After a two-year hiatus, Camacho has once again released the Diploma. Available in only a single Robusto size with a limited yearly release of only 1,800 boxes, our expectations are high for this premium cigar.
In this review, you will discover the Camacho Diploma. You will learn about its construction, notes and aromas as well as its pairings and value for money.
- Brand: Camacho
- Range: Diploma
- Length: 5″ (10 cm)
- Gauge: 54
- Filler: Honduran Corojo
- Binder: Honduran Corojo
- Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
- Handmade? Yes
- Body: Medium-Full
- Estimated Smoking Time: 45-60 Minutes
- Pricing: ~$20
- Limited Edition: 1,800 boxes per year
Originally, the Diploma was available in a range of sizes including Figurado and Churchill. However, in a truly limited run, Camacho has concentrated on creating only the finest Robustos.
In order to achieve this, Camacho only has approached the most experienced and gifted rollers that employ a highly secretive and unique technique.
Furthermore, the original 2013 run of the Diploma featured a blend of Ecuadorian, Dominican and Honduran leaves. After being discontinued, Camacho sought to truly showcase their celebrated Corojo Cuban seed. Therefore, the new Diploma Special Selection only features a 100% Honduran Corojo blend.
Each cigar is individually presented in an eye-catching blue / purple lacquer coffin for a truly special cigar. These themselves are cleverly stored in a large triangular box with a transparent lid, which contains 18 Diploma cigars. Each of the coffins are stacked and arranged in the box for a geographic and thoughtful presentation.
Camacho Diploma Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Dark Chocolate
- Rolling Consistency: Even
- Spring: Mild Spring
- Aromas: Earth, Cocoa, Black Coffee
With a dark and oily hue, the wrapper is perfectly constructed with few visible veins. In manipulating the cigar, there are no soft spots and the stick gives off firm yet springy resistance.
Whatever the confidential rolling technique may be, it seems that Camacho have succeeded in making a finely-crafted cigar with no apparent weaknesses. The cigar feels solid to the touch without being too hard.
Finally, the wrapper’s oiliness showcases a refined sheen and a subtle finish. As for the aromas, the cigar gives off hints of dark chocolate, earthiness and black coffee. With such a strong and full-bodied odour, we can expect something similar during the smoke.
Camacho Diploma Cigar Review
Handmade cigars can vary in experience due to their individual variations and characteristics. Therefore, 4 Camacho Diplomas were smoked for this review between both myself and Paul Anthony for a balanced evaluation.
- Draw: Mild Looseness
- Aromas: Dark Chocolate, Espresso Coffee, Earthiness
As picked up in the smelled aromas, the Diploma features notes of dark chocolate, espresso and earthiness. Additionally, there were also faint notes of ammonia. However, these were quite mild and not overbearing.
Some cigar enthusiasts have commented on the cigar absorbing some of the lacquer paint fumes used for the coffins (as they are lined with cedar). Although there were some hints of this from the wrapper’s body, they weren’t detected in the dry draw. Nevertheless, we’ll keep an eye on it during the smoke.
With regards to the draw, it gave only a mild resistance. Usually, cigars tighten after lighting as the leaves expand with the humidity and smoke. Therefore, we can expect an ideal draw once fired up.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Dark Chocolate, Espresso Coffee, Lemon Zest
Opening on the overt dark chocolate and espresso notes experienced earlier, the Diploma offers a powerful initial experience. However, the full-body soon subsides to reveal its subtle nuances and aromatic complexities.
Interestingly, the earthy notes of coffee beans and cocoa strongly juxtaposition the aromas of the retrohale. Here, we experience sharp zesty flavours reminiscent of lemons or lime.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Espresso, Cream, Leather, Grapefruit
As the cigar progressed through to the 2nd third, the overall bouquet of notes matured and evolved into a different experience.
Still present were the flavours of espresso whilst the chocolate developed a more creamy finish. The resulting accord between these notes can be likened to a strong latte coffee.
A particularly unique and enjoyable experience was an additional leather note that evoked musky labdanum, which is often found in fragrances. This seemed to have an impact on the retrohale, which offered a more bittersweet zest closer to grapefruit than lemon.
As will be detailed below, the cigar offered an overall even burn and the draw slipped into the ideal sweet spot of offering a mild resistance to the draw.
As for the cigar’s body, the smoke was quite mealy and thick without burning hot. However, the palate itself was relatively mild to medium offering a more refined experience.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Ristretto, Leather, Dark Chocolate, Chili Peppers
In drawing towards the final third, the creaminess subsided to allow for the dark chocolate to make a tantalising return.
With its flavours gathering for a final burst, the coffee notes became more intense. Instead of being similar to espresso, the coffee aroma was more reminiscent of an intense ristretto shot.
Meanwhile, the leather notes were still present whilst building upon the previous third’s experience. As the cigar drew close to the nub, there were some mild notes of chili. However, these never strayed too close to peppery.
With regards to the lacquer paint noted in the dry draw, both Paul Anthony and I agreed that we couldn’t pick up any of this during the smoke.
Although there may be a subtle hint of it when taking the cigar out of its box, it seems to subside almost instantly upon lighting.
Finally, the build-up of tar and nicotine in the nub generally didn’t compromise the cigar’s final flavours. Although one of the four cigars became very tarry and peppery at the very end, this was well after the band. Furthermore, the other three were still rather pleasant even as the fingers began to burn!
