Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 54 (654N)
Strength: Full
Price: $8.99

Today We take a look at the Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua.
Everyone and his brother have already reviewed this 2018 release. So, in Katman style, I thought a 1-year aged stick might bring out something new…or not.
I’m also doing something I rarely do…review a stick without smoking one prior to writing about it. But I was gifted just one stick and since all the 2018 reviews state this is an excellent blend, I thought what the fuck…

According to Cigar Aficionado (5-7-2018):
“Micallef Cigars is new, having sold its first cigars in 2016, but it has a wide variety of smokes. Its website lists 13 varieties of cigars, but the Weatherford, Texas, company is still expanding.

“For the upcoming (2018) IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas, Micallef is debuting a new and stronger line called Micallef Grande Bold. The company feels that the cigars it already has in its portfolio tend to be more nuanced, and medium in body. The Grande Bold line extension is crafted to take the company into a stronger flavor category.

“Grande Bold, which is made in Nicaragua by the Gómez Sanchez family, is blended to provide “full flavor,” said Steven Henrickson of Micallef. He said they are expected to be ready in July.
There are five varieties, each offered in a minimum of four sizes, with suggested retail prices from $5.25 to $11.

“Grande Bold Mata Fina, which has a Brazilian wrapper, contains all Nicaraguan tobacco on the inside. It comes in five shapes: 6 inches by 50 ring gauge, 6 by 54, 6 by 60, 5 by 56 and a diminutive smoke measuring 4 by 46.
“Grande Bold Nicaragua is all Nicaraguan, save for the wrapper, which is Connecticut broadleaf. It comes in four vitolas: 5 by 48, 5 by 54, 6 by 54 and a 7 by 54.

“Grande Bold Sumatra has a Sumatra leaf wrapper, a broadleaf binder and a combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. It comes in four shapes: 5 by 45, 5 by 54, 6 by 60 and 7 by 48.

“Grande Bold Ligero, which is also wrapped in Sumatra leaf, comes in four sizes: 5 by 52, 5 by 54, 6 by 60 and 7 by 58. The binder on that blend is from Ecuador, and the filler is Dominican and Nicaraguan.

“Grande Bold Maduro is wrapped in broadleaf tobacco the company says was grown in Ecuador, and has Nicaraguan filler and binder. It has five sizes: 5 by 44, 5 by 52, 6 by 50, 7 by 50 and 6 by 59.

“Micallef is owned and named after entrepreneur Al Micallef, a longtime cigar smoker who owns fine dining establishments and a silicone plastic fabrication company. He started Micallef Cigars after a serendipitous meeting at a cigar lounge with two cigarmakers from the Gómez Sanchez family of cigarmakers.”

548N: 5 x 48 $7.49
554N: 5 x 54 $8.25
654N: 6 x 54 $8.99
754N: 7 x 54 $9.69

First thing I notice is how hard it is. The cigar…Absolutely no give to the stick.
The Broadleaf wrapper has a nice oily sheen and dark reddish-brown color. There is some nice mottling that gives the cigar some character. Very lumpy and bumpy. Exposed seams, a shit load of veinage, and a cockeyed application of the triple cap.

Right away, chocolate covered raisins, floral moments, strong clove, malt, potent barnyard, very nutty in the vein of almonds and hazelnuts. A touch of red pepper…and a touch of creaminess. Plus, the always effervescent earth, wind, and leather.
The cold draw seems clean despite the Rockwell Hardness test of 3000 kgf. Lots of chocolate and malt. A nice coffee element with a little cream to mellow the strength. Nuttiness. Sweetness comes from dried fruit and honey.

The draw is tighter than experienced with the cold draw; so out comes my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and it cleans the mess toot suite. Time to go.

A little musty upfront. Followed by red pepper, chocolate, dried fruit, malt, creaminess, and a touch of honey.

I’m sure you all know which cigars have the stamina to last a year or longer in your humidor. I’ve found most catalog blends, and even many boutique blends, don’t do well after a year in your humidor. They either just become stale or lose a lot of flavor. Preserving a cigar’s integrity means not taking it out of the box if you want the blend to age slowly and organically.

This is a big cigar. No, it’s not the ridiculous 7 x 70 behemoths permeating the market because big is the new small. I don’t care for big cigars…partially due to the commitment of time; but also due to big cigars just don’t have the flavor profile of smaller sticks. But then time may change that when you allow your horse dick cigar to mellow like this one has over the last year.

I can’t count the number of aged sticks sent to me that were just plain bad. Musty and bereft of flavor. This Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua has the ever-present taste of a cigar not aimed for longevity.

It’s not bad. But based on the high scores this blend has gotten, there must be a golden window of humi time that allows the cigar to shine. I’ve found that 4 months is nearly a constant in seeing a blend strut its stuff.

The intensity of the start is nothing special. I’ve recently reviewed 7 cigars that all blew my merkin off…from the get-go. The Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua ain’t blowing anything. It’s just OK. But I’m at the start so fingers crossed it grows like a weed.

