A while back I reviewed a cigar from the company Total Flame (Review of the Total Flame Old School) and was quite impressed with the blend. Their sales representative contacted me and offered to send me some more samples after, so I obliged, as I thought it was a good smoke that I would buy again. Fast forward a few weeks later and a package arrives with two FTW limited edition blends and a Total Flame Nicaragua. I tossed one into my travel humi and fired it up during a long night of friends, camp fires, and a good ole fashioned redneck get together. The first FW I had, was my third of the evening, and I remember being thoroughly impressed, so I made a point to review the other sample ASAP. The wrapper is absolutely gorgeous, and I knew looking at it this must be from Plasencia, but I cannot verify it. Recently Callie, their rep, became a member of Cigar Federation and posted about Total Flame HERE.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan "El Corojal"
Dry Draw: reminds me of a dark chocolate filled with raspberry filling you find is a Sees candy box around Christmas time.
First Third: The FTW started out extremely rich, with nutty, cocoa flavors, that continued to remind me of a fine box of chocolates. Right off the bat the finish was long and savory, lingering for minutes really. This was a prime example of full flavor on the draw, as the draw sat on my palate and slowly crafted a blueprint for what was to come. The amount of flavor was stunning, and I was speechless, which rarely happens in a review.
Second Third: I forgot about taking notes for a while. The nutty flavors began to shine on the retro with hints of spice. The finish was still long, and enough to walk inside, grab a tasty beverage, come back out, and taste the FW like I just took a draw. I just wanted to eat chocolate, drink a porter or creamy stout right now and forget about writing. Sometimes the review gets in the way of enjoyment, this was one of those times. By now I cannot say there is a ton of depth in regard to nuance of flavor; rather, a wonderful core of nuts and creamy cocoa that are overwhelming on the draw.
Final Third: Hints of white pepper showed up on the retrohale, while the flavor profile stayed the course. Butter and sugar notes start to hit, and the sugar reminded me of rock candy, like the little colored sticks you get at Disneyland. The finale had significantly less cocoa, and coffee notes picked up on the finish. The final third saw the most complexity and change, as overall, the FTW became a spicier cigar. The pepper finish that lingered back of mouth and on the retro was excellent.
Construction: No issues, but it did smoke a little wet, so I would suggest storing at 65 or lower
Final Thoughts: The beauty of reviewing is we get rather spoiled trying new things, so our palates get blasted with all sorts of average-great cigars. Every once in a while, something pops out and blows you away, and the Total Flame FTW did just that for me. I honestly think this will hit a ton of palates, and highly recommend to everyone. If you are a fan of Elogio, specifically the LSV, you will love this, buy it blind. While the profile did not have a ton of spice until the end, I think full-bodied fans will be quite surprised, as this was arguably the most full flavored cigar I can think of. The draw is a perfect example of delivering a freight train of flavor without overpowering the senses. I am immediately recommending my local shop to pick them up, and harassing the boys at our store to pick them up as well. I have a friend grabbing a ten pack for me today, as they are very hard to find. The good news is, their rep is a member of Cigar Federation and I would imagine will answer anyone’s questions on where to buy this amazing blend. This will be in my Top Cigars of 2014, and will be stiff competition to beat. Of all the cigars I have freaked out about over the years, I think the FTW is one that will hit more palates then just mine.
P.S. You should all message Callie for more info ;)
Final Final Thoughts: Yeah yeah, it was that good I needed another paragraph so deal with it. I was speaking with a friend of mine whom is a collector of epic proportions, the kind of guy whom has Castro’s cigars in his humis. Recently we both continually talk about how far Nicaraguan tobacco has come, and blends like this keep proving they are evolving at a fast pace. They used to be known as bold, strong, powerful, spicy, woody, and other descriptors that suggested a much fuller experience then their Cuban counterparts. As of late, blends like this keep popping up, that have such a unique rich flavor, they set Nicaragua apart. Just as I raved about Regius, The Reagan, Domus Magnus, and Elogio last year making cigars I would smoke as regular as any Habanos, I feel the same way about the FTW. A blend like this stands apart as a testament to the rich flavors you cannot find anywhere else in the world. I long for the day that tobacco like this can be blended with Cuban tobacco and create a truly profound experience. For now, I keep buying up cigars like the FTW, as they are as good as anything in my collection.