Today we'll be reviewing the Man O War RuinNation cigar. This is a popular stick that's part of the infamous Man O War line (Commonly abbreviated MOW), created by A.J. Fernandez. This particular cigar was bombed to me by the one and only, Pinhead. Thanks for the kick ass cigar Pete!
Appearance: This is the "No.1" vitola, which is a 5.5"x54 size, putting it right in my comfort zone. A.J chose a very oily Habano Ecuador ligero wrapper for the Ruination, in addition to an ornate black and brown band featuring a spartan helmet, reminscient of "300". The wrapper has only one small vein that runs almost the entire length of the cigar, and very minimal tooth, if any. There are no rolling defects to be found and a squish of the foot reveals that this cigar is packed to the hilt with tobacco.
I decided to cut with my crappy guillotine cutter and light with an Xikar single flame. The first few puffs reveal a very spicy tingle on the tip of my tongue with a note of red pepper. The draw is EXCELLENT!
The smoke is taking a very dry character to it progressing through the first 1/3. The flavor is very hard to categorize by this point; it has a spice profile that lingers in your mouth with a nice rich finish that, at times, can almost get sweet. It's not peppery, except on the retrohale. The burn is very consistent, almost razor sharp. The ash is a nice charcoal-grey color.
The ash falls right around the 2/3 point. The flavor hasn't changed a whole lot; it's gotten a bit smoother and the sweetness on the finish is more prevalent then before. Really thrilled with the draw and the burn, they are both still perfect. The ash didn't seem to hold very well, and if you aren't careful, will end up with it on your lap such as I did.
In the final third, the flavors start to really change. There comes a sweet cedar that has overtaken the previous spice character that held true through the first 2/3's and it's really smoothed out by now. This was, by far, my favorite part of the cigar. The smoke is VERY thick and the wrapper is notably oily.
Right as I progress to the nub, the sweet cedar that was mentioned earlier has intensified. It's great! The retrohale is extremely rewarding. I'm loving every second of it and don't want it to stop.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the tooth-picked nub. But I smoked it all the way until there was nothing to smoke. The final third was an absolute treat; I didn't expect such a drastic change in flavor. Overall I was very impressed with the Ruination, the burn and draw never wandered, both were fantastic the whole way through. Total smoke time lasted right around a staggering 1 hour and 45 minutes. Pete, thanks man, this was a great one. From what I remember this stick has about a year+ of age on it which I'm betting greatly contributed to the melding of flavors.