If you have not noticed, Crux is really making the rounds this year and coming out of the gate as a strong new boutique company. I have been reviewing for almost four years now, and every year as I get more engrained in the process, I find it to be rather watered down. New companies pop up every month, and for me, it takes a lot to get me excited about a brand or new release, because so many of these boutiques taste the same or end up underwhelming. Jared made a point to introduce me to the Crux guys at IPCPR, and I stopped in for a quick interview. The guys handed me one of each of the blends, and as I slowly smoked through them, I was consistently impressed with the flavor profiles.
The Ninfa was a flavor bomb and my first introduction to the brand based on Jerad’s rating of 96. I smoked the Bull and Bear, and Passport samples to help determine if the company was deserved of a spot on one of my end of the year lists. Both were smoked during herfs, not on a clean palate, and both impressed me. The Bull and Bear was so good, I handed it over to my shop owner and told him to smoke it for five minutes, and he agreed instantly on the quality of flavor. I kept the classic for review, so I could make a point to take the time and really break down the complexities I had experienced in the other blends.
Dry Draw: stone fruit and white pepper
First Third: Smokey caramel, if that is such a thing, came right out of the gate. Notes of hickory and oak rounded out on the entire tongue, with a toasty finish. The foot had a nice oil ring, and you could tell the wrapper had the oils to deliver the flavor. The Classic was like a chocolate caramel candy bar merged with a hickory smoked steak. A combination of savory and sweet flavors combined for an exciting first third, that reminded me of a meal really, almost like you could chew on the smoke.
Second Third: I got lost in the Classic at this point, and before I knew it, I was at the halfway point. Rain was falling, and I wished I had a porter or bourbon to pair. The body seemed to decrease a bit, while the nose became more distinct. White pepper and clove blasted the nose, while the draw continued with the savory notes and hickory flavors. The sugar from the caramel was not nearly as huge in the mouth, and became sharp and pronounced on the tip of the tongue, as opposed to the entirety of the mouth.
Final Third: The burnt caramel came back into play, and the finish was much heavier. To a degree, the Classic was a bit fuller then I prefer, but the experience continued to impress. Clove notes and an earthy cumin spice picked up through the nose and lips. The savory finish continued to hit, and mixed with the smooth caramel for a full finish. The Classic really was like smoking a steak at times, especially at that point. Right at the end, a nice cotton candy hit the note pad and made me chuckle a bit.
Construction: no complaints, love the marble head.
Final Thoughts: Box Split – 93. Given the price point, this is a no brainer. Even for me, the profile was a bit full, but I know given my experience aging cigars and reviewing, that I will love this in about 1.5-2 years. For now, the Crux Classic is a situational cigar, in that I would grab it specifically after a BBQ meal or with a specific pairing of bourbon or a porter. The only problem with Crux cigars, is the damage they will do to my wallet, given I am on a buying halt of sorts. I need more Crux in my life, and look forward to getting a Bull and Bear to review next, as we already covered the Ninfa’s and Passport on Cigar Federation. What I will tell you, is smoking through the samples I had, Crux has shown me they have the ability to blend quality cigars with experienced palates that are full flavored and complex. At this point, I plan on buying 5-10 of all of them. The only reason they are not box buys for me, is I cannot afford to buy four boxes!!! My guess is this blend will appeal to many palates, as it has enough spice for the Nicaraguan fans, and enough complexity and quality finish for picky reviewers like me. Thanks to the guys at Crux for giving us their time for an interview at the show and the samples for review. Their ranking as our #3 new release for the Passport is well deserved.