RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Craft 2018 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro/Ecuadorian Connecticut Dark Candela
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano Ligero
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Pennsylvanian
Size: 5 x 60 Figurado
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $15.00

Today we take a look at the RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Craft 2018.
Thanks to a boy named Sue for the cigar.

I get lots of emails from readers that tell me right off the bat that they don’t taste the same flavors as me. They don’t have my palate. In most cases, they are wrong. These folks are experienced smokers and know a good cigar when it is in front of them. The thing that many readers fail to understand is that I dissect the hell out of the cigar…a taxing way to approach a cigar. I make all sorts of facial contortions in trying to suss out the flavors that the blender hopefully intended. But…when I smoke a cigar for pleasure, I come no way close to that careful dissection in writing. Sure, I can taste some of the flavors I wrote about, but for the most part, I just enjoy the cigar as a whole rather than its parts. I advise you to smoke a cigar while reading my review or any other descriptive reviewer and see what you can pick up. That’s all…carry on.
Remember, I review in real time. No edits. Just total stream of consciousness. Smoking a cigar; then taking notes doesn’t work for me.

Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño S.A.
Limited production of 2000 ten count boxes. They’ll be gone by the time you finish this review.
Released: March, 2018
“While the series has been dormant since 2014, the concept picks up right where it left off. The 5 x 60 figurado uses the same internal blend as Neanderthal—fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania—underneath a binder that Skip Martin, co-owner of RoMa Craft, described as “our thickest Ecuadorian habano ligero.”

“CRAFT 2018 uses two different wrappers: Pennsylvania broadleaf maduro and Ecuadorian Connecticut “dark candela,” which can be seen at the top and bottom of the cigar.

“Each component has been utilized and positioned in the blend deliberately tasked with a specific objective to deliver in the effort to harmonize the aspects of combustion, aroma, strength and flavor,” said Martin in an Instagram post.

“CRAFT 2018 is limited to 2,000 numbered boxes of 10 with pricing set at $15 per cigar.”

The bell is a work of art. Shiny as it exposes large deposits of oily goodness on the wrapper. The hues are hickory/black coffee/cinnamon. Yet a very rustic looking stick with exposed veins and ripples make it like a stick you find in the woods. Seams are blatantly exposed. The stick feels very toothy; almost like sandpaper.
I cannot count the caps. Because they are nicely applied. Lastly, the offset of the dark colors are highlighted by the artichoke green candela bands at the cap and the closed foot.

From the shaft, I can smell a strong veggie element, cream, caramel, coffee, chocolate, cedar, red pepper, green tea, pralines, and citrus.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell (I decide to ‘V’ cut the cap because I can’t bear to destroy its allure…very spicy cinnamon and red pepper (Makes me sneeze thrice), and the entire list above.

The cold draw presents flavors of cinnamon buns with sugar frosting, coffee, chocolate, cedar, pepper, barnyard, and earth, wind, and leather.

The draw is spot on. No need for my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool.
Immediate flavors of cinnamon, red pepper, creaminess, chocolate, coffee, molasses, heavy on the malts, and an initial complexity that is astounding so early into the cigar.
Strength is a potent medium.

I’ve only had this cigar a couple weeks but I wanted to at least find the potential of the cigar while it’s still on the shelves. No point reviewing a cigar you can no longer purchase.
The draw offers up the perfect amount of resistance. A real pleasure.

The maltiness and chocolate harken back to my younger days being dropped off at the movie theater and buying everything I could for $2. Yep. Admission was 25 cents. And a box of Chocolate Covered Malted Milk Balls was around the same. Love to allow those babies to melt in your mouth.

Skip Martin is flawless in his blending and choice of tobaccos. Roma Craft is one helluva manufacturer. And he pulled a Babe Ruth with this stellar stick. He pointed to where he wanted the end result to be and he knocked it out of the park. (I know…that was weak).

I’m getting some minor burn issues but are quickly rectified.

Strength hits medium/full only half an inch in. I haven’t smoked a cigar in days due to catching my grandson’s stomach flu. Nothing in my stomach for days…So if this baby is laden with Vitamin N, I’m a dead man.

OK. Complexity is at a level that most cigars don’t reach til the second half. Transitions are moving along like the wind. The finish is degenerate and nasty…I love it.
I’m very curious to see how the cigar burns with this very unique shape.

When you were a teen, did you ever stick firecrackers into a pile of dog excrement and then have it explode all over you? And then watch as your mother saw you and screamed? Me neither.

The burn is a small concern. It’s not even and I attribute this to its shape.

The RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Craft 2018 is really packed to the gills as after 15 minutes, I’ve barely smoked 3/4”. I’m sure it will speed up as the conical shaft narrows.
The cigar is now at full strength. Oy.

When you think about it, the usual demarcation of thirds in which to show differences in its approach is not accurate for this cigar. That 60 ring gauge at the bell’s foot takes a long time to get through. Clearly, I should adjust the thirds by using analytical geometry instead of a tape measure. Did you love geometry and trigonometry in school? Me too. But I had to take algebra three times before I could grab a ‘C’. Back in those days, we had no calculators. We used slide rules. I can’t believe how much easier it must be these days to become a structural engineer when you have computers doing most of the work.

I’ve done my math and the second third begins at 4” left to go.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.

Flavors are exceedingly abundant like a sea of swarming simbas. Complexity is deep and satisfying. The finish has me smacking my chops like a dog about to dig in on a T-bone steak.

Oh lord, The Eagles are playing on the classic rock channel. I gotta side with The Dude on this one.

Sweet Spot 1.0 appears. Holy crap. Flavors explode like an Olivia Neutron Bomb. They are so complex that it will be a Cosmic Muffin miracle if I can explain them…but I’ll try.

