The Roma Craft Tobac Neanderthal is the newest core line released by Roma Craft. Roma Craft was founded by Skip Martin and Mike Rosales. Roma Craft cigars are made in Esteli, Nicaragua at Nica Sueno which is co-owned by Skip Martin and Esteban Disla.

When I asked Skip about the Neanderthal he said, “I had the concept, I knew what I wanted to make, but I didn't have the skill or experience to realize it. After a few years here and an introduction to a new, high nicotine content filler leaf from Pennsylvania, I revisited the project. It is a very complicated blend that depends on both structure and content for its aroma, strength, flavor, balance and physical characteristics. It isn't for everyone, but it is exactly what I wanted to make. We are very proud of it.”


Skip went on to say, “I personally take a lot of pride in it because for me, in a way, it is my senior thesis. It represents the sum of the knowledge and experience I've earned here over the last few years. I still have a lot to learn.”


Cigar Coop gives some good background on the Neanderthal.


He (Skip) was introduced to a Pennsylvania Double Ligero leaf known as Green River Valley Sucker One (GR-S1).  This is a regrowth leaf from Pennsylvania broadleaf that has a natural higher nicotine level (between 9% to 13% - significant higher than the 5% - 6% found in Esteli, Ligero).  Using this blend allowed Martin to increase the blend.  Various filler tobaccos were then added to balance out the flavor and aroma.


I will admit I love almost everything Roma Craft has done to date with the exception of the Slobberknocker and the Craft 2013.


Note: The Neanderthal cello says the cigar is a 52/58 but I confirmed with Skip this isn’t correct. The correct ring gauge for the Neanderthal is 52/56.


Let’s go.

Roma Craft Tobac Neanderthal

Vitola: Figuarado

Size: 5 x 52/56

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Filler: Pennsylvania Double Ligero (GR-S1), Nicaraguan (Conega, Jalapa, Pueblo Nuevo, Esteli), Dominican Republic (Olor) via Cigar Coop

Cigars Smoked for this Review: Two

Price Point: $12 MSRP

Smoking Time: 120 Minutes

Cigar Purchased: Samples provided by OG Weasel


Quick Note: For this review we used my rating system. You can view it in detail here.

I can’t lie. The shape on the Neanderthal is something I haven’t seen before. It has a complete flat cap and the foot bulbs out and then tapers from a 56 to 52 ring gauge. The San Andres wrapper is super toothy and has a red tint to it, which is unique.

Upon the light you will have no doubt this is the strongest cigar you have smoked in a while, maybe in your lifetime. There is a red chili spice right away followed by a cinnamon black pepper combo which sits on the back of the tongue. The body of the Neanderthal is almost in the full range. It has an interesting finish which starts quite tannic but quickly fades into an English Breakfast tea and has an astringent quality.

As I start the second third the body of the Neanderthal increases and a nice sweetness appears. The sweetness quickly fades to almost a soy sauce. There is a spice, which I call white pepper, which is dominant on the retrohale.

It is impressive how much flavor the Neanderthal has. It is actually nice to see a strong cigar which focuses on flavor vs. just blow out your ass strength.

Into the middle I can really feel the strength of the Neanderthal in my gut. I know most guys out there like Catfish would be calling some dinosaurs, but for most people a little sweet tea will do the trick. I didn’t actually drink anything during the review, which is testament to the balance of the Neanderthal.

Into the final third black pepper really kicked up and coated my tongue and lips. As I write this the Neanderthal loses all the black pepper and drops to almost medium in body. I pick up notes of sweet bread and Tabasco.

All the way to the nub the Neanderthal remained cool, never got bitter, and I burned my fingers trying to enjoy every last bit.

Conclusion: All I can say is, “wow”.

Overall Rating: 95 AKA “Box Purchase” even if it a 50 count box

Views: 1024

Comment by reidmorebooks on August 8, 2014 at 7:53am

This. Is. Texas. Can't wait to try one of these, thanks for the review. 

Comment by Mickey irratebass on August 8, 2014 at 8:56am

Sounds great, but $12 a stick......kinda high, hope I can score a fiver somewhere......great review

Comment by Catfishbluezz on August 8, 2014 at 9:59am

Yeah...I'd ralph

Comment by Catfishbluezz on August 8, 2014 at 10:01am

Funny thing is, I am not sure why strong nicotine cigars get to me, when I smoke pipe so often, which is stronger really.  Pipe gives me that first cigarette nic sick buzz.  I actually have to watch the pipes, because if I smoke them too much, I get the nicotine addiction back like I had with cigarettes.

Comment by Charlie on August 8, 2014 at 10:15am

I love when a cigar has that pure nicotine rush! Lots of lightweights around here ;) I think for the difficulty of the roll, rarity of the tobacco, and quality of the tobacco....I feel that $12 is a good price but I am not a fan of 50ct boxes, I feel this smoke should be in 10ct for $110.99. Anyways you know the Roma fans will grab them up, great review Logan....I was hoping for a group style.

Comment by Mickey irratebass on August 8, 2014 at 12:00pm

Yeah, I guess that's what I meant Charlie the box count........I do know of a place that will have 25ct bundles though......just may have to "bundle split" ha

Comment by Charlie on August 8, 2014 at 3:43pm

When Famous Smoke Shop gets them in they are only selling them in 25ct bundles and I think that is a thing.

Comment by Stefan Lindblad on August 8, 2014 at 7:41pm
I sometimes wonder if the 50 count boxes are designed to encourage consumers to buy from a local b & m. I, for one, don't have the resources to buy a 50 ct, but I can go to a shop to buy a handful. Now, that argument means nothing if an online retailer sells them in smaller packaged quantities.
Comment by Stefan Lindblad on August 8, 2014 at 7:42pm
Oh, and after this review, I am more eager to get my hands on one to try.
Comment by Smokin Logan (Man Angel #1) on August 10, 2014 at 5:39pm

I am not sure why the trend of 50 count boxes is happening recently with Illusione R, Epicuren Gonzo, this cigar, ect. I would assume it brings the overall box cost down and passes along the savings to the customer. It makes total sense for the Illusione R, because it is a low cost cigar. The highest price point cigars in 50 count boxes still has me wondering.


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