Camacho has released the anticipated followup to their successful American Barrel-Aged cigar from 2015. American Barrel-Aged (ABA) was a unique project for Camacho, not only for the innovative use of bourbon barrel-aged leafs, but the cigars also incorporated primarily American tobaccos and were rolled outside Camacho’s factory in Honduras—at Davidoff’s Occidental Cigar factory in the DR. These key elements helped form the mindset behind Camacho’s premium Master Built Series.
Almost a year to the date after the announcement of ABA, Camacho announced its successor—Camacho Powerband. And, as with ABA, the cigars hit retail shelves two months later. Powerband continues the brand’s exploration of “all things bold”, featuring a theme inspired by biker culture. The name itself represents an engine’s range from peak torque to peak horsepower—i.e. the “sweet spot”—i.e. maximum efficiency. Along with biker imagery (V-twin engines and piston ashtrays, etc.), the cigars themselves are built to emulate the theme—as Camacho boasts a proprietary Powerband™ bunching technique—said to maximize airflow for a smoking experience that rides in that power band (sweet spot) from start to finish.
The power and muscle of a classic V-twin engine. Peak performance from spark to exhaust. Built with a tandem of legendary powerhouses, this latest edition in our Master Built Series is defined by the high-octane intensity of Nicaraguan tobacco and the full-throttle flavor of our Honduran-grown Original Corojo. Like firing pistons, the push and pull of these two supercharged fillers is amplified by a proprietary Powerband™ bunching process that maximizes airflow for peak performance…
As with ABA, the cigars are crafted in the DR. And while Camacho doesn’t offer many details on the proprietary bunching process, the basic principle is assumed to allow the massive, multinational blend (five countries) to deliver superior complexity, without sacrificing draw/construction (as you may find draw/construction issues with some overambitious blends).
Camacho Powerband Breakdown
- Wrapper: Habano 2000 (Ecuador)
- Binder: Negrito San Andres (Mexico)
- Filler: Corojo Ligero (Nicaragua) | Original Corojo Ligero (Honduras) | San Vicente Ligero (Dom Rep) | San Vicente Viso (Dom Rep) | Piloto Cubano (Dom Rep)
- Factory: Occidental Cigar Corp (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Release
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 Robusto
- Price: $11.00
Powerband arrives in three standard sizes (robusto, toro, gordo), plus a tubo version of the robusto. The look is similar to that of the ABA, featuring Camacho’s vertically oriented band and the added sub-band seen on Master Built cigars. In place of ABA’s barrel logo is the new V-twin “Powerband” logo and the color scheme replaces copper for a light gray (nearly white), having a pearl-like hue. In my opinion, I can’t really relate to the biker theme—not to mention it doesn’t exactly feel completely original in the cigar realm—but the overall appearance is eye-catching, as usual. There is also a surprisingly large amount of additional information/graphics on the reverse side of both bands, which almost comes across like an advertisement for the cigar—not a large complaint but it does feel a bit odd.
The cigar itself looks great! There’s a little oil on a gritty, toothy wrapper that I’d classify right in between Colorado Maduro and Maduro—I could see it going either way, but in the end, I wouldn’t consider this a maduro cigar. The wrapper appears very thick, which makes for easily visible seams and lots of dark veins. The construction feels solid and springy, having about a medium-firm pack.
On the nose, there are lots of cedar aromas, with a hint of mint in the background. And with a cut, the pre-draw feels like a good resistance, having light notes of black pepper.
Lighting up, the first thing I tried to home in on was the draw. It’s nice, very smooth and just a tick under medium. This produces a medium-plus volume of smoke on each puff—so, no “wow factor” but it’s still a pleasing experience. The flavors are of leathers and woods, having a distinct cherry oak on the forefront. With the draw, I found smaller puffs produced better, more complex nuances. Larger puffs are almost overkill in the flavor department, hiding the subtleties with a more one-noted, booming experience.
Moving past the one inch mark, zesty spices begin to emerge in the back of the throat and nostrils. Wood flavors continue, with a little cedar and a good amount of hickory as well. I wouldn’t say complexity is the cigar’s strong point, but considering the theme of the project, I’m definitely surprised at the amount of intricacies in flavor. It certainly isn’t a “ligero bomb”, with nicotine and spice making up the profile, as you may guess.
And as the flavors progress, it continues to surprise—with sweeter nuances growing in the background. There’s a custard-like sweetness, which is accompanied by more of the cherry wood—which borders on the sweetness of stone fruit. A light and zesty spice can be found intermittently, but it’s definitely a lot less than I’d expected. The flavors don’t evolve much past this point, with the exception of a background tanginess. The smoke output dwindles a bit though, becoming a bit of a double puffer by the end. Overall, the profile averages to about medium strength, medium body, and medium/full flavor.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
If it weren’t for the steep price, I’d be smoking these bad boys on the regular! To be more specific, yes, I will smoke this cigar again—I may not buy the box, but I’d peg this around a 5 to 10-pack purchase (depending on the wallet situation). The cigar was very refreshing and surprising, offering a nice complexity, great balance, and spectacular construction. But perhaps the most impressive aspect was the cigar’s ability to hold on to its pleasing flavors up to the very end (as advertised). Seriously, I’m not the type to “nub” cigars—even most Padróns and Fuentes eventually go harsh on me—but this thing stayed flavorful until I finally let the embers die!
As far as the whole Powerband™ bunching thing goes, my opinion is that no, you’re not going to smoke this and say, “Wow, this feels totally different.” And I don’t think that’s the point. It’s not something you should notice. In other words, Camacho has managed to pack a hefty, complex blend of tobaccos into this sucker, making for a more complex smoke than expected. All the while retaining a pleasant draw and consistently flavorful experience, right up ’til that last puff. And that is something you will notice.
- Great construction
- Very balanced
- Stays flavorful all the way to the last puff
- A bit expensive
- Becomes a double puffer near the end