As with almost every cigar that winds up in my humidor this one has a bit of a story behind it. I picked these guys up at a massive sale happening at a favorite local B&M named Blue Havana II. I dropped in to buy up the H. Upmann Cabinet Selections I enjoyed so much recently. Jim, ever the salesman, and I, ever the fool wanting to be separated from my extra cash pointed me at these. He was giving away a beautiful Don Lino Africa humidor, and all I had to do was buy a few sticks to have my name thrown in the hat. And the rest is history.
Not that great of a story you say? Well I have another one for you. This one is actually about the cigar. According to an interview with Cigar Aficionado last year, Nestor Miranda, creator of the Don Lino line was out on Safari in Africa a few years ago. On the lengthy 21 hour flight back, he was thinking about how much he enjoyed his time in Africa. Upon his arrival back in Miami, he was inspired to create the Africa in honor of the continent. To do it right, the box art is inspired by African art, and the names of the vitolas come from the Maasi words for the famous animals of the continent. How’s that for a story? I think I’m ready to smoke it now!
Size: 5 x 50*
Filler: Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours
*Note: When I measured these cigars, I found them to be actually be 4 3/4″ in length.
Right off the bat you can’t help but notice the band, with it’s huge, swooshy letter A. (Swooshy. It’s a word. I swear.) I love band art, and this is one that merits a few minutes to appreciate. Zebra stripes. Gold bands. African inspired hatch patterns. And the name of the cigar imprinted in a font resembling the title of a book. In all, a very well produced band.
But eventually, I had to tear my eyes away from the ornate, flashy band. In my inspection of the darker wrapper, I found it to be pretty veiny and just a little lumpy. The cigar was nicely firm, and without any noticeable flaws.
The scent on the wrapper was a sweet and pungent compost, and more like chocolate at the foot. After a quick clip with my flamboyantly-red Xikar, noted a pleasant sweet molasses flavor in the cold taste.
Looks more like an elephant foot than a cheetah…
There are two stories here as well. A happy, but uninteresting tale about normal burn, and one of a fire horribly out of control. The first Africa I smoked had a normal burn and a good draw, right up until the end of the final third, where it became rather uneven. Not great, but on the whole, not terrible.
The second cigar was like a brush fire on the Serengeti. I had an even burn for a short way into the first third, and just at the end of the last third. In between, burned incredibly erratically, went out, had draw issues, and even tunneled a bit. I lost count of how many times I had to relight this cigar. Fortunately for this review, this natural disaster was the cigar I photographed for the tower of burn. (If it looks like less than total chaos in the pictures, it’s because I was constantly touching it up.)
That’s just fugly.
As the tobacco composition implies, this cigar has a very interesting array of flavors. The cigar began with a creamy combination of coffee and wood. The wood quickly faded and was replaced by a wet fruity flavor. This fruity element remained present for almost the entire cigar.
In the second third, a cocoa flavor appeared and the wood made another brief cameo appearance. In the middle of this third, the ever-present fruit flavor was very much like pear. For a while, it was like smoking a chocolate covered pear.
As the cigar progressed into the final third, the cocoa left and dark chocolate asserted itself. For the majority of the last third, the cigar had a very mocha flavor, and the fruit flavor disappeared.
I paid $7.65 a stick for these, a solid mid-range price. Before I bought these, I had assumed they’d be in the $9 to $11 range. Unlike that burn, this was a pleasant surprise.
Given that one cigar performed nicely, and the other was a crime against the premium tobacco leaf, I’d say that the verdict is still out. But then I did a quick scan of some other reviews of the Don Lino Africa. It seems this cigar has quite the reputation for being a wild child. Assuming that the better cigar was a fluke, I’m going to have to say I didn’t care for this cigar. The flavors are interesting, but they’re hard to appreciate when you have to keep refilling you lighter to keep it going. It’s a shame, I really liked the story behind it.
Liked It: Somewhat
Buy It Again: Probably not
Recommend It: Probably not
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
35 thoughts on “Don Lino Africa Duma”
I have seen burn problems with these although they have been infrequent and nothing like the catastrophe you experienced. At $7.65, it doesn’t sound like much of a bargain. But CI has them at around $100.00 for a box of 25 and they go cheaper on CBid. Even the Tembo, at 7.5 x 50 is less than $5.00 a stick by the box at CI. Would better pricing have an effect on your “Buy it again” and “Recommend it” evaluations, assuming reasonable burn?
yesterday on twitter I mentioned smoking the Old powder Keg for my Friday review, and you went on to tell me you just bought some and it was a good thing I said something.
