Our perspective on Camacho’s 2013 marketing push is detailed here already, so we won’t go in to all the changes happening with the brand overall. Maybe because the Camacho name had become a little stale, we lack familiarity with the lines the company recently re-launched with new bands and in some cases new blends.
Based on the Diploma’s high-end position within the updated family of Camacho’s blends, sampling this purple-banded stick may be the best way to see if there’s any substance behind the heavily stylized “bold standard” form.
This is one tasting we’re definitely looking forward to, so let’s just get to it! Here’s the HLC Camacho Diploma cigar review.
Presentation & Pre-Light
The Camacho Diploma’s huge, foil-component band is enough to make a traditionalist gasp. While some may find the package contrived, it doesn’t take a marketer or illustrator’s eye to recognize that the new Camacho design language is modern and tight. In the case of the Diploma, the colors and textures add to the gorgeous wrapper leaf’s supple, dark and oily presentation.
The cigar looks amazing despite the secondary band on the foot that’s painfully unnecessary. If it weren’t for this silly bit of overkill, we’d create a COTY list for presentation just to make sure the Diploma received some extra props for visuals come December.
The Camacho Diploma struggles to produce adequate smoke volume during the first third. There’s plenty off the foot, but draws barely produce half a mouthful of smoke. It’s also hard to get an even burn line in the first third.
In the middle third, the Diploma’s combustion improves but smoke production is still lighter than our preference.
In one of our Camacho Diploma samples the wrapper cracks during the middle third at two places. This doesn’t negatively impact combustion that continues to slowly improve until the cigar is extinguished. In the other sample tasted for this review, two good-sized stems were pulled out of the head of the cigar about halfway through the experience. This helped all combustion elements dramatically.
During the first inch, most puffs on the Camacho Diploma are utilized to manage combustion. Flavors either weren’t present due to low smoke production or just bad. Once the burn settles down, some sweetness emerges and a long, bitter finish develops.
In the middle third, when flavor can be extracted from the improving, but still faint smoke levels, a salty, acidic, perfume tang is noticeable with some graham on the finish.
In the last third, everything improves. The spice becomes balanced, the bitterness turns into a rounder, nutty flavor in the core and finish. The smoke is fairly clean and there’s still a touch of sweetness.
Two Camacho Diploma Gordo samples were tasted for this review. Both samples had combustion issues that compromised the first half of the experience. Each sample burned and tasted significantly better in the second half. This “good half” of the Diploma Gordo does not impress enough to warrant an enthusiastic recommendation, but we’re intrigued by the Diploma much more than before these tastings.
Blend/Series: Diploma (2013 blend)
Vitola Reviewed: Gordo
Closest Traditional Format: Double Toro / Gordo
Other Available Vitolas: 11/18 (6 x 54), Churchill (7 x 48), Figurado (6.13 x 54), Robusto (5 x 50)
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Honduras? Corojo Ligero*
Filler: Honduras? Corojo & Criollo, Dom. Rep. Navarette Corojo
Factory / Country of Origin: Tabacos Ranchos Jamastran S.A.- Danli, Honduras
Release Type: Regular Release
Release Date: May, 2013 (for the updated blend reviewed here)
Qty. Sampled for Review: 2
Humidor Age: 1 week
MSRP: $10.50 – $12.50
Price Paid: $12.00
Who’s it For? The Diploma might not be quite as bold as advertised in the Gordo format, but there is body and depth to this stick, so anyone that likes big-ring stick for more reasons than the perceived value boost should consider this cigar.
Official Site: CamachoCigars.com
• *The geographic origin of some tobacco used in the Diploma blend isn’t clear. We’re guessing that when Camacho doesn’t list a country when describing a varietal or priming that we are to assume that origin is Honduran. But that’s an assumption which explains the question marks.
• The Diploma’s final third flavors were excellent. The problem is that this fat vitola burns predictably slow so there’s a long period of “just okay” smoking to get through before the best part of this stick.
• We don’t smoke many 6 x 60’s, but this Gordo was the only Diploma vitola our local shop had in stock. The cigar was definitely enjoyable enough to get the HLC tasting committee (of one) interested in trying out some smaller Diploma vitolas.
• There’s a tangy, bitter note that is central to the Camacho Diploma flavor core. It’s a kind of bitterness that can be annoying, but there is a spice within the bitter notes that makes the flavor more pleasant than a more typical, mineral kind of bitterness.
• Combustion with this cigar was an issue. In our experience, burn issues of all varieties occur more commonly with 60+ ring-gauge cigars. Compared to what we’re expecting when we light a cigar or the Diploma Gordo’s dimension, the Camacho smoked pretty well. But that’s not saying a lot.