To smoke, or not to smoke? That is the question of Hamlet Liberation, the third major release from Hamlet Paredes who said: “I wanted to create something different, something liberating.” Made with an Ecuador Habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan-Honduran core blend, did our Review Panel sing its praises? Click now for the answer…
Camacho Powerband Cigar Review – Video
Camacho Powerband Cigar Review – Cigar Advisor Review Panel
CAMACHO POWERBAND ROBUSTO
New from Camacho is Powerband: made with five countries’ worth of tobaccos, it’s a cigar that’s designed to rumble across your taste buds with the subtlety of a V-twin with the throttle wide open. And as it turns out, this one has a trick up its sleeve, as Powerband is more than just a name – it’s a new bunching technique that the Camacho cigar rollers are using to create a different kind of draw to maximize flavor…and in true Camacho style, there is much of it. Ligero and Corojo tobaccos abound, of course, but you’ll see that we found a very smooth and creamy side of these normally uber-robust tobaccos. We’ll peg it at medium-full, but suffice it to say that it’s a good thing the Advisors have a soft spot for a big n’ beefy cigar – it is Camacho, after all.
But before we dig into the newest installment of the Cigar Advisor Review Panel, here are a few things that we found out about this cigar: how quickly a cigar can hit its sweet spot…how much a difference in size can make in flavor (we smoked the Robusto for this Powerband cigar review, but had the Toro a week earlier), and how smoking it slow will intensify the experience.
So let’s fire up our Camacho Powerband cigar review: watch for our reactions to this new cigar, and keep scrolling to get all of our tasting notes on the Powerband robustos we smoked.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5″ x 50
Wrapper: Habano 2000 (Ecuador)
Filler: Corojo Ligero (Nicaragua), Original Corojo Ligero (Honduras), San Vicente Ligero (Dom Rep), San Vicente Viso (Dom Rep), Piloto Cubano (Dom Rep)
Binder: Negrito San Andrés (Mexico)
Jonathan Detore’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: I usually don’t judge a book by its cover, but one look at this and you can kind of tell it’s going to be a beefy cigar. It’s dark, it’s oily, and just looks a bit menacing. As far as the actual construction, the wrapper is gorgeous with no protruding veins with a cap that’s locked on tight. Very well done.
Draw: The bunching technique Camacho uses on the Powerband is a proprietary method that ensures a perfect draw every time, and with all the samples I’ve smoked so far, I can report first hand that it works like a charm.
First few puffs: A good deal of pepper hits you up front. Not enough to knock you down, but enough to grab your attention. It recedes a little and begins to come and go throughout. Along with pepper, you’ll experience a salty/sweet note and heavy earthiness.
Base flavors: Massive earthiness and mineral notes, some pepper, a salty/sweetness, creaminess comes around after the pepper wears down a bit… I mean, it’s got it all. But if you really want a true base flavor, it has to be earthiness.
Aroma: It’s powerful, but I would say it’s creamy with spice mixed in. It might sting your nostrils a bit, but it rounds out the smoke really well.
Burn/Ash: The burn is great all the way through. Camacho wouldn’t put out a crummy burning cigar as part of a special series of cigars like the Master Built Series. It doesn’t really waver too much and any burn issues will come from over/under humidification or improper lighting. As far as the ash goes, it hangs on rather well, but it won’t stick around for more than an inch and a half or two inches.
Balance of Flavor: Very well balanced. As the strength increases, so does the complexity from a plethora of flavors.
Consistency: From one smoke to the next, it’s pretty consistent if you stay in the same size. But since size matters in terms of cigar flavors, I will warn that the flavor and strength levels differ ever so slightly from size to size: the Toro, as I found out, will be a little smoother – while the Robusto I smoked for this Powerband cigar review packs more of a punch early on.
Overall this is a wonderful cigar. So far everything in the Master Built Series from Camacho has been absolutely stellar. The complexity is there, but in terms of strength, I would warn novice or intermediate smokers who aren’t used to stronger offerings to turn their attention elsewhere unless they want a bit of a challenge. But for the full-bodied lovers and strong cigar lovers out there, this is a cigar you need to try.
Positives: Complexity, burn, construction, smoke production, and above all, price.
Negatives: The strength can really knock you out if you’re not careful. This isn’t a morning cigar by any stretch of the imagination and I recommend this offering after a decent sized meal. Also, take your time with it. The faster you smoke, the faster the strength will hit you. If you take your time, you won’t find yourself overwhelmed and you can truly enjoy this magnificent cigar.
Tommy Zman’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Dark, toothy & oily
Draw: Super smooth
Base flavors: woody, charry
Burn / Ash Quality: solid
Camacho is all about BOLD and with a name like Powerband, this cigar holds true to form. This new offering features a five nation blend containing seven, yeah count ‘em, seven different tobaccos. You really have to employ experienced, top of the line rollers when creating a cigar like this and there’s no doubt Camacho has done just that.
I’ll first start with the draw which is impeccable as a mountain of thick and creamy smoke bellows from this beast, again, due to the expertise of the torcedores who bring this smoke to life. The ash is a solid gray and holds nicely until you tap it.
As far as the flavor profile goes, this is definitely a complex cigar, but you would expect that with seven different tobaccos involved in the creation. I got a very woody and charry profile throughout with some natural sweetness as well. It’s definitely going to pair well with coffee, a bold red wine or a good whiskey.
