Powstanie Wojtek War Bear 2020 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano, Mexican San Andrés

Binder: Indonesian

Filler: Nicaraguan

Size: 6 x 52 Toro

Strength: Medium/Full

Price: $13.00

Today we take a look at the Powstanie Wojtek War Bear 2020. This is the second year this blend has been released. In 2019, it was a 5 x 50 Perfecto.

I was going to start my time back in the hot seat, after 2 months of having the flu, with an easy cigar to review. I may have picked incorrectly. The cigar was released in November of 2020 and I cannot find a single review. Not one. So, we probably know where the aura of this review will be going, Dora. I need a good laugh as 2020 winds down anyway. I hope you do too.

While on hiatus, I developed a ping pong ball sized tumor on my left nipple.

Looks exactly like Trini Lopez.

Nah. Just kidding…Ida Lupino.


500 boxes of 21 released. Still available at this time. (Never a good sign).

Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A. Nicaragua

From Halfwheel.com:

“…the name Wojtek, named after a famous Syrian brown bear that was purchased as a young cub by Polish soldiers who were evacuating from the Soviet Union during World War II. The bear grew to weigh around 490 pounds and after being enlisted with the rank of private, was eventually promoted to corporal due to his actions helping move ammunition during the Battle of Monte Cassino. After the war, he was donated to the Edinburgh Zoo where he died at the age of 21 in 1963.

“In terms of cigar, the Powstanie Wojtek is a “tweaked” version of the Habano Perfecto version that already exists in the company’s portfolio, which is made up of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper covering an Indonesian binder as well as Dominican criollo and Nicaraguan tobaccos in the filler. The newest incarnation also features a stripe of Mexican San Andrés tobacco running down the length of the wrapper that is not found in the regular version.”

I swear. The cigar manufacturers must drop acid in group meetings in Yucca Valley to come up with these insane names and backgrounds for a friggin’ cigar. Why don’t boutique brands do what movie franchises do? Powstanie 1. Powstanie 2. Powstanie 3…etc. A lot easier to remember while those Lost Pork Tapeworms eat your brain as you get older.

If I release my own blend, as all good review sites do, I will name my first one “Penile Implant Gone Wrong.” No refund given. No background needed. My second blend will be called “I’ve Got Blisters On Me Fingers.” Background is just a Google away. My third blend, before I am shunned forever from putting out subpar cigar blends, will be “I Got Shiv’d On D Block But I Still Love the Man.” Background is classified…but it will come with a little toy shiv hanging off the cigar band. Guys like little Cracker Jack toys on their cigars…even if the Chinese made bauble is toxic and leaves parasites on the wrapper.


Very nice looking cigar. Well-constructed. The barber pole effect is neat and clean. The tobacco is jam packed but not hard and without soft spots. There is a nice glow and sheen from the wrapper and the color is a tawny brown…like a lunch bag soaked in olive oil. And lastly, the cap is expertly applied.


There is a big mix of aromas starting with a lovely floral arrangement. Then quickly followed by pig shit, dark chocolate, a gentle creaminess, nutty, bacon, and dried apricots.

The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, dark chocolate, malt, cherries, bacon, creaminess, nuts galore, and dried fruit.


The draw is spot on, so I put aside my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool for another time.

At the start, there are some intriguing flavors of malt, creaminess, black pepper, red hot cinnamon, black coffee, and a generalized sweetness bombarding my palate.

Strength is immediately a potent medium.

I just got it. Why there are no reviews…The 2020 version in Toro shape is the same exact blend as the 2019 Perfecto. The big reviewers figured they’d already reviewed the blend so why waste their time reviewing it again in just a different shape. Sometimes, it takes a good bowel movement before things come to me.

The cigar has made a decent impression on me. Fingers crossed it continues on its journey and doesn’t commit suicide on me at some point.

The heavy packing of tobacco is making this a very slow go. This is fine with me. Since I got back to smoking cigars a week ago after the 2-month flu, Connies were making me swoon…so I shall be hallucinating before this review is over. If Jerry Garcia visits me, expect me to hide in the lingerie drawer; mine, not Charlotte’s.

The burn gets a little funkadelic and I must attend to it.

The chocolate creaminess reminds me a bit of a Three Musketeers bar. Or a U-NO bar.

