Cigar Review: Camacho Powerband

  • powerband_straightVitola: Robusto
  • 5” x 50 ring gauge 
  • MSRP ~$11
  • Purchased at Maxamar Ultimate Cigar

Background

In 2015, Camacho debuted the “Master Built Series” with the American Barrel Aged (ABA). The cigar used plenty of American tobacco (both Connecticut and Pennsylvania Broadleaf) as well as whiskey-barrel-aged Honduran Corojo leaf to create a blend that was very different for the company and epitomized their new philosophy of “boldness.” To continue that philosophy, for the next installment in the series, Camacho created the Powerband, drawing influence from the “power and muscle of a classic V-twin engine.”

Built with a tandem of legendary powerhouses, this latest edition in our Master Built Series is defined by the high-octane intensity of Nicaraguan tobacco and the full-throttle flavor of our Honduran grown Original Corojo. Like firing pistons, the push and pull of these two supercharged fillers is amplified by a proprietary Powerband™ bunching process that maximizes airflow for peak performance.

To fire up a Camacho Powerband™ is to accelerate headlong into an experience that ignites and forces your inner drive to push the limits at every turn.

The Powerband started shipping in June 2016 in 3 vitolas (with the Robusto being available in either cellophane or metal tube). It uses Nicaraguan Corojo Ligero, Honduran Corojo Ligero, Dominican San Vicente Ligero, Dominican San Vicente Viso, and Dominican Piloto Cubano for filler, a Mexican San Andres Negrito binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper.

We ended up not getting this in our shop when it first became available, so I kept my eyes open for it later on, finally being able to pick it up at Maxamar in Orange, CA, when I was out there in October. This review is based on my first smoking of this blend.

powerband_box

image courtesy Camacho Cigars

Prelight

The packaging and marketing that is meant to evoke the motorcycle culture is cool, though not exactly original since General did the same thing a year earlier with the Flathead Steel Horse…and Debonaire also produced the Indian Motorcycle Cigar around the same time, for that matter. Still, Camacho’s interpretation of the theme is well-done…lots of tailpipes and fire, pistons and pulleys, along with other chromed engine parts. The band on the cigar is a continuation of what was done on the ABA last year with a myriad of sayings either prominently or subtly embedded in design (“Push the Limits,” “Legendary Horsepower,” “Rush of Adrenaline”…along those lines).

The wrapper leaf of the cigar was a milk chocolate brown with a good amount of oils under my fingers. It had a barnyard aroma to it, while the foot of the stick had equal parts earth and wood aromas, along with lesser notes of coffee and cocoa powder.

The cold draw seemed a bit tight, but not so much that I worried about it translating into the same when the cigar was going. The cold flavors were of earth and cocoa powder, with a distinctly sweet berry note

powerband_bandFlavor

The Powerband fired up with a medium body and complex flavor that included earth and dark roast coffee bean, dried fruit and hints of cedar and cinnamon. The retrohale had notes of tea and roasted nuts, with just the slightest hint of pepper. That was the thing that struck me most right off the bat…while this blend uses two types of Corojo, some San Andres and Habano leaf–all of which are known for bringing their own pepper notes–this blend started off fairly devoid of spicier aspects. And while it didn’t exactly exhibit the “power” I expected from the marketing, it was certainly flavorful and complex right from the start.

As I powered into the second third, I got an increase in the coffee notes along with a corresponding dip in fruit sweetness. Earth and wood notes continued and were joined by touches of leather.

The last third of the Powerband featured more earth, more leather, and a resurgence of the dried fruit sweetness. The retrohale had notes of black coffee and leather.

powerband_footbandConstruction

The draw was a bit tight at times, but not unsmokeable by any means. The ash was solid and the burn line was even enough.

Value

The price of this Camacho offering is in line with the other upper-end and limited-edition releases. The cigar does provide a superior experience to their core lines, so I’d say it’s a good value.

Conclusions

I enjoyed the Camacho Powerband and thought it was a good addition to the lineup, but I really thought it missed the mark promised in the marketing. While it was full-flavored and complex, it didn’t really have the “high octane” that was promised. Instead of revving high and accelerating fast through the turns, this cigar was more of a cruising speed pleasure journey. Like I said…I liked it…a lot!…but it just didn’t match the marketing hyperbole. If this sounds like something you’d like, ignore the marketing and fire one up.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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