A year of humidor time did not do this blend any favors. Granted, it is a relatively reasonably priced premium cigar; but so what? I fall back on Isabela Cigars. Same price range and roarin’ to let loose right out of the cello. Totally different mindset in blending.

The other is from my sponsor, Bespoke/Casdagli Cigars. Yeah, they ain’t cheap…but boy do they blossom with a few months on them and even better with more age. No shortcuts taken. And the Micallef makes me feel like I’ve been short sheeted. BTW- Go to Small Batch Cigar and get a 10% discount on Bespoke sticks with the promo code: Katman.

There is a touch of complexity but falls short of my expectations based on 2018 reviews. Transitions are non-existent. And the finish is mostly spicy black pepper.
This is why I try not to review sticks I haven’t tried. But now, I’m all in…the circus continues where I bash a cigar everyone loves.

Nearing the second third, a little more life enters the blend. Somewhat of a relief as the thought of smoking this one trick pony, at this size, would be a real chore.

The mustiness disappears. Makes me happy. And you have no idea how hard it is to make an old Jew, with a little wiener, happy.

The flavor profile change like the shifting sands of time. One moment, there is heavenly hope…and the next, I could be smoking a $4 Torano.

I received this cigar in its original cello. So, there are no excuses that it was naked for too long. I just don’t think this blend was made to last.

45 minutes in. So far, same ol, same ol. Drat.

I now wish I was a reviewer whose reviews are 400 words long. Get in and get out. But noooo…my friggin’ reviews are 15,000 words long.
Mustiness returns…bloody hell.

Forward momentum just stops. The Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua is dead in the water. Ancillary flavors disappear leaving the cigar tasting only of black pepper. Bummer, Moon Doggies. I was hoping for a bitch’n cigar but instead I’m the only one bitching.

If I were smoking this cigar for relaxation, I would just about be ready to toss it.

I smoke my review cigars on a clean palate and without breakfast to maximize what a blend has to offer. I give my cigars a chance to swing for the fences. This baby is a bunt and a double play.
That’s OK. I’ve dredged up an old story about Ginger Baker for after the review.

I’m not going to waste my time with additional photos. Too much work and, for me, my photos are a gesture of respect for the blend. Maybe I’ll respect it tomorrow morning…give it a waffle and a cigarette and send it on its way.

The Eagles are playing. Natch.

This is starting to feel like pulling nose hairs.
C’mon dude…brighten up. Show yourself to be a worthy purchase. I’ve smoked only one other Micallef and wasn’t impressed…hence, my lack of reviews for their brand.

Absolutely no movement on the flavor front. Zero complexity. Oy. What have I gotten myself into?

I’m on the verge of declaring this a crap cigar; but I’m nearing the halfway point and I hope that my good-natured optimism will experience a cigar’s return to life. If it doesn’t, and I end up spending 4 hours of prep work that includes the actual review, I’m going to go next door and beat up the neighbor’s parakeet.

Never again. Never again…will I review a cigar I haven’t tried prior to review. I’m such a schmuck. Funny thing…this cigar was part of a cigar exchange meant to impress me. Ha.

If you prefer your sticks to only taste of black pepper, baby…have I got a cigar for you.

Time slows down to a crawl. I’m caught in the Time Warp, Rocky.
Just past the halfway point. Now into my 6th hour. Time flies when you smoke drek.

Great song by The Who…”Love Reign O’er Me” from Quadrophenia.

Watched “Cream Live at the Albert Hall” reunion concert on AXS for the 93rd time yesterday. Jack Bruce was my hero in the mid 60’s. His style of improvisation was mind boggling. I did notice that his custom-made basses, which are all short scale, looked big on Bruce. I looked him up and he was only 5’-6. A Fender P bass would have been as tall as Jack.

The Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua is beginning to show a little life but it’s mostly a’ hopin’ and a’ wishin’ on my part. I will settle for some basic flavors instead of the missing in action complexity.

13 hours in.
I need to shave again.

I bet this cigar was pretty good with a few months of humidor time as the reviews reflect. But damn…a year killed the radio star.
I’ve been using a catheter for the last 7 hours so I don’t have to get up and pee. I want this over as quickly as possible.

So, how about a lewd and profane story?
When I was 22, I dated this nice Jewish American Princess. Family had money. And she thought she was all that because she was beautiful. Here was the problem…seeing her naked scared the living shit out of me.
The girl had gorgeous ass length brown hair. The face of a super model.

And pubic hair that started just below her belly button and ended around her knees.
The few times we had sex, I had to wear a mining cap with attached light. Not to mention coughing up hairballs for a week.

Well, the Micallef Grande Bold Nicaragua is doing just swell.
Right, I forgot about reporting the strength. Started out medium. And by the last third, it has moved to medium/full with a nice dose of Vitamin N. Just fucking great…no flavor but still comes with hallucinations. My kind of cigar.

All right…Bowie.

