The Mike Ditka Kickoff Series is a new line of cigars from Camacho which honors the football legend, Mike Ditka. Within the series are 3 separate blends, which each honor a different stage of Ditka’s career. There is The Hall of Famer, The Coach, and the Player which I am reviewing today.
Each of these three blends are available in four sizes, a 5 x 50 Robusto, a 6 x 50 Toro, a 6 x 60 “Super” Toro, and a 6 x 54 Torpedo. The packaging used for the Kickoff Series is smilier in design to that used for the Camacho Liberty, except the boxes are limited to 10 count. While the boxes are only half as deep, label aside, it looks almost exactly the same as a Camacho Liberty box. Also much like the Camacho Liberty, all of the Kickoff Series blends are packaged in individual cedar coffins.
To celebrate the launch of the Ditka Kickoff Series, Mike Ditka himself is touring various cigar stores across the country. If you attend an event where Ditka is present, you can get your box signed by him, and a picture with him as well. Recently one of these events took place near me at Mickey Blake’s in Southington, CT. Sadly, I was unable to attend the event itself, but a few weeks later when I stopped by they had already gotten some of these sticks back in stock so I picked up a couple of each to try out.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Filler: Honduran and Dominican
Flavor: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
Construction and Appearance: Each Ditka The Player comes in a cedar coffin which features a red finish on the top. On the cigar coffin is written The Player 5 x 50 in black, Ditka in large gold letters, and specially blended by Camacho in black as well.
The Player features a single large band, which on the top depicts an image of Ditka in his early years playing for the Chicago Bears. On the top part on the right it says ’63, the year he started playing for the bears, and on the left “Chicago Bears NFL Champions”. Below that it says Ditka in gold on black, and below that Blended by Camacho in gold on red.
The wrapper of The Player is a beautiful golden brown, with almost no veins and a nice rich oil to it. I looks like the Camacho Connecticut wrapper. The cap is very tight, the cigar evenly packed, and the wrapper has a silky smooth feel to the touch. There are a few slightly mottled dark brown spots, but overall the color is very uniform.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of The Player has notes of cedar, grass, and nuts. The foot has a scent which is made up of cedar, earth, grass, and a mild spice. To prepare smoking The Player, I use a slight straight cut to the cap, and on the cold draw there are flavors of a rich cedar, nuts, earth, vanilla, nutmeg, and a slight spice.
Smoking Characteristics: The Player kicks off with an excellent draw, the first few puffs produce notes of cream, cedar, spice, grass, and nuts. Each puff yields a full body of cool, rich, creamy, slightly sweet smoke. After the first few puffs the spice fades from the smoking profile and a nice rich sweet vanilla joins the blend. The flavor is now made up of vanilla, grass, cream, cedar, and nuts. Each puff leaves a nice finish of vanilla and nutmeg lingering on the palate. The smoke production on The Player is staggering, each draw provides a very full body, and in-between puffs smoke continues to billow from both the foot and the cap.
In the second third of The Player, the flavor remains almost identical to the first. The dominate notes are a rich cedar, sweet cream, vanilla, and the secondary notes are that of grass and nuts. The strength is very mild, and the flavor is very crisp. The smoke production is still very high, each puff still providing a dense, rich body of smoke. The construction stands up well on The Player, the ash holds firm past the inch point, and the burn has yet to require a correction.
During the final third of the Player, the spice note reemerges into the smoking profile and notes of nutmeg dominate the flavor. In the background, the notes of cedar, cream, vanilla, nuts, and grass still all remain present. The strength remains very mild in this third, the ash firm, and the burn line quite sharp. The Player smokes cool to the nub without the flavor becoming sour in any way, and only becoming slightly soft towards the end.
Conclusion: I am one of those experienced smokers who still has quite the soft spot for a fine mild cigar. When I do choose to smoke something on the more mild side of things I expect quite a bit of complexity, and a nice rich bold flavor. To my delight, the Ditka Kickoff Series The Player offers both. The flavors are quite rich, well blended, and entertain the palate during the entire smoking experience. Would I buy more down the road? Certainly, with the ornate packaging and reasonable pricing, I could see myself picking up a few more of these.