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Blind Review Panel on the Xikar Defiance Renegade

July 6, 2009

Please check out the thread on this on the Stogie Review Fan Forums located here .

Cigar Details:

The Renegade

Robusto

5 x 50

SRP $6.50*

untitled

91-rating

“Dark and attractive, this cigar imparts leathery flavors balanced by toasty caramel notes and pleasant tea intonations. A rich, tasty smoke.”
Cigar Aficionado’s December issue take on the Guardian,  (Toro 6½” x 52)

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This review was done by beaverc32 on the Stogie Review Fan Forums.

Pre-smoking details:

Smoking this in my sunroom, about 70 degrees and mid-afternoon. Pairing with a glass of tap water. This cigar was stored at a RH of about 68 for 1 week prior to smoking it. I will be using a double-blade guillotine cut on this cigar, and will be lighting it with a single flame butane torch.

Inspection:

This cigar is a natural colored robust, with a triple cap and a few long veins throughout the wrapper. The scent off the wrapper is a mild hay, and the foot is more of the same but slightly more evident. This cigar is tightly compacted throughout the entire length with no detectable soft spots. Prelight draw is perfect, and I don’t get much in terms of flavor. Overall this is a well-constructed cigar with an inviting appearance from head to foot.

Smoking Notes:

Initial flavors of this cigar are a mild wood with an even milder spice through the sinuses. The cigar and the good draw allows for a mouthful of thick white smoke, but the finish on this cigar is noticeably dry on the palette. I find myself reaching for my glass of water after almost every puff, which is not a characteristic I find enjoyable. Body is medium at this point.

About 15 minutes into the cigar, and I begin to pick up an incredibly nice cinnamon characteristic that is even slightly sweet. The finish is becoming slightly less dry, and the smoke feels a bit creamy now. This flavor profile remains until halfway through the cigar, at which point the cinnamon unfortunately disappears, but at the same time so does the dry finish. Now all I get is a woody/creamy flavor that shifts into the medium to full body range. Overall the flavor profile was interesting and hit the high mark when I was getting that pleasant cinnamon taste, but overall this cigar was just a tad bit boring for me. The dry finish at the beginning was also unpleasant, but the flavors I picked up afterwards was worth it.

Burnline remained consistently good throughout the entire length of this smoke, and did not require a touchup at any time. Ash was a light grey and fairly compact, allowing me to consistently getting over an inch of ash before needing to knock it off. Room aroma was not very prominent, and the resting smoke was moderate at best.

Overall this was a good cigar, but I would have liked to see more of a shift in flavor towards the final third to keep my interest alive. I don’t have a clue what cigar this was, my guess is it is something I have never had before (based off the pleasant cinnamon which I normally don’t pick up in smokes). I would give this cigar a ‘7 out of 10’ and would probably pay $4-5 for the robusto. Based on the excellent construction, I would not be surprised to see a higher price point than this.

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This review was done by maekern on the Stogie Review Fan Forums.

Inspection and pre-light

Appearance of wrapper: Golden brown and slightly marbled, with almost a lacework of small veins.

Scent of wrapper: Very faint. Smells more of the cedar and tobacco scent of my humidor than anything.

Scent of foot: Again VERY mild, but faintly woody.

Hard/soft spots, feel of wrapper: This cigar appears to be very evenly constructed, but a bit firmer in the middle . I worry about plugs.

Pre-light draw flavor/aromas: Still VERY faint and mild. The draw is very smooth with a faint grassy taste.

Initial thoughts after inspection: I worry about this cigar being too mild, but we will see. My initial worries about a plug have been set aside by the pre-light draw.

untitledStorage/Pairing Details

Humidity level stored at (dry boxed?): about 60%

Drink paired with: mineral water

Cut with: double bladed guillotine

Lit with: blue flame torch

Venue (indoors, smoke shop, outdoors etc): out doors in my back yard, under an awning on a warm evening

untitledSmoke Details/Retrohale

Retrohale: I never retrohale intentionally due to the burning sinus pain this causes.

Room aroma: Not applicable, as I am smoking outside

Other people’s thoughts on aroma: The only person with me has no sense of smell, so I won’t be able to get her opinion. Smiley

Color of smoke from foot: Whitish gray, about the same as the smoke I blow out.

Notes from first few puffs: The draw tightened up as soon as I lit it. It is not plugged, but the draw is tighter than I like. I hope it loosens up after a bit. The flavour is quite mild, but pleasantly creamy, much like milky tea with no sugar. No sweetness at the moment, but a touch of spice.

untitledChanges and at what point (1” or 1st 3rd, midpoint, etc):

First 1/3rd (after first .5 cm or so):

Spice has mellowed out and almost disappeared. Still has the pleasant creamy tea flavour which is starting to come into its own. Very earthy and herbal.

