I want to first start by apologizing to Mel Shah, owner of Bombay Tobak, for taking so long to get this done. I wanted to make sure I gave this the appropriate time to do this right. I appreciate your support and your patience.
I stumbled upon Mbombay cigars at a local shop here in North Carolina and was happy that I did. I have seen them online in a few places and have been intrigued to try them. They did not disappoint. What disappoint me was that when I went back to said shop, they were sold out! Fortunately I was able to score some and have been dying to review them. Finally that day has come. A little about Bombay Tobak before we jump in.
“Cigars, for us, are a way of life. The philosophy is simple – use the best tobaccos to make cigars of the highest quality.Our cigars aim to emulate the fabled cigar culture of Cuba. From selecting prime tobaccos to controlling the intimate details of the aging process, we take multiple factors into consideration to help produce a truly unique smoking experience. Our cigars are hand-rolled in Costa Rica by some of the most experienced hands in the industry and feature intricate bands representative of the artistic nature of our craft.MBombay was born at the hands of a former IT professional turned cigar store owner with a passion for tobacco. We apply that same attention to detail to each and every cigar, and have spent countless hours working to procure the finest tobaccos and produce a unique line of high-quality products.If asked why we began this journey, simply put – we felt something was missing. At Bombay Tobak, we concentrate on aging, proper fermentation, and the importance of patience. Using prime tobaccos and a process of experimentation, we’ve discovered creative processes to produce impeccable cigars at a reasonable price point. In a world of online discounts and freebie offers, we decided to walk a different path.We hope you’ll join us.” (Taken from the Bombay Tobak website)
Pronounced Gaa-ya, the Gaaja Maduro is available in 2 vitolas:
Maduro Torpedo (6 1/2 x 54) —$15.50 (Boxes of 10, $155)
MBombay Gaaja Maduro Toro (6 x 54) —$15.50 (Boxes of 10, $155)
Let’s jump into this one and see how it does.
Mbombay Gaaja Maduro Torpedo 6 1/2 x 54 MSRP $15.50
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Ecuadorian Mata Fina
Filler: Dominican Criollo 98 Viso, Dominican HVA Mejorado Ligero, Ecuadorian Criollo 98 Viso, Paraguayan Hybri 2000 Viso, and Peruvian Hybrid Habano
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Whew! That’s a ton of different tobacco! No wonder the original blend was a 4 year process!
Appearance: This is a beautiful box press cigar with a dark brown wrapper with very tight seams and small veins. The band really stands out against the silky smooth wrapper and gives it a very nice appearance.
Pre-light: The cigar feels firm with no soft spots but feels fairly light in the hand. The box press really works well and feels nice when you hold it. From the wrapper I pick up notes of natural tobacco, earth and a faint cocoa. From the foot I pick up wood, earth and hay. I use a straight cut and the cold draw offers a slight resistance but it is near perfect. I get notes of wood, straw, pepper and a light sweetness. It’s certainly intriguing. Let’s get flame to this and see what we get.
1st Third: Right out of the gate I get a ton of cedar, a cocoa/mocha note, some pepper and a floral, almost grassy note. Very interesting blend to say the least. As I move about 1/4 inch in, I pick up some spice, cedar, earth and pepper. The floral note is subdued but certainly still there. I cannot pinpoint what it is but it brings a unique flavor to the palate. The draw is perfect, not tight, not airy. I am getting huge clouds of thick white smoke from each puff. The burn line has a slight wave to it with a small ash flake. I am very intrigued with the flavor profile. Strength is a solid medium.
2nd Third: As I move into the halfway point a nice creamy cocoa/dark chocolate note appears, the pepper and cedar are a bit more subtle but still linger in the background. This is a creamy, smooth cigar with a ton of flavors. Burn is on cruise control. A bit wavy but nothing requiring a touch-up at this point. Performance is still excellent. Ash holds for about 3/4 of an inch. The chocolate, coffee notes really take shape with the pepper and cedar keeping the profile balanced. I am really enjoying this smoke.
Final Third: Another interesting transition as we head to the finish. The cedar and pepper take the front of the profile. The chocolate is more of a mocha/espresso type flavor. Although the flavors have switched up from time to time, the cigar remains balanced and nothing really jumps off the charts as far as changes. It all just works. The blend flows beautifully from third to third and certainly makes it interesting. The wavy burn worked itself out without and is slightly crooked but no issues at all. The draw remained perfect and the smoke production was the same as the first third. I had some flaking from the ash but nothing terrible.
As I come to the end of this cigar I am left still intrigued by it. It is certainly complex but remained smooth and never got above a medium – medium plus in strength.
Final thoughts: I really liked this cigar. It is a beautiful cigar that is very complex but stays smooth and enjoyable. I don’t think new smokers would pick up on the complexity of this cigar so I recommend this for experienced palates. It is a full medium to medium plus but is packed with flavor. This one will keep you intrigued. This was my first time with this cigar and I look forward to trying it again when I can sit down and just enjoy it. I paired this with water as I always do when I try a new cigar but this would pair nicely with a number of spirits. I am not sure I would go with anything super heavy as it would likely overpower the flavors in the cigar but I could see it going nicely with a nice port wine and perhaps a dessert whiskey like Bastille.
I recommend trying this cigar and see what you think. For me, I will certainly purchase more. The sticker price is a bit of a shocker until you fully understand what makes this cigar. This was a 4 year process with the finest tobacco from 5 different countries. I could see this cigar going for more and it would be worth it.
Mbombay has been under the radar for most people for awhile and I hope reviews like this one help to shine some light on a great brand making some incredible cigars.
I hope you enjoyed my take on the Mbombay Gaaja Maduro. Until next time…long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace.