Today I am looking at another of the NUb cigars, the Cameroon 466 BPT (Box Pressed Torpedo). A couple of weeks ago I had reviewed the NUb Connecticut and I will be trying the Habano soon, covering the original NUb lineup but not the Maduro which was introduced later. (If anybody who is reading this has a couple of spare NUb Maduros you’d like to trade for drop me a line in the comments below). On top of that later this year there should also be the release of the much awaited and by now semi mythological NUb Miami line, so it is nice to know we have another NUb to look for.
I gave a short intro to the NUb line for anyone unfamiliar with it (probably very few, especially if you are reading from the US) in the previous post so if you are interested in knowing more follow this link. Today instead I wanted to talk a moment about Cameroon wrappers before I dig into the review.
Cameroon wrappers have a real cult following in the cigar lover’s community. Many people, like twitteree extraordinaire Lindsay Heller (for my money her twitts are among the best and more intelligent in the Cigar twitter scene) have declared their love for this wrapper. I must admit that I have had very nice cigars with Cameroon wrapper, but also some that were thoroughly disappointing. This might have to do with the cigars themselves and not with the wrapper, but still it made me curious so I went and read as much as I could about this much sought after leaf.
The first thing that comes up after a bit of research is that not all Cameroon wrappers actually come from Cameroon as the supply from Africa is not huge and at times inconsistent; just like Connecticut shade wrappers, this leaf is grown in other countries like Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. While that in itself is not a problem, according to some the original African wrapper generally is of better quality, so it would be nice to know when the Cameroon wrapper used is from Africa or grown elsewhere to see if there is a real difference. Most producers nowadays will for example tell you where their Connecticut shade wrapper is from, so why not do the same for the Cameroon ones?
The second point everyone seems to agree on is that Cameroon wrapper is oily, toothy and gives a rich complex taste. Unfortunately not many seem to agree what this actually taste like. Among the descriptions I have found are: coffee and cedar, coffee and nuts, sweet spice and nuts, coffee/nuts and sweetness, cedar and sweet spice. (A tip to the guys at NUb, you might want to change the caption saying “This wrapper has a distinctive thin and toothy flavor and feel.” on this page. Thin & toothy flavor… just sounds wrong.) Although not wildly different, it makes you wonder if the differences might come from where the leaf actually comes from (Cameroon vs. Central or South America), but also if the taste difference really comes from the wrapper leaf itself. And this introduces another question: how much does the wrapper really influence taste? After all, since it is only a small percentage of the weight of the cigar, it should be minimal, but then anyone who has smoked a maduro wrapped cigar knows that the wrapper definitely plays a role in the taste and aroma. In an article/interview Hendrik Kelner president of Tobacos Dominicanos states that the influence of a wrapper on taste depend on the sort of wrapper: “Connecticut wrapper [contributes] to about 20 percent of the flavor, with Cameroon at about 5 percent.” If that is indeed true, then you have to wonder if the Cameroon taste is a bit of an exaggeration. The only way to be sure? The taste test.
NUb Cameroon 466BPT
Ring gauge: 66
Price: Singles around 6-6.50$ and boxes (24) for 130-140$. In the UK I haven’t seen this particular cigar, but other Cameroon NUbs are available, as usual pricier, from 175£ per box.
Smoking time: 55 Minutes
Cigars smoked: Two.
This cigar is the largest ring gauge torpedo of the NUb line – there is a classical round head Habano in 66 size too – and also the only box pressed cigar of the range.
Appearance and pre-smoke
Both of the cigars I smoked for this review had a nice Cameroon wrapper, with small veins and a nice sheen, but both had slight defects: on one the wrapper color was not uniform and the other had some vertical “wrinkles” on it – as if the wrapper was a little loose before being box pressed. Nothing major though. They feel nice and heavy but at the same time supple as properly humidified smokes should.
The wrapper has a nice fermented tobacco aroma and the pre light draw, nice and free, has the aromatic taste of Cameroon wrappers, which for me (just to add another opinion!) is nuts, coffee, sweet spice and a sweet finish. I have to admit that the mx of 66 ring gauge and box press, doesn’t make this the most comfortable cigar to puff. It feels awkward, but again, just my personal impression.
If you read my Connecticut NUb review, these Cameroon wrapped 466BPTs are pretty similar in many ways: impressive ash, burn that goes a bit wavy but never needs correction and so on. The one thing that differs is the draw; untill halfway it stays nice and free, then progressively becomes tighter. As a consequence the amount of smoke, creamy and abundant at first, decreases and is slightly thin. When I smoked the first of these two, I thought it might have been an isolated bad stick, but the second was even worse; since these spent almost 2 months at 65% humidity, I don’t believe storage is the issue.
The other problem I had with both was that in both cases the wrapper cracked. On one of the two, this was minor, just two small cracks that didn’t expand, but on the other cigar it was pretty bad, with the wrapper completely unraveling in the last inch and a half or so. Cameroon wrappers are known to be fragile, so while not shocking it is slightly disappointing.
The start is a bit slow (so much for NUbs hitting the sweet spot straight off) but after the first 5 minutes the cigar has nice toasted and nutty notes, with medium Nicaraguan spice and a creamy and slightly sweet finish with notes of coffee. The taste is clean and smooth, a pleasure to smoke.
The middle is similar to the beginning, but now the coffee is the main aroma with nutty and cedary tones. The spice pretty much becomes a mere hint in the predominantly sweet finish. As mentioned above, the draw starts to tighten up from the midway point, so the chewy and creamy smoke becomes less and less, which is a shame because I was loving that rich mouth feel.
The start of the final section is again coffee and nuts with hints of spice and cedar, but the finish is a rich buttery hazelnut… until the last inch and a half or so, where the cigar doesn’t go hot but becomes slightly tarry and rough. A shame because I was really enjoying it.
As I mentioned in the intro, contrary to many other cigar aficionados, I was not completely sold to Cameroon wrappers so I approached this cigar with some skepticism. After trying this NUb Cameroon I have to admit that here the wrapper works nicely; this is an interesting and very pleasant smoke. If I had to pick the top element of this cigar for me it would have to be the taste… I really loved it. I cannot guarantee it comes only from the Cameroon wrapper (are the binder and filler the same as in the Connecticut?), but it certainly moved me towards the Cameroon wrapper lovers camp.
On the other hand, I was slightly disappointed by the construction, with the tight draw/smoke amount and tar towards the finish, plus the wrapper splits. Maybe I was especially unlucky but both the cigars I had the same issues, so although I would go towards 90 points if this was based on taste alone, I scored this NUb around the 86-87 mark.
Normally, I would say that these are worth at least a 5-pack but have to admit I probably won’t be grabbing any of the 466BPT NUb Cameroon because they just feel to big (insert gratuitous oral sex joke here) to keep in my moth and smoke comfortably. Still I will definitely try to get my hands on more of the NUb Cameroons in smaller formats (464T maybe, but especially the 460) as there’s plenty of elements that make these interesting cigars, plus at the price they go for (in the US at least) these would be great day-to-day smokes.