As has been the trend for several years now, the craft beer trade continues to influence the cigar industry in numerous ways. One major trend cigar manufactures have taken interest in is small batch production. Much like craft beer, a small batch release isn’t just a small amount of cigars. It does mean small numbers, and often times a strict one-time release, but it’s much more than that. It means attention to detail, consistency, and the ability to think ‘outside the box’ without risking large quantities of product.
Smoke Inn, one of the largest online retailers of premium and boutique cigars, has collaborated with numerous cigar companies to create these small batch releases. Smoke Inn owner Abe Dababneh was a pioneer in adopting the craft beer mindset into the world of premium cigars, releasing the “Microblend Series” in 2010. Working with companies big and small, such as Espinosa, My Father, and Arturo Fuente, Abe has a clear vision for his Microblend releases, and thus far has been extremely well received.
And though Smoke Inn recently reached a milestone with its 10th Microblend release, their latest custom blend is a project of a different sort—labeled outside of the Microblend Series. Working closely with D’Crossier’s Santana Diaz, Abe turns to Costa Rica to blend one of his most unique releases yet. With an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and a Costa Rican binder exclusive to Smoke Inn, this is a cigar I am intrigued to see pan out.
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Eight Ball Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Costa Rica (Smoke Inn exclusive leaf)
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Pure Aroma Cigars S.A. (Costa Rica)
- Production: Limited Edition (200 jars of 8 cigars)
- Vitola: 6.5” x 54 Toro
- Price: $9.00 (on sale for $6.24/stick)
Not to be confused with Total Flame’s 8 Ball vitola, Smoke Inn’s Eight Ball comes in stylish and cost-efficient packaging. Following the small batch trend, the Eight Ball comes in tin cans of 8 cigars (not unlike D’Crossier’s recent 512 cigars) with a black and gold pool hall vibe—both smart and sexy. Once out of the can, this Costa Rican mud-blood reveals a delicate blonde Habano wrapper, with some blemishes and revealing seams.
When attempting a straight cut, the delicate Costa Rican wrapper didn’t handle it too gracefully. With a good amount of shoulder damage, the wrapper quickly showed signs of weakness. Pushing past the annoyance, a brilliant draw signals cold notes of cedar and horse hide. Once things got hot, a spicy kick of flavor—cedar, pepper, and musty soil—burst forth with intense smoke.
As I try and get cozier with the Eight Ball, she takes a step back, leaving me with a less satisfying mild-medium body. Flavors also take the slow road, with a decent cedar aroma, more spice and pepper, and a deep earth finish. The retrohale breathes smooth, bringing out a sweet tobacco and sarsaparilla sensation.
Anytime I damage a cigar in the cutting process, I ponder who’s to blame. In this relationship, I fully blame my mistress. The wrapper is thin and flaky, and burns at a wonky pace, asking me for several touchups during my smoke. Although the ash seems to hold on nicely, the Eight Ball won’t let you set her down for a second, always asking you to give her another light.
Fighting past my issues with her appearance, I try and give the Eight Ball an objective observance on flavor quality. Reaching the middle mark, a habanero-like spice still controls the forefront. A zesty black pepper and lemon twist together on the finish, adding a decent amount of complexity to the table. Towards the bottom half, things get tastier, with nuts, toast, and a smooth tobacco core to finish things off.
Would I smoke this again?
Very likely. I would easily recommend this to any lover of Habano-wrapped cigars, as well as D’Crossier fans. Advice for cutting: go with the punch on this one. And remember, keep her lit!
- Stylish Character
- Affordable value
- Multiple touch-ups
- Burns hot
- Delicate construction