeway. I could see enough that it was man-like with a head and I could see the head turn.
There was enough traffic that I could no longer chug along at 10mph and had to move on. I strained to look in the rear view mirror and watched again as it swooped down on to the freeway, amidst the cars, causing them to swerve. It then doubled back to about 100 yards in front of me. This time, it came at me in the middle lane of a three lane freeway. I slammed on the brakes and it just gracefully, and slowly, swooped up to avoid hitting me maybe 20 feet from my car.
I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. I was all adrenaline. I told the operator what I saw. An alien. In an alien space ship. I asked if any of the air force bases were doing testing and I got a curt, “No” on the other end.
I hit the accelerator to avoid becoming a crash statistic and lost it behind me. All of the vehicles, who barely avoided being rammed into, hit their accelerators to get the hell out of there.
I tried to catch up to see if I could get someone to pull over to discuss what happened; but to no avail. All I saw were frightened faces driving like bats out of hell.
To this day, I have no idea what I saw. Nothing within my scope of knowledge made what I saw identifiable. A bubble with no wings, no jets, no helicopter blades….just a bubble with a man inside. And it did not make a single sound as it maneuvered.
I hoped that the other cars would have reported it. And I listened to the news all day and checked the newspaper the next day. Nothing.
Now you can say, “He’s friggin nuts.”
This photo is the closest thing I could find that is something like what I saw.
To this day, I can see it all, second by second.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS