The dictionary defines “epicure” as such:

ep·i·cure
/ˈepəˌkyo͝or/
noun
  1. a person who cultivates a refined taste, especially in food and wine; connoisseur.
    “she sipped at the water as an epicure would savor a good wine”

This is the approach Crux Cigars has taken with their latest addition—Crux Epicure. Rather than the full-flavored tendencies of many of the company’s previous efforts, Epicure turns the focus towards subtleties and nuance.

Those who seek the finest of worldly indulgences are considered Epicureans. Their sophisticated tastes demand the best. If this describes you, may we suggest the elegant Crux Epicure. Experience the smooth richness with every draw. Crafted for a discriminating palate.

Epicure Robusto Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 5″ × 50 Robusto
  • Price: $10.00 (MSRP)

It’s been a long road for Crux’s Epicure, a blend that was originally introduced in the summer of 2016 at the annual IPCPR trade show. The cigars debuted in time to meet the FDA deadline of Aug. 8th, but an official launch would be delayed for more than a year. At IPCPR 2017, the cigars were on display once more, this time with an added size (Corona Gorda); making for a lineup of four vitolas. Epicure eventually began shipping in late November, but are only available at a handful of online retailers to this day.

The blend uses a shade-grown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers/binder, marking the first Connecticut-style blend from Crux Cigars. As with all other Crux cigars, Epicure is rolled at the Plasencia factory in Estelí.

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Appearance

While the bands aren’t quite as regal as the cigar’s name would imply, they are easily among the company’s best; showcasing a simplistic three-color palate (red, white, gold) that centers around a deep red backdrop. The boxes are more in line with the epicurean theme, showing a solid cream color and using a new “E” crest logo as the focal point. The boxes use a slide lid and embrace the modern trend of housing only 10 cigars—a style seen frequently with limited edition projects.

Using a Connecticut wrapper, the Epicure is noticeably lighter than any other Crux cigar. The leaf has a pronounced yellow hue (more saturated than the usual dusty gold) and an underlying grassy green tone. This outer covering has a very fine tooth, an assortment of intertwined veins, and no signs of oil. The cigar appears to be well-rolled, showing what looks to be a triple cap, a medium bunch, and an overall solid feel in the hand.

On the nose there are light notes of crackers and lemon grass; the foot offers deeper notes of citrus tang and generic vegetation. With a double-guillotine cut, the robust reveals a medium resistance and  flavors of grass, white pepper, and barnyard hay.

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Smoking Experience

I’ve smoked around five of these cigars, including pre-release samples from the IPCPR show, and I’ve noticed a common thread in that there is always a harsh beginning. Ammonia, burning brush, general astringent and bitter sensations on the tongue… it’s always a combination of these factors for a good half-inch. The best (and only) discernible quality is white pepper, which is sharp but appreciated at this point in the experience. Objectively, the cigar offers a great draw (7/10 on the resistance scale), a dusty ash that is slightly darker than medium gray, and a straight burn that will remain lit for up to five minutes without puffing.



At a half-inch in, the Epicure begins to develop some positive attributes; the first of which is sweetened condensed milk. The remaining white pepper provides a good zip through the nostrils, making for a spicier experience than your average Connecticut. There are also further developments of butter, toffee, and caramel hazelnut throughout the rest of the cigar’s first third. The smoke has lots of zesty/tingling sensations in the retrohale and there is a spicy sensation on the upper lip as well.

Crux Epicure Robusto cigar smoking

As far as the sensations on the palate, the smoke seems to hit the back of the tongue with the most force, followed by the front, and a touch on the sides (bitter > sweet > salty). The construction continues to impress, with ash chunks accumulating in two-inch segments. The overall profile moving into the second third is roughly medium-minus in flavor, mild/medium strength, and medium-bodied. A good amount of cream develops in the cigar’s mid-section, with backing flavors of mineral, sharp white pepper, and anise on the finish. The white pepper and mineral eventually subside, making way for notes of squash, milk, black tea, and creamy coffee. The finish is dry and has a long-lasting cedar note that adds a good bit of complexity to the mix.

When the burn line approaches the band the cigar shows notes of salted crackers, lemon cake (this will set the taste buds on high alert), and nutmeg spice. The profile becomes stronger in this stage, showing a medium flavor, medium-plus strength, and overall medium body. But in the end, the final moments return to the cigar’s off-putting beginning—astringent with notes of dry grapefruit and white pepper.

Crux Epicure Robusto cigar ash

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

Yes, but only if you’re buying! The Epicure is good—does it match the level of hype that’s been building over the past year? Not quite, in my opinion. This is one Connecticut that is soft and creamy, but not so much so that it requires a morning session. Any time from morning to late afternoon will do just fine for this one.

Additional Info:

  • Crux Epicure is the second Crux cigar to mimic Habanos/Cuban nomenclature, sounding quite similar to the famed Hoyo de Monterrey Épicure line. Similarly, the Crux du Connoisseur borrows from the popular Partagás Serie du Connaisseur line.

Profile
  • Flavor: Medium
  • Strength: Medium
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • White pepper
  • Bitter
  • Milk
  • Crackers
  • Hazelnut
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: light-roast coffee, black tea, pastries, cream soda
  • Purchase Recommendation: 3-pack

Crux Epicure Robusto cigar nubbed

Crux Epicure Robusto
The Epicure has been a long time coming, with Crux citing their promise to “not cut corners” as the reason for delay; wanting the cigars to perform at their absolute best before making their way to the public. And after 16 months from the original debut, Epicure developed a fair amount of hype by the time the cigars hit the market. The smoking experience shows a good amount of flavor and more complexity than the average Connecticut, but did not quite match the buildup, in my opinion. This is largely due to overly bitter/harsh/astringent flavors at the cigar's start and end. But once the flavors get going, they are quite enjoyable and refined. The standout portion is at the tail end of the first third and throughout the second third. Flavors range from sharp white pepper and mineral, to creamy coffee, milk, salty crackers, and even lemon cake (perhaps the cigar's "it factor," if it hadn't been so brief). This could be a case where added age could round out the harsh flavors, but then again, the cigars for review aged for at least five months. In the end, I don't see enough deep complexity and refinement to separate this smoke clearly from its Connecticut-wrapped brethren—especially when taking into account the higher-than-average price point.
Appearance89%
Burn/Construction97%
Draw93%
Flavor88%
Complexity85%
Price/Value84%
Pros
  • Great construction
  • Near-perfect draw
  • More complex than average Connecticut
Cons
  • Thin smoke
  • Harsh/bitter start and finish
89%Bitter-Sweet

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