The draw is still a bit tight. I would like to see if I can open it up a bit with my spike, but because of the small ring gauge and delicate wrapper I don’t want to try that yet. Maybe later when the wrapper has softened a bit.

The burn is not very even, wavering by almost a centemetre, but is starting to even out after a few minutes.

After a few more minutes of this I have given up and used my spike to un-plug it, as it was getting unsmokable. Once I did that the draw (while still tight) got a lot better, the flavour got a LOT richer and heavier bodied, and a pleasant woody taste has developed. Also had to touch up the burn with a little bit of work with my lighter.

Second 1/3rd:

The draw is still a bit tight but it is smokable. The tea taste has faded into the background, to be replaced by some slightly tangy and astringent flavours…which is nicer than it sounds. The description is not exact, but I am put in mind of basil and peanut shells. I damaged the wrapper very slightly when I opened the draw up, but it doesn’t seem to have done the cigar any real harm.

The smoke feels/tastes unusually cool but it seems to be burning just fine. The burn has also evened out a lot and has not needed anything after that first touch up. I also note that the smoke has gotten a bit blueish.

During this third a mild sweetness has gradually developed, complimenting the astringent notes almost like a very dry red wine. Both the burn and the draw are doing fine. The burn is a little wobbly but even enough, with a good solid carbon ring.

Final 1/3rd:

The sweetness left as suddenly as it came, leaving the same pleasant basil taste with a hint of toasted bread. The flavours are all nice, but it feels a little unbalanced and thin. It wants to be a fuller bodied cigar, but needs something to balance the profile in order to achieve that.

For the whole smoke the ash has held together nicely both on the foot and in the ashtray, with no flyaway cinders and a mottled dark gray colour flecked with black. The ash is so firm that it required more force than one would expect to break it up in the ashtray, but I never had any trouble flicking it off when it got to a few centemtres, which is about as long as I like to let it get with a cigar this narrow.

As I get towards the end it is burning like a champ, and I am able to easily get mouthfulls of cool rich smoke. The little nick in the wrapper didn’t cause any unraveling or other problems. Once or twice the taste got a little bit ashy and bitter, but a gentle purge cleared that up with no trouble. The flavour profile has simplified to a mellow herbal taste , not unlike celery, and not much else.

I wasn’t quite able to nub it because the burn went out, but I smoked until I had barely enough to hold.

Final thoughts:

The draw issues were a big drag, but once I dealt with them it was a pleasant stick, but a bit one-dimensional. No, not quite that… perhaps it is better to say a bit unbalanced. Rather like a red pasta sauce with too much in the way of aromatic herbs and veggies, and in need of some mushrooms, meat or other savoury ingredients to even it out. Not spectacular, but definitely something I would buy again if the price was right, and definitely something I would smoke again if it was given to me and I was in the mood for something mild.

I am a bit of a newbie, so I don’t dare guess at what regions the tobacco is from, so all I can say is that it is VERY lightly fermented.

1-10: For my tastes I’d give it a 5 or a 6, but trying to rate it “as what it is” I’d have to give it at least a 7. Other than the draw there was not a thing bad about it, but it lacks the balanced flavour profile that would let me rate it higher.

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This review was done by btmisles on the Stogie Review Fan Forums.

Inspection

Appearance of wrapper: Smooth. Minimal Veins, Chocolate Brown. Very nice looking

Scent of wrapper: Minimal. Feint smell of paper

Scent of foot: Very feint sweet tobacco

Hard/soft spots, feel of wrapper: No hard or soft spots very good construction. Smooth and dry.

Pre-light draw flavor/aromas: Draw a little tight. Not much pre-draw flavor. A bit of sweetness on the lips.

Initial thoughts after inspection: Looks like a good quality stick

untitledNon-smoking details

Humidity level stored at (dry boxed?): 67%

Drink paired with: Water

Cut with: Palio

Lit with: Xikar Executive

Venue (indoors, smoke shop, outdoors etc): Sun Room

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Notes

Notes from first few puffs: Ton of resting smoke but the smoke on the draw is tough to get (this opens up soon). Flavors are a bit grassy and dry. Pepper spice thru the nose. Burn starts of a bit wavy.

Changes and at what point (1” or 1st 3rd, midpoint, etc): Major change at a 1/2-inch. Dryness went away and awood and leather come to the forefront. 2nd third the wood is a distinct cedar flavor. Leather is gone and get hints of bitter coffe starting to come in. Last third gets very dry again. Similar to start. Smoke is very bitter at this point. Unfortunate because the rest of the stick was very good.

