MOW Armada

docbp87docbp87 Posts: 3,521
MAN O'WAR ARMADA
6.5x56 'Toro Grande'

The MOW Armada seems to be the CI camp's attempt to enter the super-premium cigar market, one that they otherwise don't usually compete with, staying more in the bargain/discount 3-5$ range. At 20$ for a single, or 500$ for a "box" (actually a humidor of 32 sticks), the Armada strays far from the other Man O'War lines. It features an Ecuador Sumatra seed Maduro wrapper, around fillers that I can't find info on anywhere. The Armada is offered in 2 sizes that I know of, a 6.5x56 "toro grande", and a 5x44 petite corona (not on the website, I have only heard about it, and had it offered via emails). The Armada may be available in other sizes in samplers from CI and Cigar.com, but I'm not positive on that.

What I am positive about is how great this massive cigar looks. I'm a devoted fan of tiny ring gauges, so the 56 ring is a bit beyond my comfort zone and preference, but the wrapper leaf, with its reddish dark chocolate color, and heavy tooth, is enough to make me look past the girth. The construction looks good as well, though for 20$/stick, a triple cap would be nice (a complaint I also have with Padron...) The seams look great, though the cap is a bit lopsided. The pack is even, and firm, and looking at the foot, the different leaves are clearly identifiable (lots of ligero...). The aroma from the foot is not overly complex, just a meaty, rich tobacco, with a slightly musty character to it. The cold draw however is awesome. One of the most defined chocolate flavors I have ever gotten. Not a bitter cocoa, but straight milk chocolate. There is also a wet, earthiness to it, that reminds me of really dark, nutrient rich potting soil. Surprisingly, there is just a touch of spice, not the overwhelming heat I expected.

Lit at 1:25pm.

The massive Armada lights easily enough under my torch, but once fully lit, the smoke production is not all that enthusiastic. Kind of disappointed by that. The flavor however, is awesome. I'm getting everything from milk chocolate, to hot peppers, and even a unique smoked pepper flavor, that reminds me of Mexican spices. Very strange, but awesome. About a half inch in, the burn line is a little crazy, but that could either be because of the big ring gauge, or the humidity here near the James River in Virginia in the summer (steamy, swampy, etc.).

The ash is pretty impressive, probably because of the size, and has held so far for almost 2 inches and is a mottled white and gray. The burn line has evened out by the end of the first third. The flavors have also shifted, now producing a more bitter chocolate, rather than the milky character initially present. The spicy heat has also picked up actually, and sticks around for a long time, mingling with some sweetness on the finish, which as I said, is impressive and really long.

Some strength starts to become apparent to me around the halfway mark, which is also about an hour in. It isn't overwhelming, but just enough nicotine to know it is present. The high ligero content, and the fact that (after doing some research while smoking), the wrapper is actually apparently a ligero leaf, is probably the culprit. Not unpleasant, just lets you know it is there. The sweetness remains, mingling well with the spicy finish. The specific flavors I'm picking out at the halfway point still include interesting dried chili peppers, bitter chocolate, and now a bit of coffee bean.

At the band point, the only adjective that immediately springs to mind is wet. The flavor profile, mouth feel, all of it, everything has taken on a wet, dark character. Like when you throw a wet log into the fire. There is a little bit of mushroom character as well becoming apparent. Removing the band (which comes off easily, and cleanly, reveals a small crack in the wrapper, maybe 1/4 inch long. It doesn't seem to be problematic at this point though.

Approaching the end, a big blast of cinnamon comes out of no where. The complexity present here is, I have to admit, a little surprising. For the price, I am glad it is present, but for a brand sold exclusively through... well anyone, it is something special. I know it is produced by AJ Fernandez though, and he has made some awesome cigars (though not everything he has done has been gold, there are some real gems in his portfolio), so I guess I shouldn't be entirely surprised. Great blender using great tobacco... bound to work, right? In this final third a surprisingly hot spice also kicks up through the nose. Up until now, the spice has mostly been the kind that jumps around, mostly in the back of the throat though, while through the nose it has been mellow, smooth... now hot and spicy (significant "burn"). The crack in the wrapper burns through just fine, without a hitch. Actually, the performance has been great, considering that about halfway through, the weather went all **** up, and it starting storming, raining, the works out here.

