Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size: 5.5 x 50
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $24.00 (Ouch!)

Today we take a look at the Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato.
Thanks to my buds in Estonia.
Bespoke is an indulgent treat for your senses. The Bespoke Cotton Tail ($16) made my no.1 cigar for 2015 and the Gran Mareva ($13) made my no.1 cigar for 2016. These are well beyond well-made and I will take them over a $90 Padron Edition 90th Aniversario for its 5th Aniversario…or an overpriced $50 Opus X any day of the week. I should advise that these are old school blends requiring lots of humidor time; but boy oh boy will you be rewarded.

From Val Stojanov of Bespoke Cigars:
“Hi Phil,
I sent those for you to enjoy 😉
I didn’t expect a review, so I’m happy to provide the details!
The Spalato retails in the US at 24$. I know you’re not very fond of high priced cigars so fingers crossed!
This is our highest offering since it is a Limited Edition cigar with about a 100 boxes left in circulation; the US market is going to get another 25-30 of those in March. All individually numbered and signed by Kelner Jr, Marko and Jeremy.
They come in an ornate box of 15 meant to evoke walls of Marko’s club in Split, Croatia.
We shipped them out today and they will be available through select shops. So they will be available at Maxamar/Small Batch in Orange County(they have a very good online presence), Cigars Limited in Fresno and hopefully two-three shops in Texas. (still waiting on their order)”

From the Bespoke Cigars web site:
“To celebrate the 2017 Cigar Smoking World Championship finals in Split, Croatia, Bespoke Cigar has launched the Spalato limited edition. All the leaves have been sourced by Hendrik Kelner Junior and aged between 3 to 5 years in the Kelner Boutique Factory prior to blending and rolling. The chosen blend was selected by Marko Bilić on his visit to the Dominican Republic in January 2017.
“Currently the production is limited to only 10,000 cigars packaged in “15 count” numbered boxes. Each box is personally signed by Marko Bilic and Jeremy Casdagli.
“This cigar is blended especially for Bespoke Cigars by Hendrik Kelner Jr of the famous Kelner family of Master blenders at the KBF factory, Santiago, Dominican Republic.”

The cigar has a definite pyramide look to it. A belled bottom terminating in a 109 type cap. The web site says it’s 5.5” but mine is 6”. I will take an extra half an inch any way I can get it. Ask my wife.
Seams are barely visible. Lots of big veins with a few small ones interrupt the flow of the beautifully rolled cigar. The wrapper has a simple milk chocolate hue. No tooth…smooth as your tush. The triple cap is flawless without any visible seams. The simple cigar band belies its outrageous price. For $24, I want a giant billboard. Wait…that’s what crappy cheap cigars do…never mind.

From the shaft, I can smell a boat load of interesting elements: milk chocolate, various sweet factors such as caramel, Crème brûlée, fresh tree fruit, sweet tea, raisins, figs, dates, apricots, big floral notes, lemon sponge cake, bleu cheese, cedar, black pepper, and smoky meaty notes. (Wow).

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell…see above.

The cold draw presents flavors of Worcestershire sauce, smoky charred meat, malt, black pepper, creaminess, espresso, caramel, lemon citrus, dried fruit, cedar, graham cracker, and fresh fruit.

Here we go. Don’t let me down Mr. Spalato.
The draw is perfect. Slight resistance which makes it easy to puff on.

Complexity is the first thing out of the gate. A mish mosh of indescribable flavors with quickly moving transitions. Followed by a nice long finish. Mind you…this is after two puffs. Big smile.

Holy shit. This is how a great cigar should start. It pulls the pegs out from under me. I’m trying to comprehend the impact this cigar has on my palate. It is exploding with “It” factor.
Exactly how a $24 cigar should begin…take no prisoners.

Jesus Alou and Manny Mota. I’m screaming laughter. This can’t be happening. The funny thing is that I have the same experience with every Bespoke blend regardless of its price point. Casdagli and Kelner have this blending stuff down pat.

The Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato is a major indulgence for the very sophisticated palate. This is gold. Platinum. Titanium. Chocolate truffles.

Strength is medium+.
The complex nature of this blend is so far reaching that I’m at a loss to describe this encounter. It goes way beyond flavor bomb status and reaches something cosmic. You can take the Hippie out of the 60’s but you can’t….uh…I forget.

All of the aforementioned aromas and cold draw points are in play…plus some.
To really properly enjoy this cigar, it should be done during quiet time so you don’t miss a thing. If you’re yapping and drinking a libation with friends, you will miss out on much.

Flavors I didn’t know existed show up. The blend is so complex that I’m losing my mind.

Smoke time is 30 minutes.

The Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato is monumental. I don’t believe I’ve ever described a cigar in this manner. But it is what it is. $24? A lot. But worth every nickel. I don’t recollect ever saying that either.

