First, an apology: I’m sorry for being such a deadbeat last week. Between a huge proposal at work and a very demanding 9-months-pregnant wife, I’ve had my hands full recently and wasn’t able to get this review finished in time for my weekly slot last Tuesday. Once I make the long-awaited transition from expectant father to up-to-my-eyeballs-in-dirty-diapers father, I suspect that my already limited bandwidth will be reduced even further. Alas, I will drink water and drive on, as they say.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Intemperance EC XVIII, the Ecuadorian Connecticut-wrapped version of the new Intemperance line of cigars produced by Skip Martin and Michael Rosales of RoMa Craft Tobac. Today, I complete the circle with my review of the Brazil Arapiraca-wrapped Intemperance BA XXI.
The name “Intemperance” harkens back to the Temperance Movement of the 19th century that brought us 13 joyless years of prohibition in the United States. The branding is intended to rally opposition against the modern temperance movement, which today targets smoking tobacco in place of alcoholic beverages. The Intemperance is offered in two different wrappers. The first, called the EC XVIII, is an Ecuadorian Connecticut in light of the Temperance Movement’s origins in rural Connecticut and the 18th Amendment establishing prohibition. The second is the BA XXI, a Brazil Arapiraca celebrating the ratification of the 21st Amendment repealing the failed “noble experiment.”
Although I found the lighter EC XVIII to be a well-constructed, fairly enjoyable smoke, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me flavor-wise and was quite a bit milder than I generally prefer. Though a native son of The Constitution State, I don’t typically gravitate towards the milder Connecticut wrappers. On the other hand, I’ve had some luck lately with cigars featuring the Brazil Arapiraca wrapper, so I was very much looking forward to seeing what the twisted mind of Chief Hava could do with it in the Intemperance BA XXI. (Spoiler alert: I wasn’t disappointed.)
Intemperance BA XXI by the numbers:
Size: 4×46 petito
Wrapper: Brazil Arapiraca
Binder & Filler: described as “primarily Nicaraguan” with the remainder being “not Nicaraguan”
Factory: Fabrica de Tobacco NicaSueno in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 5
Duration: 50 minutes
Source: purchased by the reviewer
Looking over the Intemperance BA XXI before lighting up, you’ll notice that it features about 1/4″ of exposed foot, just like the EC XVIII. The wrapper is rustic and toothy, with tiny veins and a bit of mottling. The cigar seems to be very well constructed with a nice, solid roll. Call me crazy, but I swear I pick up a distinct “band aid” scent from the wrapper, with some manure to boot. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed a band aid aroma coming off a cigar wrapper — I’ve also found it in the past with the Emilio Draig K and the Partagas 1845 corona extra. And I certainly don’t mean this in a bad way; I find the smell to be pleasant & comforting, and apparently I’m not alone…
Hmm, where was I? Sniffing the foot of the cigar, I noticed a peppery note of earth. The cold draw offered a good amount of resistance, along with a complex medley of dark chocolate, dark fruit, and more earth.
Upon putting flame to foot, the smoke proved to be just as complex as the cold draw. Lots of different flavors jockeying for position, including red pepper, barbecue chicken (yes, really), toasted cereal, caramelized sugar, and coffee. Despite its diminutive size, this little petito put out an impressive volume of smoke. The ash, burn, and draw also left me with no complaints.
In the second third, the BA XXI transitioned flavor-wise and lost a bit of intensity, but the complexity remained. I noted mesquite, lots of wood, some doughiness, and sweet cream. The pepperiness remained in the background, reminding me almost of sprinkling a few flakes of red pepper into a bowl of Cheerios (no, I’m not writing this review whilst drunk). The burn, ash, and draw continued to be perfect, with the dark gray ash consistently hanging on for a full half of the cigar’s overall length. Additionally, I noticed little to no resting smoke, which is always a welcomed bonus.
Wrapping things up in the final third, I found the intensity building back up again. Up until now, the BA XXI fell squarely into the medium range strength-wise, but perhaps creeps up into the medium-full zone towards the end. In the flavor department, I picked up a sweet & spicy pepper, with some dry woodsiness and a touch more of the caramelized sugar. Again, the construction proved to be stellar, and among all five individual cigars, the only time I found myself reaching for the lighter was in a very strong breeze when I had put the cigar down for several minutes.
All in all, a really great smoking experience. I love this format: quite a lot of flavor packed into a delightfully small package. Even though I’m a pretty big guy (6’5″, 230 lbs.), I gravitate towards shorter cigars in smaller ring gauges (my wife is short & petite, too… uhh, that is, when she’s not about to give birth). This petito is perfect for when you’ve got less than an hour to smoke. And let’s be honest: once this baby arrives, I’ll have even less time to light up so I can definitely see myself smoking a lot more of these. The BA XXI is a nice medium in strength (perhaps bordering medium-full), which should have pretty broad appeal. The blend is also versatile enough to follow a hearty meal at the end of a long day, or enjoyed together with your morning coffee. I think I still prefer the Knuckle Dragger, but I can see a lot of people preferring this over the puts-hair-on-your-chest power of the CroMagnon. Either way, I think Hava Cigar Shop just might have another hit on their hands…
UPDATED: 23 May 2012, 10:36 AM
The good folks over at RoMa Craft Tobac contacted me via Twitter to set up another awesome giveaway for our loyal Stogie Review readers. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post by Wednesday, May 30th, 2012. One lucky winner will receive a RoMa Craft Tobac Logo T-Shirt, pictured below. Good luck to everyone, and a special thanks to Skip and Michael!
44 thoughts on “Intemperance BA XXI (plus giveaway)”
I bought the Volstead sampler pack awhile back and the Avarice was the standout among standout cigars. So much flavor and complexity in such a small package.
Great review! The pictures alone had me wanting to try a petito.
Nice review. I have my Volstead Sampler still at rest in my humidor. I just need a nice week where I can smoke through the entire line.
Love the in-depth write up, Charlie. I’ve been meaning to get an Intemperance sampler, and this review makes me want to try it even more.
I believe I’ve had the same cigar (I can’t be completely sure as I got it in a sampler and they’re unbanded, etc.), but I found it to be a reasonably complex and enjoyable smoke. Good review!
Another excellent review. Nice giveaway, too. Thanks!
Charlie great review, I haven’t had a chance to try any of Skips stuff but I hear great things about all of them. Enjoy the time you have now cause it goes a way quickly. And as a hint that Diaper I sent you in the Christmas pkg…. um… it wont be enough… buy a trailer load full now!!! haha enjoy buddy let us know when she pops
I love their CroMags. Cant wait to try this one!
nice review and nice shirt!!!!!
I felt the same way about the connie version of the Intemperence. Not a bad smoke for that wrapper but not my flavor profile at all. The Brazilian was right in my wheel house of flavor.
Nice review. I love this stick!
I’m a member club and a twitter follower Skip and Michael.
this is my comment for the free shirt. Insert something witty here.
BBq Chicken and Cheerios? Where do I sign up lol….Seriously great review, I have yet to try this or the Cromagnon, but both are on my list….Skip & Mike are upstanding dudes…..thanks for the contest Skip & Mike.
Charlie, once again an outstanding review. I will have to contact Skip and his crew to get a sampler because unfortunately none of the B&Ms in my area carry them.
I love the knuckle dragged and can not wait to try this baby! Thank for this great review!
Nice nub. I do like a connecticut wrapper on a morning smoke. I plan to give this a try.
Great review! I haven’t tried any of my sampler yet, but plan to do so soon.
Just ordered the sample. After reading your review I have to try these. I am really getting into the small produced cigars out there. There’s a lot of really small regional producers that are making phenomenal smokes. Especially in FL. Went to Miami, Little Havana, Tampa, Keys and me and my group only smoked small production cigars without labels. I think this is a trend back to the old days when people had their favorite exclusive boutique roller.
As always, I enjoyed your review. Thanks.
Some weird taste opinions as noted above but ya gotta love the ability to recognize the tastes. Nice work.
Thanks for the review and the giveaway!
Never had any of these but I’ll try them someday I guess.
Nice review Charlie. I’m already a big fan of these sticks.
I enjoy trying cigars with Brazilian wrappers, so the BA XXI sounds like a good candidate for me. Thanks!
I like everything from Roma Craft. Thanks for the review, and contest!