Nuttiness emerges with hints of toasted almond and sweet raw cashew.

I was reading posts from members of public cigar forum this weekend and a lot complained that they can’t taste all the flavors a reviewer does. I can clear this up. For me to experience what I experience, I must have zero distractions when I smoke. No kibitzing, no TV, no friends…just me and the cigar. And I must really force my puny brain to really hone in on what I’m tasting in real time…not smoke 3 days before and take notes. I get enough emails from readers who tell me they will get a cigar I’ve reviewed and read me while they are smoking it, or another reviewer’s description…and that helps greatly with finding some of those mysterious flavors.

If I smoke a cigar while cloistered at home because of the pandemic, I smoke to relax. I don’t hunt for elusive flavor elements. It’s that simple.

I’ve smoked an inch and the complexity level is low. There aren’t many nuances. The balance isn’t bad. Transitions are minimal. Still, it does taste good.

Licorice and a touch of honey appear. The creaminess ramps up. The black pepper is acceptable as it rests in the back of my throat. The chocolate and coffee are in the background.

And then the complexity seems to jump out of its baby seat and want to drive the tank. The flavor profile fans out. It is more expansive than earlier. This is going to be a stick that either shines in the second half or lies there like the first time I got laid. Me, not the girl.

For a $13 stick, it does not grab me by the balls and swing me like a cat. I’ve had it marinating naked for months. So, no excuses there.

Strength remains at a potent medium.

First sip of water and I get a swirl of mish mosh. Nothing distinctive.

The lack of impressionable transitions is kind of a bummer. There are no leaps forward. So far, this is a very nice $8 cigar.

The 2019 version got ratings from 88-90. I expect the same here.

There are little hints that this blend could be better if could just let go and fly…but it is mostly stuck in stasis. It is afraid of becoming bold.

Again, despite the inconsistencies, it’s nice. Would I pay $13 for it? Hell, no.

I’d pay $13 for a BJ on the street, get an STD, and have my johnson fall off. But that’s a whole different aspect of my life.


I need to make fun of Halfwheel for a second. I like these guys. I respect them. But there is a term I try to avoid: earthy. I’m not sure what that means. On this cigar’s review, ‘gritty earth’ is used. Does that mean a litter box? Does it mean I can taste dirt clumps? I honest to God have no idea what that means. Time to google that.

The flavor profile hasn’t changed much. The chocolate is missing in action. The black coffee returns. The black pepper remains at the same level…no ups and downs. It is redundant. The creaminess comes and goes. The nuttiness is there giving the blend a nice meaty finish. The dried fruit is gone. Sweetness has left the building.

The cigar is a hearty blend but doesn’t have a lot of interesting character points. Stasis rules the day.

That bit of complexity begins to make its move. There is a newfound richness, and the balance is much better.

There is nothing flavor bomb about this stick. It sticks to the basics. Which is fine. I don’t need the wheel of cigar flavors to attend.

Strength moves to medium/full.

Some mustiness appears. I hate that. Where does that come from? When it does, I always think of the movie, “Psycho.” Mom was musty.

I’m nearing the second half. I see that other reviewers who did the 2019 version were pretty much on the same page as me. Flavors revolve around dirt and leather, which is fine if you have a dedicated room for that kind of stuff.

The burn has been consistent and only that early on incident needed repair.

My second sip of water. Nothing. No explosions. No transgressions. In fact, it makes the mild complexity go away.

The forward progress is rocky. The second half needs to twirl my merkin.

Before a manufacturer comes up with this whole story for a cigar’s name and background on the name, they should smoke the cigar first. The Powstanie War Bear is misnamed. War Bear evokes power. Meanwhile, in real life, the cigar is limping along like a wounded ferret.

The black pepper backs off. And the creaminess engages. It hoists the nuttiness. But I want more depth. More nuance. This cigar has tunnel vision. It is right on the cusp of woulda, coulda, shoulda…but here’s hoping the second third impresses.

We all know that boutique brands charge more. For various reasons. The main reason is dollars and supply. Still, there is nothing in the description of the blend that states there was special attention paid to the types of leaves used. It was all about the bear instead.

There is a long list of cigars at the $13 price point, or less, that are better.

The second half tastes like the first half. There should be a natural raising of the bar that doesn’t happen.

Again, it’s not bad…just not great.

