These days everyone wants to be in the boutique game. You’ve got entrepreneurial food and drink connoisseurs opening up tiny cupcake shops, quirky burger joints, and microbreweries, and having a good deal of success at it. The big players in these respective markets have noticed and are updating their offerings accordingly in an attempt to cash in on the trend, leading to things “gourmet” coffees at fast food joints and craft beer-style offerings from the big beer houses.
A similar thing is happening in the cigar business. The incredible popularity and growing sales of small manufacturers like Illusione and Tatuaje has attracted the attention of the big guys. One such tobacco titan, Altadis, has offered its answer to the quirky world of boutique cigars in the form of a new stick called Warlock.
If you’ve seen the ads for Warlock in recent cigar magazines, you’ll probably have no problem remembering the spooky looking guy with a five o’clock shadow and a supernatural glint in his eye. If you haven’t, have no fear, here’s the discription that accompanies eye-catching advertisement:
“Bewitching” is an apt description for this exotic, fuller-bodied cigar.
Warlock is handcrafted in Nicaragua by renowned cigar maker Omar Ortez, who works his magic on many of that nation’s finest smokes. The new cigar’s big, bold taste comes from a specially selected Ecuadorian Cubano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and sumptuous blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers.
Connoisseurs of robust, rustic smokes will be left spellbound by Warlock’s powerfully intoxicating flavor.
Unlike some of the new, legitimately boutique cigars we review, you shouldn’t have a problem finding this one. It’s available almost anywhere you can buy an Altadis product. It comes 20 to a box, in five frightfully ordinary-sounding sizes, Churchill (7 x 54), Toro (6 x 54), Belicoso (6 x 54), Robusto (4 3/4 x 54) and Corona (5 1/2 x 44).
So will the Warlock put a hair-raising hex on me, or will it prove to merely the sparkly hocus-pocus of an imaginative marketing department? Let’s find out.
Size: 4 3/4 x 54
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Cubano
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.25
The Warlock is not at all scary to look at, with it’s oily milk chocolate colored wrapper and the occasional medium to fine veins creeping around its length. Aside from a sloppily applied triple cap on one stick, they were without blemish. I couldn’t help thinking there is something familiar about this strange new stick, adn then it hit me. There’s no denying a similarity in appearance to the late Nosotros.
The sticks were rock hard, consistent, and felt as oily as they looked. The wrapper had the usual pungent, earthy compost aroma. The cold draw tasted like cocoa with a little raisin sweetness, and was a little snug.
With the unfortunate exception of the stick I selected randomly for the Tower of Burn, the Warlock burned slowly and beautifully. (And even that one looked pretty good, despite the cracked ash.) Long, solid, light ashes and an even burn was the experience almost every time. The only thing keeping me from calling it perfect was a consistently snug draw. A little too much resistance for my preferences, but completely smokeable.
There seemed to be a little slight of hand happening in the flavor department. By that I mean, I got dramatically different results from several of the half dozen Warlocks I burned at the stake. What follows is the profile I encountered most often. (The others were considerably sweeter throughout, but less complex.)
The Warlock starts its show with a roasted nut flavor with a savory, mineral tingle. Sweetness and grassy flavors were appeared before very long. By the end of the third, each puff was an interesting concoction of chocolate, grass and roasted nuts.
Around the beginning middle third, a creamy nougat flavor appeared, and would fade and be summoned back frequently in this section. A little later I noted the tell tale signs of the infamous Nicaraguan zing and a little butterscotch. The chocolate, grass and roasted nut mixture from before continued.
The roasted nuts that had been a part of profile since the beginning dropped off in the final third and the chocolate turned earthy. A cedar presence also made itself itself known.
The price is a crowd-pleaser. Clearly the spell this cigar casts isn’t one of poverty.
Even with the unpredictability of the flavor profile from stick to stick, I enjoyed the Warlock enough to buy it again in the future. When it was off, it was like lighter-bodied candy, when it was on, it was richer, fuller and anything but boring. And if you’re going to have an off stick or two, that’s not a bad way to do it. (Unless you don’t like candy, and then there’s just no helping you.) This experience a great illustration of why I never work my weekly magic on just one stick.
It’s well priced, it burns nicely, and it’s tasty. If you’ve been holding off on trying it because the advertising seems a little silly, don’t. It’s a good smoke, and it’s worth picking up.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Probably
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
19 thoughts on “Warlock Robusto”
interesting, kind of want to try this altadis stick… thanks for the review brian
I haven’t had one of these cigars, but I think I have one floating around somewhere. Not sure if it was an IPCPR sample or if my local tobacconist gifted it to me. When I first saw it, I though the same about it being striking similar to the Nosotros.
