I have always said that hybrid cigars are far superior to hybrid cars. Sure, they might put out a hell of a lot more smoke, are labeled as dangerous, and smell a bit strange to the uninitiated.
But the last time I checked car crashes were also pretty damn dangerous, and hybrid vehicles apparently put out a a ton of smoke when set on fire. So meh... it's kind of an apples and oranges sort of situation in my eyes.
However, being that it's impossible to pop a Prius in your pie hole for a quick puff and live to tell the tale, the next best thing is to fire up a hybrid premium cigar blend like "Sky Moon" from Warped Cigars.
Combining tobacco from Warped's Sky Flower and Moon Garden lines, this hybridized blend is limited to just 500 boxes and was only made available to attendees at the 2023 PCA Trade Show. And so while in attendance, we made it our mission to get our mitts on this ultra-exclusive blend in the hopes of offering it to those in need of a corojo kick.
To help smooth things out, we have purposefully refrained from pushing this blend for the past few months. Sky Moon is a cigar that seems to benefit greatly from a little additional age, as well as a slow and steady approach to smoking.
Belicoso-shaped stogies are easily my favorite out of all the figurado cigar vitolas on the market. There's just something about that bullet-shaped shoulder/head/cap combo that pulls me to them every time, and to see this in a miniature corona size is a real treat.
Sky Moon is a very tidy, firmly filled cigar, with little to complain about in how it looks or feels. Seams are tight, veins are light, and that spring feels just right. Oh, and don't forget the band on this little beli, because by Jabba's gut does it deliver in both intricacy and color, as well as texture and proportions.
Barrel snorts down the shade-grown corojo wrapper are a concoction of light leathery red leaf tobacco spice and mellow beer bread heartiness. As to be expected, the foot is a far more full affair, with the Criollo '98 innards adding a dry sweet note. This was backed by a Szechuan pepper pop that almost made me sneeze, and a raw cedar and spiced tea-like note that settled into the background.
Cold pulls are surprisingly mild from a corojo flavor perspective, with but a touch of this leaf leaving the tongue tingling. Some side notes include that same dry sweetness as on the nose, a papery flavor that is akin to freshly shredded cardboard, and that Szechuan pepper punch.
Brace yourselves for one wave after another of hybridized corojo spice and criollo depth with this one. It all may start off mild and dry on the mouth, but retrohale with care, for that Szechuan spice is packing the heat upstairs!
Okay, okay... So maybe spice intensity isn't that bad at this point in the cigar, but these thoughts did cross my mind for a moment as I reached for my handkerchief and then soldiered on.
After a while, balance forms, and out comes that smoothly spiced shade-grown corojo taste that fans of Warped's "Futuro 109" rave about. It's light but ballsy at the same time, with a generous pinch of pepper from the nose still setting things off.
To balance this hotheaded strength out, the far more earth-oriented Criollo '98 forms a molasses-loaded beer bread note. There is also the familiar taste of salted peanuts still sitting in their shells inside the long filler as it burns. It's sweet, faintly dark, and sticks around for quite some time to help ease the effects of that corojo burn. There's some top-leaf media tiempo tobacco intensity sprinkled inside as well, which brings out that bold sun-grown flavor and a smoldering intensity to the entire situation.
Despite the audacity of it all, strength and body remain on the lighter side of medium all the way through the first half, with flavors favoring the heavier side of the medium mid-range scale.
Although power seems to increase with each passing puff beyond the center of the barrel of this baby belicoso, it's delivered in manageable amounts. The peanut taste becomes oilier and more peanut butter-oriented, and emanates deep within the second third and onward, after all of that Criollo earth and corojo spice of course.
Media Tiempo leaf is no joke either, as it continues to pack an extra smack of spice and flavor to the cigar, which works very well with that shade-grown corojo cigar wrapper. It's all Medium+ at this point in every aspect but the body, which still seems to favor the lighter side of medium.
Drying out a bit, but not giving up on flavor, parting puffs are a smoky cedary sort of shift, with a bright floral finish brightening things up.
There's also the lasting taste of burnt molasses backing up the increasing body of the cigar. This produces a potency that is neither pleasant nor appalling, as it merely takes the blend closer to full than ever before. However, the minute you hit that flavor of smoldering wet firewood and burnt cardboard, set this stick down because it's done.
Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw
I wouldn't rate the construction and combustion of Sky Moon as abysmal, as I find the word "unpredictable" to be a far more appropriate descriptor.
The burn on both cigars tested would smolder southward beautifully, only to suddenly shit the bed for no apparent reason. A sudden bulge (presumably within the binder) turned the ash on one of the smokes into a literal hot mess, while the other stick required no fewer than four touch-ups to remain smokable.
Even though the ash held on tighter than a toddler being dropped off at daycare for the first time, it also went out for no apparent reason at multiple points on both sticks. This caused the cigar to self-extinguish once on the first stick, and twice on the second. Somehow, this did not affect flavor much, and so relights were not much of a concern for me.
On the plus side, both sticks burned quite cool for being so small, and smoke production was plentiful once enough of the belicoso cap was removed.
Although the thought of smoking a hybridized blend of two of Warped Cigars' best sellers, all rolled up in baby belicoso appeals to me greatly, I find myself frustrated by the fact that each of these cigars burned rather poorly at times.
Patience and timing were also a constant concern with this blend. If I smoked too quickly, the cigar would develop that dreaded overheated tobacco taste. Puff too leisurely, and you run the risk of the thing going out on you.
That shade-grown corojo wrapper was also a constant concern, for its delicate nature caused it to be damaged with little to no effort.
Luckily for this limited-release cigar blend, flavor, and aromatics are still a primary portion of our scoring system here at Klaro, as too is appeal, branding/banding, and desirable physical attributes such as vitola and sizing. All of which are areas where Warped's Sky Moon excels.
Ignore the soggy burnt woodiness within the final puff or two, and that borderline overly peppery first few minutes, and this blend tastes and smells very good. So with a much-needed additional few months of age now applied to the precious few Sky Moon cigars that we have from Warped, I can declare that I would not hesitate to spark another up if I had one of these baby belicosos in my humidor.
Warped Cigars "Sky Moon""
Shade-Grown Corojo (Nicaragua)
Criollo '98/Corojo '99/Medio Tiempo Leaf (Nicaragua)
5.5" x 42 "Corona Belicoso"
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