RoMa Craft Leverages Unique Tobaccos to Stay Ahead of the Pack

by Billy Ferriolo
RoMa Craft Leverages Unique Tobaccos to Stay Ahead of the Pack


RoMa Craft Tobac is the creation of two regional cigar giants: Costa Rican Imports and Galveston Bay Tobacco, run by Michael Rosales and Skip Martin, respectively. Keen eyed readers will notice that RoMa combines the first two letters of the founders' last names.

So, what makes RoMa Craft Tobac special? Founded right at the beginning of the boutique cigar boom in 2012, RoMa has carved a market for itself by using rare and unusual tobaccos to deliver cigars the likes of which have never been seen. Michael and Skip have worked in tobacco for years and know of varieties we've never heard of – and they've put the best of them into their stogies.

In a world dominated by Nicaraguan tobaccos of one kind or another, RoMa is remarkably different. Whether you make them a regular part of your rotation or just enjoy them as a break from the norm, RoMa cigars are a must-try for literally any cigar smoker. They'll change the way you see cigars forever – no joke.

Ready to embark on the wild ride of RoMa Craft Tobac? Here are four stogies that'll get you started:

RoMa Craft Intemperance Whisky Rebellion 1794

You know who else did things differently? America's first distillers.

They supported the revolution against Britain and made sure that the Continental Army was well and thoroughly soused. How else do you think they survived Valley Forge?

Then George Washington turned around and taxed them for their trouble as soon as the war was over. So they took up arms against the new republic – and were soon very thoroughly trounced. They fled to the backwaters of Kentucky where they set up shop away from the long arm of the government, and Kentucky Bourbon was born. But history has forgotten them.

But not Michael or Skip. They march to the beat of their own drum and decided to create a blend to honor America's first civil war. Enter the Intemperance Whisky Rebellion 1794. Which is too long of a name for us to keep writing so from here on out it's the “1794”. Got it? Good.

The 1794 seems traditional enough from the outside, judging from its oily, high-priming Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. It looks strong, but classic. And the long-fillers are a terrific but not unheard of blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan tobaccos. So, what makes the 1794 unique rather than just great?

Well, Skip decided to use an Indonesian Bezuki binder. Yeah, we haven't heard of it before either. Genuine Sumatran leaves are hard enough to come by – but a Bezuki? Yeah this cigar has something else going on.

The palate is largely what you would expect from the Habano and Dominican/Nicaraguan long-fillers. Rich, full-bodied earth, black pepper, leather, and espresso. But from the first puff there's something else that's hard to put your finger on. A few more puffs and you'll finally figure it out – it's a creamy floral note that is unlike anything you've come to expect. And it grows throughout the smoke, mellowing out the spicy earth and delivering a well-balanced if highly unusual smoking experience. The 1794 is a great cigar by any measuring stick and even better for being refreshingly unique.

RoMa Craft CroMagnon

If you ask the average cigar smoker if they've ever heard of a RoMa cigar or smoked one themselves, odds are they'll think of the CroMagnon. It's the brand's mainstay and a really good cigar to boot.

Unlike the 1794, the CroMagnon doesn't so much swim against the stream as it speed-boats up it. It has all the elements of a great modern blend, just dialed up to 11. Take the wrapper for example: a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro. The quintessential modern wrapper popularized by Drew Estate's Liga Privada and now gracing more full-bodied blends than pretty much any other wrapper.

Lift the hood and you'll find more classics: a Cameroon binder and fully Nicaraguan long-filler blend. But things get interesting when you take a closer look at the long-fillers. They're all Nicaraguan to be sure. And two are predictable enough – Esteli and Condega. But then there's a third long-filler from a little-known town on the Honduran border called Pueblo Nuevo. This long-filler is a top-priming ligero that is more intense than just about any ligero found in Nicaragua. It's not just spicy and earthy, it's downright smoky. And incredibly rich and creamy.

