After Paul and I visited the factory in Granada, Nicaragua, it was high time that we reviewed one of Mombacho’s artisanal boutique blends! We have opted to start with the Tierra Volcán, which we sampled during one of Claudio Sgroi’s palate training exercises.
In this article, you will discover the Mombacho Tierra Volcán as we review it according to the following considerations:
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- Brand: Mombacho
- Range: Tierra Volcán
- Reviewed Vitolas: 6 x 44 Fino
- Wrapper: Jalapa Habano Seed
- Binder: Nicaraguan Condega
- Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa & Condega
- Factory: Casa Favilli, Granda, Nicaragua
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium – Full
- Estimated Smoking Time: 75 Minutes
- Pricing: $10 / Single
The Tierra Volcán is a Nicaraguan puro produced at Mombacho Casa Favilli, a beautiful 19th-century colonial house in central Granada, Nicaragua. Its blend was created by Claudio Sgroi and consists just of tobacco varieties grown in the Condega and Jalapa regions.
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Mombacho Tierra Volcán Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Cacao Nib
- Rolling Consistency: Straight
- Spring: Firm
- Aromas: Labdanum, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon
Aside from a rare exception, which had a single protruding vein, all the Tierra Volcán cigars featured an elegant wrapper with a refined finish. Their veins are slight and neat while the cigar has a firm spring when pinched as well as a straight roll.
Its wrapper has a distinctive cacao nib hue, which gives off a rich oily sheen. Meanwhile, the aromas on the foot consist of musky labdanum, a mild hint of sweet salted caramel, which offers a pinch of caramelised minerality on the nose, as well as cinnamon.
Mombacho Tierra Volcán Review
As I was given a box, I stored the cigars in an airtight coolidor rather than the usual Boveda acrylic humidor. It provides a very similar environment, which was maintained with 320g Boveda packs and monitored with a Boveda Butler.
You can learn more about how to set up a coolidor with our guide.
- Draw: Mild Resistance
- Aromas: Nutmeg, Birch Tar, Rooibos
The draw is just right with an ideal level of resistance. The dry draw is intriguingly sweet and delivers notes of nutmeg, the smoky essence of birch tar as well as rooibos tea.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Clay, Cinnamon, Charred Bay Leaf
The first third blossoms with a rich bouquet of flavour with an accent on minerals. Deep clay notes of humid terracotta dominate the initial flavour profile. The initial puffs are quite rich, but the flavour and body soon settle as the aromatic compounds begin to mingle.
In a short time, the clay begins to accord with additional mildly spicy and aromatic notes that consist of cinnamon with charred bay leaf.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Iron Ore, Espresso, Dark Chocolate
The second third is slightly more verbose in character. Yet, it reveals another mineral note of iron ore, which features a metallic and earthy aspect. It’s particularly intriguing and alluring, especially when accompanied by notes of espresso coffee.
Eventually, you may detect a wisp of dark chocolate, which creates an overall gourmand experience.
Although the first third was probably a little bit more aromatic and playful, the second third started to really deliver deeper notes yet it never really became overwhelming whatsoever. This is still an overall medium-bodied smoke and it remains relatively consistent throughout the whole experience.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Black Pepper, Agarwood, Saffron
The final third starts to unveil notes of black pepper. However, these are quite restrained. While black pepper can sometimes be very overwhelming, it wasn’t the case on this occasion.
Agarwood oud contrasts nicely against the pepper to create a resinous musk and leathery accord. The two interacted to produce a hint of saffron, which makes for an oriental spice profile delivered through a soft creamy mouthfeel.
Despite its complexity, the cigar’s nuances aren’t inaccessible for inexperienced smokers. Indeed, it’s easy to enjoy exploring its tableau of flavour without feeling overwhelmed.
As mentioned above, it has a creamy mouthfeel, which leaves a soft texture on the tongue. Meanwhile, it offers a balanced palate stimulation that doesn’t cause too much salivation or dryness.
At the cigar’s opening, it may begin closer to the front but it creeps back to the rear of the palate as you progress until it is entirely covered. Similarly, it features a distinctive life cycle with a noticeable evolution throughout each third with various points of transition.
Its lingering finish is pleasant enough that it will last throughout a drink’s second serving. I quite enjoy chasing it with espresso, not as a palate cleanser but to extend and continue marrying the remaining flavours.
