Nomad: Aged to Perfection

We’re experiencing a bit of a slow Thursday afternoon here at Ralph’s, which means it’s the perfect time to sit down with a new cigar and really savor it. There’s been a box or two of the Nomad S-307’s hidden in the back room since they first dropped in 2013. They’ve been kept at a perfect 70 degrees and a balmy 68% humidity, so they are just as fresh as the day they dropped, with a decade of time to mix and develop a whopping flavor profile. The moment it’s pulled out of the package, yellowed with age and the natural oils of the Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, I can smell the subtle sweetness, gentle spice, and leather. 


It comes in a box pressed torpedo, 6.5 inches and a 52 ring gauge. The lines of the box press are crisp and sharp, with invisible seams and only a hint of veining. It is satiny smooth, and I almost don’t want to smoke it. What’s that phrase about having your cake and eating it too?

I sat down with a black coffee and cut into the torpedo with an angled cut (one of my favorite cuts recently- the angle gives a real nice pathway for the smoke to curl about the mouth, allowing the flavor to disperse equally over my palate.) The cold draw gave immediate notes of black licorice, pepper, cedar, and an additional dried fruit sweetness. The pepper burst out when I first lit it up, but it’s not overpowering. I find that there are two kinds of spice in a cigar, one that lingers in the throat and back of the mouth, and another that sticks around the lips. The former I really appreciate, but the latter tends to make me think I’m having an allergic reaction. Thankfully this spice is all the first, and it’s cut by a cherry sweetness on the back end. The strongest flavor notes are a cedar and a leather taste, for a medium smoke that’s just verging into medium-full. 

You can really tell that the aging has been at work here. The flavors have truly melded together at an almost molecular level, slipping in and out of sweetness and earthiness without ever truly abandoning that spice- at least in the first third. The burn wavers just a bit, but stays even without canoeing. About a 50 ring gauge is really the sweet spot, I think. It gives a ton of flavor without burning too quickly, so you can still savor it. That cherry taste lingers in the mouth, but it's not the chemically fake taste of a lozenge or cheap candy- it tastes like an old school cherry coke, one made with real sugar, real ingredients. 

The second third brings back the dark licorice with a passion. Luckily, I’ve always been a huge sucker for black licorice- one of my favorite candies. The cigar is a touch salty, and the anise pushes out the spice of the pepper. The leather has kicked up a notch, and the whole thing has faded down to a true medium. Maybe it’s just the coffee I’m drinking, but I’m finding subtle notes of espresso and a hint of chocolate amidst the complexity. 

As I head into the final third, I start to feel the early warning signs of a nicotine head rush. It’s probably a good time to mention the Ecuadorian Habano binder, and the pure Nicaraguan filler- the source of the spice, if I had to guess. I like a Habano, but using it as a binder is a semi-unusual choice. It’s really paid off for Nomad here though. It’s taken on a creaminess that tempers the nicotine, but I’m feeling the strength kick back up. This is a real rollercoaster of a cigar, but I’ve always been one for thrills. If I wasn’t working I’d pour a finger or two of a dark bourbon to complement, but even though the coffee is growing cold it's getting the job done. The complexity of the flavor has skyrocketed without being overwhelming, and the earthiness continues to creep up. I can feel the heat now, with only about an inch left. That dry cocoa is doing God’s work. If I had to divide these flavors up, I’d call out the cherry sweetness, earth, caramel, just a touch of spice for depth, cocoa, a faint herbal note and a creamy caramel. 

All in all I’m just upset we only have a box or so of this stick left. My vision is blinded by thick, white smoke, and I can feel a little head rush as I look out the window on a delightfully bright spring day. Life’s pretty good.

This is a blend for an experienced smoker- someone who can appreciate the myriad of flavors and the kick of nicotine at the end. It should be on every smoker’s must smoke list. I know I’ll be going back for seconds, once the nicotine rush subsides just a bit. 

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