The slight influence of low-grade complexity keeps me hoping. But it’s not consistent. One moment, it is hail to the chief; and other moments its constipated.


A saltiness appears. Almost pretzel-like. There is coffee, malt, creaminess, nuttiness, some licorice, black pepper, some sweetness reappears.

The spiciness becomes strong. Bad move. It coats other flavors.

I didn’t notice the mustiness when it disappeared a few minutes ago but now it’s back.

The blend is very dark now. It’s heavy. It plants its butt on my palate.

Halfwheel described a good amount of creaminess. I do not taste it. It is merely a background flavor.

The Bear is a relatively pleasant cigar. But it doesn’t grab me by the testicles.

It might need extended humidor time. I don’t know.

Transitions are invisible. The forward momentum is cemented in place.

Harshness appears. It gives the black pepper a new home. The blend has never been smooth.

The cigar desperately needs some sort of sweetness. It is currently lopsided. The balance is non-existent. What a shame. Nuances be damned.

You know what it is like when you are smoking a so-so cigar and the last third is merely an exercise in futility? You keep smoking it because you want to finish it. But you’re no longer interested. That’s where I am.

The blend is going nowhere fast.

My next review will be better.


And now for something really, really different:
I first published this story in May of 2015…

If you were on the fence to my state of mind, this should push over that fence and into the mud. This is a strange story…yet true.

I’ve never told this story to anyone but a few close friends. That is because telling this story makes people think I’m friggin’ nuts. But I had a close encounter of the second kind.
It was 1999. I worked at a place where we started at 6am. I lived about 20 minutes away and it was all freeway travel.

Naturally, it was dark outside when I left for work. It was winter in Mesa, AZ. I hadn’t traversed but a few miles when I saw something strange ahead of me, on the left side of the freeway; maybe half a mile in front of me…

As it got closer, I could make out a form. It looked like those old-fashioned helicopter clear bubbled cockpits from the Korean War. But in this case, all I could see was the bubble. It was like clear glass as it approached, and then I saw a figure inside. But this bubble had no wings or helicopter blades or jet engine or propellers. No outward sense of what propelled this thing. It was just a bit smaller that the size of the helicopter bubble. The figure inside looked like a normal sized man. And it moved slowly as if it were observing the cars on the freeway.

All of a sudden, it did a dive, and a swoop, into traffic. Cars swerved to miss it and luckily no fender benders occurred because it was so early. The bubble swooped up gracefully and went back to the left side of the freeway hovering above the dirt road adjacent to the freeway. It seemed to be toying with the drivers. Why else would it do this?

It hovered on the road next to the freeway just above us. As I slowed down, I could see the figure inside. But now the glass had an opaque-ness to it and I couldn’t make out specific features of the individual driving this thing. I opened the window to listen and there was no sound coming from it. Nothing. It was deadly quiet. I saw no heat signature emitting from the thing which would identify some sort of propulsion system.

It just hovered about 6 feet off the ground and the figure stared out on to the freeway. I could see enough that it was man-like with a head and I could see it turn. There was enough traffic that I could no longer chug along at 10mph and had to move on.

I watched it in the rear-view mirror and saw again as it swooped down on to the freeway, amidst the cars, causing them to swerve. It then doubled back to about 100 yards in front of me. This time, it came at me in the middle lane of a three-lane freeway. I slammed on the brakes and it just gracefully, and slowly, swooped up to avoid hitting me about 20 feet from my car.

I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. I was all adrenaline. I told the operator what I saw. “An alien. In an alien spaceship.” I asked if any of the air force bases were doing testing and I got a curt, “No” on the other end.

I hit the accelerator to avoid becoming a crash statistic and lost it behind me. All of the vehicles, who barely avoided being rammed into, hit their accelerators to get the hell out of there. I tried to catch up to see if I could get someone to pull over to discuss what happened, but to no avail.

To this day, I have no idea what I saw. Nothing within my scope of knowledge made what I saw identifiable. A bubble with no wings, no jets, no helicopter blades….just a bubble with a man inside. And it did not make a solitary sound as it maneuvered.

I hoped that the other cars would have reported it. And I listened to the news all day and checked the newspaper the next day. Nothing.

Now you can say, “He’s friggin nuts.”
This photo is the closest thing I could find that is somewhat like what I saw.


