Format : Toro
Size : 6.5 x 54
Wrapper : Dominican Republic
Filler : Nicaragua/Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : $7.00-$8.00
In the last couple of years, there have been several new cigar companies that have transcended the need to just create a good cigar. Some of these new cigar companies are trying to project themselves not only as a cigar maker/factory but a lifestyle brand within the cigar industry. All of us know the most famous of these brands, such as Drew Estate and Tatuaje. But Pete’s Tatuaje brand and Jonathan Drew seem to be the old players on a team of new school stars which consist of262 Cigars, 13th Floor Cigars, Viaje, Room 101, and last but not least Panacea Cigars aka Flatbed Cigar Company. Many of the brands stated above have gone “modern” with their branding even including graffiti in their labeling and merchandise (i.e. “Urban” Cigars by Augusto Reyes and clothing by Tatuaje), modern rock or even hip-hop as influential muses for their cigar creations, unconventional vitola sizes, and even political/social movements in an attempt to break the mold of the conventional cigar brand. Flatbed Cigar Company seems to have gone in a completely opposite direction, trying to keep it “old school” in their vision, but not “old school” in the sense of Cuba, Nicaragua, or Dominican, but instead towards a vision of “Old School Americana.” Flatbed Cigar Company harkens to the historic pasts of years gone by in the country sides of Pennsylvania, and its rich past as one of the largest producers of cigars in the world. Their packaging is unique in the fact that cigars are sent not in boxes but in vintage looking tin cans or old wood crates. Sample packs are packaged in old burlap sacks, and even their clothing reminds me of Dickie’s work wear from decades ago. But don’t let unique packaging fool you, Flatbed’s concentration is on the leaf, and nothing more. Their stated philosophy is “put all the money into tobacco. If we focus on making great cigars they will sell themselves over time.” With good marks from several different reviewers, I don’t doubt their philosophy will hold true.
…………………………..on to the cigar shall we?
I am a sucker for lighter shade cigars and the Hitch Pin delivers that classic tan corojo coloration. The cigar has minimal veinage with only one visible vein traveling halfway down its side but is very thin and looks as if it will not pose a burn problem. The wrapper has a nice oily sheen to it, making my mouth drool already. Other attributes of this cigar include tight seams, smooth outside, tightly packed and stiff when squeezed, and a crooked triple cap. Wrapper aromas emit sweet earth and vanilla, and pure sweet tobacco to the foot. Not hardly a flaw to list here, just an awesome looking large, 6.5×54 cigar.
I snipped the head with my guillotine cutter and the Hitch Pin exhibited a good amount of resistance on the draw, but allowed plenty of air to pass through. The burn was razor sharp throughout the entire stick except for a very minor touch up to the foot once. The ash on this stick was tremendous and held on tightly for almost half of the stick. I only ashed this cigar twice, total, during the duration of the smoke which lasted about two hours.
I got straight straw flavors on the dry draw. The first couple puffs my tongue was met with initial flavors of sweet hay/barnyard, earth, and a maybe a touch of vanillin thrown in the mix. Farther down the burn line, into the 1st third, the primary flavors are sweet earth, touches of vanilla, and cedar. Occasionally I would get blasts of floral musk that are commonly found in cigars such as Davidoffs.
The 2nd third, the body of the cigar builds and the primary flavors of the 1st third become a little muted. Leather, earth, and even a touch of coffee ground emerge in the 2nd third and the floral musk that characterized the 1st third begins to make less and less of an appearance. Past the halfway mark and closer to the end of the 2nd third, some peppery notes come out with coffee flavors that start to build steam. The last part of the cigar reveals some nuttiness, deep earthy flavors, and leather.
This cigar seemed to transition through multiple flavor profiles with the body moving from medium to just a nudge into the full category. The flavors transitioned in a fluid feeling and the smoke was very smooth. The only points taken off were the charcoal like flavors that I noticed close to the end of the last third of the cigar.
These cigars retail in the area of $7-$8 per stick. For almost 2 hours of smoking pleasure this cigar is one hell of an incredible value. These are priced right where they should be, and automatically became a staple in my humidor.
Overall Rating : (4.25)
When I first lit this cigar and puffed away it reminded me of thePartagas profile (the Cuban one!). But as the cigar burned the flavor came into its own and revealed it was more than just what I was getting from the 1st third. This cigar had almost no bitterness at all, and that is hard to come by. Combine that with the fluid transition of flavors and great balance and this elevates it above just good, but great. Probably one of the best corojos I have smoked this year, if not ever. There isn’t a whole lot not to like about Panacea. I can imagine with this kind of quality from such a young company they will become a force to reckon with in the not so distant future. Cheers!