While the majority of cigar manufactures were literally born into the business, a few contemporary tobacco men were not—Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana, Johathan Drew of Drew Estates, Robert Caldwell of Caldwell Cigar Company, and Fred Rewey. Rewey, a Wisconsin native and multifaceted entrepreneur with a background in investment services and marketing, finally decided to turn his fifteen-year-old hobby into a business and launched the Nomad Cigar Company in early 2012. For his freshman release, Fred produced a Dominican cigar with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper in five sizes, including the “Fugitive”—a 5⅞ inch by 64 ring gauge figurado—which quickly garnered unicorn status among cigar collectors. Over the following years, Rewey continued to expand his portfolio of blends, culminating in the 2015 release of the “Therapy Series” which received very admirable ratings on Cigar Dojo.
As he was preparing for 2016, Fred decided to explore additional manufacturing options and eventually decided on Fabrica Oveja Negra in Nicaragua. Owned by James and Angela Brown, this newly-established factory was centered around the production of the couple’s Black Label Trading Company and Black Works Studio boutique cigars. In choosing the Browns’ factory to manufacture his new release for 2016, Rewey recently told Cigar Dojo:
Fred’s inspiration for the blend came from a cigar that was already in production:
With the blend in hand and the Fabrica Oveja Negra factory ready to roll the cigars, Fred went searching for a name for his new cigar. Rewey said:
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Nomad Martial Law Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
- Filler: Nicaraguan (Condega | Estelí | Jalapa | Ometepe)
- Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 50 Toro
- Price: $12.00 (MSPR)
The Martial Law is the eleventh line in Nomad’s portfolio of cigars and the eighth from Nicaragua. Unlike the majority of the company’s blends—which are offered in multiple vitolas—the Martial Law is produced in only one size and carries a price point that is slightly higher than Nomad’s normal production offerings (6″ x 50 Toro, $12.00 MSRP). Individually wrapped in cellophane, the cigars are shipped in twelve-count boxes which have a hinged lid. The toros are arranged longitudinally in two rows of six with a divider between each cigar. A bright orange ribbon is wrapped around each row, allowing for easy extraction.
The Nomad Martial Law is composed with five different tobaccos from two countries. An Ecuadorian Habano wrapper surrounds a binder from Nicaragua, which then secures long-leaf filler tobacco from the four major growing regions of Nicaragua—Condega, Estelí, Jalapa, and Ometepe. Additionally, the tobacco from the Condega and Estelí regions was harvested from the ligero leaves at the top of the plant. A “double ligero” blend usually results in a smoking experience that is bolder and stronger than the flavor profile produced by the vast majority of cigars.
The Nomad Martial Law is a beefy looking specimen, its triple cap secured in rather haphazard manner with two ridges. A few of strands of filler tobacco are also protruding from the foot. The cigar’s Ecuadoran Habano wrapper is lumpy in several areas—with visible seams, some prominent veins, and practically zero tooth. Its color is a mixture of cocoa brown and chestnut, with contrasting swirls of Tuscan red dispersed across the face. A light oiliness produces a smooth, tactile sensation when rolled between the fingers and the cigar casts a scintillant sheen when held in direct sunlight.
The toro is encased with a simple rectangular band printed in the colors of black, red, silver, and white. Residing in its center is the company’s logo, which is lightly embossed. On the bottom right, beneath the words “NOMAD CIGAR CO.” Fred Rewey’s Twitter handle—@GODFADR—is printed in silver typeface. On a historical note, Fred was the first brand owner to include a Twitter address on a cigar. A sub-band around the foot of the cigar is printed in black and orange, identifying the toro as a Martial Law. Very firmly packed from the foot to the cap, the wrapper aroma is a delicate combination of natural tobacco and barnyard, while the open foot smells of cedar, cocoa, damp earth, and dried hay.
After the cap of the toro is opened with a double guillotine cut—to ensure the maximum amount of taste from the wrapper, binder, and filler—the initial cold draw is just a tad on the tight side, requiring a bit of suction to generate an initial taste. Flavors of chocolate, hardwoods, nuts, and white pepper immediately touch the palate, while a spicy tingle from the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper appears on the lips.
After toasting and lighting the cigar with a soft double-flame lighter, the first draw produces a burst of malt chocolate and mixed spices. These initial flavors are quickly enhanced with subtle touches of assorted flowers—much like rapidly strolling past a display of perennials at Whole Foods. By the fifth puff, the toro begins to produce the nuanced and rich flavors indicative of its Nicaraguan tobacco composition—spiciness from the Estelí ligero, softness from the Jalapa leaf, sweetness from the Condega ligero, and earthiness from the Ometepe. The combination of these four filler tobaccos delivers a mouthwatering flavor profile that proceeds in a linear fashion from the front of the tongue to the rear of the palate. The draw of the Martial Law is lush and open, generating an admirable amount of smoke output from both the foot and the cap of the cigar. Aromas and flavors of coffee, earth, hardwoods, and mixed nuts mingle together with the primary notes, while oak and red pepper are dominant on the retrohale. A tingle of spiciness also appears on the tip of the tongue.
As the Martial Law enters into its second third, both the body and the strength of the cigar transitions toward the medium to medium-full range. While the initial notes continue to dominate the flavor profile, the creamy taste of an espresso macchiato surfaces with every third or fourth puff. Understated aromas and flavors of lightly-toasted brioche, Oolong tea with milk, and salted Brazil nuts flirt in and out of the mix, adding to the complexity of the cigar.
Room aroma is reminiscent of a charcoal fire sprinkled with cedar and mesquite chips smoldering on the grate of a Weber grill at moonrise. The burn line is razor sharp, holding slightly over two inches of cinereous and silver ash, highlighted with specks of obsidian between the tightly compressed stacks. On the retrohale, the initial red pepper is replaced by black pepper with just a touch of anise and minerals.
During its final third, the Nomad Martial Law continues to provide a very flavorful and enjoyable smoking experience. With each puff, the espresso macchiato flavor which surfaced in the second third begins to display a slight increase in bitterness—similar to the difference between shots pulled with Lavazza coffee instead of Cafe Bustelo—while a chewy, meaty, and salty note begins to flirt in and out of the profile as the toro enters the nubbing phase. The burn line continues to be razor sharp and the draw remains very open, requiring only gentle puffs to produce bountiful plumes of dense, white smoke. As a bit of roughness begins to appear at the back of the throat, the cigar is placed at the edge of an ashtray and allowed to extinguish itself.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
The answer to that question is, “Yes. And Often.” The Nomad Martial Law is an outstanding cigar which provides over two hours of smoking enjoyment. And the fact that it is shipped in twelve-count boxes makes it an attractive addition to the humidor. In fact, after smoking the review sample, I went out and purchased a box.
- Smoking Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
- Pairing Recommendations: Espresso, French press coffee, Guinness, Beefeater Martini, Kentucky Bourbon
- Purchase Recommendation: Full box
- Lush Draw
- Great Construction
- Bold Flavors
- Not widely available
- Loss of complexity in final third