The marketing copy you quoted would scare me away from the brand. If I saw that hanging up on a laminated card in a cigar shop, I don;t think I would have any interest in picking one up.
Well done, as usual
Thanks for the review. And also, thanks for doing written reviews instead of video.
I’ll have to give these a shot. Thanks for the review. As for the ad copy, man is it bad. A really ham-handed way of handling the whole “Warlock” angle. They need to pay more attention to the way the successful boutiques handle their marketing.
PS: good to see another reader around here who also prefers the non-video reviews!
I think I’ll pass on this cigar. As I read your flavor profile, all I could think was “Dominican” tobacco. Grassy, grassy and more grass. It’s a shame that even the Nicaraguan tobacco couldn’t hide that flavor. I’d bank that the filler is 99% DR and 1% N.
LOL!!! No, the percentages are not that bad. But even if it’s only 25% Dominican tobacco, to me, that’s 25% too much for me. Obviously Altadis is looking askance at the boutique guys that are coming up with some nice smokes utilizing mostly Nicaraguan leaf and they want to get in on the action. The thing is that those guys MIGHT include some Honduran or Ecuadoran leaf as well, but not Dominican tobacco. That’s not a good thing for Altadis, as they are heavily invested in the DR, and even when trying to make a so called boutique cigar, they can’t help but slip some DR leaf into it.
I keep passing on this one… I want to try it, but I always am too hesitant. Sound like I will continue to keep passing it by….
I tried this cigar before I knew that it had some Dominican leaf in it. That “mineral tingle” as you called it, struck me as that trademark metallic taste that I dislike in Dominican tobacco. I noted it while I was smoking the cigar and finally Googled it to see what sort of tobacco was inside this cigar. Sure enough, it IS rolled with some of Altadis’ Dominican stuff in it. Too bad, as I like Nicaraguan cigars, but to me, mixing some Dominican leaf into a nice Nicaraguan smoke is like mixing some Castor Oil in a glass of Port.
Oh, and one more thing. A 54 ring cigar is NOT a robusto. Once the trend towards Super Fat cigars passes, I will be a happy guy.
This is not the kind of concoction that I will enjoy again.
The one sample I had was plain awful – which surprises me since I think the Omar Ortez (same maker) is a pretty good smoke.
My local cigar shop gave me five 6×54 Warlock Belicosos. I smoked one of these yesterday and here are some of my thoughts. During the first ¼ inch of the smoke I noted the strong bite of the Nicaraguan filler and during the first inch of the cigar I debated tossing it in the water bucket. Having learned how cigars will transition I made the decision to endure the bitter bite just to see what might happen. After the long filler blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos heated up the flavor the Dominican made a slight first appearance offering a very slight reduction in the bitterness of the overall taste. At about midpoint of the smoke I believe it was the combination of the Ecuadoran Cubano wrapper in conjunction with the small amount of Dominican filler producing a slight hint of sweetness but not ever enough so as to over power the natural characteristics of the Nicaraguan filler. The burn was even and required a minimal amount of attention. The draw was from the beginning smooth and never required real work to acquire the thick smoke a good cigar should produce. I got 4 more of these to smoke and from my first experience with the Warlock I’m leaning towards keeping a few of these around for the days when I want a stronger fuller bolder tasting cigar.
I thought these were pretty good. Don’t know what you guys are talking about but the ones I smoked were delish. Nice review Brian.
I just smoked my first one with an old buddy of mine and I have to say I enjoyed it. The burn was even all the way through, and the ash held on a good inch and a half (when I decided to ash it so it wouldn’t drop on his new carpet). The taste seemed to run on without much change IMHO, but it was a great taste nonetheless. I’ll pick some more up this week.
I smoked one last night. A full bodied cigar that burns exceptionally well. I was very happy with this smoke, especially considering the price.
Thanks for the review. I love this cigar. I had already tried it before I read your review and I really like the flavor. I first tried it on appearance alone. I am glad I did.
Great price at the local liquor store. Love the niq / Dom blend; excellent construction… Gone back for more.
These are my everyday smokers. They have consistent construction and produce a full smoke without constant attention to the burn.
Just finished a 6×54 that I got at my local b&m on sale for $3.00. Don’t think I’ve smoked a better cigar at this price point, ever! A smooth, full bodied, hour plus experience that burned perfectly, with rich and complex flavors. I’ve always been impressed with Ortiz sticks and this one did not dissapoint. I’m going back to buy out the rest of them!