If you overheard someone at your local cigar shop talking about “Carmelo” you’d probably think they were talking about basketball. If folks from Honduras Caribbean Tobacco have their way, the name will soon bring to mind their new line of premium cigars, the Carmelo Primeros.
If the name already sounds familiar in a context other than basketball (or maybe candy bars), it could be because this isn’t the first cigar to carry the Carmelo name. Originally an old Cuban cigar brand, Honduras Caribbean Tobacco revived the name for their 2008 release of the Carmelo Blue and Red lines. We became acquainted with the cigars back at IPCPR 2009 and a short time later I reviewed the Carmelo Blue Robusto. Like the cigars that preceded it, the Carmelo Primeros features a lot of Nicaraguan tobacco, but distinguishes itself with a some Honduran tobacco in the filler and an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper.
For the complete scoop, I recommend checking out our interview with Desiree of Honduras Caribbean at IPCPR earlier this year. Now let’s get down to business.
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Double Binder
Filler: Nicaraguan Esteli and Jalapa, Honduran Trojes
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Samples from IPCPR
Price: MSRP $9.00
The Carmelo Primeros is a good looking stick that visually reminds me of another, but I can’t put my finger on it. But then again, there are a lot of cigars out there featuring a band and ribbon combination. But getting beyond my sense of deja vu, the dark reddish Ecuadoran Habano wrapper was oily, very toothy in one case, and contained medium-sized veins. A couple of the cigars I burned for this review had minor wrapper imperfections in the form of wrapper holes of varying sizes.
The cigars felt good in the hand, reasonably firm, consistent and about the expected weight for the size. The wrapper had a pleasant honey and compost aroma, and the cold draw, a little loose in once instance, produced chocolate, molasses and cedar flavors.
The burn was never perfect with any of the cigars I smoked for this review, but usually wasn’t that bad either. Every stick required a touch-up or two, but in one case, the stick simply wouldn’t remain lit. After repeated attempts, I just gave up on it. Bum sticks happen, which is why I smoke several for each review. Overall, the draw was on the easier side of good, and though the ash often appeared cracked it was actually stronger than it looked. I found it interesting that there was a noticeable difference in the darkness of the ash from one cigar to another.
The Carmelo Primeros got off to a light woody start with a touch of cocoa and almond syrup. As things moved along, aromatic cedar, mild pepper and earth began to emerge.
The body ramped up into the medium range right around the second third, and flavors grew a little richer. But otherwise, the flavor profile remained much the same: Almond syrup, light aromatic cedar, cocoa and a touch of earth. Around the halfway point there was a buttery characteristic to the smoke, and a transition to a more berry-like sweetness.
As the cigar burned into the final third, the syrupy quality of the flavor profile had faded, leaving cedar, cocoa, pepper and nougat to carry things to the conclusion.
The price doesn’t seem out of line with the market.
The Carmelo Primeros was a pleasant smoke with an enjoyable profile, but I kept wanting more body and fuller flavors out of it. My best experience with the cigar was earlier in the day, it just didn’t seem to be quite enough for the evening hours after the senses have been dulled by a day full of coffee and food. Full-bodied cigar enthusiasts may have a similar experience, but fans of mild-to-medium smokes should give the Carmelo Primeros a shot.
Liked It: It was pretty good.
Buy It Again: Maybe.
Recommend It: Yes, to fans of cigars on the lighter end of the spectrum.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.