- Vitola: 5205 (Lonsdale)
- 6.375” x 42 ring gauge
- MSRP $8.50
- Purchased at Burns Tobacconist
Warped Cigars is one of those brands…if you’ve been smoking cigars long, you know what I’m talking about. Brand appears seemingly out of nowhere. They have a charismatic and/or photogenic “brand owner.” They make a lot of buzz on social media and in events in a short amount of time. Some people rave about their cigars very, very loudly…enough that you start calling them fan-boys. Others can’t ever seem to find those cigars. Some of these companies last…but the highways and byways of our beloved industry are littered with the wreckage of brands like 13th Floor and Dissident, while other brands like Emilio and 262 are like cars found stalled (and maybe abandoned) along the side of the road, and other brands just seem to be aimlessly running about and completely lost.
Two years ago, when Warped first really came on the scene, I was a little wary of the company, mostly because of the fan-boy-driven hype. That seemed to be a bit borne out a year ago when the buzz just completely died at the shop I work at. Nobody cared about Corto. Futuro sales had become moribund. It took over a year to move the last final boxes in stock of El Oso and La Colmena. No one was asking anymore for Flor de Valle or La Hacienda. By the end of 2016, I fully expected that we might never order from them again. But sometimes a slow burn keeps the fire alive.
Warped’s major release for 2016 was the Maestro del Tiempo…and it suddenly was all the rage. A couple customers asked for it and Cigars & Spirits Magazine called it the “#1 Boutique Cigar of the Year” (whatever that means…separating boutique and “mainstream” cigars into separate categories seems to be a fruitless battle). So we ordered some and I bought one to try out…and it was really good! So I got a couple more with the intention of doing this review.
Maestro del Tiempo means “master of time” in Spanish and Warped’s website describes it as the “culmination of the years of blend testing and improvements for this marca. Several years and scouring the depths of Aganorsa through their vast lineage of regions, farms, and lots to make this blend happen.” As indicated, this is 100% Nicaragua “Aganorsa” tobacco…basically meaning the fields were owned (or operated) by the Casa Fernandez factory, where the cigars were made. Specifically they used Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 in the filler and a Jalapa Corojo 99 wrapper leaf.
The box design is pretty standard “wooden box” which is what most of Warped’s releases use. It’s a good traditional look without any great surprises, but it’s not a drawback, either. The band is a purple design surrounded by lots of embossed gold foil. It’s good-looking without being overly ornate. The type size used in the middle of the band to say “Maestro del Tiempo” is small, though…so small, in fact, that even in the photos from the companies website, where the cigars are blown up at quite a bit more than life-sized, the type is all but illegible. It’s not a complete failure of design, but it could be so much better. I’ve heard it before…”Yeah, but I don’t smoke the band!”…but the band and box absolutely DO matter as part of the marketing of the cigars, developing brand recognition and making them easy to find in a crowded humidor. I can’t hold every customer’s hand and lead them over to this box of cigars…there needs to be something about the presentation that grabs their eyes without me needing to be there.
The cigar itself had a peanut butter-colored wrapper leaf with a little variation and mottling in the color. It had a mostly smooth and slightly oily feel with a mildly sweet earthy and floral aroma. The foot had that more typical “Nicaraguan” aroma of pungent earth and cocoa powder and coffee beans.
The cold draw was excellent and tasted of sweet hay, natural tobacco, earth and strong black coffee.
The Maestro del Tiempo started off with a mix of natural tobacco and molasses up front, followed closely by black pepper, cashew, and earth notes. The smoke was thicker than I would expected for a medium-bodied smoke, but overall it was a short, clean finish that left just a peppery residue on the palate in the moments after a puff. One the nose I got mostly just a strong red pepper blast at the beginning.
The Maestro smoked creamy and smooth from the first third into the second, with plenty of natural sweetness and a fair amount of pepper in the mix. Notes of molasses and nuts vied with cedar and earth for supremacy, trading off frequently.
As I cruised into the final third, earthiness had seemingly won the battle and led the charge, though sweet molasses and cedar flavors still showed themselves at times.
The draw was very good on the Maestro del Tiempo, the burn line was very even and the ash was solid up to an inch long.
The price point under $10 a stick is a bonus on a cigar this good.
The Maestro del Tiempo is the finest cigar I can remember having from Warped Cigars. It is a medium-plus bodied Nicaraguan puro that displays some of the best characteristics of that country’s leaf without being a powerhouse. The flavor is steadily very good while also being very complex and keeping my interest from end to end. It reminds me in some ways of Four Kicks by Crowned Heads, and those that know me know that that blend is one of my all-time favorites, so this is a high compliment. Packaging may hinder it from grabbing attention in a crowded humidor, but this is a cigar you should seek out if you love medium-bodied cigars and Nicaraguan leaf.