So when you light up the CroMagnon, you get a lot of what you'd expect – and then some. Earth? Check. Oak? Yep. Black pepper? To be sure. Campfire? Wait a minute...

Yep, this baby puts out billowing clouds of thick, chewy, creamy smoke that burst at the gills with potent Nicaraguan flavors of coffee, earth, and pepper and a smoky flavor that we just can't get enough of. It's become an instant classic and is the RoMa that we keep coming back to even after each new and wonderful release.

RoMa Craft CroMagnon Aquitaine

So, how on earth do you up the ante on the CroMagnon formula?

That's what Skip and Michael asked themselves when they started designing the cigar's sequel and we have to say their answer is both insane and inspired.

You see, Ligero tobaccos are undoubtedly one of the stars of the modern cigar world. From CAO's Lx2 to LFD's Double Ligero Chisel, each brand tries to push the envelope a little farther by adding more and more Ligeros to their long-filler blend. Heck, RoMa did it themselves by adding Pueblo Nuevo to the original CroMagnon.

With the Aquitaine, they decided to do the unheard of. They wrapped the cigar in an Ecuadorian Ligero leaf. You read that right - the CroMagnon Aquitaine is wrapped with a Ligero. It’s toothy, oily, and impossibly threatening. We had to steel ourselves to light this rugged-looking bad boy. But for the record, we're glad we did.

This cigar is a spice bomb, no doubt about it. It's gotta be one of the spiciest cigars we've ever smoked with wave after wave of black, red, and white pepper. But it's also surprisingly sweet with rich leather and hickory-smoked barbecue sauce that transforms into dark fruits and black cherry in the second half. There's something a little fresh and yeasty about the cigar as well, reminiscent of sourdough or soda bread. The smokiness from the Pueblo Nuevo fillers is still there, but mainly in that barbecue note. The wrapper pushes it towards the background for a thoroughly different smoke.

If you're brave enough, the Aquitaine will not disappoint.

RoMa Craft Neanderthal

Alright. You've put in top-priming Pueblo Nuevo Ligeros that blast pepper and smoke. You've even wrapped a cigar in a damn Ligero leaf. There's no way you can make a more powerful cigar than that, right?

Well, if you're RoMa Craft Tobac, it turns out you can. Meet the RoMa Neanderthal – a cigar that will beat you up and steal your girl.

The dark, oily San Andres Maduro wrapper seems innocuous enough. Maybe this cigar won't be so strong after all, you start to think. Sure, its flathead cap and club-like Figurado Vitola seem pretty threatening but that's just marketing, right?

Well, buckle up because Skip and Michael do not have your best interests at heart. Underneath that chocolatey and sweet Maduro wrapper they stuck a brooding Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro binder. And they used it to tie together a long-filler blend that's chock full of rare Pennsylvania Double Ligeros.

Now, odds are you haven't heard of Pennsylvania Ligeros before. And you've almost certainly never smoked them. So here's the deal: they're 3x as strong as those Esteli Ligeros you're used to. Three times as strong! Yeah, we're in for a bumpy ride. Go slow.

That first puff nearly clubs you senseless with pepper. But take another puff and hey - it's not so bad. It’s actually kind of nice. Your tongue is starting to get used to the unrelenting pepper and now you're noticing some other flavors: cinnamon, clove, and sweet tangy leather. The smoke has unbelievable body. It’s one of the chewiest smokes we've come across in recent years. But after about an inch, the palate gets almost pleasant. Smooth chocolate comes to soothe your punch-drunk senses while the pepper recedes somewhat to let oak and earth hold forth. It gains in strength but not spice over the last half, reaching a creamy, earthy, chocolate crescendo as you burn your fingertips.

Anyone who smokes one of these everyday is a psychopath. And seriously don't smoke it on an empty stomach. But for us spice-heads who just can't get enough of our precious Ligeros, the Neanderthal offers a smoke like no other. There's no chance the Neanderthal is going extinct any time soon.

Check out our full selection of RoMa Craft Cigars at your leisure.