I couldn’t come up with anything better for a title to this review, then “WTF” because quite frankly, that’s the kind of moment it was.
Here’show it all began…
Last week I saw a post about a contest from a new and starting up cigar company, and the prize would be a 3 pack sampler of their goods. I happened to win one of these samplers. When I found out that I was going to receive a sampler, I got excited. I figured, they are small, and just starting up and this would be a good opportunity to try out their goods, do a review and help get their name out there through the magic of social media. I mentioned to them that I would be doing a review on them, and they too seemed excited, and they also notified me that there might be imperfections in the cigars due to them being new to the process of making them, I told them I was fine with it, don’t worry about it. Whoooo boy, then things got interesting when I got the package today.
They came in a simple bubble envelope, not a big deal, I ship cigars the same way. Apon opening the package there was just a simple Ziplock bag with the cigars inside, nothing else. No notes of what to expect from the cigars, what the blend is, nothing. Thought that was a bit odd, if you are a start up you would at least want your taster to know what you are sending. Then comes the opening of the bag containing the cigars. A few cosmetic flaws is a sever understatement. At first touch the cigars were damp and mushy, with spots that were soaked with the pectin glue, not just at the tip but also along the length. The wrapper, which appeared to be a light brown Connecticut was chock full of veins and wrinkles, almost as if they never bothered to flatten and stretch the leaf before wrapping up the cigar. The one cigar that had a cap, or at least a resemblance of a cap, was in reality a scrap of dried up tobacco slapped on the tip with enough glue for 10 cigar caps, and even then it was hanging off. The other two cigars had a twist for a cap. Smell wise, there wasn’t much of a scent to them at all. With the condition of them being way over humidified, mushy, wet, and over all ugly, I knew these would be unsmokable. So what the hell, I’ll open one up and see what kind of kibble is inside these dog turds.
Unwrapping these cigars was a bit too easy despite the huge amounts of glue, they basically fell off. Under the wrapper was a leaf of unknown orgin that was surprisingly dry and normal. However, under the wrapper of one of them was a batch of mold forming. This is where the smell is starting to develop. Under the binder, lays the filler. Deep dark brown, almost black in nature and wet as hell. The smell? Like a litter box filled with cat urine. Seriously, I had my wife and daughter give them a whiff and they couldn’t believe it. Were these infused with cat urine? Real strong and pungent smell. The filler was obviously not treated right and wasn’t allowed to age, dry or ferment properly. In short, it was rank.
Now, I have had my share of dog turd cigars over the years, one that sticks in my mind was one aptly named Biker Butts that are a Dominican treat that is supposedly infused with whiskey but is more like it was dipped in turpentine, but these from the Royal Grandes really takes the cake, never in my 16+ years of smoking cigars have I been exposed to such nonsense. If you are a company starting out, trying to get your foot in the door and carve out your ares in the world of cigars, the last thing you want to do is send out sub par product out to testers. They have light years to go before they will get anywhere with a product that they sent me. To be completely frank like I always am, it was embarrassing. Royal Grandes- before setting up contests to send out samplers of your “premium” cigars, first get your act together and make a cigar that can at least be smoked.