- Ash Backbone: Strong
- Burn Angle: Mostly Even
- Temperature: Cool
- Draw: Moderate
- Final Smoking Time: 50 Minutes
As mentioned earlier, the Diploma’s draw fell into the sweet spot you’d hope from a quality cigar. Although it started off as mildly loose before lighting, the cigar tightened slightly through the first third. By midway point, the cigar’s tightness was ideal and offered a slight resistance to each draw.
Meanwhile, the burn was generally even. Of the few cigars that started burning at an angle or featured the odd runner after lighting, they quickly stabilised for an ideal burn.
Furthermore, two of the cigars were tested while walking in Paris as you will see in the video at the end of this review. Given that walking around a busy city is far from the ideal burning conditions, we were impressed at how well the Diploma held itself together.
As for the burning temperature, it’s not uncommon for cigars to get hot when smoked while walking. This is usually because the smoker breathes more heavily and takes harder draws. Nevertheless, the temperature remained cool throughout and those smoked in an ideal environment remained perfectly consistent too.
Similarly, the ash’s backbone was generally quite strong and resilient against sudden movements. Even in the city, both Paul Anthony and I were able to achieve a 2″ (5 cm) ash before they dropped off when we slipped on the ice!
Finally, the Diplomas smoked while walking around the city took around 45 minutes from start to finish. We walked slowly and took regular breaks so despite our movement, you could expect roughly the same when indoors sitting down. However, we’d say that 50 minutes would be the ideal smoking time to properly enjoy this cigar.
Ideal Pairings With A Camacho Diploma
With its strongly gourmet blend of notes, this is a cigar that would pair wonderfully well with either a coffee or dark chocolate. Whilst an espresso would be ideal, the creamy 2nd third would be quite harmonious with a latte.
Alternatively, you could happily pair the diploma with liquor such as a dark rum or refined whisky. Generally speaking, being a full-bodied Honduran cigar, the Diploma would be the perfect digestive cigar after an evening meal.
With its lavish box and individual coffins, the Camaco Diploma is a grandiose cigar. Whilst some might appreciate such an attention to detail, others may struggle for space in their humidors. Outside of removing each cigar from their coffins and placing them directly in a humidor, the Diploma boxes require considerable storage.
Similarly, as mentioned on a few occasions, there were concerns over the box’s paint leaving trace odours on the cigars themselves. Although the paint does indeed smell strong, only the outside is coated and the cigars themselves seemed untainted.
With regards to the band, the Diploma is stylish while walking the fine line between bold and understated. Made from a reflective material, the band’s lettering glistens in embossed silver text over an indigo backdrop.
One feature we did appreciate of the band was that the underside was quite long. Therefore, no glue touched the cigar, which made it very easy to detach without damaging the cigar.
Finally, the value for money for this cigar is of particular interest. Although it is a $20 cigar, it should be remembered that they are released in a very limited quantity. With only 1,800 boxes per year, this means that no more than 32,400 individual cigars are in circulation.
Additionally, the cigar itself is very well constructed and offers a superior smoking experience. This combined with the attention to detail in the boxes and coffins makes for a very attractive price point. If compared to similar releases from Cuba, Camacho is only asking for a fraction of the equivalent price.
Storage Solutions For A Camacho Diploma Cigar Box
Given its sheer size, a Diploma box can dwarf even a reasonably-sized humidor. Furthermore, this attractive if bulky display case weighs just under 10 lbs (4.5 kg) so it’s not very portable! However, being made out of cedar, it can fulfil the function of a traditional humidor for your Diploma collection.
Nevertheless, for those that take their cigar storage seriously, it may be a challenge to find a way to keep them fresh and humid over a long period of time. It was too large even for Paul Anthony’s large cigar humidor.
Therefore, to overcome this and ensure that his Diplomas could be stored in the long term, Paul made what is known as a “coolidor”. This DIY solution involves using a typical cooler and converting into a humidor by using humidity packs. Although it may not be elegant, it’s functional and will preserve the Diplomas quality.
When Should You Smoke A Camacho Diploma?
With its individual coffins and unique presentation, Camacho almost demands that this is a cigar to be reserved for a special occasion. Although it can be enjoyed between friends, the case would be most appropriate for celebratory events.
Furthermore, the beautifully-presented cigar would make the perfect gift for even someone who is not an enthusiast.
With “Diploma” as its name, you could imagine giving this to a friend who just graduated or accomplished another professional achievement. Similarly, it would be great to present to someone who just hit a life goal such as getting married or bought a house.
Nevertheless, the Diploma is a great smoke and doesn’t need to be hidden away exclusively for such life-changing events. In fact, thanks to its unique gourmet blend, it would be ideal to present to guests after a hearty evening meal.
It’s perfect for smoking in both informal and formal environments. However, for the latter, you may want to bring it without the coffin and in a regular travel case instead.
Despite its relatively high asking price for a New World cigar, the Camacho Diploma is a luxurious and exclusive smoke that offers excellent value for money. Given that it is released in very limited quantities with a grandiose presentation, it is well worth seeking out as a unique experience.
Furthermore, its rich blend of harmonious notes from Camacho’s original Corojo leaf offers a complex body that is a full yet not overwhelming experience. If you want to learn more, watch out video below for our first impression!