I am smoking the cigar as slowly as humanly possible. Every puff is an ode to joy. What a killer cigar. But wait…there’s more…I have a few other Bespoke blends to review. Oh be still my beating heart.
The ash has not dispersed since the start. Hang in there baby.

Zep is on the music channel. “Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid.” It doesn’t get better than that and is totally appropriate iconic music to go along with this whale of a blend.

Strength is medium/full.

The cigar is so enjoyable that time just flies by like time spent on the steamboat at Knott’s Berry Farm. Back then (1967), they called me Captain Katman.

The halfway point is upon me at 45 minutes.

I could provide a laundry list of flavors that would go on and on, etc. The Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato is the perfect blend for those whose palates are not that sophisticated but know what they like. In this case, folks with developing palates will know immediately that they love this cigar blend.
Naturally, as I prepare for the next photo, I bump the cigar and the 3” long ash disintegrates before I can snap the pic. Bloody hell.

Strength begins to head towards full. Nicotine shows its little head.

The malts, creaminess, sweetness, savory qualities, spiciness, dried fruits, steak sauce, cocoa, espresso, cedar, lemon citrus make this one killer blend. Just perfect.

And then imagine all those flavor elements so complex that your mind spins from your brain attempting to compute what your palate experiences. Transitions are friggin going nuts. The finish is so long, I will probably taste this cigar hours from now.
We are a long ways off til the next top 25 cigar list but this baby is in contention for my best cigar of the year. No shit.
I like raving about a good cigar. It’s more fun than ripping a bad blend a new one. Yeah, I go overboard and I’m not very clever or witty but who cares? Most readers just slide on down to the rating and leave it at that.

Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.

I’ve been slowly milking the Bespoke cigar experience. Slow as she goes. BTW- The Spalato only comes in one size. There is a reason for that: Masterful understanding of the blending process.
I’ve had zero construction issues. No wrappers cracking even though the windows are open in my little cave with 20 degree weather moving on in. Zero touch ups required.
See. Weather may have an impact on certain wrappers. But a perfectly rolled cigar is stronger than dirt.

We have touchdown. Strength is full. Black pepper reigns supreme.
Despite the strength, this is a perfect cigar for newbies.

By the time I get done reviewing all of the Bespoke blends in my possession, I predict that Bespoke will sweep my top 25 cigars of 2018.

The Bespoke Cigars Club Mareva Spalato is the most sophisticated cigar blend I’ve smoked in a year. It stands apart and rightly so.

Look, I know $24 is a lot of dough. But if you can manage to buy just a couple, it will be worth it. This is not a blend you overlook. It makes the aforementioned Padrons and Opus X’s seem like $5 Toranos.

I tend to over write when I’m jazzed. I repeat myself under stress, I repeat myself under stress, I repeat myself…

Don’t be shy and don’t tell your wife. Buy Bespoke.

Thanks to Jeremy Casdagli and Vlada Stojanov for providing me the great pleasure of bringing this review to you. I am having adoption papers written up as we speak so both Jeremy and Vlada will henceforth be my sons.

You can buy Bespoke easily through two online cigar shops. I have an ad on the right side of my blog with a link to Cigars City where a promo code shown will get you a nice surprise. The other shop is Small Batch Cigar. They are currently backordered on the Spalato but Vlada assured me that they will be back in stock within a week. It appears that SBC can’t keep the Bespoke blends in stock. They sell out quickly. Remember, these are not inexpensive cigars so they are making a huge impact on the American consumer.

Final smoke time is one hour 35 minutes.


After reading my review, I received very nice emails from both Vlada and Jeremy. This is Jeremy’s message…the royal palace? I’m living in a suburb of Milwaukee….damn…

“Dear Phil
Greetings from Bangkok ..I am meeting up with my distributer here Hillman Lentz …he is opening up a new cigar lounge in Phuket and we have presentations to do there as well as Bangkok … a great excuse to spend some time here . Vlada alerted me to your wonderful and generous review … many thanks . Yup you are right about the 6 inches … we messed up on the proof reading when our new brochures went out last year … so we have piles of marketing material with the wrong bloody length … anyway at least we are surprising our clients with extra tobacco … better then the other way round .

“Well I am going to wish you a good evening as well into the early hours here and I am taking my wife and 2 kids to the royal palace tomorrow morning …via promised “tuk tuk”transport of course … so getting some sleep now
Cheers again


Tags: , , ,

16 replies

  1. The most I ever have spent on a cigar was in London from Fox’s Cigar Store for a Monti 2.
    Cost was 17 pounds , 20 pence. Was it worth it? No clue but sometimes you just need to do it.

  2. You managed to condense my rambling 1700 word review down to a couple of sentences. Well done, Frank.

  3. “I like raving about a good cigar. It’s more fun than ripping a bad blend a new one. Yeah, I go overboard and I’m not very clever or witty but who cares? Most readers just slide on down to the rating and leave it at that.”

