In the face of the ever-increasing restrictions on where and when we can enjoy a premium cigar, it’s heartening to see people still passionate enough about tobacco to risk their time and money on the cigar making game. And as long as that remains true, the industry’s future looks bright. One these newcomers is someone you might recognize from his prior work on the football field, Walter “WB” Briggs. The one time New York Jets quarterback recently launched the “WB Brand” line of cigars with the stated mission of bringing “famous celebrities and people from all walks of life together with his premium line of custom blended cigars.”
The inaugural WB Brand line is made by Carlos Torano, and is available in both natural and maduro wrappers, called “The Natural” and “The Maduro”, respectively. (Though it bears mention that “The Maduro” is a completely different blend, not just a different wrapper.) The Natural comes in three vitolas, Toro (6 x 50), which I’m about to review, Torpedo (6 x 52) and Churchill (7 x 48).
But before I get down to it, please keep in mind that the cigars I burned for this review are trade show samples. Meaning, that they did not have the benefit of the same plush treatment and ideal storage environment that the cigar you buy at your local shop has had. Now let light up The Natural Toro and see if it is a touchdown pass, or a fumble.
Size: 6 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Connecticut
Filler: Mexico, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: IPCPR Samples
Price: MSRP $7.00
The WB Natural is a pretty good looking smoke overall, though the band is a little unusually shaped. (When I first saw it, I thought the band was on upside down.) The wrapper leaf is light brown, and traced with fine veins. Aside from a hole near the cap of one cigar, the smokes were blemish free. The cigars also feel well constructed for the most part, though one stick did have a few noteworthy soft spots.
Once out of the cellophane, the sticks had an interesting pungent wrapper aroma that seemed like a combination of red wine and compost. The cold draw felt normal, and tasted like raisins and syrup.
I’ve had a pretty good string of luck with cigars lately, and the WB Natural was no exception. The solid light gray ash, good draw and an even burn didn’t leave much to discuss in the burn department. For a while one stick seemed bent on going out, but it never happened, and that’s the closest I had to a problem with any of them.
The first few puffs of the WB Natural were sweet with a nice roasted nut flavor. Once the cigar warmed up a bit, it mellowed out considerably. Light, sweet paper and cedar flavors were all I tasted for a while. Later on in the first third, the cigar grew a little creamier and the wood a little fuller.
The second and final thirds were pretty similar, in that they came to rest pretty solidly on the sweet paper, cream and light cedar and earth flavors. As the burn line made its way slowly toward the cap, the body gradually built up to around medium. On the way, the earth and cedar components grew in strength and began to eclipse the other flavors.
The MSRP is $7 for all sizes of the The Natural, which lands the entire line in that golden region between six and eight bucks that many cigar smokers prefer. Based on construction and burn characteristics, it seems like a reasonable price. That being said, the competition is fierce in this price range.
The WB Natural Toro is a decent smoke with good construction, but it’s a little too light-bodied for my preferences. The flavors were pretty good, but I couldn’t help the feeling that something was missing while I smoked it. As though the mild flavors were the opening act for a headliner that never showed up. In keeping with the football metaphor, it’s a completed pass, but well short of the end zone.
My biases toward fuller bodied smokes aside, if you prefer your cigars on the milder end of the spectrum, give the WB Natural a shot. It’s available in smattering of shops around the country, as well as directly from the WB Cigar Company website.
Liked It: It was OK
Buy It Again: Probably not
Recommend It: People who prefer mild smokes should try it.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.