Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#NowSmoking: Powstanie Wojtek (War Bear) 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

#NowSmoking: Powstanie Wojtek 2021 Cigar Review (Video)


Powstanie Wojtek 2021 – Cigar Details:

Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A., Nicaragua
Size: (6” x 52) Box-Pressed Toro
Strength: Full-Bodied
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano / Mexican San Andres (barber pole)
Binder: Indonesian
Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

Presented in boxes of 21 cigarscigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - at famous smoke shop


Powstanie Wojtek 2021 Backstory

We’ve all heard of war dogs. But have you ever heard of a war bear? Before we light up this Powstanie Wojtek [pronounced, Poh-shton-yeh Voy-tek] for its cigar review, check out the amazing true story that inspired its name.

It was early April 1942. A group of Polish soldiers accompanied by refugees had just been evacuated from the Soviet Union to a train station in Iran. One of the refugees, a young woman named Inka Bokiewicz, saw a boy at the station who was selling a Syrian Brown Bear cub. After some persuasion from Inka, a Lieutenant named Anatol Tarnowiecki purchased the bear. The young cub followed the refugees to a camp in Tehran where Inka took care of him for the first few months. Eventually, he was donated to the Polish Army’s 22nd Artillery Company.

The soldiers nicknamed him Wojtek – meaning Happy Warrior.

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - set up shot of cigar resting on its box

Wojtek wasn’t merely an army mascot, he was enlisted and given the rank of Private. He served alongside the men of his company – he even drank beer with them! – ferrying ammo where it was needed. For Wojtek’s service during the Battle of Monte Cassino, he was promoted to the rank of Corporal.

The story fits the Powstanie theme: Brothers Mike and Greg Szczepankewicz who also co-own a popular Florida cigar retailer named their brand after the Polish word for uprising. You’ll see symbols on their packaging used by the Polish Resistance in WWII.

And in case you’re wondering, Wojtek survived his exploits in the military and became a Polish national hero. He spent the remainder of his life in the safety of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo. A statue in his honor remains in the city.

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - statue of Wojtek in Edinburgh, Scotland
A statue of Wojtek and a Polish solider in the center of Edinburgh, Scotland.


The Basics at-a-Glance

Construction: Loosely box-pressed with rounded edges and a very thin strip of Mexican San Andres. Like no other barber-pole I’ve seen
Cold Draw: A hint of pepper and raisin.
Base flavors: Cedar, cream, earth, pepper, cocoa, and coffee.
Aroma: Warm and buttery.
Burn & Ash: Nicely stacked ash. No burning issues of note.


Powstanie Wojtek 2021 Cigar Review – Part 1

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - part 1

Wow, this thing is complex right off the line. Notes of cedar, cream, and earth were my welcoming party, along with a layer of black pepper and earth underneath. About a half inch further in, I’m noticing some of the San Andres influences – dark chocolate and coffee. Interestingly, the barber pole format of the cigar gives much more emphasis to the Ecuador Habano. Only a thin strip of Maduro is interlaced. This gives the cigar much more nuance instead of the night and day flavors you sometimes get from most double-wrapped cigars.


Powstanie Wojtek 2021 Cigar Review – Part 2

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - part 2

Around halfway through the Wojtek, there’s some pop-up flavors of baking spices, but still predominantly creamy, woody, and earthy. The cocoa and coffee – which reminds me a bit of espresso – is still lurking in the background. Lots of flavor balance here. Very sweet. Nicely spicy, and a dash of salt here and there that makes my mouth water.   


Powstanie Wojtek 2021 Cigar Review – Part 3

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - part 3

Toward the end of my session with Powstanie Wojtek, the cigar is still burning especially cool despite its full body, thanks in part to its box pressing. The same flavors as above remain, but they’re married now that the smoke has been coursing through the cigar for nearly an hour. And with it, there’s a distinct richness to the smoke – it’s heavy like cream and hangs in the air around you. Plenty of aroma for your senses.


What beverage pairs well with Powstanie Wojtek 2021 cigars?

I’d go non-alcoholic and match Wojtek with a Dr. Pepper. Sweet, fizzy, and has spice to match. Pretty simple.

For additional pairing combinations, check out our Cigar & Spirit pairing guide.


Are Powstanie Wojtek 2021 cigars worth smoking?

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review powstanie wojtek 2021 - set up shot of cigars, one leaning against box, with a bottle of whiskey and whiskey glass

Full-bodied yet approachable is about as good as it gets in the cigarverse, so Powstanie can take my money for Wojtek any day. For a name that’s relatively unknown, Powstanie Wojtek is a little steep on the price tag, but I think they’ve made a cigar that’s worth the money you’ll spend. Consider it next time you’re looking for a weekend burner.

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Jared Gulick

Jared Gulick

Features Editor, Jared Gulick, is a Certified Tobacconist, nerd of all things science, musician and serial abuser of the Oxford comma. He made his way to the Famous Smoke Shop retail store in 2018 and joined the Advisors when it was discovered that he could locate the shift key. Prior to his work in the cigar industry, he was a recording studio engineer, songwriter, and a journalism major at Northampton Community College.

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