Buffalo Trace "Special F" Review: One Rugged Cowboy Saloon Cigar

Premium cigars and alcohol are constructed to produce a similar result once consumed: Flavorful enjoyment and relaxation.

Here at Klaro Cigars, we've talked quite a bit about the perks of pairing alcohol with cigars.

If paired properly, these two adult products have the power to compliment one another beautifully. Certain cigar flavor profiles can accent the subtler nuances of scotch whiskey, vintage wine, craft beer, cocktails, and other alcoholic beverages.

But for certain cigar master blenders, these two adult-oriented products can be combined ages before a stogie ever sees a snip and a spark. 

Yes, we're talking about barrel-aged cigars and the tobacco that goes into making this extensive aging process possible. 

And what better place to start off, than with the limited-release Buffalo Trace "Special F" from Scandinavian Tobacco Group. A cigar that screams "saloon" from band to tapered tip, with promises of a full-on smoking experience lurking beneath every leaf.

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Unlit Impressions


Buffalo Trace Special F


Appearance-wise, the "Special F" reminds me a bit of a buffalo. Large, brown, bold, and fairly rough around the edges. It's a toothy, tough-looking pyramid of a figurado (hence its name), with an oily Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper converging into a tapered, unevenly rolled tip. 

Aromas are equally bold and unapologetic, with the all-ligero filler providing a spicy wallop behind the Ecuadorian maduro wrapper's earthiness. However, it is the bourbon barrel-aged Brazilian Arapiraca binder that produces those subtly sweet vanilla tannin notes that us dark liquor lovers adore.

However, unlit cold pulls are not nearly as sweet, but just as intense in flavor as what was found on the nose.

Initial Smoke


Buffalo Trace Special F

Cedar spill ignition complete, the Buffalo Trace "Special F" stampedes forward with flavors pulled straight from rainforest and barrel alike. 

Slightly sweet, and almost caramel-like, the cigar flavor profile shows the promise of a bucking bourbon barrel ride.

Behind the subtler notes pulled from the Buffalo trace barrels, sits a fat smack of pepper that tastes of red, black, white, and everything in between. This is countered by an earthiness that is equal parts oily Arapiraca tobacco and intense Sumatran cigar wrapper.

These flavors evolve into a far more full-strength Maduro experience as they combust. One that quickly overpowers whatever bourbon notes were detected during the first inch of the stick.

2nd Half


Buffalo Trace Special F

By the time the middle of the cigar reached combustion, this ligero-loaded saloon cigar had fully shifted into a different type of "Special F" territory. That "F" doesn't stand for figurado, but for FULL.

This pyramid is potent on every detectable level, with the center of this limited-release offering a bold experience that will likely make even the most experienced cigar snob reach for their whiskey glass.

That isn't to say that subtler hints of oaky tannins and cedar cannot be detected. The same can be said for the delightful dollops of dried dark fruits here and there that I detected. There's complexity lurking behind every pull, you just have to search for it beneath all those leathery layers of ligero leaf.

Fortunately, a return to the familiar bourbon barrel sweetness from the initial inch or so of the cigar gradually emerged as the center of the cigar combusted. Providing a much-welcomed transition to the soil-rich cigar flavor profile.

Parting Puffs 

Buffalo Trace Special F


Wrangling the bucking back end of this beast takes a bit of courage, for it will kick you square in the teeth if you are not fully prepared.

If it weren't for the sweeter bourbon undertow that flows beneath the surface of this cigar, it would borderline on being harsh in my book. 

But that belt of bourbon does indeed exist, and with it comes a chewy, espresso-bean, oily earthiness that makes the final third of the Buffalo Trace "Special F" the pinnacle of this pyramid.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw

Buffalo Trace Special F


Despite my cut being a tad on the conservative side, this figurado offered an even amount of airflow.

In hindsight, this likely proved to be a wise move, as it allowed the cigar to burn slower and cooler. This resulted in not only a mellower smoke but a fairly firm ash as well.

Despite the barrel of the cigar feeling a bit uneven, with both tight and soft spots being detected prior to it being lit, burn lines and combustion proved to be of little issue. This resulted in zero need for a torch touch-up along the way.

Final Thoughts

Buffalo Trace Special F

I found the Buffalo Trace "Special F" to be just as beastly and leathery as the ruminant represented on its cigar band. A cigar concocted for those who favor bold, full-flavored cigars, and who aren't afraid of the dark side of the stogie spectrum. 

With its rough appearance and instantly recognizable bourbon association, I would not be surprised to discover that many a cigar smoker might reach for this stick when it comes time for a "saloon session."

However, due to its uneven delivery of Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel bliss, I found myself feeling a bit letdown at times. Additional points were docked for the figurado's rough and spongy construction, and the equally uncouth cigar flavor profile it provided at times.

Not only did the handfuls of sun-grown ligero leaf filler stuffed inside feel a bit unrefined, but the wrapper itself seemed like it could have gone a bit longer in the fermentation process. The same could be said for that Arapiraca binder, which could have benefitted from another 6-months of exposure to that Buffalo trace barrel's innards. 

Perhaps a year or two of age might help calm things down. But I fear that by then almost all of those sugary bourbon bones might be little more than a distant memory...

Cigar Stats


Buffalo Trace "Special F"


Ecuadorian Sumatran Maduro


Brazilian Arapiraca (6-months in bourbon barrels)


Nicaraguan and Dominican (all ligero)


General Cigar (Dominican Republic)


6 x 60 Figurado


Full (and then some)

Pairing Drink

Port Cask Aged Scotch Whiskey/Ginger Bourbon Highballs



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