    At the risk of sounding like an obsequious rump swab, since I can’t have one of these smokes right now, your review stands in nicely.

  4. Thank you sir….
    “Leaves are falling all around
    It’s time I was on my way
    Thanks to you I’m much obliged
    For such a pleasant stay
    But now it’s time for me to go
    The autumn moon lights my way
    For now I smell the rain
    And with it pain
    And it’s headed my way
    Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
    But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do
    Ramble on
    And now’s the time, the time is now
    To sing my song
    I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
    On my way
    I’ve been this way ten years to the day
    Ramble on
    Gotta find the queen of all my dreams
    Got no time for spreadin’ roots
    The time has come to be gone
    And thoough our health we drank a thousand times
    It’s time to ramble on
    Ramble on
    And now’s the time, the time is now
    To sing my song
    I’m going ’round the world, I got to find my girl
    on my way
    I’ve been this way ten years to the day
    I gotta ramble on
    I gotta find the queen of all my dreams
    I ain’t tellin’ no lie
    Mine’s a tale that can’t be told
    My freedom I hold dear
    How years ago in days of old
    When magic filled the air
    ‘T was in the darkest depths of Mordor
    I met a girl so fair
    But Gollum, and the evil one
    crept up and slipped away with her
    Her, her, yeah
    Ain’t nothing I can do, no
    I guess I keep on rambling
    I’m gonna, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Sing my song (I gotta find my baby)
    I’m going ’round the world (I gotta ramble on sing my song, gotta work my way around the world baby, baby)
    Ramble on, yeah
    Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, my baby
    Doo, doo, doo, doo, doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo
    I gotta keep searching for my baby (baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby)
    I gotta keep-a-searchin’ for my baby (my, my, my, my, my, my, my baby)
    Yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah (my, my, my, my, my, my baby)
    Oh, I can’t find my bluebird (my, my, my, my, my, my, yeah)
    I’d listen to my bluebird sing but I, I can’t find my bluebird (yeah, I keep rambling baby)
    I keep rambling baby (I keep, I keep, I keep)
    I keep rambling baby, baby, baby, baby, baby”
    Songwriters: Jimmy Page / Robert Plant

  5. Hey man, you’re in London, you’re at a famous tobacconist, you have the chance to smoke one of the world’s most beloved and legendary cigars. Is that a lot of money for some rolled up leaves? Hell yes, but what are you going to do? Like you say, sometimes you just gotta do it.

  6. Great review, funny to read a review with higher score than my 97 I gave it. But it is well deserved of a high score 👌

  7. Great review, Phil. Here I am Bespoke Cigars biggest fan, kicked to the curb in my wedding dress. Not a single offering to this ol” Irishmen to even try this newly developed cigar from my friends at Bespoke. Oh, well, another tough trial of misguided love. Lol.

    I wanted to take a moment to thank you, for the review of the Cubans (Hoya Monterrey – Partagas) I picked up a couple boxes at your suggested retailer, and as always, you’re review was “right on the dimes”, on both, the retailer and sticks.

    Apperciate it !

  8. Thats how I felt, sat in Winston Churchill’s chair and smoked the cigar back in the hotel.

  9. Just got a couple grand marevas and spalatos. You may dump my reply b/c I smoked the g mareva. 97-99 points as good as anything I’ve ever tried. Milked it for an hour. You compared it to the RASS and the only thing I’d say is that Ramon allones creates flavor up to the double corona. Can mareva get that big and maintain nuance, complexity, build etc. Mareva had best transitions of anything I’ve ever tried. Would love to have this in a Churchill size.

  10. Just smoked the first spalato…with some trepidation knowing that I would be sitting outside at a fire pit with 2mph wind and sun radiating off the lake in the middle of nowhere Maine. My palate was a bit fried from prior evening festivities. That said, it had many of the club mareva flavors and was stupendous. I need to try a couple more on a cleaner palate to discern whether it has the same mind blowing nuances of the club marveva….guessing it will be a toss up once I’m in a controlled environment with cleaner palate and sharper focus.

  11. Don’t forget to allow the cigar its due by giving it a month or two of cello-free humidor time.

  12. Thank you….def not gonna do another for at least a month!

  13. After reading this review – I was so curious I just had to try this cigar. My impatience got the best of me and I smoked it after 3 weeks of rest. I couldn’t stop! It’s such a great cigar!! I can’t even compare it to any of my favorites because it’s in a league of its own. I have one left that I’m trying to give 2 months rest. We’ll see – I may just have to place another order while they are available.

  14. Captain Katman is a dapper fellow. Looks like a $24/cigar smoker in 1967 dollars! And I challenge anyone to name a man responsible for more billowing.

  15. David…now why can’t I write like you? Very nice.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s