25 replies

  1. Who dreams up these bloody stupid names for cigars….. I read the complete review due to the quality of your writing but the cigar isn’t likely to be smoked. Cheers from the 🇬🇧

  2. It astonishes all of us. If some blenders would use half the energy to make a good smoke as they do coming up with some history lesson, everyone would be better off.

  3. Glad to see you’re feeling better!

    While you were feeling puny, Rudy Giuliani started doing ads for Famous Cigars on his YouRube channel. I kid you not. I only mention it because I figure it’ll make you snort and clear your sinuses.

    Stay safe!

  4. Bob, I thought you were pulling my leg.
    Damn. You are right. They advertise him on Famous Smoke’s home page:
    This proves armageddon is near.

  5. The Katman is back!!! Praise _______ (whoever your favorite deity is at the moment). I needed your comic insanity during this holiday season. Glad you are better Phil. Haven’t had this cigar but have had this experience too many times. Take care and be safe. 2021 is on its way!

  6. Hey Arless,
    Thank you so much.
    Let us hope that we survive 2021. As much as being a flesh eating zombie is appealing to me…will I be able to have the presence of mind to redeem my social security payments each month?

  7. If I smoke a cigar while cloistered at home because of the pandemic, I smoke to relax. I don’t hunt for elusive flavor elements. It’s that simple.
    I concur Doctor !
    Tell you a little story. I lived in Pennsylvania for 10 months a few years ago when I was doing some consulting as an Environmental scientist. This brand was just released. The local cigar store was jumping up and down about how great this brand was..I think mostly because Pennsylvania tobacco was used . I smoked about maybe 10 cigars…I just didn’t get all the hype…an average non exciting cigar…I concluded it was Pennsylvania hype…kind of like the Pennsylvania breakfast…know what that is ? Seems like everyone in Pennsylvania seems to go hog wild over big doughy pretzels with yellow mustard for breakfast Every day.
    I remember my first morning meeting…now I’m from Massachusetts and I was expecting jelly donuts or some kind of donut 🍩..
    It was big nasty pretzels with yellow mustard all over them…I thought…how odd !
    I’m smoking a Nomad SA 17 right now…might not have “awesome ” Pennsylvania tobacco but it’s a damn sight better than powstanie cigars.
    Funny how different parts of the country got different things they’re heavily into.
    Across the river in New Jersey everyone is diner crazy and I want to tell you there’s some kind of gourmet diners out there !!!

  8. I love the Nomad you describe. Now Ezra Zion makes them. Can’t trust them as every cigar released by them makes them sound like the second coming. I’m sure they are laughing all the way to the bank. You want the best Nomad blend? The candela GB-19. Cigar Federation sells them. Great cigar. But you do have to dip it in mustard.

  9. If the maker thinks that the cigar needs a story to sell it, something is wrong.

  10. Yes..mustard…only the yellow stuff…no grey poupon for those dudes.
    They even sell the lame pretzels at the gas stations 🚉
    It’s pretty bad. I like pretzels but these things give them a bad name. No accounting for taste i guess.
    It’s not Freddie Kings “Let the good times roll ” that’s for sure !
    I haven’t tried the 19 yet. You rated another Nomad a 95…can’t remember the name of it but I had one and it was superb.

  11. Great to see you back and funnier than ever Cousin Phil! And judging from the picture you included that wasn’t a UFO you saw. It was a Coney Island Whitefish. Happy Chrannukah my lansman!

  12. Coney Island whitefish? I love smoked whitefish on a kaiser roll with a little mayo.
    Happy Chanookah to you.
    Thanks for sticking with me, brother.

  13. Bam!
    You are spot on, Max.
    Manfuacturers think we are all simple folk. We believe everything.

  14. You gotta try the GB-19. But let it rest a few months. Force yourself to read my review:
    It’s worth every penny. I treat myself to a fiver about 3 times per year.
    I had a long day. I started a new part time gig. I hate it. But at my age, there are nearly no job opportunities. But it keeps me moving and I’m safe. And I can buy cigars. And sometimes enough leftover for a tranny Filipino hooker for 4 hours. It breaks up the boredom of husband and wife in near seclusion…waiting for the vampires to come out and make us Romanian.
    Your shit about the pretzels is pretty ugly. Gag worthy. Nice job.

  15. Glad to see you have recovered Katman! I was beginning to fear the worst…you had died and your body was donated to science and my favorite snarky cigar reviewer was no more. Praise be to the Cosmic Muffin. Too bad the first review to kickoff the comeback was mediocre. Shoot me your address via email and I will send you a couple My Father Fonseca Cedros to try…I guarantee they will put a smile on your mug.

  16. SA,
    I’m tougher than that.
    Are you trying to bribe me so that I keep my mouth shut abputh that thing?
    I would never take a gift from a lovely reader.
    The following is encrypted and only Smokin Aces can read this: That would be damn fine of you, Smokin Aces. I will email you with my address, blood type, and my I.Q. test results from when I was 18.
    You will be forever seen as kind and giving by the Cosmic Muffin..

  17. Here’s to your good health, Phil!

    As for the Wotjek, first I bought a fiver, smoked one, and then hunted down another ten. It was love at first puff for me. It’s definitely one of my faves from 2020.

  18. Hey Bryant,
    Good for you, man. I love it when smokers disagree with my assessment but don’t call me a cunt and tell me they hope my wife dies in her bed. I get a lot of those.
    Polite discourse is how we communicate properly. I wish I had a lot more guys like you telling me they dig a cigar that I thought was only so-so.
    May your 2021 be full of health, happiness, and wealth. (If you do strike it rich, remember to still be nice to your friends…lol).
    All the best,

  19. Phil,

    By far, the majority of my favourite cigars over the last two+ years have come from your picks. You basically provide an excellent service to those who are looking for top quality cigars that fly below the mainstream radar. In the case of the Wotjek, we probably don’t disagree here. My bar for a 90% cigar is probably a little lower than yours, and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned!

    I hope you and your wife have a great New Years!


  20. Yes… but.

    Wojtek is cool. The soldiers gave him cigarettes and beer, and he toted artillery shells for the unit fighting the Germans. The 22nd Artillery Supply Company has a bear holding an artillery shell as as their unit insignia (I saw one at the Polish military museum in Warsaw on a trip 2 summers ago). There’s statue of him in Krakow; I of course put a cigar in his mouth for a pic. He’s a cool anti-nazi bear.

    Also of note is that the logo of this company uses the Kotwica (anchor) emblem of the Polish Home Army, and Powstanie refers to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Germans (different from the 14943 Warsaw Jewish Ghetto uprising).

    Of course none of this makes a good cigar. But I love Wojtek and I’m getting a box to have the box, if nothing else.

  21. When I was on my aforementioned trip to Poland I went to a cigar shop/lounge in Warsaw (one of three I visited), and they told me Giuliani had been there the previous week smoking with some business associates. So the man definitely likes his cigars.

  22. Thank you for the continued honest reviews, brother. This one I will avoid. And about the close encounter – DAYUM!

    Jeff – aka Crosby

  23. Thanks again Jeff,
    I take a lot of hallucinogenics. Probably more than I should at my age. I’m frying right now on LSD, meth, peyote, shrooms, fentanyl, opioids, baby aspirin, Nyquil, and MOLLE’s.
    So I’m not sure if that close encounter was real or just another day in the life. Where is Lloyd Bridges when you need him?
    All the best,

  24. You could probably make those cigar blends with the crazy names for real. Just contact your homeboy, Matt Boothe or the guys at Moya Ruiz. They’ll put anything on the market. Your blends would probably outsell all the stuff they released over the past few years.

  25. You’re way funnier than me, Nick…knock it off.
    First, I’d need a lot of dough to do this…make a katman blend.
    And I wouldn’t want to do it the way your mentioned boys do it…pick a stick that is rolled out on a conference table for me to choose from. I’d want to be totally involved. I embarrass myself enough; the last thing I need is to put out an $18 cigar that stinks.
    I do have an idea for a logo, besides my smoker on the moon logo…it would be a massive shiny apple red band with a large pair of testicles, made of plastic, attached to the band. They could be swung around your neck if you wanted.
    Smokers love doo dads hanging from their cigar bands. Something for the kids to choke on.
    OR…a plastic bud of weed dangling and taunting.
    I’d have to change my haircut. I’m thinking a tri-colored spiked Mohawk.
    Thanks for the ideas, Nick.

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