Generally, I list the person who gifted me a cigar for review. I removed his name. Fellow smokers can be really sensitive. I learned this the hard way by getting angry emails from the donors after they read my less than rave review.

This baby is a wash out.
It is not going to get better. And I’m now wasting my time, and yours.
So, carry on dear readers…If you want to learn how to dance the Time Warp, click on the name. Cartoon instructions make it easy.


And now for something completely different:

Curved Air was recording at Island Studios in London…in the Jamaican district. It was my second album with the band.
Food was great there. It was nice being a rock star because you could tell the production assistants what to do; like “Go get me some food. Get the money from our tour manager.”

The building could accommodate two separate studios. We were in Studio A and the Baker-Gurvitz Army was in Studio B. For you old timers, you remember Ginger Baker? The drummer in Cream? This was a follow up with two guys that were brothers from NYC.

I had to baby sit my girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, Jenny, while she worked. I had basically finished my chores of laying down the bass tracks. Back then, we laid down the rhythm section first and then layered the rest of the instruments. I think Curved Air would have been better suited to play live in the studio to give the music some authenticity.

Hanging out in the booth during the rest of recording and mixing was a blast and I certainly didn’t have anything better to do. I was a star inside that building and got treated as such.
The studio had a nice lounge. And a couple of pin ball machines. No such thing as video games in 1975.

I was sitting on the lounge couch, eating my lunch, when the “Army” came out for a break. Ginger walks over to one of the pin ball machines and drops some coins in. He plays for a few minutes when Jennifer slowly walks over and stands next to him, looking up at Ginger.

Ginger stops playing and grabs a milk crate and tilts it on one end. He motions Jennifer to stand on it. Now she’s at the perfect height to observe and even play as Ginger teaches her.

Ginger never says a word, even when a direct statement is pointed his way. He is completely focused on the game. Jennifer is making little screeches of joy as she gets the hang of it. Ginger is shaking the machine to make the ball do what he wants it to do. Jennifer imitates his motions. Remember, she is 3.

They do this for an hour. The band’s manager has been telling Ginger that they need to get back into the studio. Ginger ignores him for a while, but finally relents. He asks Jennifer her name and she hugs him. His eyes widen and it was the only time in a month of recording that I saw him smile.

As the days and weeks passed in the studio, Ginger’s time at the pin ball machine got longer and longer. I was happy because little Jenny was happy. Every night, she would chatter incessantly to her mother about her new friend, Ginger. This astounded her mother and she took me aside early and asked if I was always in their company? I nodded yes. There wasn’t a weird bone in Ginger’s drug addled body when it came to Jennifer. He was a Papa Bear.

During this time, the band’s manager pleaded with me to leave Jennifer at home. This was costing them a fortune. He even brought in the band’s wives to volunteer to baby sit her. Jennifer didn’t want them. She wanted Ginger. So, I refused. I told them that I didn’t know them and I wasn’t leaving her in their care.

So, their manager got a hold of our manager, Miles Copeland, and pleaded with him to do something. He just shrugged it off and told the guy to control his talent. Not his problem.

At the end of a month, we were done in the studio. Ginger still had another month booked. It was a very tender moment when the two said goodbye. Jennifer cried and hugged and hugged Ginger. She wouldn’t let go when I tried to take her away. Ginger looked at me and I could actually see tears welling. The man still had never said a word to me.

Jennifer asked every day if we were going back. She cried every time I told her no. I was sort of heartbroken for her. She had found an adult in her life beside her mother and I that she bonded with. And remember, we wrenched her away from all her grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins when we took her to Europe. So, this was the first genuine “love affair” she had. And she felt safe with Ginger. And with his reputation, that was rare.


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6 replies

  1. “13 hours in.
    I need to shave again.”

    Funny. Sad, but funny.

    No one writes a better bad review, Katman. Oh hell, no one writes a better review, period.

    Better luck with the next one.

    Thanks man.

  2. Katman, just a correction. Adrian and Paul Gurvitz were the other two in the Baker- Gurvitz Army. Formerly of the band Gun. Check out the first Gun LP. Later, Three Man Army. Some hard stuff but I know it aint yer thang. The were both very much English not from New York. 114 here in Mesa today. Miss it?

  3. You are correct sir…my memory fades on details from 44 years ago. Their wives were American…from NYC, I believe.
    Haven’t missed Mesa since we left there in 2000. Haven’t laid my eyes on a single cactus since…and I only have to replace my car’s battery and all the rubber in my engine every few years, not every end of summer. Don’t miss covering the entire inside of my car with towels while it is parked outside. Don’t miss the stupid weathermen saying “It will be cooler tonight…only 98 degrees.”
    And don’t miss the out of proportion presence of Mormons who controlled everything…had to pull our 3rd grade daughter from public school as she was continually tortured by students and teachers alike for being a Jew.

  4. Yeah, but now you get to hear the weatherman say ” It will be warmer tonight…23 degrees!”

  5. Just saw these on clearance on Best Cigar Prices. I guess NO ONE wants them. 😝

  6. Hard to believe…(big smile)…

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