The Carnage is a new cigar from Nestor Plasencia. It is also an exclusive at famous smoke! The price is certainly good, about $3.75 and that’s without any of Famous Smoke’s common discounts. I have a mixed relationship with Plasencia cigars — counting those made at his factories like Rocky Patel. None make my top 10 list, but a few are decent, the Obsidian (Padilla), Casa Magna (might be in my top 10 at a lower price), and the 5 Vegas “Cask Strength” are examples. So Nestor set out to make a really good yet really inexpensive cigar in a deal likely opened by Famous Smoke. Not only inexpensive, Famous must have asked for something strong because this cigar will give you a buzz!
The cigar I’m reviewing was the first of a fresh batch so pretty much right off the truck. All the reviews rave about it especially for the price. A few are linked below. I have the Robusto, a classic 5″x54. There are 3 other vitolas. 7×50, 6×60, and 6×52.
Filler: Nicaraguan Seco, Viso, Ligero
Binder: Honduran Connecticut
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
My construction grade is “A” (at least for my sample of 1). The cigar is smoothly wrapped with small lump or two here and there. It’s decently capped, evenly packed, but not dense. It isn’t a heavy cigar, but it isn’t a lightweight either. There are seams that you can see because the wrapper is a light brown and they show up, but they all look good and there are but tiny veins. Wrapper has a nice sheen to it, looks healthy and a color I’ve come to know as a “Colorado”. Straight cut was fine, draw perfect for me just a little resistance. Cold aroma had manure, hay, barnyard, and leather. Cold draw salt and cedar. A very good start.
I paired this cigar with black tea because I’d heard about its strength. I didn’t want rum to add alcohol to a first crack at a strong cigar. Strong cigars rarely make me ill, but it has happened, and I still get to a “too much of a good thing” point now and then.
When you light the cigar you can feel its strength almost immediately. A quarter inch in and I could feel a buzz. Nestor succeeded in giving this one strength. Smoke output is excellent, thick and creamy. This is a very peppery cigar and that starts right away but strangely it waits to a sort of finishing flavor. You take a puff, retrohale, pretty smooth, but 5 seconds later the pepper comes up on you mouth and nose with a little hint of brown sugar behind it. The pepper stays with the cigar all the way to the end and gets stronger and more “up front” as you smoke. By the last inch it’s pretty much all pepper. Coincidence that I recently reviewed another peppery cigar the Asylum Lobotomy, but in that one, the pepper mingled with lots of other flavors. In the Carnage, the pepper starts out underneath flavors of leather, burning oak and some earthy barnyard but moves forward as the cigar smokes. I didn’t sense any fruit in it as this reviewer did, and the flavors were pretty subtle.
Basically the flavors were ok, but light and they didn’t change much throughout the cigar. A little mint came in and out from time to time and perhaps fresh hay or flowers made an appearance. At their strongest near the end of the first third, flavors faded more into the background as the pepper came forward in the second half. I can usually smoke a flavorful cigar down to a half inch at least, but this one I had to let go at one inch. There was still a little sweetness in the retrohale, but mostly there was pepper. The burn line stayed even all the way down and the cigar smoked slowly and evenly for an hour and ten. It would have gone another ten easily if the pepper hadn’t already trashed my palate. The strength stayed with it as well. I felt pleasantly buzzed all along this cigar but it never got overwhelming. I smoked it slowly and I didn’t take it past the last inch. When a cigar does get me, it’s usually in that last inch!
It is possible that more flavor will emerge with a little rest, and it might be great in a few months, who knows? I’ll keep trying them though. Meanwhile this is by far the strongest cigar I’ve ever smoked for $3.75 and construction was great so I’m not complaining. A great cigar? Probably no, but a very good cigar for the price! I look forward to seeing how these do with a little time.