Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano, Mexican San Andrés
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
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
“…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.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
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.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS