Bite Size Review: Powstanie Broadleaf
When house blends gain a loyal following and are critically acclaimed, can a true break out be far away? Powstanie began life as an idea from Cigar Hustler co-owners, Mike and Greg Szczepankewicz (don’t even ask me how you pronounce that) and has become an under-the-stairs Cinderella story that gives hope to every cigar lover who aspires to give birth to his or her own stogies. Launched in 2015, the inaugural Habano (Mike’s cigar) and follow-up Braodleaf maduro (Greg’s cigar) got some blending assistance from none other than RoMa’s Skip Martin and Esteban Disla. The astute brothers also gathered feedback on various blends from their customer base before launching. Using the Polish flag as the backdrop for the band, the brand Powstanie (pronounced poh-stahn’-yeh) comes from the Polish word for “uprising” and is iconic of WWII era Polish resistance efforts; however, not everyone is thrilled with the use of symbols of national or historic significance used in marketing, thus the Szczepankewicz brothers have taken some heat over adoption of the Polish resistance symbol for their brand.
I have certainly been the beneficiary of some great house blend cigars over the years, even in my own backyard. While most house blends are certainly satisfying, they just don’t tip the scales to a “kick ass” level. For me, the Powstanie Broadleaf Maduro changed all that. The RoMa guys know how to build a cigar and this one is made with the same quality as their Cromagnon and Neanderthal series. The roll is tight and solid with just enough give and topped with a nice cap. The chocolate-colored broadleaf wrapper is not the prettiest so expect some veins, lumps and a lot of tooth. The chocolate and malt notes in the aromas and cold draw are nice. I found the draw on the tight side with a V-cut, but thankfully it does loosen as you smoke. The initial tasting profile is simply mesmerizing. Complexity is off the charts and like an onion, I enjoyed peeling back layer after layer of baked bread, leather, cream, pepper, and chocolate. Offering a light spice, there’s toasted almond notes on the retro capped by a savory woody finish. This cigar is absolutely delicious out of the gate. But wait – there’s more. Our Broadleaf settles into a sultry woody profile offering a subtle sweetness on the inhale as well as on the lips. The addition of notes of cinnamon, including the retro, adds a nice balance to the strengthening profile. This cigar is uber smooth and rich and shows no signs of slowing down. The transitions are woody and earthy, offering notes of chocolate, cedar, espresso and nuts while maintaining this decadent rich and smooth texture. The spice ratchets up a bit through the transitions adding additional balance to an already unforgettable profile. The combustion and burn are cool and spot on up to a point where it did become a little irregular requiring a single touch-up. She holds a tight 1” ash without flinching, but the ash is on the flaky side. Decadent and absolutely delicious, this cigar is a top 10 maduro in our book and can hold its own. Make sure you tell Mike and Greg to keep up the great work! – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: The Powstanie Habano and Broadleaf are made at RoMa Craft’s Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
- Profile: Full
- Vitola: Toro
- Length/ Ring Gauge: 6.0″ x 52
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Broadleaf maduro
- Binder: Indonesian
- Filler: Nicaraguan ligero
- Cutter: Colibri V
- Lighter: Xikar Exec. II
- Price: $11.12
- Age: 3 months
- Box: 21
- Other Vitolas: Belicoso [5.5″x54], Robusto [5″x50], Perfecto [5″x50]
Build: Solid, tight; veiny; toothy; lumpy; nice cap; holds 1″ ash.
Draw: Tight initially – improves over time.
- Shaft – Chocolate; charred wood.
- Foot – Chocolate fudge.
- Cold Draw – Malt; tea.
- Initial: Baked bread, leather, almonds, pepper, cream; chocolate hints; light spice; toasted almonds on retro; savory woody finish; caramel and wood on inhale; more cinnamon on retro; profile becomes more woody.
- Transition: Earthy and woody profile; lots of chocolate notes; earthy/coffee finish; sweet cedar on retro.
- Transition: Heavy earth and espresso; more spice and pepper notes; woody retro with intonations of oats and nuts.
Touch ups: 1
Combustion: Very good – excellent initially, more irregular in second half; slow and cool; tight ash.
Weaknesses: Burns a bit uneven in second half.
Recommend: 1. Go-to (boxworthy)
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- 3rd stringer (keep 1 on hand)
- Smoke a banana instead