RoMa Craft Tobac is a company that I only continue to gain respect for. Their core lines are fantastic on all fronts; flavor, aroma, size, balance, complexity, and price. Skip Martin and Michael Rosales, the founders of RoMa Craft Tobac, have very quickly established themselves as a company that takes blending, rolling, and pushing the boundaries quite seriously. We previously reviewed the RoMa Craft La Campana de Panama Soberana, which is another very unique and creative release from Michael and Skip, and another example of the fact that the duo isn’t afraid to do something a little more on the wild side.
The cigar in question today is the CroMagnon Femur, which RoMa Craft debuted at the 2013 IPCPR show. Only two hundred of the Femurs were made, and only 150 were released to retailers. Why so few, you ask? The CroMagnon Femur only uses one wrapper leaf for the entire cigar. Allegedly the company had to sort through roughly 100,000 wrapper leaves to find 200 that were suitable to be used on the Femur. Additionally, and this is merely speculation on my part – there probably isn’t a huge market for a 10 x 133 1/3 cigar.
Cigar: CroMagnon Femur by RoMa Craft Tobac
Size: 10 x 133 1/3
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Four different Nicaraguan fillers
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
Lets address the elephant in the room; anyone and everyone who sees the CroMagnon Femur is quick to make a phallic joke. I generally prefer grown men not to put my cigar up to their crotch, but I am afraid my Femur fell victim to this abuse more times than I’d care to admit. Fortunately these delinquents were kind enough to at least leave the cello on. Anyway, the wrapper is a dark chocolate-brown, and is littered with veins all over the place. While the CroMagnon Femur is pretty bumpy, it ultimately feels slick in texture due to a massively oily wrapper.
Sniffing the foot of the Femur, an action which elicits its own set of jokes, yields heavy notes of earthy soil, barnyard notes, black pepper, and a whole ‘lotta leather.
Where does one even start? I used a combat knife to cut a hole in the cap, a method which worked well enough. I figured the best approach to lighting this paleolithic era beast would be to toast the foot in a volcano, but since that wasn’t an option I opted to use the most high-powered torch available to toast the foot. Half a can of butane later and we’re up and running. Flavor is surprisingly good; notes of vanilla cream, chocolate, espresso, and various woods are picked up with relative ease. All of this is layered upon a massive conglomerate of earthy soil, heavy leather, and barnyard notes. The draw is wide open, which I find to be… more than annoying. I imagine taking a PVC pipe into a wind-tunnel and hyperventilating might elicit a similar experience.
Definitely starting to feel a bit of palate fatigue. Flavor is pretty damn good, all things considered. Earth, leather and wood nearly completely dominate the profile, but you can still find tinges of sweetness, nuts, and burnt coffee layered in. The draw has improved substantially. While you still have to use a sort of puffer fish-esque drawing technique, it has become a substantial bit tighter and actually yields a decent amount of smoke. Even with the additional smoke the body still feels very thin overall.
It’s surprisingly difficult to keep a steady and consistent pace with the CroMagnon Femur. You really have no sense if you’re making a dent in this behemoth from puff to puff. Three hours in I wouldn’t call the smoking experience exactly enjoyable, at least in the traditional sense. The novelty of the experience is more than enough to keep you entertained, and the fascination and enthusiasm received from onlookers is intoxicating. People look at you as if you’re running the cigar equivalent of an Ironman competition. The support is much appreciated.
In hour four I have mastered the art of smoking this titan. It takes quite a bit of attention and finesse to keep the cigar lit without it burning too hot and making the flavor bitter. More wood notes, particularly oak. A nasty muddled leather note overshadows almost everything. Any shred of enjoyment from the actual smoking aspect is limited. My palate is fried, completely and utterly. My lips are burning.
Ugh. I don’t even know where to begin. I have had my fill of Monica Lewinski jokes, insinuations regarding my sexuality, and people taking pictures for one afternoon. The profile is… less than favorable. I taste absolutely nothing other than burnt wood, charred tobacco, and paper. There does appear to be some sort of vague sweetness, but I am beyond any attempt at articulating what it is. My tongue is on fire, and my lips feel as if they’ve been dipped in acid. I must err on the side of masochism because, oddly enough, I still find this whole experience amusing.
A man just came in to the store and informed me that Freud would like to have a word with me. Sigh…. such has been my day. Finishing the CroMagnon Femur has become more of a formality than anything else. As of two hours ago I am able to taste nothing other than bitter tobacco and burnt wood. It’s been a ride, to say the least. I’ve now been smoking the CroMagnon Femur for 6 hours and 42 minutes, essentially non-stop. I would venture to say that smoking a Femur is a testament to willpower.
Burn and Construction:
Talking about the burn and construction for a cigar like the CroMagnon Femur is so relative that it’s almost moot to discuss. In the context of any other cigar, the burn would generally be considered mediocre, but given the context of the Femur’s size it becomes passable, and even admirable. The fact that this thing burns even remotely like a regular cigar given the sheer amount of ligero needed for structural rigidity is a testament to the skill of the rollers at RoMa Craft Tobac. The CroMagnon Femur does require more than its fair share of babysitting, but such is to be expected.
Construction is rock-solid, which is an absolute necessity with this thing. The novelty value of this insures that anyone who lays eyes upon it will want to hold it, including by the unsavory types who don’t grasp the concept of being gentle. The Femur feels the way it should – like any other cigar but on a much larger scale.
RoMa Craft Tobac’s CroMagnon Femur is a very difficult beast to review. The experience of smoking one of these is so far beyond what you would expect. It’s an all day and all-encompassing experience, and not one that you choose to partake in, but one that is commanded by the Femur. You’ll need to prep for the event with a powerful torch, a large cutting device, and plenty of water. My final smoking time was just under 7 hours, and I polished off 13 bottles of water in the process. Re-lighting the Femur is a nightmare, and thus you quickly learn to never leave the cigar unattended without a puff for longer than 30 seconds. Additionally, smoking a Femur in a public environment draws a ridiculous amount of attention. Everyone will notice it, and most will speak out and acknowledge it. It’s amazing how many undiscovered comedians will come out of the woodwork to grace you with their prowess.
The ultimatum you reach is how to view this cigar. The sheer absurdity of the CroMagnon Femur makes it near impossible to not treat it as somewhat of a novelty. Generally one will overlook minor issues with a novelty in favor of appreciating what it is, but the line between what is passable and what is unacceptable can become blurred. With the CroMagnon Femur, the flavor isn’t great to begin with and only degrades over time. By the half-way point your palate is fried and you can’t taste much to begin with, but you still can make out that the Femur is growing bitter at an alarming rate. Towards the end smoking the Femur becomes a test of endurance and perseverance. Your lips feel chaffed and acidic, and your tongue is on fire. On top of that, you have no chance of getting your mouth around the cap; you’ll have to perform some sort of awkward sucking procedure to draw on the Femur. Do this for just under 7 hours and you have a recipe for a sore jaw.
Ultimately, I am actually quite glad to have smoked the CroMagnon Femur. It’s an experience that few have had, and ultimately the entire experience from cutting, lighting, smoking, and socializing is incredibly fun, so long as you don’t take yourself too seriously. While I will likely never smoke the second Femur I have, I am proud to say I’ve had the experience of smoking at least one. I would recommend smoking one to anyone who can find one. The experience is ludicrous, and that’s exactly why you should do it.