Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Peruvian
Size: 5.5 x 42
Strength: Medium
Price: $13.33 by a box of 15 / $14.00 in 5 pack

Today we take a look at the Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold.
Many thanks to Vlada Stojanov and Jeremy Casdagli.

From the Bespoke Cigars web site:
“To celebrate the 2015 Cigar Smoking World Championship finals in Split, Croatia Bespoke Cigars has launched the Gran Mareva Gold. 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. This is a rich full-bodied smoke delivering deep peaty notes with an underlying sweetness.

“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.”

Bespoke Name Change according to
“Due to a trademark issue, Bespoke Cigars will change the name of its brand to Casdagli—pronounced cas-dag-lee—for the American market.

“This comes after an agreement with Alec Bradley, which holds the trademark for the word bespoke in the U.S. market. The company says the transition will take place by Christmas 2018. The trademark issue only affects the U.S., outside of America, the cigars will continue to carry the Bespoke name.

“Fairmont Holdings, Inc. is the name used by Alec Bradley for its trademarks.
“Our family has a rich history of trading luxury goods since the 1800s,” said Jeremy Casdagli, the company’s founder, in a press release. “In the search for a new brand name, I felt it was inherent to celebrate the family tradition by renaming Bespoke Cigars’ brand as Casdagli.”

“The company’s logo remains nearly identical, with Casdagli replacing the word Bespoke underneath an image of the Colossus of Rhodes.”
The new Casdagli logo:

A solidly built cigar. Seams are hidden. A plethora of veins in the bottom half. The cigar is covered in an oily espresso colored wrapper. A touch of toothiness completes the wrapper presentation. There is sort of an anemic looking pig tail on the cap. A nicely covered foot. And a simple but classy set of double cigar bands. Finally, the construction seems to be the usual first-rate production from Bespoke with the stick feeling evenly distributed without hard or soft spots.

From the shaft, I can smell big floral notes that I can smell from several feet away, dark chocolate, café latte, a Haitian boat load of malt, sweet things such as caramel, chocolate covered pretzels, Vegemite on toast, coconut, cedar, and black tea.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell semi-sweet dark chocolate, big fat floral notes, spicy black pepper, cedar, malt, coconut, peanuts, caramel macchiato, coconut, tea, and apples.

The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate covered pretzels, cedar, black pepper, cinnamon, peanuts, floral notes, coffee, tea, and chocolate mint.

The draw is gorgeous. Don’t have to bring out my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool. Think of “Free Bird” being played backwards and you hear “Paul isn’t dead yet. Paul isn’t dead yet.”

Bang. Flavors explode from the start. This is the prime example of how a double digit priced cigar should begin. No frolicking in the wheat fields while singing Estonian folk songs, no hiding the goods because it wants you to wait til the second half before it kicks in, and no tease of what may be a blender’s intent or just mediocrity at the level of most expensive cigars.

Here it is: Black tea, espresso, malt, black pepper, caramel, buttered toast, cream, cedar, and milk chocolate.

Complexity is there from the start. Smooth and balanced are the usual suspects for every Bespoke blend. A nice easy going list of transitions whip by in easily discernible flavors. The finish is on point.
Strength is straight ahead medium.

All Bespoke cigars find themselves in the price range of limited edition cigars. But Bespoke is worth it…every time. No outrage spews forth from my pursed lips. Each Bespoke blend is a treat; including the Gran Mareva Gold.
I love the size. Little Fockers, like this baby, are optimum for its objective. Intense flavor points with big dollops of complexity and balance.

Smoke pours from the foot. The ash is structurally sound. It aims to hang around like the last guy in a strip club.

Transitions begin to pick up the pace.

Creaminess moves to the forefront accompanied by chocolate, malt, caramel, sourdough toast, cedar, and peanuts. A small cup of Italian espresso lurks in the background like a bunch of 13 year olds sneaking a peek into the girls’ locker room in middle school…only to be caught by the head nun and beaten senseless with titanium rulers.

I’ve had this Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold simmering in my humidor, naked of course, for around 4-5 months. A cautionary tale…Bespoke blends need time to rest and breathe. I’ve found that patience always pays off with Bespoke.

Sure you can smoke one after a month but at these prices, you need to calm Trigger down and ride Bullet instead. Take your time and let the inherent blender’s intent do its thing. Never rush a Bespoke blend. If you follow these rules, you will always be rewarded.

Bespoke blends are usually subtle and nuanced. These are not big fat full strength AJ or Padron blends that bitch slap the hell out of you leaving you a withering mess on the floor.