Red and black peppers are strong. Malts and creaminess are second in line. Elements of candied fruit, almonds, honey, custard, espresso, and citrus abound freely mixing and jutting about like crazed giraffes mating. And I’ve only touched the surface.

I love all the Roma Craft blends. Don’t know if I can say that about any other brand. But the RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Craft 2018 is the best blend Skip Martin has developed. It is spectacular.
Stop reading and go online and buy some. Now! Or snooze, you lose.

Nicotine enters stage left. Double oy vey.
I have to walk it off.
Clearly, not a blend for newbies unless they can handle the strength and nicotine.

The strength slows me down. Instead of the stick being a 90 minute smoke, it is going to be over 2 hours.
That’s OK. I’m retired. Plenty of time.

As I only have one stick, I cannot tell you with absolute conviction that the burn issues I’m seeing are widely prevalent to this cigar. But they aren’t un-redeemable and are worth the little bit of pain in the ass syndrome that accompanies this unbelievable blend.

The RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Craft 2018 probably deserves a rating of 100. But I’m going to take a few points off for the burn problems.

Still, for perspective sake, I believe this blend is every bit as good as the most elusive, and expensive, Padron blend.
And while I tend to rail against expensive cigars while there are so many good sticks out there under $10, this cigar is worth the $15. No question. No doubt. No Depends.

The math tells me the last third begins with 2-1/4” to go.
Smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.

Absolutely no letup in complexity. In fact, it is aggressively getting deeper and more convoluted. Same goes for the strength. This may be the strongest cigar I’ve smoked in ages. And I haven’t eaten in 3 days. Timing is everything.

Despite me being a weak stick, this is just such a wonderful surprise. Two weeks of humi time and it’s ripping on all 8 cylinders.

The Yardbirds. Now there was a great band. They are credited with being the first psychedelic musical group. Starting with their 1965 hit, “I’m A Man.” I was 15 when it came out and I was totally mesmerized and wondered how the Beach Boys could counter. It took no time at all for The Beatles to dabble in this new genre with their releases of “Revolver” and Rubber Soul.”

Back to the RoMa Craft La Campaña de Panamá Soberana Craft 2018.
The cigar is definitely box worthy. Did you buy yours yet?

This blend is so spectacular that naming the flavors seems so irrelevant. I am done extricating different elements of this cigar. It is so good, that you just need to sit back and enjoy. I could have saved everyone a lot of time if I just wrote the name of the cigar and given it a rating and be done with it. It would be my first 11 word review.
Final smoke time is 2 hours 5 minutes.


And now for something completely different:

The Spruce Goose is no longer in Long Beach Harbor. It is at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in Portland, Oregon.
It’s one and only flight was on November 2, 1947. It was Howard Hughes’s pride and joy…and known officially as The Hercules.

It was made of solid birch, not spruce. But the press found the rhyming two words more amenable for their needs.
It was acquired by the Aero Club of Southern California and a massive dome was built to house it next to the Queen Mary. That was February 12. 1982.
It was sold to the museum in Portland in 1993.

Back in the day, admission to see the plane was inexpensive and made a cheap date along with a walk on the Queen Mary’s deck docked in Long Beach Harbor.
I have no idea how I got the tickets. But in mid-1982, they turned the area below one wing into a performing stage.

Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores, were scheduled to perform around 1983. Hope was 80 years old.
I had front row tickets right smack in the center.
A friend forced me into a blind date. The chick turned out to be a real drag but it was someone to go with. We had absolutely nothing in common.
When Hope came out, I nearly had a heart attack. Man. He looked bad. BAD!

He had enough pancake makeup on to feed everyone at IHOP.
We made eye contact several times and he either winked at me or smiled. I guess I was gorgeous.
He then proceeded to perform the same shtick he had been doing since 1927. Vaudeville.

I half expected him to trip and fall into my lap. He was frail. And he kept forgetting what he was talking about. The real entertainment was when he just told stories about his illustrious career. That was fascinating. Who needed the soft shoe and singing?
Then he brought Dolores out who was a spry 71. She livened things up. And kept him from falling over dead. Although in reality, that didn’t happen for another 20 years at the age of 100.

The thing was totally surreal. I mean, I watched this guy on TV since I was a little guy and here he was…a mere 10 feet away.
He did a soft shoe several times but it looked more like a soft brain. The audience was in shock too.
The performance wasn’t very long. Maybe 45 minutes.
So I took the chick home and got a hearty handshake at the door. Ptooey.

A couple years later, I was visiting my dad in Palm Springs. My father was a lifelong golfer and tennis player.
He suggested we go hit some balls. Why not?
We were the only two people at the range.
So after hitting nothing but ground balls, I gave him the last half of my bucket and sat down behind him on a bench like a grouch.
Next thing we know, Bob Hope arrives to hit some balls.
Bob Hope had the largest home in Palm Springs. It sat upon the biggest hill in town and could be seen for miles.

And where did he pick to drive? Right next to my old man.
Hope was making wise cracks to my old man which caused my dad to shoot terribly because he was laughing so hard.
Soon, a crowd formed.
And everyone assumed my dad and Hope were friends.
This was just all too much for Pop. He and I shook his hands with Hope, said goodbye, and split. My dad was a wreck.
We got back to my dad’s huge condo and people were there.
My dad told everyone what happened and no one believed him. He egged me on to confirm his story and I played dumb. “I have no idea what you are talking about, Dad.”
Pop was furious with me and everyone else for not believing him so he went to his bedroom and didn’t come out til supper.
Old people are such easy targets. I know that now as I too am a geezer.


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3 replies

  1. Great work, Katman. Sounds like a real find on the cigar and love the story of your dad and Bob Hope.

  2. Searching….

    “The rug really tied the room together. ”

    ….i missed clocking in from my lunch.


    thanks, as usual Phil

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