RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: U.S. Pennsylvania Double Ligero (GR-S1), Nicaraguan (Condega, Jalapa, Pueblo Nuevo, Esteli), Dominican Republic (Olor)
Size: 5 x 52/58 “HN = Homo Neanderthalensis”
Body: Full
Price: $12.00

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Today we take a look at the new RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN.
I want to thank buddy John Kozlowski for the gift of this cigar.

BACKGROUND:
“RoMa Craft Tobac co-founder Skip Martin discussed details of this cigar on the 4/18/14 edition of Stogie Geeks. As Martin was becoming more experienced with the blending process, he discovered that increasing the strength of the blend through adding ligero is something that really did work. At the same time, Martin learned that different tobaccos have different nicotine levels. He was introduced to a Pennsylvania Double Ligero leaf known as Green River Valley Sucker One (GR-S1). This is a regrowth leaf from Pennsylvania broadleaf that has a natural higher nicotine level (between 9% to 13% – significant higher than the 5% – 6% found in Esteli, Ligero). Using this leaf allowed Martin to increase the blend’s strength. Various filler tobaccos were then added to balance out the flavor and aroma.”

(Thanks to Cigar Coop for this information).

This is the first new line from RoMa Craft Tobac since 2012.
Skip Martin told Halfwheel.com that “…the Pennsylvania ligero possesses two to three times the nicotine as any other leaf used by Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño S.A., the Estelí-based factory responsible for producing RoMa Craft’s cigars.”
Originally, the blend was to be released in 2014 but was pushed back to 2015. I assume that Skip Martin wanted to tweak the blend a bit more.
Props should go out to Esteban Disla who worked in conjunction with Skip Martin in developing this blend.

DESCRIPTION:
This is a beautiful work of art. The fabulous shape that makes it look like a boa digesting a rabbit at the bottom half of the cigar is flawless.
The wrapper is very oily, the color of dark coffee beans and with some tooth to it. There is a slight reddish hue with strong light on it. Seams are invisible. And not a lot of veins.

The flat cap is stunning. I used one of my old draftsman tools and the bloody thing is a perfect right angle to the shaft of the cigar.
The cigar band has the RoMa Craft Tobac logo and on the other side of the band; impressed with the word: Neanderthal.”
The cigar is rock steady with the right amount of give.

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SIZES AND PRICING:
The Neanderthal comes in two sizes:
HN: 5 x 52/58 (Figuardo – National Release)
SGP: 4 1/2 x 52 (Shop Exclusive / Event)
Thanks to Cigar Coop for that information.

I saw that Serious Cigars is selling both sizes. The Event cigar is going for $9.00.
Cigar Hustler sells the regular size stick at a discount for $10.80 in 15 count bundles.
Cigar Federation sells the regular size for $12.00. But if you are a member, you get 10% off.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
The shaft gives off aromas of floral notes, sweetness, leather, spice, and oak.
The clipped cap, (I use an X-Acto blade to merely cut off wrapper from the foot and not touching the tobacco), and foot give off aromas of strong red pepper, wood, barnyard, leather, and fruity sweetness.
The cold draw presents flavors of cappuccino, cedar, spice, and leather.

FIRST THIRD:
Smoke spews into the room like a fireplace ablaze.
Then the first flavors hit. The major one is a Mob hit of spiciness. Then comes chocolate, fruit, strong coffee, earthiness, nuts, creaminess, and oak.

My lovely hair is standing on end from the potency of the spiciness.

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Strength is nearly full body. This is going to be a long ride if nicotine shows up early.
Due to the density of the RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN, I expect this to be a 90 minutes smoke.

I’ve reviewed every single RoMa Craft Tobac blend. And nearly all the sizes. This is unequivocally, a masterfully made line of cigars. I tip my hat to Skip Martin.

The cigar hits its first Sweet Spot 1.0 an inch into the cigar. Smoke time has been nearly 15 minutes.
The char line was out of whack at the start but it self-corrected.
Fruitiness is better defined now: Raisins, black cherries, prune, and black grapes (Which is the grown up version of black raisins).