The room’s residual scent isn’t particularly overwhelming. It’s passive and quite pleasant before eventually fading away.
- Ash Backbone: Some Flakiness
- Burn Angle: Slightly Wavy
- Temperature: Mostly Cool
- Draw: Mild Resistance
- Final Smoking Time: 75 Minutes
The draw is consistent throughout the whole experience and does not tighten or loosen as you smoke the cigar.
As the Fino, in particular, is a very small vitola, it rewards slow smoking. Should you smoke it too quickly it has a tendency to get hot, which will burn the aromatic compounds and lead to a relatively unpleasant smoking experience.
However, if you smoke it very slowly, it will be much more refined and deliver its full potential of nuanced flavour. However, larger ring gauges are consistently cool and you don’t need to be quite as mindful when smoking those.
In terms of the burn line, it can be somewhat wavy. Nevertheless, it requires no touch-ups to correct any faults in the combustion. Similarly, the ash backbone is reasonably strong, but it has a tendency to get flaky, especially on the Fino.
Again, larger vitolas tend to fare better and can produce rich steel-grey ash.
Mombacho went through a bit of a facelift a couple of years ago. Yet, it still continues to use the abstract triangular logo, which represents the Mombacho volcano that overlooks Granada. The bands are now much more elegant with scrolling and text that nicely reflect the brand’s identity.
Each band is colour coded according to the blend and a second one will feature its name. For instance, this one has a band that mentions Tierra Volcán.
If you take the band off, you’ll see on the back it has been stamped with the date of when the cigar was rolled. It’s an excellent touch and attention to detail, which shows the ways Mombacho seeks to distinguish itself.
The box, which was given to me by Claudio Sgroi through Pasion Puro, is of the type with a wooden sliding top. It’s functional but I admit that I do prefer a box with hinges. Nevertheless, it’s small and discreet with the same elegant branding.
Furthermore, it also features a hand-written traceable batch code on the back, which is another nice touch.
As for the value of the Mombacho Tierra Volcàn, it offers a fair price for what it represents. Being a small boutique artisanal brand, its prices risk being quite high. However, the cigars cost around $10 for a single and about $130 for a box of 12 cigars.
Thanks to its understated and refined appearance, it’s a very versatile cigar that can be suitable for a wide range of occasions. You can take it to formal and special occasions and it pair well with a suit or tuxedo.
Meanwhile, it’s not ostentatious so you can still happily enjoy it with a couple of friends around a barbecue or even on your own for a quiet moment of contemplation.
Pairing Recommendations With A Tierra Volcán Cigar
Cured ham would be an excellent pairing as the two would marry their smoky and mineral characteristics. Proscuitto, jambon de bayonne, or Black Forest ham would feature a rich minerality that would work well.
Alternatively, consider dark chocolate. An excellent option here would be a creation by Argencove, which is a neighbouring artisanal brand in Granada that produces incredible chocolate in small batches.
Both pair well in identity and flavour, which would heighten the overall experience. Otherwise, if you’d like to enjoy it with a meal, consider grilled prime rib that has been marinated beforehand in aromatic herbs.
As for beverages, an añejo rum would probably be the most appropriate choice. I would suggest a Flor de Caña 18 as it has a balanced and harmonious flavour profile. It’s also another Nicaraguan product if you’d like to complete the set with the Argencove chocolate!
You could also opt for a Diplomatico rum. However, if you decide to choose that, why not instead smoke a Diplomatico cigar, which is also made by Mombacho?
Otherwise, if whisky is more to your palate, I would recommend an Islay single malt. Its smoky and peaty flavour profile will marry well with the cigar’s minerality.
Finally, coffee is always an excellent choice. While I would prefer ristretto rather than espresso, these are very small shots and a little shortlived compared to the cigar.
You could instead have a long black, which is a shot poured over hot water whereas an Americano is topped up with water. Therefore, long blacks still have a hint of crema on the surface.
If you’d like to try a truly artisanal Nicaraguan puro, the Tierra Volcán by Mombacho is a wonderfully versatile blend that can be enjoyed for a variety of occasions with different pairings.
It offers fair value for money and will present itself as a unique and original alternative to the usual choices that you’ll usually find in your humidor. Mombacho is indeed an exciting brand with a rich identity. I’m looking forward to its future releases!
"An elegantly-crafted and refined cigar with a rich tableau of flavour and balanced mouthfeel."
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