CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger

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CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger

For my review this week, I decided to check out the CroMagnon Knuckle Draggers that Jerry so graciously gifted me a couple weeks back when we met up in Bethesda for the Benji Menendez event at W. Curtis Draper. Before I smoked one, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it, as it’s billed as a really full-bodied cigar and I tend to stick more to the medium to full range. I actually packed one of these Knuckle Draggers with me when I headed over to Scotland on a recent business trip, and I smoked it one night as I huddled outside the School of Computing at the University of Edinburgh, desperately trying to satisfy my Internet addiction (free wi-fi is often hard to find in the UK, even at hotels). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the cigar that evening, and immediately looked forward to getting back home & digging the rest out of my coolidor.

CroMagnon cigars are the product of a collaboration between Skip Martin (aka @ChiefHava) and Michael Rosales of Adrian’s Cigars. The entire line follows the theme of our paleolithic ancestors, and is available in five vitolas (referred to as the “Taxonomy”): Knuckle Dragger (petite robusto), Mandible (petite gordo), EMH (robusto extra), Anthropology (gran corona), and Cranium (gran toro). They are sold online exclusively via Hava Cigar Shop. Be sure to read on past the video for details about a great deal on these smokes…

CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger by the numbers:
Size: 4×52 (petite robusto)
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan
Strength: Full
Factory: Adrian’s in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 3
Duration: 45 minutes
Source: review samples
Price: $6.00 ($30.00 per 5-pack)
Twitter: @CroMagnonCigar

The rustic-looking wrapper on the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger has a wonderfully oily sheen and the cigar feels well-packed. It gives off musty aromas of cedar and sawdust, while the foot offers an enticing mix of pepper and manure. The cold draw has a nice zestiness to it, but nothing compared to the flavors that kick up once you light this baby.

Immediately upon taking the first few puffs, you’re met with huge flavors of black pepper and grilled steak, along with an undertone of subtle sweetness. Each draw produces a good amount of palate-coating smoke, with little to no resting smoke. The burn was typically well-behaved and the brownish-gray ash held on for nearly a full half of the cigar, even in a stiff breeze.

In the second third, you get even more pepper as the strength continues to build, but never reaches the point of making you feel woozy or queasy. Despite the strength and big, bold flavors, the CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger is pretty well-balanced. The final third brings more of the peppery meat flavor, with a long, satisfyingly spicy finish. This is definitely my kind of full-bodied cigar, and my only real complaint is that the smoking experience doesn’t last even longer.

For more, check out the video of me enjoying this pleasant surprise of a smoke…

(Video length: 14:00)

Soundtrack: “I Wish” by Electric Blue Concept (used with permission) | | @EBCmusic | MySpace | iTunes

Usually, when I’m smoking a full-bodied cigar, I find myself reaching for a Coke or some other beverage to help tamper the strength, but that simply wasn’t necessary with the Knuckle Dragger. In fact, I smoked all three of these samples without any water or anything, including once early in the morning after breakfast that made me feel like a real man. Like I said in the video, I think the CroMagnon just might change my perspective on full-bodied cigars, making me more willing to test the waters at the deeper end of the pool.

Chief Hava recently alerted me to a couple of special deals going on this month that you just might want to take advantage of. Sometimes we forget that most cigar companies, especially boutique manufacturers like Adrian’s and CroMagnon, are quintessential small businesses, and these specials are designed to help support small business. First up, save 10% during the entire month of November at Hava Cigar Shop when you use coupon code SHOPSMALL. Additionally, if you use your American Express card to make a purchase of $25 or more on November 26th, you can receive a $25 rebate as part of the AMEX Small Business Saturday promotion (click here for terms & conditions). If you combine these offers, you can get a 5-pack of CroMagnon Knuckle Draggers delivered to your door for only $6.95! Now that’s a deal!
($30 5-pack + $4.95 shipping – 10% off coupon – $25 rebate = $6.95 total cost)

UPDATE: Wed, 9 Nov 2011, 10:51pm
Chief Hava just contacted me via Twitter to let me know that he wants to give away a free 5-pack of CroMagnon cigars to a lucky Stogie Review reader. Simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday, November 13, and we’ll randomly select one person to receive his or her choice of any size CroMagnon 5-pack (or a sampler containing all 5 sizes). Thanks, Chief!

About Charlie:
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker

Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he currently works as a data scientist focusing on natural language processing and is pursuing a PhD in computer science in his spare time. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Northern Virginia, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker.

114 thoughts on “CroMagnon Knuckle Dragger

  1. Great review Charlie, and great timing. I just had my first one (a Cranium) last night, and was blown away by it. I didn’t get a whole lot of pepper though, so that may be due to the difference in size. I’ll definitely be getting in on that deal! (And thanks to Tony C. for sending this one to me.)

    Best of luck on you PhD.

  2. Enjoyed your review, you really do like that cigar, you have gotten my interest, got to find that cigar, and try it!

  3. My favorite vitola is the petite robusto. I’ll be buying a few of these to give them a shot! I agree though sometimes its too small if your enjoying the cigar!
    Great review, I like the park smoking idea- makes me forget about my condo balcony for a few.
    Also- best of luck on your PhD presentation!

  4. Great review, thanks for the info for the am.ex. Info. Hate that I have to wait till the 26th to order. Money is tight this time of the year, so you can’t pass up on a deal like that.

  5. Great review Charlie. I haven’t had the pleasure of smoking these yet but it seems like a stick well worth trying. Have to check out that amex deal.
    Thanks for the review.