The creaminess is neck and neck with the red pepper.
I consider myself to have an exceptional palate after nearly 5 decades of cigar smoking. But one thing I have trouble with is the types of pepper. I can easily taste black and red. But other types: especially white pepper, befuddles me. And at this rate, it ain’t going to get easier. LOL.

BTW- I’m not going to play poor me with the new adventure of Alzheimer’s attacking me. Might as well have fun with it as long as I can. I have two tests to go. One is Monday. The second is the next day. At that point, medications can be dispersed and I have my fingers crossed that I’m allowed to enjoy cigars and write about them for years.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
And the ash has done a hang ten the whole time. My lap is waiting for its presence. The dog thinks I want to play as I jump around knocking hot embers from my naughty bits.

This cigar ain’t cheap. So the immediate flavor bomb, the complexity, balance and finish were to be expected. Otherwise, I’d have trouble spending $12.
But so far, it has met all of my expectations.
7third

I went through a period where I couldn’t get enough RoMa Craft Tobac cigars. After a few months, I gave it a rest. Now my interest is rekindled. I must have more.

Here they are: Creaminess, coffee, spice, cocoa, nuts, fruit, leather, cedar, cinnamon graham crackers, leather and a rich earthiness.

The RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN is so smooth. Like silk. The cigar is so smooth that it is hard to believe how full bodied it is. No nicotine yet.
Lawdy, lawdy, lawdy. Sweet Spot 2.0. I’ve struck gold with the cigars that John Kowzloski and Paul Stulac sent me. Not a bad stick in the bunch.

My poor wife Charlotte had to relent. In her presence, the docs told me I must keep reviewing to exercise my brain. I saw her face fall. $$$. So now I’m using Cbid to get some sticks for review. After the 14 cigars left that John and Paul sent me run out, I will have cigars to review. I just cannot wait months like some reviewers do. I admire them for doing so. But for me, I review after just a few weeks. Fortunately, the cigars are ready at their earliest stage.

HALFWAY POINT:
Flavors are running down my leg. I check. Yeah, they are flavors.
The chocolate now tastes like a Belgian Hot Cocoa. Ditch the Hershey’s and get yourself some fine, fine chocolate to make your cocoa with.

Construction is top notch.
The fruitiness really soars with each sip of water.

The red pepper is plenty strong but allowing every subtlety and nuance to shine. Nice.
Smoke time is 45 minutes. Seems to be on schedule.
8half

Like a light switch, the coffee surges. It’s more of a cappuccino. The creaminess gives the illusion of foam. And I can taste the sprinkled cinnamon and chocolate shavings on top.
So now we have hot cocoa and cappuccino. There is a combo I haven’t tasted before.

This is a perfect flavor profile. For me, at least. I know, I know. I rave and rant about all the good cigars that come across my desk. But you’re used to it by now.

Nicotine shows its ugly head. And I have 2” to go. Time to slow down. I can barely type.

Whoa Nelly. Man this is a strong cigar. Remember when the La Bomba came out and they printed a warning on the inside of the box? Well since then, strong cigars have hit the shelves right and left. Making the La Bomba a clone of a 5 Vegas Connie.

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I was given a Cigar Oasis Excel humidifier/hygrometer by Chaim Kohn…no relation. (But yes, a member of the Tribe.) I’ve had it for a couple weeks now. This is the best thing since sliced bread. Totally trouble free and spot on for keeping my cigars at a perfect 67%. I am going to review it soon. I have a giant 500 count humidor that Cult Cigars gave me when our relationship started. It’s what I use as the backdrop for my photos. That stressed wood look is wonderful. And the Excel works like a gem in that thing.

LAST THIRD:
If possible, the RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN is even smoother than earlier.
The nicotine has leveled out and is not as bad as feared. I’m such a wuss.
This cigar experience has been a joyful one.

