Always on the lookout for a budget cigar, I think I hit the bottom of the barrel and actually found something interesting. Over the past 6+ years I’ve been smoking cigars regularly I haven’t come across any of the usual blends offered as cheroots, an open-ended and rough-rolled vitola with varying sizes. These Red Lion Cheroots fit that description, and roughly rolled would be an understatement. Still I don’t see why a cheroot shouldn’t be a good cigar. This one was certainly inexpensive enough. Normally retailing for $1+/stick, I got them for $0.67/stick in a box of 60 from Cigars International. Since my girl friend enjoys her inexpensive cigars I figured if I didn’t like these, she would. Little did I know.
Construction and smoke-ability.
The cigar is 6″ x 34 but vary a lot as you can see from the picture. Some are as thin as 28 or 30. The roll is really rough. Wrapper is thick and overlaps itself all along the stick. The seams are prominent and sometimes even curl back on themselves giving the cigars a really gnarly look. I don’t mind that look, and some of these sticks look really good, nice and even (if gnarly) all the way along their length while others vary considerably from the foot to the head. Just for fun I cut one of these open (there are a couple of pictures) and found both a wrapper and binder, the latter wrapped twice around the filler which was a chopped up short filler with a couple of longer leaves.
The cold smell is interesting, pretty strong, grass, hay, and vegetal aromas. The cold draw has similar notes. As for smoking, these vary a lot. I’ve had about 10 of them now, and half smoked pretty good. All of them require some burn correction because the wrapper is thick and doesn’t burn evenly all the way around. But the good-half, smoked well, produced a good creamy smoke only a little hot, but not too bad. The good ones smoked well down to just past the first half then got a little soft and required a few relights. Yet they remained very smoke-able down into the last third. On the other hand, half of these (so far) don’t do so well requiring frequent relights and burn corrections even in their first half. So a very mixed bag here, these sticks are anything but consistent as goes their smoking.
It was here these cheap little sticks surprised me. This is good tasting tobacco! Charred cedar, pepper, roasted nut, mint, leather, and roasted vegetables. Even the cigars that didn’t smoke well had the flavors, and the ones that did smoke well kept them. To say the least I was very surprised! Pretty good flavor for a $0.67 cigar and those flavors stayed with the smoke at least down to the last 2″ and a few beyond that. The smoke is a little hot compared to a better cigar, and the most poorly constructed examples get hotter than the better ones.
A bit hit or miss on these. The better ones smoke 20-25 minutes down past the last third, the poorer ones about 15 minutes before they get hot and flavorless. If you’re looking to keep a few quick smokes around that you don’t mind tossing out if you have to, these would be good. Even if I don’t smoke them, my girl friend says they’re the most flavorful cigars in her collection. A good deal!