With a name like Animal Cracker, how could I not love this cigar? I love cigars and I love to eat. Perfect combination! :)
Below is a little about the Animal Cracker via Seth’s Humidor.
Animal Cracker marks the fifth cigar in the Surrogates brand, and the largest cigar in the Surrogates and L'Atelier portfolio. It is a 6" by 60 ring gauge cigar and has a fuma head. The cigar, like all Surrogates, is made at My Father Cigars in Esteli, Nicaragua, and is made under the strictest of requirements.
Time to smoke this Cracker.
Surrogates Animal Cracker
Vitola: Gran Toro
Size: 6 x 60
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Beverage: English Breakfast Tea
Cigars Smoked for this Review: Two
Smoking Time: 120 Minutes
Price Point: $9 Retail
Cigar Purchased: Purchased from Good Karma Cigar
Setting the Context
Before talking to Seth from Seth’s Humidor, I knew nothing about the Animal Cracker. Frankly, I don’t normally get off on cigars which have a huge marketing cuteness or crazy branding behind them. Based on Seth’s recommendation, I figured I would give the Animal Cracker a shot.
The construction of the Animal Cracker seemed good. The interesting thing was that there was no flex on the roll whatsoever. I really enjoyed the cap on the Animal Cracker which looked like a bellybutton. I have never seen a cap on a cigar that looks like this.
There was a huge nicotine hit on the first few puffs of the Animal Cracker. It was very, very spicy and full-bodied. There were easily detectable notes of earth and spice, but the earth notes were quite muted. I struggled to pick up the flavors over the strength of the tobacco.
There was a ton of smoke production with each puff that I took and very little resting smoke. I was getting tons of black pepper, but very little else. The more I smoked into the Animal Cracker, it started to mellow in strength and gave me a nice cedar sweetness.
The burn of the Animal Cracker got a little off, but I was able to easily touch it up with my lighter. There were a few leather notes, but they were difficult to pick up due to the overwhelming pepper and spice. At this point, I wasn’t super impressed with the Animal Cracker. So far, the Animal Cracker is lacking complexity - it is just delivering an overall kick in the face.
Starting the second half of the Animal Cracker, there was very little change in the overall flavor profile. The second half of the Animal Cracker really mellowed in strength, but unfortunately did not kick up in complexity or dimension of flavor.
The Animal Cracker was very slow burning. This would have been a plus if I had enjoyed it more than I did. Frankly, I did all that I could to search the Animal Cracker for any flavors that were present, but I felt like I was searching and searching for something that wasn’t there.
I had a little trouble getting the band off the Animal Cracker which detracted from my experience even more. As I approached the end of the Animal Cracker, the leather notes from earlier came back and dominated the overall smoke, but the Animal Cracker was still lacking anything outside of that.
There are a couple of reasons why I give the Animal Cracker an 81. First, the Animal Cracker lacked any overall complexity or any flavors which were worthwhile. Second, while I normally like cigars that have a ton of strength, I found the Animal Cracker to be so strong that I struggled to find flavors. Lastly, the price point of roughly $9 coupled with the above points doesn’t help with the rating when many other cigars are better and cheaper.
There are a lot of companies out there which can blend a full strength and full-bodied cigar and still have a complex blend that highlights a lot of flavors. While I can probably say that this was the goal of the Animal Cracker, it missed the mark entirely.
I have been told by a few people that the Animal Cracker needs to rest for several months before you smoke it. I totally believe this is probably true, but it is hard for me to buy a cigar and not be able to smoke it immediately. I do plan on picking up one or two more of the Animal Crackers in the future to let them sit for about 6 months before I revisit.