Then during the video i almost said that I was going to be smoking the Don Lino Africa next week, courtesy of Ace (Thanks again)
I’m thinking we should start talking about what we are going to be smoking… lol
You guts can also try doing a video review together of the same cigar or even while doing a segment of YQMA.
Sorry, it was supposed to be you guys.
That is something that we talked about recently. We are going to give ti a shot but haven’t put anything into motion just yet. Maybe for episode #28 we can coordinate something.
Hey Brian, I have a feeling you might not be winning that humidor bud. lol . Nice review, I was mentioning in the forum how it’s sometimes nice to hear a negative review as it means one less stick I have to try to hunt down.
Yes, at the greatly reduced prices you’re talking about, I probably would give some thought to picking up another. If for no other reason than to give it one last chance to impress me. If I could be sure of having a repeat performance of the first cigar, which was pretty well behaved, I’d be much more inclined to buy another at any price.
I gotta say it did have a very interesting set of flavors!
Oh man! Talk about a comedy of errors! Yeah, we need to work on our inter-Stogie-Review communication. Hey, there’s nothing saying you can’t still smoke it! I always try to smoke something new, but it might be interesting for us both to review this cigar for the sake of comparison.
As Walt said, we’ve talked about it. I’m for it, but as you can tell, I’ve been a bit lax in keeping tabs on what Walt is up to!
LOL You’re probably right! I’m such a sucker for those contests. Especially when all I gotta do is buy some smokes. But you know what? I really scored big while I was there. I got some phenomenal deals, and Jim threw a couple sticks at me for free to review on my way out the door.
I’ve had these in the past and enjoyed them, but the burn was awful. I’ve got a review about half written on these, just never could get around to smoking another one.
I, for one, would like to see a follow-up review on the DL Duma. At real world prices, with an admittedly interesting flavor set, the burn issues are all that stand in the way of a great value. I have had these that smoked along like troopers, not needing a touch-up until after an hour. I wonder if dealing with these is not similar to the Obsidian, where 65% is better, especially given the thick oily wrapper, than 70%. If you get one of these that burns well, as I have been, it is an extremely interesting smoke.
Now you gotta go write that review! And link here!
You make a good point about the humidity. The burn I got on the second might be consistent with it being over humidified. Both sticks came out of the same humidor, but the second one WAS closer to the humidification unit.
It is an interesting smoke, I’ll give you that. If the second smoke actually IS the exception to the rule instead of the norm, that would tip the scales more in its favor.
Too bad it didn’t smoke that well. But still made for another great review.
I think a joint cigar review would be great. I saw a couple Walt and Jerry did a long time ago, and enjoyed them a lot.
Brian, I had the same trouble with the five that I have had. I loved the taste but the burn was way out of control! I’m going to give them a year to see if they fix that issue. It’s a shame.
Be careful what you wish for- we will be revisiting the Don Lino Africa in this upcoming YQMA! Make sure to check it out. Without giving to much away, this will be the first time Walt and I have smoked the same thing in the episode. Hopefully we’ll be able to work it out so we can continue to do so in the future.
Will this cigar continue to be a smoke I don’t care for? Or will the exotic African-themed cigar tame to my will? Only time will tell on the next YQMA! (lol)
If as many people are having burn issues as it seems, that’s probably a very good plan. Sooner or later, they’ve gotta revisit it if they want to keep selling it!
Interesting, thanks for setting the stage for the next YQMA. If you need sticks for this gala event, you can Quick Buy all you want over at CBid for $17.50 the five pack.The current winning bid is only $11.00 for five. At $3.50 a stick on QB, you’re making a B & M donation of $4.15 per cigar, a tip, as it were. I’m all for supporting B & Ms, but don’t like to feel like I’m doing it single-handedly.
This is an information intensive world now, and the information gets promulgated quickly, even more reason for it to be correct. Without beating a dead horse here, I must say that I cannot find anywhere where Don Lino Africa Dumas are being sold at $7.65 a pop. Even the Tembos, almost twice the size, don’t appear to be listed that highly and are available widely at less that $5.00 a stick. As for the burn, that varies. I smoked a Kifaro, their Torpedo, last night that required no touch-ups through the first hour and fifteen minutes and grew a three inch ash in the process. It is unfortunate to see a stick, perhaps a whole line, broadly dissed almost out of hand.. I don’t want to come off here as a DL Africa apologist, but I have yet to see the burn problems described and, even if I did, I’d spend the butane dollars to get those flavors. Properly humidified, the DL Africa line offers an interesting and diverse set of flavors, never bores, and, purchased with circumspection, offers those qualities at a near-bargain price.
