Traficante Cigars. Hell Mary Review

So I have been seeing Traficante Cigars lighting up social media for over a year now and they have REALLY taken over our group in popularity. I can honestly say that I didn’t really know very much about them but I did a little bit searching and found that information about the brand and the owners are pretty hard to come by but there is certainly a reason for it as you will see. Some of you may already know.

“OUR JOURNEY Traficante Cigar Company was created in 2015 as I (Mike) was involved in Narcotics operations and for that reason, no personal photos were posted publicly until May 2017. The Traficante Cigar Company represents what we have seen in the Narco-Culture. We have no intention of being a major player in the cigar industry, but prefer to keep the brand(s) exclusive and unique. We depend heavily on the connections we have made over the years to assist us in our quest to provide the highest quality cigars available at an affordable price. We are not a large company, and we prefer it that way. Our goal is to provide the best cigar experience possible. How do we do that? With the help of our Amigo’s.”

Taken from the website.

I would imagine that being involved in that kind of work and the lifestyle that comes with it explains the low profile online. Can’t blame them for that. I am hoping to connect with the owner soon and try to set something up for release here on the site.

Looking at the company website, the cigars, the aging process and the info I found, this is certainly by all accounts a true “boutique” cigar company. Producing under 100 cigars a day it stands to reason that supplies of these cigars come and go so quickly. I have seen the same thing with Ezra Zion cigars and when the announcement comes about cigars being back in stock, you better have your money ready and hit that order now button because they don’t last long. While I can appreciate what they are doing, as a consumer on the flip side it usually means we miss out on some great releases. I travel a lot for work and by the time I am able to stop and check emails and go to the site, they are gone. 1st world problems right?

So back to their aging process. This was also available on their website and I thought it was worth adding.

THE BARREL AGING PROCESS

After fermentation is complete, our tobacco undergoes a secondary aging process where it continues to release ammonia. This enhances the flavor and aroma.The wrapper tobacco is packed in bales of 120 lbs and is left to rest and age for a minimum of two years. During this time, the bales are cured in a special warehouse where the humidity and temperature are controlled at all times, in order to maintain the proper moisture and humidity. Once fermented, filler tobacco goes back to the tobacco floor where part of the mid stem is removed by hand. After the mid stem is removed, filler tobacco is packed in bales of 130 lbs and placed into tercios, which are bales made of royal palm bark. Tercios are an expensive process because each tercio must be made by hand. This method originated in Cuba and is ideal because it allows the tobacco to age in a slow, continuous manner to achieve the optimal taste, aroma and burning capability.Filler tobacco remains in tercios for up to two years. Once this is complete, the filler tobacco is then packed into Dominican rum barrels where it continues to age and mature, taking on additional flavor nuances.

So with all of that said, let’s jump into what we came here to do. Let’s look at the Hell Mary from Traficante Cigar Company.

Traficante Hell Mary 7 x 50 Maduro Toro

MSRP: $12.00

Blend:

The blend is not disclosed and this is what is on the website.

“The Hell Mary is unique to say the least. From the art work on the band to the blend itself, this is sure to be one controversial cigar. Notes of Louisiana Perique, Anise, leather, and the green fairy (Absinthe).This is one complex blend with multiple transitions.”

Interesting. Being from Louisiana this peaked my interest. If you are not familiar with Louisiana Perique tobacco here is some info. There are roughly 25 farmers that grow Perique and that number is growing as popularity is rising.

Perique /pəˈriːk/ is a type of tobacco from Saint James Parish, Louisiana, known for its strong, powerful, and fruity aroma. When the Acadians made their way into this region in 1776, the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes were cultivating a variety of tobacco with a distinctive flavor. A farmer named Pierre Chenet is credited with first turning this local tobacco into what is now known as Perique in 1824 through the labor-intensive technique of pressure-fermentation. The tobacco plants are manually kept suckerless and pruned to exactly 12 leaves through their early growth. In late June, when the leaves are a dark, rich green and the plants are 24-30 inches (600 to 750 mm) tall, the whole plant is harvested in the late evening and hung to dry in a sideless curing barn. Once the leaves have partially dried but are still supple (usually less than 2 weeks in the barn), any remaining dirt is removed and the leaves are moistened with water and stemmed by hand. The leaves are then rolled into “torquettes” of approximately 1 pound (450 g) and packed into hickory whiskey barrels. The tobacco is kept under pressure using oak blocks and massive screw jacks, forcing nearly all the air out of the still-moist leaves. Approximately once a month the pressure is released, and each of the torquettes is worked by hand to permit a little air back into the tobacco. After a year of this treatment, the perique is ready for consumption, although it may be kept fresh under pressure for many years. Extended exposure to air degrades the particular character of perique. The finished tobacco is dark brown – nearly black – very moist with a fruity, slightly vinegary aroma.[1] The fruity aroma is the result of hundreds of volatile compounds created by anaerobic fermentation of the tobacco. Many of these are responsible for the flavors of fruits and are often found in wine.[2] Source: Wikipedia

Appearance: Looking at the cigar the very first thing you notice about it is the dog tag. Unlike traditional cigars bands, these dog tags really stand out and make a statement. These dog tags certainly reflect the vibe and feel that surrounds the brand. The Hell Mary is certainly unique featuring a woman with a ball gag, nipple clamp with roses around her. The cigar is very rustic with lots of veins ranging in sizes from small to medium. The wrapper is medium to dark brown in color.

Pre-Light: Where do I start? There is a ton going on here in the form of notes coming off the barrel. Tons of heavy floral, absinthe, anise (liquorice). Since I have never been exposed to Perique tobacco I am not sure what I should be getting from it. I have heard that it is strong and the notes coming from this stick are all very noticeable. Using a V-cut to open the cap, the draw has some resistance and I pick up mostly floral, clove, grassy notes with some anise. This cigar is one of the most intriguing cigars I have had in awhile simply because I have no idea what to expect from it.

1st Third: Whoa! What the $%*@ is going on? I did not expect this at all! Tons of sweet cedar wood, minimal floral notes but some clove and grass. This is a very unique blend for sure. I decided to use an X-cut to open the draw a bit and it helped out a lot. Floral notes begin to take shape as I move further into the first third. This is unlike any other cigar I have tried and I am really digging this flavor profile. Full bodied, medium strength so far. No burn issues and the draw is fine now that I opened it up a bit.

2nd Third: Having a little trouble with the burn. I needed to give this cigar a bit more time in the humidor I think. We also had a rain storm come through so the humidity is much higher now. The flavor profile stays about the same without a lot of heavy transitions. Mostly floral notes, grass, clove, anise and heavy cedar. I am really enjoying this blend. Although there aren’t many changes in the flavors, the blend works for me and I am really enjoying this cigar. No real performance issues.

Last 3rd: Again no real changes. The cedar and floral notes take turns at the forefront and then falling back nicely. There is a touch of spice here and there but overall the blend is very consistent. The burn straightened up nicely since the touch up. The strength is still a solid medium. Pretty much on cruise control at this point. Very enjoyable smoke.

Final Thoughts: This one really surprised me. When I first smelled it I thought “Oh hell no, this thing is super infused”. I almost didn’t want to smoke it but I can honestly say, I am glad that I did. This is not one that I would smoke everyday but I would certainly add this to my regular rotation on the days where I just want something completely different. I encourage you to find this cigar and give it a shot. If you enjoy heavy cedar, floral, grassy notes, this cigar is for you. Very edgy artwork, very unique smell, very unique smoking experience. I say “well done on this one” Michael Poe.