Ended at 3:20pm for a total smoke time just shy of 2 hours. I think I pretty much have summarized my feelings already, but for those who skip to the last paragraph... what a great amount of complexity! Also, I will admit to a bit of nicotine sickness for almost 30 minutes after finishing smoking this. The Armada is a strong smoke, no doubt about it... but the flavor and complexity, as well as the great performance make it worth a little suffering after the fact in my opinion.

Sexy photos of my hands holding a cigar at the blog:Smoke Into Oblivion


Comments

  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,846 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the review, got one on the way, little out of my price range and from the sounds of it, power range too. Very nice that Ccom offered it up in a sampler. Great way to try new smokes.
  • Alex_SvensonAlex_Svenson Posts: 1,223Moderator admin
    I just finished one with a year on it and it really ages well.
  • bobojobobojo Posts: 13
    Great review! I guess the one I have is in for a nice long nap.
  • Knoxca1Knoxca1 Posts: 147
    This is my favorite cigar.  I would love to smoke one with a little age on it but they don't last very long in my humidor.
  • JonathanEJonathanE Posts: 401
    The Kid:
    Thanks for the review, got one on the way, little out of my price range and from the sounds of it, power range too. Very nice that Ccom offered it up in a sampler. Great way to try new smokes.
    I wouldn't say the Armada is out of your power range - just guessing - I'd say that it's huge! The issue isn't power, it's how much of a great, great thing can you take?? Nobody smokes "A" size cigars and for good reason!

    JDE

  • KriegKrieg Posts: 5,076 ✭✭
    i had my first one couple of weeks ago, and have to say I really enjoyed it. I find myself having a harder and harder time finding really good cigars I enjoy...maybe I'm just getting pickier and pickier....
  • cabinetmakercabinetmaker Posts: 2,561
    My first one was really good, unfortunately it was really windy outside and that didn't help. All the rest are napping for a while.
  • Amos_UmwhatAmos_Umwhat West TNPosts: 2,872 ✭✭✭
    Your review puts it well, describes my first two to a tee. Had one recently with about 6 months on it and smoke production was more impressive, "wet" had turned to "damp", very good.
    "If you aren't who you are, then who are you?"  Wisdom from the mouths of children.
  • Ken_LightKen_Light Posts: 3,539 ✭✭✭
    Great review. If you got sick for a bit though, then you have renewed my terror of this monster. I might have to order some coronas to try it out...
    ^Troll: DO NOT FEED.
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,846 ✭✭✭
    JonathanE:
    The Kid:
    Thanks for the review, got one on the way, little out of my price range and from the sounds of it, power range too. Very nice that Ccom offered it up in a sampler. Great way to try new smokes.
    I wouldn't say the Armada is out of your power range - just guessing - I'd say that it's huge! The issue isn't power, it's how much of a great, great thing can you take?? Nobody smokes "A" size cigars and for good reason!

    JDE

    Sage words, my friend. I will keep that in mind.
  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    The Kid:
    JonathanE:
    The Kid:
    Thanks for the review, got one on the way, little out of my price range and from the sounds of it, power range too. Very nice that Ccom offered it up in a sampler. Great way to try new smokes.
    I wouldn't say the Armada is out of your power range - just guessing - I'd say that it's huge! The issue isn't power, it's how much of a great, great thing can you take?? Nobody smokes "A" size cigars and for good reason!