Gee thanks Ace. I was more than happy with the sub par review but now that you went and put in your two cents it looks like I may have to find one after all. All this contraversy has turned this cigar from a “do not try” to a “must try.” Way to go! I think the least you can do now is send me one. lol
Okay, did I understand correctly that Walt and Brian are BOTH about to review the Old Powder Keg? LOL. We’re apparently on the same wavelength, guys, because I have an OPK robusto review queued up to go. You doing the new natural or the maduro?
The reason you haven’t seen the Africa going for $7, is because you’re looking online! In this post, I actually reported the price I paid for the cigar at a local B&M. Which, as it turns out, is a bit higher than the MSRP of $6.24. This was a whim purchase for me, so I didn’t comparison shop. (Besides, I like to spend a few bucks in my B&Ms to make sure they stick around!)
You’ll have to be sure to catch our next YQMA (which we recorded last night) and see how it went for us the second time around…
clint in canada,
Don’t take my/our word for it, but don’t pay more than what ace tells you! You can smoke it while you watch YQMA! lol
I gotta say, I love the controversy this review has stirred up!
Since we definitely have an Africa fan in the audience, here’s a fun little clip of Nestor Miranda discussing the Africa at RTDA last year. (In case you haven’t seen it yet.)
Thanks for your reply. I think we have nicely set the stage for YQMA. Just one more thing. If you are in the custom of paying 22.2% over retail for cigars, would you PM me your address? I will set up a cigar store right to your house with Xikar cutters in all kinds of flamboyant colors and plenty of pricey smokes. As an SR principal, I’ll sell to you at the bargain price of 15% over retail. Can’t wait for the episode. I have alerted all my friends in the Masai tribe to watch it, so I hope all goes well.
@ace considering the tax in Georgia is 23% of Wholesale on cigars the price he paid isn’t that unreasonable.
Maybe the price level is the issue here. If it is true that the flavor profile is interesting, then the question becomes how much inferior burn does one put up with for how much money. For two bucks a stick, I’ll throw in a little butane. At $7.65 a stick, I would probably pass too.
Ace, I agree with you that the flavor profile is worth at least trying this cigar. I paid $4.50 each for the Kuro, this was the cheaper of the two prices I found in a B&M. I personally had nothing but bad luck with the burn so I will wait and see what happens in the future.
This sounds like one of those smokes that one should try for them self.
I realize it’s been a couple weeks since the review was posted, but just wanted to let folks know CI is running a pretty sweet deal on these: 10 cigars (5 Dumas and 5 Kuros) for $25. Not sure what the rules are here about links, so I’ll just mention it’s item #SP-6GASST1.
The Don Lino Africa are notorious for being hit or miss… as in the extremes only… no middle ground. The bad part of that is that a stinker is truly horrid. The plus side however, is that when you get a good one, it is just damn amazing. The ratio of good to bad is about 80% per box I’ve found. And I buy a lot of boxes of the Kifaro (torpedo), simply because when they are on, they are superb. I would recommend trying out the torpedo size a couple times so you can experience the nirvana that is an ‘on’ don lino africa……. I would be horrified at buying 20% bad sticks month in and month out if the highs weren’t so incredibly high….
A little trick regarding the burn on these….. they are super-fussy with 70% or above humidity. Dry them out for a bit before smoking and your burn will be rewarded. Here in AZ I just set it out for 30 minutes and it’s ready to go….
I store mine at 68% and they smoke just fine
There is a reason you see so many deals on these cigars. It is easily the worst thing I have ever smoked. It was just terrible – like smoking a tire. I got mine from a local shop for about 6 bucks and I would have preferred rolling 6 one dollar bills together and smoking those instead. Seriously. The smoke from these abominations make Chuck Norris cry.
I found this discussion board this morning while price checking for Tembos. I have been smoking these since 2007, when I first found them at Mr. and Mrs.Cigar in Milford, PA. I have never had the burn quality issues some of you talk about and anyone who thinks these cigars taste like tire rubber ought to get to an otolaryngologist without delay. As to price, I have never paid more than $125.00 for a box–truly a lot of bang for the buck!
Dry cedar, earth, not impressed. Mine was a smaller Gage, maybe 6 by 44. Good burn, not much else. I question whether tobacco is fully or properly fermented, the inconsistancy between my experience and the author as well as other reviews makes this stick a not recommended