  6. I was lucky enough to smoke one of these… Definitely a meaty stick….. That’s what she didn’t say…. Hahahahahaha Nice work Charlie!

  7. An almost spot on review of the CroMagnon. Skip and Michael have put together a great smoke in this series. My favorite of the lines is the EMH. I found out that is the size they worked the blend with. I would love to buy the set up with the Vanderburgh Humidor, when I hit the Powerball this week.

  8. Nice review. Sounds like a good smoke. I thought I was the only one to get meat flavors out of a cigar. 😀

  9. One of the most flavorful cigars around bar non. The Knuckle Dragger is an exceptional short smoke but the EMH is the Alpha Cigar of the CroMagnon Clan

  10. I am eager to try a couple of these… Any cigar that doesn’t need a palate cleansing drink while smoking it sounds fantastic.

  11. These seem like good smokes, and I am interested in the size. Any cigar where people reference meat flavors is usually something I enjoy (despite not having had meat in over a decade haha).

    Audio sounds good. It sounds like you figured it out, but you should be able to find an adapter or two to split the mono signal at Radio Shack.

  12. Holy cow look at all the freeloaderd looking to land some free smokes…lol! Nice review Charlie! Keep ’em coming…

  13. I’d definitely be interested in trying these out but in a different vitola.

    Charlie, good job on the review. You seem to be noticeably more comfortable in front of the camera and the number of um’s has decreased significantly. Keep up the good work!

  14. Nice review Charlie. These CroMagnon cigars are delicious. Iona College! – Go Gaels. My alma mater. (1978-82 and 84-87) Good luck with the PHD. Thanks for the review.

    1. So you were at Iona when Jeff Ruland was a basketball player, and I was there when he was the head coach, haha.

      Too bad about all the scandals at Iona, though. First the nun who embezzled $850k, and now they’ve admitted fabricating data to the government & accreditation agencies for the past decade. Shame…

      1. Yep. Used to run into him all the time, especially in the college cafeteria. It was also great meeting and speaking to Jim V. He was always walking around campus.

  15. I have been wanting to try these for a while now after hearing the Great Torpedo harp about them! Thanks for a great review

  16. Would love to win a fiver of CroMagnons. Been wanting to try them, but haven’t been able to find them in a shop yet.

  17. Review is getting better Charlie, I have been following this cigar for a while now although I haven’t been able to get my hands on one. Maybe now is my chance. haha Thanks Chief

  18. Jerry, nice review. I am always in search of a smoke that will blow my doors off and it looks like this just may fit the bill

  19. Been looking closely at the Cromag for awhile just have not got around to ordering some. would not mind getting a fiver to give them a try. Keep up the good reviews!!!

  20. Nice review. The Knuckle Dragger is one of my favorite cigars, any time of day, good with coffee and great with Flor de Caña Rum.

  21. This was one of the best new cigars for 2011. A relative unknown cigar and available only through Hava Cigar Shop. The cigar will only improve with age… this is a tasty treat.

  22. I’ve had one of these so far and thought it was pretty tastey. I’m sure they definitely get better with some age on them. Thanks for the review!

  23. Hey Charlie,

    Great review mate! Have yet to hear about this cigar until this review. Always nice to have a full cigar after a large meal, not sure about before a meeting though.

    Good luck on your proposal defense; I have my doctoral comprehensive exams in a few weeks and am definitely feeling the pressure.

  24. Been dying to try these for a while. The strength scares me a bit but would love to give them a try. Thanks for the review.

  25. Good review, I’ve been wanting to try these cigars for a while, I like you am a little hesitant on the full body cigars but your review makes me want to move these up my list of cigars I want to try, keep up the good work

  26. I generally choose more medium smokes, but if these dont have that “in your face” punch, I may take advantage of those deals. Thanks for the review.

  27. I am thinking of picking up some of these. Though I remember when the insignia first started appearing and thinking WTF.

  28. Nice review, makes me definitely want to search these out and get a few…I’m a cigar newbie (6 months) but have discovered I enjoy the fuller bodied smokes…this sounds like a real treat…thanks for the review.

  29. Hey Charlie great review. Audio was good on my iPhone, could not tell it was mono. Funny how some “full body” cigars don’t live up to their billing if they are well balanced. Keep up the great reviews!

  30. Good review charlie, the flavor profile didn’t sound very complex nor appealing for me but you know after all sometimes i would be craving a full body cigar just for its strength.

  31. I’ve always thought these look like an interesting smoke, especially because of that Cameroon binder.
    Certainly a smoke I’m looking forward to trying in the near future.

  32. Great review, and it sounds like a great smoke. I am a USAF Vet as well, and I want to thank you for your service, Charlie. That Cammie binder does sound like it would piece that smoke together well. Thanks again.

  33. Thanks for the coupon code, Skip…my Anthropology cube is almost gone and this will be a perfect opportunity to restock…and on a semi-related note, I’m intensely curious when the boxed & banded versions will arrive…

    1. Man, I missed the Anthropology 30% off deal on the 2nd! Argh! Guess I had better grit my teeth and register for a Twitter account…”argh” again…

  34. Great review. Really enjoying your videos, keep it up!

    Definitely adding these to my wish list. The flavor profile sounds really interesting.

  35. Just graduated to full body cigars. The Cromagnon sounds tasty. I’ll have to pick some up. great review.

  36. Haven’t been able to find these in 3 different states. I should have listened to Jerry Seinfeld and gotten an Amex Card…

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