No. Casdagli uses the art of subterfuge to force you to pay attention to what’s going on instead of it being painted on a giant billboard. Complex doesn’t always mean big and bombastic. I’ve found the common thread among Bespoke blends is a genteel persuasion that demands your close attention to detail. If you ignore these traits, your experience will be less than what’s provided.

Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Strength remains at classic medium.

Most Bespoke blends have the most Cuban-esque traits than any other cigar I can think of. That smooth buttery and creamy flavor profile is reminiscent of the Habana style of growing and production. And you don’t have to wait 3 years before you can smoke them. In fact, the Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold reminds me of the RASS.

Complexity 2.0 + Sweet Spot 2.1. The flavor profile explodes with passion and expertise. Now this is what a $14 cigar should taste like every time you pry open your cob web encrusted wallet to buy some fancy boutique blend only to discover WTF?

I’ve reviewed 10 Bespoke blends. Each one found its way into my heart.

Yeah, Bespoke became a sponsor about 6 months ago but I’ve been giving rave reviews to Casdagli for 2-1/2 years. I might be considered a shill but that’s all B.S. I’d never have accepted a sponsorship from a company I don’t believe in.

This is a great cigar for your first in the morning stick with a cup of coffee and a fifth of good bourbon whiskey. Frangelico will do if necessary. There is a nice touch of bourbon cask along with heavy notes of hazelnut.

Not even at the halfway point and the cigar is putting a big smile on my stunningly handsome face. I know this because Sammy the cat loves to lick his genitals and then lick my face. You have to be good looking for a cat to trust you like this…although, Charlotte always asks, “What’s that smell?”

The halfway point is upon me and time has lost all meaning…the same as being married for 33 years. A giant blur. In the moment. And no sex except on anniversaries, birthdays, and internment.

This is the blend that ruins the rest of your day. Probably nothing you smoke after this blend will make you as blithering happy and content. And I know blithering.

Jesus Alou and Manny Mota. Damn! This is friggin ridiculous. I wish this was the year 2069 when we get Taste-O-Vision so you can enjoy what I’m desperately trying to describe using the puny brain God gave me.

The golden rule with cigars is that the norm is you usually get what you pay for. I have zero qualms about the price of this cigar or any other Bespoke blend. You are buying a Maserati…not a Gurkha.

I had two of these sticks and tried one out to test its validity for reviewing at the one month mark. Big mistake. Patience children.
I should just whip out my Thesaurus and list all the words that match “spectacular.”

Flavors: Creaminess, malt, cocoa, caramel, chocolate covered almonds, floral notes, tea, buttered toast, espresso beans, black pepper, cedar, and slightly tart apricot.

Strength is a tick above medium now.

Spiciness kicks in and the blend moves to the next level of consciousness.
Water is the best and most appropriate libation to enjoy while smoking a Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold. Each swig of water causes a violent and shattering crack in the time continuum of my palate. (I’ve been dying to use that phrase since I did a book report on Einstein in the 4th grade).

Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.

As smooth as Lance Armstrong denying he juiced himself while competing.
As balanced as Louie Armstrong playing a high C on his trumpet.
And as crazy as George Armstrong Custer saying “No problem. We can handle this.”

Foreigner is playing on the classic rock station. I saw them in concert on TV not long ago. My biggest pet peeve about bands playing the “washed up circuit” is…have you ever noticed that these old rock hounds still dye their hair jet black? These guys are my age in their late 60’s and not a single gray hair. They look like they’re wearing tarantulas on their heads. No one will think any less of you if you look your age…as long as you can still play. Back in the day, the contract for bands usually included all sorts of ridiculous items to be placed in their dressing rooms. For bands like Foreigner, instead of pigs in a blanket running amok, a case of ibuprofen is the first item required.

Now if this cigar was made by any number of catalog blends, it would be placed in a useless coffin and priced at $23. Only to find out it’s a good $10 cigar.

For my palate, this is a perfect cigar experience. I can’t remember any other blend I’ve reviewed that is this consistent.

Cigars City offers a free stick with a promo code in Bespoke’s ad on the right side of my main blog page. Small Batch Cigar also offers a nice selection of Bespoke blends.

Remember, a palate is no different than a fingerprint. No two are alike. My palate decides that the Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold is perfect for my tastes.

Now whether a cigar is rated 90 or 100 doesn’t matter. It’s still an A by any standards. The only inference made by a score higher than 90 describes the intensity of that A grade.

Bespoke is my desert island cigar brand. I’ve never been let down. But you have to listen to your Uncle Katman when he tells you patience is a virtue with Bespoke blends. No one wants to walk away with a “blah” impression on a $14 cigar. So pay attention or I will lose respect for you in the morning.

