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Country: Nicaragua
Wrappers:  Ecuadorian Sumatran / Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 Ring

Ambos Mundos, which means both worlds is the newest line of cigars from Pete Johnson and Tatuaje. Made, like all of Pete’s cigars, by Pepin Garcia this line of cigars is an economy cigar whose release is aptly timed given current economic conditions. Pete had this to say about it:

“My original idea for the Tatuaje brand was for it to be not as expensive as it turned out to be,” said Johnson, “but having it made in Miami kind of set that expensive precedent, so I made this cigar partly due to the economy and partly because this is where I originally wanted the cigar to be priced.”

I find that to be interesting. I am not sure how a cigar the quality of the original Tatuaje could ever be a cheap economy cigar regardless of where it was made so this doesn’t make much sense to me. It implies to me that if the Tatuajes were made in Nicaragua they would be $5.00 cigar. Boy I wish. I am sure that isn’t exactly what he meant but anyway… (edit: The more I read that quote from Pete the more I am convinced I just misread and misunderstood it.  He obviously wasn’t saying he originally intended the Tatuajes to be $5, but rather was pointing out that is where he wanted the Ambos Mundos to be.  He was just saying that he wanted the Tatuajes to be cheaper than they are, but the fact they are made in Miami precluded that.  So now I get what he was saying and my original comments look kind of stupid to me now…)
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The Ambos Mundos are long filler cigars that use tobacco from the same farms as the Tatuajes but instead of the Grade A tobacco used for the Tatuajes, these use grade B and C tobacco. It is tobacco that might have cosmetic differences or might need additional fermentation. That is the how and why the price points are where they are. They are available in two sizes and two wrapper types. All of them use Nicaraguan filler and binders, but one version uses a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper and the other an Ecuadorian grown Sumatran wrapper, hence the “both worlds”. The sizes you have to choose from are a bit boring in my opinion. They are the cliche 5×50 Robusto and 6×50 Toro. The Toro is $5 and the Robusto comes in a quarter cheaper. The Ambos Mundos were released this past February (2009). They suggest that you age these cigars a bit to allow the tobacco to finish fermentation due to the use of the lower quality tobacco. That might explain some things, but really, who wants to age an economy cigar?

I smoked the Habano wrapped version with the creme colored band first. Both of the samples I tried were Robustos. The Habano is a Nicaraguan Puro. I have to say, I found this cigar to be nearly unsmokable.  It was sour and bitter and very unpleasant.  I did my best to try and smoke the whole thing but a little more than halfway through I had to give up on it.  This is the first cigar I have tried that is made by Pepin Garcia that I thought was a bad cigar.  I find it hard to believe that anything about this smoke is at all related to the Tatuajes I love so much.  Maybe it really does need to be aged some but I am not sure how much help that would be to this cigar.  To truly age it in any meaningful way means you need to set them down for at least a year, closer to two years probably.  Anything less isn’t aging, it is merely acclimation to your humidor.  Plus, like I said, who wants to age a $5 economy smoke.  The humidor real estate is too valuable and better used aging a box of quality top shelf cigars.  As it is today, I have to give this cigar an F.

Next up is the Sumatran which sports the dark red band.  Wow what a difference a wrapper can make on a cigar.  This was a much better experience.  Still not what I would call a good smoke, at least this one was enjoyable enough to smoke the entire cigar.   I could see the potential for this one to become a fairly decent smoke if it were allowed to age.  It had a spicy bite with an earthy core complimented by notes of cedar and flashes of coffee.  There were still occasional hits of sour flavors but it was not nearly as harsh and bitter as the Habano.  Because of the potential I can see for this cigar to get at least a little better I can rate this version of the Ambos Mundos as a C.

I wish they didn’t associate this brand so closely with the Tatuaje brand.  These are not Tatuajes, and they don’t taste like even a distant cousin to the Tatuaje brand.  It hurts me to say it because I am such a huge fan of everything else Pete and Pepin have done, but these cigars just don’t live up the standards they have set with their other lines.  Truth is, I find the mixed filler Tatuaje P Series to be a far superior cigar and they cost about the same amount, cheaper in some cases as they are available in a better choice of sizes.  I think the concept for these cigars was a nice idea, but I also think it is really hard to make a good cigar at this price point.  Fact is, nobody I have come across does a better job at a $5 cigar than Oliva.  That is probably because they have a huge advantage given the large quantity of tobacco they have at their disposal (and yes I mean the Oliva Cigar Family and am not referring to the other Oliva tobacco famliy).

Rating – F (for the Habano)
Rating – C (for the Sumatran)

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