Haven’t tried them yet, 3 hours to the closest real shop and I don’t do a lot of on line cigar shopping. But these may force me on line. Great review and XXL on the t-shirt, I’m a fat guy.
thanks for the review
Very good, very satisfying cigar. Thanks for the review Charlie.
I’ve not seen these yet and my brick and mortar but will ask after them.
looking forward to trying these…
Thanks for the review. I’m looking forward to my first Intemperance real soon! I usually love anything with a Brazilian Wrapper. Keep up the great work Skip!
Ordered the sample and it arrived really fast. It made my memorial day weekend! I smoked two today and they were really flavorfull and smooth. I will be sharing with my brothers at the cookout on Monday. Cant wait!!!
Thanks for all of the comments and nice words.
One thing I hear a lot is “haven’t had a chance to try these” or ” hope these are in my b&m soon”…so I wanted to address both as best as I can.
Unlike many other brands, we actually own and operate the factory where all of our cigars are manufactured. What this means in a practical sense, is that the number of cigars we can produce is limited by two things. First, the capacity of our small factory (<35k/month) and second, the amount of resources we have to buy tobacco.
When we started making the CroMagnon in November, 2010…we were making 2,000 cigars/month. We purchased enought Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro, binder, and filler to support this production. We knew the cigar was great, but we were certainly not ready for the demand that happened after we sold our first cigars in March 2010. The long and short of it is that we had limited resources and weren't able to purchase enough of the right tobacco to meet the demand….so we didn't (no short cuts, no compromise on quality).
We poured every penny from our sales (+about a million more) into buying more tobacco. However, the cycle from purchase to the shelf is 12-14 months. So….CroMagnon and Aquitaine (the Ecuador Habano Ligero version) will be ready in August 2012.
While we were waiting on the tobacco to ferment, we developed the Intemperance. Still, the cycle time for this project is about 6-8 months. We began selling these at Hava Cigar Online in February 2012….and demand has been amazing. (I mean c'mon, it is a $5-$7 boutique from Nicaragua!)
Last year, we started developing our retail strategy. We sold CroMagnon in three retailers. We began opening accounts for Intemperance in May 2012. Due to the limits described above, we will only be able to support about 25 retailers: Texas (10), Oklahoma (1), Kansas (2), Illinois (2), Indiana (2), Tennessee (2), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (2), Delaware (1), Maryland (1) and Florida (1).
Why 25? Simple. Our factory, with current staffing and tobacco can sustain production of 16k cigars/month. That works out to 40-50 boxes of each size in each line each month. While we have more than 100k cigars rollled and ready to sell, we are ensuring our retailers that (unlike some other brands) we will be able to support at least their original order each month. We don't want them supporting the brands, displacing others on the shelf just to have to fill the spaces because we are out of stock.
What this all means is two things. First, if you frequent one of these tobacconists, you will be able to support them directly. If you do not, you always have access to our cigars from Hava Cigar Online which is allocated just as the others are to support our customers in the 39 other states.
The bottom line is that we are taking our time. Taking time to do this the right way. We hope that you find these efforts reflected in the consistent quality of the cigars and in our service to you and your tobacconists. In turn, we hope that you continue to patiently support us as we grow.
By the way…Intemperance is for sale at Hava Cigar Online as I type…there is even a discount for box quantity pre-orders! =)
RoMa Craft Tobac
Great smoke and great review, I like that you pointed out the band aid scent.
Thank you for the great review! I am a big fan of the CroMagnon line. I can’t wait to give these a try.
looks good. Another cigar you cant find in my neck of the woods
I would love to try one of these
Great review! Where can I buy then in Virginia?
I can’t get enough of the Intemperance BA. It has become my daily go to cigar. If you didn’t know you can use the coupon code WTD2012 on http://www.havacigarshop.com/Default.asp to get an extra 20% discount on the following…
Intemperance Boxes, 5 Packs, 10 Packs and Volstead Samplers.
Make sure you follow Roma Craft on Twitter at @RomaCraft to connect with the company and for product announcements. For those who are active in social media I can say Roma Craft is probably the most active company in social and you can easily connect with the owners through their social properties.
Love the Intemperance. Just waiting for the CroMagnon to be back in stock in August. 🙂