Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 5 x 60 “Double Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $6.00
Number of Cigars Smoked Prior to Review: 1
Accompanying Libation: Two Bottles of Jack Daniels




Today we take a look at the Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto.

I want to thank two people for their generosity and kindness. David Weinberg and Dave Cribbin, owner of Rolling Thunder. Both sent me a nice care package of these fine sticks. How do I know they are fine sticks? Because after I wrote my review of the .50 Caliber Connecticut blend, I got lots of messages telling me:…wait til you try the Maduro.”
After that, I will review the Natural.

From the Rolling Thunder web site:
“Pepper & spice during pre-light with excellent heavy strong smoke throughout. – Full Body. Spicy and deep rich earth tones. Hot wings and a cold beer go great with this. This cigar is for the experienced and well rounded cigar aficionado.

“Rolling Thunder Cigars distinctive brand of cigars are hand rolled in Ybor City Florida, also known as The Cigar City! Named after Vincente Martinez-Ybor who founded the city in 1885 and created the very first industrialized city in the state of Florida, that industry was centered around the manufacture of cigars. The City is rich in cigar culture and populated with many Cuban born and trained Cigar rollers.

“Before founding Rolling Thunder Cigars I literally smoked my way through Ybor’s cigar makers until I found the company that I was comfortable putting the Rolling Thunder Cigars brand on.

“Combining the finest Cuban seed tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua and rolling cigars with near perfect construction is what sets Rolling Thunder cigars apart!”

The cigars are sold without cigar bands and in 5, 10, and 20 packs.
They also come in two other blends: .50 Caliber Connecticut Shade and .50 Caliber Natural Wrappers. Price range: $6.00-$6.50.
The size varies on the Maduro with the addition of a Double Corona 7 x 60.
All Rolling Thunder cigars can be purchased on their web site.
Rolling Thunder procures their tobacco from Oliva Tobacco and is made with 100% Cuban seed.

I have all three varieties in terms of wrapper blends. All are nice looking sticks. Seams are tight. A normal amount of veins. A beautifully done triple cap. The wrapper is a super dark, oily, seal brown color. There is just the slightest of tooth.
I love the cigar band. All of us gun enthusiasts dig this little bit of nod to our culture. I don’t have a Barrett .50 cal to use for my photos so a photo will do:

The most pungent of aromas is a deep earthy tobacco element. Also, some floral notes, sweetness, cocoa, cinnamon, and spice.
On the cold draw, I get earthy tobacco, sweetness, and spice.

5 x 60 Double Robusto $6.00
7 x 60 Double Corona $6.50

First puffs are delicious. Full of spiciness, chocolate, sweetness, dried fruit, cinnamon, cream, and that rich tobacco flavor.
The draw is spot on.
I don’t know if my mouth is stretching or what. I’ve weaned myself off chomping cigars while I type. It has always made for a crappy photo. So I now delicately hold the cap between my lips like a French lady of the Court of Louis IX. I look like a puffer fish when I do this.

I have learned to hold a 60 gauge in my mouth without wetting the hell out of the cap. Thank you, thank you. Job well done. I’ve now left the building.
The char line is doing just fine.
Know what I’m getting tired of hearing from manufacturers? That they use only the top notch #9 rollers for their cigars. And their daily output is small.

I get it home and it has terrible burn issues. One after another..the same thing. I got a care package of wonderful cigars recently and some of the least usual suspects had burn issues. The San Cristobal Revelation was a disaster and had to be tossed. A few others. I know how to humidify a humidor. So it ain’t me babe. No, no, no, it ain’t me babe.

The point to my rant? Here we have a $6 cigar and the construction is top drawer. Not a single burn issue. Explain that to me please. RT doesn’t make extraordinary claims about the production of their cigars. They just go ahead and do it right the first time. Brava Dave Cribbin.

And heeeere’s Johnny: Spice, chocolate, creaminess, herbal notes, sweetness, coffee, earthiness, a touch of leather, and cinnamon.
I love Rolling Thunder Cigars. Cribbin must have signed a pact with the devil. The man is cranking out three blends in enormous sizes and hitting the nail on the head with each try. Yeah, he is in cahoots with Beelzebub.

I’m 1-1/4” into the Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto. Up to now, the cigar has been in the medium body range. And the flavors have been nuanced and subtle.
That ends right here. The strength hits medium/full. And a light switch is turned on and the flavors hit the roof.
I taste black cherry. Very common in Nic cigar blends. I also taste raisins and dates.
And then there is a caramel or toffee component that is driving my palate wild. Very much like a Crème brûlée with all the creamy custard and caramelized top.

The Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto is cooking on high heat now. Bustling along dishing out big adult portions of flavor and robustness.
Even this poor schmuck can afford these cigars. This is the second one I’ve smoked from what was sent to me. The messages I got telling me Watch Out! Here comes the Maduro were right on target. A magnificent blend of body and flavor.
Next month at social security time, I am going to plop down my shekels and buy a box.