Lastly, let’s talk about strength. In my opinion, this isn’t a cigar for beginners; it’s for smokers who want to kick back after supper and spend time tasting the nuances and the complexities it has to offer. We did our review video at 9:30 am and it’s just not made for breakfast. But after a hearty dinner or a nice barbecue meal, this full-flavored stick will give you the body and strength that holds up nicely on your palate.
The final thing I noticed in our Powerband cigar review is that this one definitely tastes different than other Camachos I have always enjoyed. To me, the Corojo, Criollo and Connecticut all have similar base flavors, but the Powerband is unique to me and I like that. This is a hell of a well-made cigar and a very tasty full-flavored treat, one I will be making a definite part of my nighttime, post-meal rotation.
John Pullo’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Slightly bumpy with a few modest veins, but wow – what a nice, deep Colorado color. Mostly firm throughout but for the foot; that’s a little loosely packed. There’s a fair bit of tooth to the wrapper, and it has just the slightest bit of sheen.
Draw: Each of the cigars I smoked for the Camacho Powerband cigar review had a slightly loose draw, opening up to good airflow with one snip of a v-cutter. Turns out, this is why the Powerband got its name. More on that in a few…
Pre-light flavor: Right off the bat, I notice a great barnyard pre-light aroma. The taste is a little peppery, and dominated by notes of charred wood.
Toasting & Light: Each of the cigars took flame relatively easily.
Base flavors: Predominant flavors were of wood, plus some salty-sweet, earthy, and hay-like flavors – but overall, very meaty with a tinge of pepper and spice from time to time.
Aroma: Excellent aroma to this cigar – it’s a room pleaser, for sure.
Burn / Ash Quality: The ash holds well, with a light grey to near white color. The burn line on the one I smoked for the Powerband cigar review video was near perfect, a trait evident in every sample.
Consistency: Actually, I’d call this Camacho way more complex than consistent – there is a lot of nuance to this cigar. The spice falls off relatively quickly; there is some nuance at work behind the scenes, with some really interesting flavors poking their heads in there from time to time – but no massive transitions.
So it would seem that Camacho’s rollers have happened upon a new bunching technique for this cigar, which is how it got the name Powerband. It’s meant to enhance the air flow throughout the smoke and allow the flavors to reach their potential more quickly…from what I can tell, anyway. This goes a long way in helping you keep a slow smoking pace, which will probably save you from yourself if you tend to over-smoke your cigars.
From my experience during this Powerband cigar review, the technique pays off. You’ll likely pull a thick and creamy smoke from this cigar, and since the flavor ramps up right at the start – most every puff at the beginning is laced with spice and/or pepper. Be warned: this a pretty beefy cigar. Not overpoweringly strong, but just beefy – right out of the gate. It doesn’t take long for the medium–full body to blossom into full effect by the half-inch mark. You’re best served by taking your time and pacing yourself with this one. The 5-nation mix makes for a very savory experience – like a hearty meal – so I’d look elsewhere for a breakfast cigar, unless your breakfast is out of a lumberjack cookbook.
There is an occasionally sweet, almost refreshing quality to this cigar when you go back to it after about a minute or two. And with as much ligero as there is in here, it goes to show you that – even when it’s coupled with a big dose of Corojo and a pretty feisty Habano wrapper – the end result can be very smooth. Smooth, hearty and creamy are the order of the day here; dare I say skip the booze and smoke this with a coffee, and I’ll bet you have an excellent experience.
Gary Korb’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Extremely well made. No soft spots, tight seams. Wrapper is even in color with no protruding veins.
Draw (airflow): Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Earthy-leathery.
Toasting & Light: Cigar lit well and evenly, but the ligero caused it to take a little longer than usual.
First few puffs: Smooth and creamy with a lot of earth, salt and sweet tobacco flavors.
Base flavors: Earth, salt, sweet spice, wood, pepper.
Aroma: Earthy with a sweet tobacco fragrance.
Burn / Ash Quality: Excellent. Grey/black ash is very firm through the first inch.
Retrohale: Strong pepper shot that gets right-up into the sinuses.
Balance of flavors: Perfect.
The Robusto started-out with a smooth, medium-bodied character; not the peppery start I experienced in the Camacho Powerband Toro review I posted several weeks ago. Similarly, this cigar had a lot of thick, creamy smoke issuing from the cigar’s head with virtually no prompting, almost like it had a smoke pump inside of it. (A tip of the hat to the Powerband bunching method.) The finish was long with some sweeter notes peeking through.
The cigar revealed a thick layer of spice and pepper with a fair amount of salty-sweetness remaining in the mix. The strength started to take on a new dimension at this point, too, as more flavors revealed themselves. Thick smoke continued to flow easily from the cap, and I was beginning to think how it this cigar would taste without that extra volume of smoke.
The return of the Pepper King. In a cigar of this length, when you get down to those last couple of inches, the flavors can sometimes go south on you. In this case, it was like the peppery layer marched-forward from the back row and everything else had to get out of its way or be crushed. That said, the balance of flavors didn’t tilt, and those final puffs, though potent, stayed true. There is one caveat, however: if you want to fully appreciate the complexity of this cigar, leave a little extra time between puffs, otherwise, you were warned.
If I made this cigar sound like it’s more overpowering than it is, let me put it this way: the Robusto (the size we smoked for the Powerband cigar review video) is undeniably strong, yet it has so much going for it in terms of flavor, complexity, balance and aroma, the strength really becomes secondary. There are many cigars with this level of power that I would’ve chucked shortly after the first inch. Not in this case, but watch out; that third act is a doozy!