Shortly after overhauling the Camacho brand in 2013—including consolidating the Camacho portfolio to only a handful of the brand’s most popular blends—Camacho began experimenting with barrel-aged tobaccos, launching the American Barrel-Aged cigar as the first in the Master Built Series. This involved aging Camacho’s signature Corojo tobacco in spent bourbon barrels for roughly five months, incorporating the seasoned leaves into the cigar’s filler recipe. The strategy proved successful, leading to similar experimentations with rum barrels (Nicaraguan Barrel-Aged) and even barrels used to age imperial stout ale (Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged).
Each of these projects were either limited in production or premium in price, leaving room for Camacho to take the experimentation to its logical conclusion by applying the technique to its best-selling cigars within the Camacho core lineup: Camacho Connecticut, Corojo, and Ecuador. At the 2019 IPCPR trade show, Camacho showcased barrel-aged renditions of these three, adding the designation of Distillery Edition. All three cigars feature Camacho’s signature Honduran Original Corojo tobacco, which has been aged for six months in used bourbon barrels.
Camacho Connecticut Distillery Edition Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Binder: Original Corojo (Honduras)
- Filler: Original Corojo (barrel aged) | Generoso (Honduras) | Aleman Ligero (Dominican Republic)
- Factory: Diadema Cigars de Honduras, S.A. (Honduras)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6″ × 50 (Toro)
- Price: $9.25 (MSRP)
All three Distillery Edition cigars are rolled in the same 6″ x 50 toro size and priced at $9.25, being Camacho’s most affordable barrel-aged project to date. The Camacho Connecticut Distillery Edition positions the barrel-aged component in the cigar’s filler, joined by Generoso and Aleman strains (both are proprietary hybrid seeds). Original Corojo is also seen in the binder, being finalized with a shade-grown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
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In terms of packaging, Distillery Edition features the same lacquered boxes seen on Camacho’s core lineup, including the vibrant color scheme that differentiates each blend. There is new Distillery Edition artwork added to quickly differentiate the cigars from the traditional versions. The bands are more along the lines of Camacho’s other barrel-aged projects, being rectangular in shape (as opposed to the coffin-like shape of the core-line original) and flipping the color scheme from primarily colored to primarily black. There’s no denying that this is an attractive cigar from the outset.
The Connecticut wrapper is spot-on, looking like the archetypal gold-hued Connecticut found in magazine ads. It’s fuzzy to the touch, having a fine vein structure, nice-looking seams, and a triple-capped head. When squeezed, it’s perfectly springy, showing no soft spots and clocking in at around medium to medium-plus in terms of filler bunching. The wrapper gives off a generic barnyard aroma, being backed by complexities of musk and orange rind. The foot shows lemon grass, cedar, and sage. With a straight cut, the draw is virtually perfect, sending light, nondescript papery flavors across the palate.
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The first puff of Camacho Connecticut Distillery Edition is dry in texture, zipping through the nostrils with a decent amount of white pepper (at least as far as Connecticuts go). The dry texture works well with a primary flavor note of unseasoned popcorn, which becomes the highlight flavor through the cigar’s first third. A buttery sweetness begins to form in the background after a quarter inch; this builds to something more along the lines of butterscotch not long after. At a half-inch and through the first third, the retrohale intensity decreases, with buttered crackers, florals, and vanilla pudding taking its place.
If the draw isn’t perfect it’s only a hair too firm, but that’s a criticism that’s only relevant if your standards are utter perfection. Each draw brings in a satisfying medium amount of smoke, being altogether medium-light in strength, medium in flavor, and medium in body. Whether or not it’s a placebo (does it really matter?), the profile picks up a spirit-like twang, somewhere in the realm of butterscotch schnapps or Baileys Irish Cream. It’s a smooth smoking experience, though being a bit weightier than your average Connecticut.
The smoke hits the palate first on the tip of the tongue (sweetness), followed by the front-sides (saltiness) and back-center (bitterness), showcasing that classic Connecticut bitterness with enough cream and sweetness for proper balance. Moving past the half-mark, the toro delivers an impactful mouthful of sweet cream pie, offering the cream upfront and bitterness underneath. Of note, this is my personal favorite moment in this cigar’s hour-and-a-half journey.
The final third begins strong but doesn’t quite go the distance in the final stretch. This kicks off with a floral-inspired blast of perfume, giving way to bitterness, barnyard hay, and dwindling remnants of the standout cream component. As the cigar heats up approaching the nub, this brings out a touch of sourness, seemingly combining with the leftover cream to produce a buttermilk-like flavor—something I enjoy when found in a cigar’s profile. The sweetness is completely removed before reaching the cigar’s end, giving way to a bitter finale that boarders on astringent.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I have and I will. This is a nice twist on a solid chassis, adding a little more sweetness and caramel-like twang to an already-enjoyable core blend. The original Camacho Connecticut is already capable of handling itself outside of morning sessions; the Distillery Edition extends this a bit more. No, it’s not your after-dinner smoke, but as an evening smoke? Go for it!
- The Camacho Connecticut blend was the first collaboration between Henke Kelner (of Davidoff fame) and Camacho after the purchase of Camacho by Oettinger Davidoff AG back in 2008.
- The Connecticut blend uses two filler ingredients—Generoso and Aleman—that are unique within Camacho’s portfolio. The Aleman seed was engineered in Germany and made its way down to the DR and then Honduras.
- The Connecticut blend was one of only two Camacho blends that were said to be unchanged after Camacho’s brand overhaul in 2013.
- This is not the first time Camacho has offered a tweaked version of their best-sellers in place of an entirely new brand/brands, as the BXP series of 2017 showcased the same three blends with added Broadleaf in the filler and box-pressed shapes.
- After the 2019 IPCPR trade show, Cigar Dojo aired two episodes of Smoke Night LIVE called First Impressions, where 15 of the new-release brands from the trade show were smoked for only their first 10 minutes, offering up potential insight into a cigar’s performance. One of the cigars I personally ranked was the Camacho Connecticut Distillery Edition, which I rated 89 (I didn’t go back and check how I rated it until after scoring this review, for what it’s worth).
- I’ve smoked all three Distillery Edition blends on multiple occasions and I feel that the Connecticut sees the most noticeable improvement from the barrel-aged leaves, as the more mild character allows for more evident influence from these unique barrel-aged leaves.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium-light
- Body: Medium
- Sweet cream
- Bitter hay
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Caramel Irish coffee | Wheated bourbon (roughly 90 proof) | Cream soda
- Purchase Recommendation: 10-pack
- Low maintenance
- Good balance of sweet and bitterness
- Consistent from one cigar to the next
- While profile has some edge to it, there are times when I felt it could use a little more punch or attention-grabbing flavor element
- A bit too astringent in finale