Now this flies in the face of all the crap I spew about not liking big ring gauge cigars because they don’t have the flavor intensity of say..a Corona. This cigar dashes that stupid preconcept to pieces.
Everything in the flavor list is present and accounted for. But bolder than the first third.
The complexity is serious. Take no prisoners. The balance is the 10 ring at 100 yards. And the long and chewy finish is a full magazine.
The char line is doing its namesake proud.
I just don’t have a single criticism.

The Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto keeps on chooglin’. Flavors are on a roller coaster of different impacts to my palate. A carousel of changing potency.

I love to fawn over a cigar. It makes my day to wake up. Go downstairs. Comb my long locks. Set up the photography suite. Turn on the laptop. Grab the cigar. And pray to the Cosmic Muffin that today will be a good day because the cigar I reviewed bowled me over.
Mission Accomplished.

The sweet characteristics take over the flavor profile: Creaminess, caramel, dried fruit, black cherry, and cinnamon toast.
The chocolate, coffee, herbal notes, and leather take a back seat.
So far, smoking time has been 45 minutes.

The strength of medium/full is about to jump the canyon and become full bodied. A touch of nicotine enters the arena. I don my crash helmet and place the dog next to me while I write so as to soften my fall.

Speaking of which…our boxer got overweight. This is my daughter’s dog who we inherited when the dog was 2. Ebba is now 5…I think. A lovely animal but we were killing her with kindness and table scraps.
We switched to Blue Wilderness and baked chicken breasts. This dog, who was the run of the litter, now weighs 75lbs. Big for a female boxer. And she is 100% muscle. No fat.
Where was I?

Back to the Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto.
I’m having a great time. Reviews of late have been hit or miss. So it’s pretty great that I get to review a stunning blend. I know Cribbin is laughing at me as he reads this. That’s my job: to make manufacturers laugh.
The spiciness makes a huge surge. Gotta love it.

The Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto hits full body.
The complexity will delight experienced palates. Probably a bit too much for newbies. I would recommend the Connecticut Shade blend for them. Tons of flavor but not so intense.
Nicotine has its pedal to the metal. I tighten the straps on my crash helmet.
I still have 1-1/2” to go.

What were flavors delegated to the back of the bus make a comeback. Big resurgence of the chocolate and coffee.
Meanwhile, the earthiness of the tobacco has reached its zenith.
The caramel, dried fruit, black cherry, and warm custard components shine bright.
The rich tobacco element is now at its strongest.

Just friggin insane. $6.00 for this cigar. Obviously, it will go on my “The Katman’s Best 167 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.” And “The Katman’s List of 133 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$6.50 Range.”
Thanks to Joe Talotta, I’ve had the chance to smoke some great cigars and most of them very expensive. The Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto proves my constant rant that you don’t have to spend $16 on the new L’Atelier or $14 on the new Quesada Reserva Privada.
This is a diamond that should put to shame the greed of those manufacturers.
Remember when an expensive cigar was $8.00? Those days are long gone.

The Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto is an immensely satisfying blend.
Construction has been top notch the entire experience. I’m impressed.
Now I am anxious to review the Natural wrapper blend. I’ve done the mild/medium body of the Connecticut Shade and the full on body of the Maduro. Now it is time for the middle ground. I will review it this week.

The Natural comes in a giant torpedo (7 x 60) and a normal Gordo (7 x 60). They also come in the 5 x 60 size. And the big ones are only 50 cents more.
I highly recommend you smoke the Maduro on a full stomach…which I have failed to do. I review in the morning and don’t bother to eat anything because even a bowl of cereal prior to lighting up changes my palate a tick.

The nice thing about this blend is that it is never boring. It is ever changing in the flavor department. Final smoke time has been a little over 90 minutes. And not once, did I wish the cigar would end.
This is a great line of cigars. I highly recommend the Rolling Thunder .50 Caliber Maduro Double Robusto.

NOTE 5-28-2015:
I received this note from Dave Cribbin. It was a review of his cigars on his web site.
This is the note:

Someone wrote this review on my website:

Firstly, I want to thank Katman for his review. It was dead on. The aroma from the bag told me that I was in for something special. I bought two 10 pks. I smoked the first one in four days. I couldn’t stop! You guys must have some relationship with the Oliva family for them to part with this tobacco and for you to give it to us for six bucks. For all us working stiffs, living from check-to-check but refusing to smoke nothing less than the finest sticks. This is our new best friend! Thank you.

Thanks to the writer of that review.

And now for something completely different:
Being the fixer brings my downfall……
From far left: Me, Mick Jacques, Darryl Way, Stewart Copeland, and in front: Sonja Kristina.

The band had finished its second album, at the infamous Island Studio in London…and since Miles Copeland was a cheap bastard, he picked an untried producer to ride herd on the band with the biggest egos on the planet. Now the guy had a distinguished career as an engineer, but nothing as a producer. And the band ran all over him. Once, he was almost brought to tears because Darryl Way, the band leader and violinist and keys player, yelled at him….because Darryl wasn’t getting his way.
The old Island Studios

I was the mediator of the group and we all know what happens to that guy. And it did.
Two camps sprung up…Mick, the guitarist, and Darryl. Then there was Sonja, the singer, and Stewart Copeland, the drummer. I was in between trying to make the peace.
Stew was a very good drummer but had no constraints back then. Of course, now he is revered as one of the best percussionists around.
Then, he was like Keith Moon and just soloed away during every song. On stage, this was torture, because while Darryl and Mick were upfront trading lead riffs, Stewart was on some other planet soloing in all sorts of weird time signatures causing the boys up front to lose where “1” was.

Which forced me to be the time keeper and hit quarter notes hard and heavy so they would know where they were. Quarter notes means 1-2-3-4. The backbone of rock n roll.
It made me crazy to be an accomplished bassist playing quarter notes while Stew behaved like he was the star of the band. And this band was a progressive one with lots of intricate chordal changes. Not a 1-4-5 blues band.

During the near close of the recording of the album, Jose Feliciano showed up for a couple nights and added his own style to our English progressive recordings. The only one it sounded good on was my tune: “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley, but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.” Really, no bullshit. That was the name of the tune and of course, it was bass oriented. I got to show off. The band hated it. It was so intricate that they couldn’t figure it out. It was too jazzy. And these people knew nothing of jazz. They were classically trained and wore blinders when it came to other styles of music. So they went to the booth and sulked.
Top: Jose Feliciano enjoying a doob, Me with fro, Jose recording in studio, and the lead roadies enjoying my hospitality in my hotel room.

RCA had a big “Listening Party” for the release of the album called “Midnight Wire.”
It was a scene right out of “Spinal Tap.” The record was played on a continual loop throughout the party and each time Yucca Valley played, I could hear mutterings of, “What the fuck is that?”
My heart sank. Feliciano liked it so much that he bought the licensing rights to it…but I waited and it never showed up on any of his albums.

RCA’s reaction to our album was a disaster.
Behind closed doors, Copeland and his henchmen figured out a new plan. They brought in two hot shot American brothers that tag teamed producing in the studio. They had just finished producing Clapton’s latest album.

In Amsterdam, they came to watch us perform and we got word that we better go meet them at their hotel the next afternoon. I went by myself because no one was interested. They all sat in the hotel room doing drugs and watching TV.
So I sat in the producers’ hotel room and listened to these two fuck heads tear the album apart…just ripped it.
Darryl Way and me.

And to my face, they actually told me my bass playing sucked. They said the vocals sucked. They said the arrangements sucked. They said the violin playing sucked. They said the guitar playing was out of place. Holy Bat Shit!
I raced back to our hotel and with my eyes as big as saucers, I told the band we are in big trouble. They just laughed at me while drinking and smoking dope.

The plan was to re-record the album but something needed to be fixed. The two camps blamed each other for the album failure. And then they all had a meeting to which I was not invited. And guess what? Yep. I got the phone call. I was gone.
I was the least of the problems but it seemed fair that I was the cause of all the problems. Bastardos!

They hired a session bassist to fill in the tracks. But when I listened to the finished album, I heard my bass playing on 75% of the tracks. So I wasn’t the problem.
The new album had no soul and was listless and sterile. No excitement, no verve.

There I was, stranded in England without a gig. It was so humiliating when the musical mags and rags started reporting that I had left the band because of differences inside the band. But I called these rags and told them the truth and they printed it. When Miles and the band read this shit, they wigged out.

Of course, Miles left me stranded. Not a single pence severance and there I was with a girlfriend and her 3 year old toddler 6000 miles from home. Not a single shilling did they give me. And I did nothing wrong. I even humiliated myself and went to a rehearsal and begged for money. They blew me off. Lots of “Leave your name and number in the ashtray and we’ll get back to you.”

I spent another 6 months playing with several well-known English bands but it just didn’t click with me and I decided to come home with my tail between my legs.

The upside? I still get player royalties. I was being underpaid until recently when an outside company came in and did an audit. I was ripped off for 40 years. But they only went back to 2011. So I got a check. Paid some bills. And now I look forward to my next check to see if they rip me off again.
Woo Hoo! Fuckers.
Me and little Jennifer critiquing a Curved Air album. Protection Status


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1 reply

  1. Pine Sol and JD? Methinks you are seeing who is paying attention. Or you are going to the hospital very soon. Glad to see you reviewing some interesting boutiques at reasonable prices. That rocks!

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