Patina habano bronze

Like many, the effects of COVID-19 have forced us here at 99 Cigars to adjust on the fly. Ironically, instead of things slowing down, our days seem to get longer as we try to keep up with the everchanging cigar cosmos, which in some circles is bucking the COVID-19 trend. The time has also afforded us the opportunity to re-stock our Bullpen as we build out our review list for the remainder of the year. One cigar from the re-stock has been on the list for some time, but the review has been delayed due to varied availability. That cigar is the Patina Habano toro (Bronze).

Patina may be a new brand, but after the buzz, critical praise and social media blitz you would think they’d been around longer than 3 years. In 2017, Patina Cigars was launched by former Mombacho Cigars National Sales Manager, Mo Maali, causing some to assume Patina was an offshoot of Mombacho Cigars S.A., and they’d be partially right. The perception could be due to the fact that Maali developed the Patina brand while concurrently employed by Mombacho. The reality is that Mombacho is contracted to produce the cigars at its famed Casa Favilli factory in Grenada, Nicaragua. In 2019, after a 2-year stint as Sales Manager, Maali formally parted ways with his employer to concentrate on his new brand.

Patina’s first products to launch in mid 2017 were the Habano and Connecticut, both shod with Ecuadorian wrappers, Habano and Connecticut Shade respectively. Both lines are rolled in 4 standard vitolas, including a 6”x56 Gran Toro and 7″x49 Churchill, and packaged in 16-count boxes. Both lines have garnered critical acclaim from cigar reviewers, particularly the Habano with a reported hat trick of ‘94’ ratings. Pricing is a bit on the high side for a new boutique player, but with Mombacho lurking in the shadows, you’re bound to get one hall pass.

Maali fashioned the clever concept of Patina by relating the effects of time and stressors on the appearance of certain metals to the analogous outcomes in our lives. One thing is certain: the patina of this cigar is eye-catching. Our Bronze is tall, dark and oily with a rich, dark chocolate hue complemented by a seamless roll. Topped with a nice cap, our big toro is nice and firm. Did I mention this cigar is a real looker? Vibrant honeysuckle and chocolate aromas leap from the wrapper while the foot is rife with similar chocolate notes but with a haze of cherries. The draw is nicely open and from the cold draw it appears the flavor wheel keeps stopping on chocolate.

The opening silky smooth profile was out to make believers out of us. From the first toasty draw of oats and chocolate to the notes of cream, nutmeg and toffee on the retro, it’s certainly one of my favorite introductions. Behind a leathery core also lurks hints of almonds followed by a salty, nutty finish with hints of coffee bean. After settling into a more nutty profile enveloped by notes of black pepper and tasted oats, the spice makes its presence known. Unfortunately, an unwanted, bitter, paper-like aftertaste became pervasive and quickly harshed my buzz.

Despite the disruptive smack, transitions are notable with leathery and woody profiles punctuated by sweet and salty mixes of wood, oats, caramel and espresso. The aftertaste finally dissipates, along with the spice, prior to the last profile, which instead of a nice save, ends up being a spicy, monochromatic earthy-cedar-black pepper amalgam with not much to get excited about. With respected reviewers touting this cigar, I’m presuming our Bronze somehow ended up with either some sketchy leaves or filler made up of Post-it notes.

Combustion of the Habano is solid as is the smoke production. The cigar struggles to hold an appreciable ash which randomly tumbles with or without movement. If the cigar continued on its original path, this would/should have been a special smoke and well worth the $12 along with the hour and a half I spent hoping for the best. Fully one third of this cigar was clearly off for some reason and hopefully it’s an anomaly. We believe everybody should get the benefit of the doubt which is reflected in our recommendation, but just a reminder that in most cases you only get one shot to make a great, first impression.

Recommendation: 5 Packer

Did you Know: The non-standard box count of 16 is a tribute to the 16 steps in Casa Favilli’s staircase.

  • Profile: Medium-Full
  • Vitola: Bronze [Toro]
  • Length / Ring: 6″ x 52
  • Purchased: Online
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, US [Pennsylvania]
  • Production: Casa Favilli
  • Blade: Xikar Xi1
  • Fire: Colibri Firebird
  • Price:$11.99 [Box $191.84]
  • Humidor Age: 1 mo.
  • Box: 16
  • Other Vitolas: Rustic [Robusto 5″x52]  Copper [Corona 6″x46], Oxidation [Toro Gordo 6″x56]

N O T E S

Smoke Time: 1:37
Draw
: Open
Construction: Oily; rich dark chocolate sheen; 2 big veins; nice cap; seamless; very firm; cool band; attractive cigar; prodigious smoke producer; slow burner; struggles to hold 1″ ash.
Aromas:

  • WrapperBright honeysuckle, chocolate
  • Foot – Cherries and chocolate
  • Cold Draw – Chocolate raisins

Tasting Notes:

  • Initial: Draw of cereal  oats and leather; retro notes of cream, toffee, nutmeg and leather; salty, nutty finish with notes of coffee bean; silky smooth; almond notes detected at tail end of retro; settles into nutty profile with dominant notes of black pepper and toasted oats; a chocolate essence pervades; hints spice of spice on tongue increase; develops bitter, paper-like after taste during transition.
  • Transition: Salty, woody draw; leather notes persist on retro with hints of caramel and paper; spice dissipates; finishes more robust with notes of macchiato and oak; notes of cocoa develop as paper after taste dissipates; spice on the  climb again.
  • Transition: Woody, earthy core; wood, chocolate notes on draw; plummy essence; elevated spice on tongue; retro dominated by notes of black pepper, earth and cedar; finish of cedar and espresso; profile becomes overtly woody; not much to get excited about.

Complexity: Very Good but inconsistent
Balance: Very Good
Touch upsN/A
Combustion: Excellent
Weaknesses: Paper-like aftertaste lingers; complexity wanes early
Recommendation: 5 Packer

Recommendation scale:

  1. Go-to
  2. Boxworthy
  3. 5 packer
  4. Yard ‘gar
  5. NR [No Recommendation]

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