Bowie is playing. I have a good friend that is a Brit record producer. He was engineering a Bowie album and during one song in which it had all been laid down all Bowie had to do was overdub his vocals. Apparently, something about a particular song caused Bowie to tear up a little. My buddy told an assistant to get him some tissues. The moron grabbed a big roll of toilet paper, opened the booth’s door, and threw the roll at Bowie hitting him in the head. He is now working at a Portillos somewhere in Chicago.

The Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold finishes with a mighty flare. Strength has inched itself into medium/full territory with flavors blazing like Yosemite Sam’s double gun rig.
Buy the Bespoke Cigars Gran Mareva Gold or any other Bespoke blend and you’ll be hooked. Damn the torpedoes.


And now for something completely different (Short but pungent):
This is strictly for you oldsters out there.

1969 or 1970. Can’t remember.
My father’s new wife had a friend with connections to CBS Television.
She got us a slew of tickets to TV shows at the time: Smother’s Brothers, Carol Burnett, and many others.

But this story is about the day we visited “Laugh In.”
I took two buddies with me. We had to be there at 2pm. We found the entrance but it was locked and no one else in line.
After 20 minutes, a CBS employee passed by and I stopped him. “Where is the line for Laugh In?
“You’re it.”
We were shocked. About 15 minutes later, they let us in. And not a single other soul.

Big auditorium. We sat in the middle about three rows back.
And there was that famous stage full of props and sets.
The actors were meandering around talking, rehearsing their lines, looking for their marks.
The lights were on in the auditorium and they all saw us and waved and said hello. We waved back and said hello.

“Laugh In” was taped over two days. Apparently, each day was at least 12 hours long.
Taping began. All the things you remember about the show happened right before our eyes.
But they did the bits over and over and over. The actors kept cracking jokes out of character. It took forever to do a 30 second sketch.

One of the actors was JoAnne Worley. A big woman with a huge Ethel Merman voice. Very funny lady.
An hour in, she came up to where we were and sat next to us kibitzing.
The director was in a booth hidden away above us. We could only hear his voice, never saw him.
He kept yelling for Worley to get on stage. She yelled back profanities.
Finally, she got up, kissed us all on the cheek, and got on stage.

I had to pee. I went to the front of the stage and asked where the bathroom was? I was told it was backstage. So, I climbed the stairs to the stage and walked through the hallway where the dressing rooms were and found the head. I ran into Dan Rowan who said hello. He said to me, “I’m Fred Farkas.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out that a couple of weeks later, the Farkas family would be a running sketch.

After 3 hours, we were toast. It was fun for a while but now it was boring, so we left.

At the Carol Burnett show, she came out before taping began and let the audience ask questions. I raised my arm but was never chosen. Thank God. I was going to ask her if her parents had any children that lived?

OMG! What was I thinking? Can you imagine what would have happened if she chose me? They would have burned me at the stake.

The Smothers Brothers show was a gas. Very organized and no fucking around. We had great seats. And that night, Richard Pryor was on and did his famous stunt where he came out totally naked. They digitally pixelated his privates but the audience went nuts. CBS went to war with the Smothers over this and they were quickly cancelled.
I can’t remember the other shows. But I will get a hold of one of those friends that went with me and ask him.


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6 replies

  1. I never really cared much for Alec Bradley, now I really hate them!

  2. A CBS employee told you that you were the line for laugh-in. Interesting. The show ran on NBC.

  3. It was 50 years ago Kinnaman….but good catch. You’re right, the whole story was based upon which network the show was on. Dear readers, this is the shit I have to put up with…arrogant “gotcha’s”

  4. What a douche bag. He obviously doesn’t even smoke cigars, what’s important here.
    I’m vacationing in Paso Robles, celebrating my 25th anniversary. Picked up a few Bespokes 4 months ago, they’ve been marinating for this trip.
    The Traditional robusto and the Basilica C.
    They didn’t have the Gran Mareva at the time, I will be trying this one for certain.
    Thanks again Katman.
    Spot on enjoyment.

  5. Another great review, made entertaining by stimulating use of the English language. The quality of Casdagli (Bespoke) are second to none and are among my favorite and very best cigars. 5 different lines of Casdagli (Bespoke) in humidor now. All absolutely fantastic, and remarkably different from one another. Never a risk when I buy Casdagli’s (Bespoke) – rewarded each and every time.

    Soon to be 6 blends – I’ll reach out to Anthony @ Cigarscity to add “Mareva Gold” to the humidor today.

    Thanks Katman!

  6. Hi there, Katman.

    Nice review.

    Have you ever been to the Cigar Smoking World Championship in Split? Its truly a long way this thing has come. I remember the first year I attended, just a few enthusiasts. And now I am reading a review about a cigar made to celebrate the event on a far away American site.

    If anyone comes to Split this year, see you there. I never miss the championship.

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