Retrohale: Woody and spict thru the nose. Spice mellows after first thrid but it is there throughout.

Approximate % of mouth full of smoke: 40% thru the nose on every puff.

At what point in the cigar (1” or 1st 3rd, midpoint, etc):

Room aroma: Non offensive and pleasant. not very strong.

untitledSmoke/Draw/Ash/Touch ups

Color of smoke from foot: Soft white with tinge of blue

Volume of smoke: Loots of smoke from the foot and thru the draw after 1 half-inch.

Draw (any changes?): Got much better after first half-inch

Greatest length of ash achieved: 1″

Description of ash: Dark grey and a bit flakey

Draw, burn, touch ups, re-lights (anything you can attribute it to?): Burn evened out after first quarter-inch and burned absolutly perfectly until last 3rd where the wrapper bulged an cracked causing the burn to go a bit sideways. However, no touch were needed throughout the entire cigar.

Body and if there were changes: Body was medium throughout.

Final thoughts: Good cigar. Would have been very good if the final thrid didn’t go bitter on me. Predominately woodsey with a nice spice on the back of the palate and thru the retrohale. Seemed very familiar and am looking forward to seeing what it is. My initial thoughts were a Cubao or DPG Blue Label.

1-10: 7

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This review was done by schedel on the Stogie Review Fan Forums.

Appearance of wrapper: The wrapper is a slightly toothy milk chocolate brown color. There are lots of small veins and a nice triple cap.

Scent of wrapper: Natural Tobacco

Scent of foot: A slightly spicy tobacco smell.

Hard/soft spots, feel of wrapper: There is one slightly hard spot near the head.

Pre-light draw flavor/aromas: The draw is really good and shows a flavor of a subtle spice.

Initial thoughts after inspection: This cigar looks nice and should smoke really well. The hard spot should not cause any problems.

untitledNon-smoking details

Humidity level stored at (dry boxed?): 65% @ 69 degrees

Drink paired with: water

Cut with: Punch cut.

Lit with: Basic Torch lighter.

Venue (indoors, smoke shop, outdoors etc): Outdoors

untitledNotes from first few puffs:

The first few puffs show a naturally sweet tobacco taste with a hint of spice and a nice earthiness to it. Very much like a Cameroon wrapper.

Changes and at what point (1” or 1st 3rd, midpoint, etc):

First 3rd: There is a cedary sweetness that is the predominant flavor, followed by a very pleasant earthy taste. There is also a subtle meatiness to it in this third.

Second 3rd: Still cedary and earthy, now with a subtle spice that balances it out very well. The meatiness is gone and this third is by far the best of the cigar, very well balanced and consistent. The wrapper split as I started this third, but it burned right past it with no trouble whatsoever.

Final 3rd: There is the same cedary sweetness and earthiness to it followed by a subtle spice and a finish of woodsy flavors with a bit of creaminess.

untitledRetrohale

The retrohale shows a fair amount of spice and some woodiness.

Approximate % of mouth full of smoke: 80%, there is a fairly large amount of smoke from each draw.

At what point in the cigar (1” or 1st 3rd, midpoint, etc): Consistent from start to finish.

untitledSmoke/Draw/Ash/Touch ups

Color of smoke from foot: Slightly blue resting smoke, but not a lot of it.

Volume of smoke: Large amount of smoke from the draw.

Draw (any changes?): no changes,

Greatest length of ash achieved: About four inches, the ash held very well.

Description of ash: Light Gray, compact and very strong.

Draw, burn, touch-ups, re-lights (anything you can attribute it to?): no touch-ups were needed.

Body and if there were changes: Medium to high medium. Started off medium gradually climbed as I smoked.

untitledFinal thoughts:

This was a pretty decent cigar. It wasn’t terribly complex, and from time to time the flavors lost some of their richness, but overall a good cigar. Fantastic ash and draw, as well as being a fairly attractive stick. I would have to say I kind of enjoyed it.

1-10: I would give this an 8.5 out of 10. Based on the profile and condition of the wrapper, being fragile seeming, I would have to say that this a Cameroon cigar. Based on the flavor profile, I would also say that this is made of of predominantly Dominican Fillers and maybe some Nicaraguan, but I think it is a Cameroon wrapper and Dominican Fillers.

This thing has to be a Cameroon wrapper, and I would guess that based on the wrappers appearance, flavor profile, etc, that this is a Fuente Don Carlos. If not that, then definitely a Cameroon. I would bet money on it, if I had money to bet.

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