One of the benefits of being on Twitter is the contact you have with cigar manufactures, one of them being Pacific Cigars, the maker of the Andretti Commendore. I was able to obtain some samples for review and that is how we got to this point. These cigars and Mario Andretti are featured in the Spring 2009 issue of Smoke Magazine in which I am a review panelist. You can find my picture and bio on page 77.
Cigar: Andretti Commendatore
Size: 4.5 x 50
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Shade Grown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Appearance and Construction (10/20): The cigars from Andretti come packed in a big glass tube that reminds me of an old television set tube. I remember these big monster glass tubes coming out of relics of a television set my parents and grandparents owned. The cigar itself has a closed foot and the cigar has a bit of a sloppy roll. The wrapper of the cigar has poor cut lines and a poorly placed cap. The band of the cigar states the cigar is made exclusively for Mario Andretti by Pacific Cigar. The cigar has a nice weight to it and a little bit of tooth.
Flavor & Notes (10/30): I was taken back a bit to find out the cigar was sweet tipped. The sweet tip reminds me of a Nat Sherman or Baccarat cigar but the similarities end there. Upon lighting the cigar there is a definitive sweetness to the cigar from the wrapper and a pungent aroma that was commented on by many. As the first third is smoked nothing really materializes except for some tobacco and earth notes I won’t even break down the 2nd and 3rd part of the cigar. It remains sweet from the wrapper but the cigar goes down hill as you smoke it.
Burn/Ash/Draw (24/25): The cigar has a exquisite burn that is even throughout the smoke. The ash is a very dark gray ash that holds incredibly well and I didn’t lose the ash til half way through the cigar. The draw is great with only a minimal resistance.
Overall (10/25): I hate to give a cigar that was gifted to me a bad review, but I have to be honest with my readers. This cigar is a wreck. There is virtually nothing to it in terms of notes and while being mild I can’t see most mild cigar smokers turning to this cigar. It needs to make some major changes to make it into the circuit of premium cigars because it will quickly be lapped by other cigars in the race. I have to admit that I wonder why Mario Andretti, perhaps the greatest driver in the history of motor sports put his name on these especially when he has been smoking for so many years.
I also gave some of the samples I received to 2 friends and they both concur. One of the friends I gave it to smokes everything from flavored cigars to powerhouses like the Joya De Nicaragua and he compared it to a car wreck. The other friend didn’t even make it through the first half of the cigar.