Produced by: JM Tobacco Inc.
Wrapper: Sumatra/San Andreas
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican Republic
Size: Toro (6 x 50)
Time to Smoke: 80 minutes/95 minutes
About the cigar
“These Zoidian cigars bridge the gap between our principal JM’s brand of cigars, retailing for less than $3, and our flagship Espanola at $8,” says Anto Mahroukian, JM Tobacco’s president. “Zoidian’s suggested retail pricing falls between $4 and $5 for its four classic Cuban shapes: Robusto, Toro, Churchill and Gordo Grande.”
Each Zoidian cigar comes in Natural (Sumatran) or Maduro (San Andreas, Mexico) wrappers. The binders are Connecticut Broadleaf, and the fillers are Cuban seed Dominican leaf and are well aged for rich, balanced flavor. The Natural is a mild to medium cigar, while the Maduro is medium- to full-bodied.
“JM’s motto, due to our value pricing, has been ‘Your Daily Choice,’” Mahroukian says. “Now we are adding ‘The Affordable Luxury,’ Zoidian’s complementary slogan for their cigars.”
Right out of the wrapper, the sweet aroma of honey and caramel caress my nose (that’s right, caress). I’m a little wary, though, when I notice that this cigar looks particularly veiny and there’s some weird bunching near the head [pictured].
The cold draw is easy, and I’m tasting some black pepper. Upon light-up, the aroma off the foot is like caramel-infused French toast that has been drizzled with honey, but I’m also picking up something woody—maybe hickory? The wonderful aroma and flavors are easily my favorite part of the Natural.
The flavor finish, however, is quite spicy, with heavy black pepper. I’m not usually a fan of spicy finishes on cigars, but if that’s your thing, then the Natural is for you! To me, it was just a bit on the harsh side, but thankfully as I moved into the halfway point of the cigar, the flavors mellowed out and became sweeter.
The construction of the Natural is superb. The ash lasted well over an inch before dropping, and the burn line was excellent throughout.
Moving on to the Maduro, I can easily say this was my favorite of the two, as I usually prefer a more full-bodied smoke. The Maduro comes pre-punched, while the Natural does not. This didn’t bother me because the less tending that a cigar needs—even not having to cut or punch it—the higher favorability I give that cigar. This allows for more time to focus on your thoughts or the friends you’re with and really enjoying the moment.
I will mention that, like the Natural, the cap on this cigar also seems a bit haphazard [pictured]. Thankfully, neither unraveled during smoking, so it really is just an aesthetic issue. Similarly, the tobacco leaves at first glance appear to be loosely packed, but once I got smoking it didn’t seem to be an issue nor affect the length of the smoke.
There are gorgeous, chewy flavors of rich, spicy chocolate with a similar aroma. It was a very humid and hot North Carolina day when I enjoyed this cigar, so the thick smoke would just hang in front of my face … and I loved every second of it.
The burn is excellent, and the cigar needed no tending once lit.
Natural: I started off with a coffee, but for some reason it was not complementing the flavor profile of the cigar, so I switched to something a little peppier: whiskey and Sprite. The carbonation and lime flavors helped with balancing the spices of the cigar. I usually am a huge advocate for drinking coffee with a cigar, but this time, whiskey was the much better option.
Maduro: I started this cigar with a coffee, too. Unlike the Natural, coffee provided a very nice balance to the full body of this cigar. Halfway through the smoke I switched to a Deadeye Jack Stout from Lonerider Brewing Company, which was also an excellent choice. I imagine a bourbon would go wonderfully with this cigar as well.
The best part about these cigars is their price point: $5 or less. That is insane for a well-constructed, handmade cigar. You would think that quality would be compromised, but that doesn’t appear to be the case, other than the few small aesthetic issues. My favorite was certainly the Maduro, but you really can’t go wrong with either, especially at “The Affordable Luxury” price.
Check out our feature and review on JM Tobacco’s other line, the Espanola.