Cigar marketing tends towards its own particular niche, capitalizing on the image and lifestyle of figures like Winston Churchill, Earnest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling (Gentlemen?) Cigar advertisers usually target their premium lines to promote this image, yet Swisher Sweet owns 20% market share in the US. Other similar products have taken completely different approaches. Wine marketing uses cute animals on the labels to give the buyer comfort about a product they know little about, or labels that broadcast the producers’ environmental sensibilities. The current trend in men’s products is to prey on insecurities like they’ve been doing for women’s products for years – just go to youtube and search for axe commercials. In this light, Bucanero has a very unique image. Is a pirate the opposite of a gentleman? Yarr.
Bucanero has been here since the mid 90’s based on good quality cigars and great service; this was my first experience smoking one of their products as they are not common in my local tobacco shops. Ordering these from Canada is a breeze and they arrived promptly. The two cigars I smoked first were the Full Sail and El Capitan, both Belicosos at 5×54. The Full Sail is a Habano seed maduro wrapper with Nacaraguan, Connecticut and Costa Rican filler, aged for 5 years. The El Capitan is a Costa Rico maduro wrapper with Dominican and Nicaraguan long filler.
Size: 5″ x 54
Price: $4.50 USD
Holding these cigars, their superb construction is immediately evident. They are box pressed with no lumps or soft spots. The wrappers are smooth, dark and oily on both cigars. The pre-light aroma is where these two cigars veer way off course from each other. The El Capitan has loads of typical maduro aromas like roasted coffee, dark chocolate and earthy notes. The Full Sail is literally another animal entirely. Have you ever walked into a log cabin with a fire in the hearth and a bear rug on the floor? That is what this cigar smells like. I personally don’t consider this smell to be a fault although I let a few friends smell it and some were put off.
The smells of these cigars were echoed in their flavours. I smoked the Full Sail, while an associate took the Capitan. Both cigars burned very evenly. The Full Sail was very full-bodied, with very peppery, chewy smoke and the animal aroma lingered in the mouth. After a full pulls I knew that I needed an accompaniment and got a glass of Lagavulin 16. This cigar was downright aggresive in its character and left my palate a little abused and my head a little light. In the final third the smoke smelled like pure cracked peppercorns. The Capitan was full bodied and peppery as well, but put forth slightly sweeter smoke with hints of menthol. These are cigars that deserve your respect and are probably not for moments of peaceful contemplation. I have a few more of these in my Humidor and I often pick them up just to get reacquinted with that unique smell. I’m hoping a little more aging will temper them a little. I think further reading on Bucanero is in order: World of Cigars, Cigar Obsession, and Puff.com all have worthwhile reviews.