At the 2018 IPCPR, Crux announced a new extension to the Epicure line that was to be called “Galant.” This name has since been changed to simply Epicure Maduro, due to some trademark or licensing concerns. This seems to happen a lot more than expected in the cigar world. As of now, the cigar is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2019. The Epicure Maduro is positioned as the first true maduro in the Crux catalog.
Epicure Maduro Toro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6¼″ × 52 (Toro)
- Price: $11.50 (MSRP)
This long cigar has a big double cap that covers the elongated tapering shoulder area. It’s not nearly enough to enter figurado territory, but it is notable. In fact, the shape of the cigar’s head perfectly mirrors the cutout shape over the “C” on the top of the label (consistent lines bring me joy). The color scheme for this label works. The black and white and gold is an improvement, in my opinion, from the red of the original Epicure. The whole Crux motif, though, still reminds me of the old Afflicted brand of T-shirts that were popular with people who like getting into fights at the clubs where you order bottle service.
The toro is mostly round, with a gorgeous silky wrapper displaying minimal veins, perfectly flat and nearly undetectable seams, and an even, dark-stained walnut wood color. There are a few lumps and bumps protruding through the wrapper though, keeping it from looking perfectly smooth. The bunch is solid overall, with no soft spots.
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Musty earth, barnyard, savory chocolate, oak, and rubber—these are the primary aromas coming from the wrapper. The foot shows mildly tingling tobacco, as well as something tangy and fruity. Oh my, the cold draw is strange. It’s like puffing on an inner-tube stuffed full of moldy cinnamon candy, Hostess powdered sugar donuts, a buttery ham omelet, and dried peanut butter. One sample had a draw that was a little too open with the punch cut, while others were just fine.
Upon lighting, the Epicure Maduro opens with a sizzling cinnamon candy zing. There is a slow release of chile pepper, soon joined by oak, plenty of spice, and loads of confectioners’ sugar sweetness. Flavors are intense, with a finish longer than a USPS receipt. Licorice pops, building steadily with sweet chocolate spice. The burn line is pretty good, with over an inch of solid ash that has the cracked appearance of dried-out desert floor after a rainstorm; it hangs tight despite its rugged appearance. One cigar showed a harshness in the back of the throat, in places that the smoke doesn’t even really go. It’s like if you could find a way to make the experience of tear gas semi-pleasant and cigar flavored. My first sample was noticeably spicier throughout and, at this point, still had a wicked good Chinese hot mustard burn within the retrohale; whereas this one is much more mellow. There’s a medium-plus body and strength, with flavor jumping out to medium-full already.
The second third brings in some coffee. There’s a great salty dessert, like peanut butter ice cream. Rich and tangy dark fruit leather follows shortly thereafter. Comparing to my notes from the first sample, I had noticed burning lawn clippings—that strange combination of vegetation, fermentation, and charry smokiness. None of that is found here. This one adds an element of spicy Altoids mints and black pepper, settling on the tongue throughout the finish. I can taste perfectly chewy-yet-crunchy gingerbread-man cookies (including the obligatory cinnamon-dot eyes). Strength has increased to medium-full, while body and flavor remain the same.
The final third is showcasing predominant flavors of royal icing and black pepper. There’s a prodigious bump under the band that has cracked the wrapper, affecting the draw a little. Unlike my first sample, which fell entirely flat in the final third, this is becoming more exciting, with flavors of root beer, chocolate, spice, coffee, oak, and licorice, all swirling under the ever-present sweetness. In addition, there’s a spicy cola burn on the retrohale. At this point in the previous sample I wrote, “heading into the final inch and it’s not so enjoyable anymore. Kind of charry/bitter. Typical San Andrés shortcoming that only a few seem to get right. This isn’t nub-worthy, although the first two thirds were very good.” With this cigar, though, every draw brings me closer to giddy cigar nirvana. The strength is full, while the body maintained its medium-plus mark after the wrapper crack, and flavor is still medium-full.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Short answer, yes. Given the seeming lack of consistency or identity in the samples I had, and that this cigar hasn’t even been released yet (and final pricing may change from what they’re saying now), I’m not sure just how vehement that yes answer is. If, upon release, I get a box of cigars that perform like my first sample, I’d be disappointed. That was more of a watch-for-discounted-fiver type of smoke. It was good, but the last third of the cigar went from meh to bleh. On the other hand, if I scored a box of the second sample at projected MSRP, I’d feel that I got a great deal, as this cigar tasted and performed better than a lot of the big-name maduros that retail for two or three times the price.
- Pre-release samples handed out at IPCPR included a sub-band that reads “GALANT;” according to Crux, this will simply be removed on the eventual release.
- Flavor: Medium-Full
- Strength: Medium-Full / Full
- Body: Medium-Plus
- Royal icing
- Sugary espresso
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Forbidden Root (aka grown-folks root beer), Rum & Coke, Dr. Better soda
- Purchase Recommendation: Wait and see (projected between a 3-pack and 10-pack)
- Loads of swirling flavors
- Solid construction
- Has potential to be an exemplary Mexican San Andrés cigar
- Inconsistencies between samples