    JDE

    Sage words, my friend. I will keep that in mind.
    Just make sure you have a good meal before taking it on and you will be fine. The Armada is NOT too powerful, just full of flavor and very well balanced IMO.
  • rwheelwrightrwheelwright Posts: 3,296
    I have a full box aging since November I think. I hit one up every few months or so. My cabinet humi ihas been a little on he high side so until it comes back down for a couple pf months they and most of the stuff in there is off limits.
  • wwesternwwestern Posts: 1,386
    The Kid:
    Thanks for the review, got one on the way, little out of my price range and from the sounds of it, power range too. Very nice that Ccom offered it up in a sampler. Great way to try new smokes.
    Call em and tell em you don't wanna pay 20 bucks a pop that usually helps ;)
  • ellinasellinas Posts: 329
    i had one about a week ago and unfortunately thought it wasn't worth the $20 the flavor was ok to me but not special. Then again it may have just been a bad one and i'll let the other one rest for awhile before i try it and i'll see if i can pick up the flavors you got because it sounds awesome.
  • ZAPZAP Posts: 169
    Nice review...been wanting to try one of these but sticking to cheaper sticks this summer for the most part....just a side question...what do you like from AJ and what do you not find as good?
  • The_KidThe_Kid Posts: 7,846 ✭✭✭
    ZAP:
    Nice review...been wanting to try one of these but sticking to cheaper sticks this summer for the most part....just a side question...what do you like from AJ and what do you not find as good?
    I Checked My AJ journal, And these are some of my favs, been a while since I updated it so Im sure its missing a few, Please correct me if Im wrong. Diesel Unholy Cocktail,,,,Graycliff G2 Turbo,,,,Nica Libre,,,,Sol Cubana Cuban Cabinet,,,5 Vegas triple A,,, Man O War series,, La Herencia Cubano Oscuro Fuerte,, I also have him as the blender for Gurkha Park Ave,, But not at all sure bout that one.
  • Ken_LightKen_Light Posts: 3,539 ✭✭✭
    The Kid:
    ZAP:
    Nice review...been wanting to try one of these but sticking to cheaper sticks this summer for the most part....just a side question...what do you like from AJ and what do you not find as good?
    I Checked My AJ journal, And these are some of my favs, been a while since I updated it so Im sure its missing a few, Please correct me if Im wrong. Diesel Unholy Cocktail,,,,Graycliff G2 Turbo,,,,Nica Libre,,,,Sol Cubana Cuban Cabinet,,,5 Vegas triple A,,, Man O War series,, La Herencia Cubano Oscuro Fuerte,, I also have him as the blender for Gurkha Park Ave,, But not at all sure bout that one.
    He definitely blended Gurkha Park Ave, which is one of the best mild cigars I've ever had. Pretty amazing for a guy known for blending pretty heavy hitters.
    ^Troll: DO NOT FEED.
  • danielruasdanielruas Posts: 778
    I love your reviews Doc
  • docbp87docbp87 Posts: 3,521
    danielruas:
    I love your reviews Doc

    Thanks dude. If you're ever in Va, we'll have to herf and chat about hardcore (which I am totally out of the loop on)
  • docbp87docbp87 Posts: 3,521
    Oh and as for what AJ Cigars I love... All three San Lotanos, the Diesel UHC, MOW, MOW Ruination, MOW SE, Armada, Puro Authenticos... Hmm. Can't think of any others off the top of my head. As for which blends I dislike... I don't like to trash talk (yeah right), but I'm gonna hold my tongue.
  • Bobbo2009Bobbo2009 Peoria, ILPosts: 869 ✭✭
    I can't wait to finally break one of these out and have it. I've got the three I got from joining the COTM resting now for four months. I will light one up in September for my sons 2nd birthday. After that, I'll let the other two rest for as long as I can hold out. Unless I love them too much and they could be gone before my son reaches 2 years and 2 days!
    Rob
  • Thanks for the review.  I had one of the two I bought from Cigar.com, and I was completely disappointed.  The draw seemed fine, but I had to huff and puff to get even just a little smoke.  Okay, I usually have Padron 64/26/FR, Oliva Serie V, CAO La Traviata, and others that deliver spectacular clouds of smoke w/easy draw...  but isn't that kinda the point.  Meanwhile, the flavors just never developed (draw problem, perhaps), so I killed it 1/2+ through.  I'm likely to give the other one away.  Bummer--the MoW Ruination has been a very special cigar on three of the four times I've had one, so I expected a lot from Armada.
  • grannejagranneja Posts: 382
    Sorry to hear about the bad stick. The one I have tried was pretty good. I do have to agree that the Ruination is a great stick!
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,578 ✭✭✭
    Alex Svenson:
    I just finished one with a year on it and it really ages well.
    i have a few with that time on it as well. there are two left from the 5er you sent me back when i won the contest you had to get your personal blend
  • KriegKrieg Posts: 5,076 ✭✭
    First one I ever smoked had about a year on it. Me and a buddy took his boat out one evening and we smoked it while the sun went down. Great stick for a great moment.
  • rwheelwrightrwheelwright Posts: 3,296
    kuzi16:
    Alex Svenson:
    I just finished one with a year on it and it really ages well.
    i have a few with that time on it as well. there are two left from the 5er you sent me back when i won the contest you had to get your personal blend
    I think you should send me one of those 2! ;-)
  • JudoChinXJudoChinX Posts: 775
    I'm lame and still haven't tried one of the two I got from ccom. They should have some nice rest on them though, so I'll have to give one a shot here soon.
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