Flavors are just as intense as earlier. The nicotine is on the wane. The full body strength is super smooth.
Plain and simple, the RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN is a real crowd pleaser. The experienced smoker is going to love this blend. It is definitely too strong for newbies which is a shame because of the magnificent flavor profile.
I wonder if there will be a lash back with the abundance of very strong cigars? In a year or so, might blenders pull back and focus on medium body blends?

10third

Smoke time is 80 minutes.
I love this cigar. You will too. I’m going to start rating cigars. It’s my palate. And yours is probably very different. So keep that in mind.

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The char line has been dead nuts since the start of the second third.
A sip of water and it all comes rushing home.

PRICE POINT:
$12.00 ain’t chicken feed. But as I’ve said in one review after another, the new cigars coming out of IPCPR have ridiculous price points. I refuse to buy a $15 cigar. Won’t do it. Greed has gotten out of control.
The RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN is worth every shekel of the $12.00. No equivocation.

SUMMATION:
Thank you John Kozlowski!!
The RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN comes in boxes of 50 making the cost well over $500. Smart retailers are breaking the boxes apart and selling them in smaller bundles, 5 packs and singles.
I’m sure Skip Martin knew this would happen. The box price wipes out a large number of smokers. For me, a 5 pack would be just dandy.

The RoMa Craft Tobac Neanderthal HN has everything I desire in a smoke.
If you haven’t taken one out for a spin yet, do it now. There is a rush on these cigars making some online stores to sell out.
I couldn’t find info as to whether this is a limited run or regular production.
OK. Here is my rating: 94.
Final smoke time is a tad over 90 minutes.

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And now for something completely different:
A little ditty about bassist extraordinaire Stanley Clarke.

If you are a jazzer or a bassist..or both…you know this legendary musician.

Back in 1972, he had a major influence on me. He was a young man. He played custom made basses including piccolo basses.
The man could play 32nd notes in a bar. The rest of us shlubs might be able to play 16th notes if we were coked up.

It was 1978. I lived in the Belmont Heights of Long Beach. A skip and a jump away from the beach and Belmont Shore. The Sunset Strip of Long Beach.
My high school buddy, John Turner, came back from Viet Nam and translated his skills as a corpsman into a lifelong incursion into being a surgical tech.

He told me that Stanley Clarke was at Long Beach Community Hospital having surgery for a hernia. Back then, they didn’t shove you down a long slide 30 minutes after surgery. No. They kept you for a few days.

Turner gave me a call and told me about Clarke. I went bat shit. I asked him a million questions.
Turner said he told Clarke about me and Curved Air.

Then Turner asked if Clarke would call me at home one night. That I would get the kick of my life.
Stanley agreed.
My girlfriend, and soon to be nemesis, sent me on an errand to buy something insignificant at the market.
And you can guess the rest.

Stanley called while I was gone. He spoke to April for a good 20 minutes and she hung up 60 seconds before I came through the door.
She told me what happened and that Stanley was such a nice man.

I fucking lost it.
I called Turner. “Get him back on the phone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

John said he couldn’t impose on Stanley again. I pleaded. I begged.
In the end, I never got to speak with the hugest influence, at the time, on my bass playing.

It was copying Clarke’s style that got me the gig with Curved Air. While the other 30 bassists were copying Chris Squire of Yes, I was playing da funk like Clarke and I nearly got hired on the spot because not a single Englishman knew who Clarke was.
To this day, I look upon that evening as a real low spot in my life.

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3 replies

  1. The HN is a regular production but the SGP (Small Gene Pool 4 1/2 x 52) exclusive to Serious and a Indiana shop is a run of 250 boxes of 15…the SGP is a phenomenal cigar as well…Neanderthal is a HOME RUN, great review…since I cant afford a box of the HN I picked up a 15 count SGP.

  2. Sorry to hear about the possibly pending Alz diagnosis. Stoked the docs have prescribed continued reviewing.

    I jammed with Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea in 78 or 79, I forget which. I was on drums and Stanley made me feel like a genius.