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.
Roma Craft Tobac Neanderthal
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