Cigar Federation the Collective
If you haven’t heard about or visited the Cigar Federation website, I am not sure where you’ve been. Oh, only checking this website? Fair enough. I don’t blame you. We do, in fact, have the best reviews on all the Internets! But if you would like to also participate with others on a forum, chat room, read inferior reviews (I kid!), watch live or archived shows, or even shop for cigars and other merchandise, you might want to give their website a visit. In their own words, their mission is to “be the world’s greatest social website for cigar connections, information, and entertainment.” Oh, and I hear that one of their Mods has “badass eagle powers”.
The Collective is made by Ezra Zion Cigars, another member of the House of Emilio. A unique feature of this cigar is that it has the first ever (at least that’s the claim) San Andreas Café Claro wrapper. At this time, there is only one vitola, the trunk press (well, it looks like a trunk press) toro. It can only be purchased through the Cigar Federation store in either 5 packs or boxes of 20. If you become a member of the site, you can get a 15% discount on orders over $75 for the month of March.
The nice guys at Cigar Federation sent us the samples for this review. While we are grateful for them, it will not affect the rating of the cigar.
The Cigar Federation the Collective is a very serious looking cigar. The San Andreas Café Claro wrapper is quite dark. It reminds me of the San Andreas Maduro that is featured on the Ortega Serie D Maduro, only less toothy. There are some veins but the seams are very smooth, almost invisible. The reason I keep saying it looks like it’s a trunk press vs. a box press is because the edges are so round. If I am wrong on this, please make a comment below. The triple cap is flush, but has rough lines.
There are two black bands with white print at the head and the foot. The top band has the CF logo on it. The foot has “the Collective” on it. Around both is some glue that is on the wrapper. Neither one will budge, so I have to peel them both off. At least they come off easily without damaging the wrapper.
It is worth noting the little “extras” each band has. On the back of the top band it has a QR code (which I haven’t scanned yet). On the underside, it says, “Connect with cigar aficionados from around the world” and has the website address. On the underside of the foot band, it says, “Share your photo of this cigar on Instagram and Twitter”.
The Cigar Federation the Collective feels like a solid cigar. Often times, a box or trunk press cigar is a little squishy, but not this one. The wrapper has a little texture, but feels mostly smooth.
I give the foot a little sniff and get some pleasant molasses and earth. On the barrel, I get a bitter plum aroma I am not accustomed to. There is also some earth aromas as well.
I clip the cap with my CRA cutter and test the draw. While the airflow was really good, the note I get is dust. I’m not a big fan of that, but we’ll see if that comes through once lit.
Time to light the Collective up! I use my single flame torch. It takes a minute to get it evenly lit. This will be the only time the burn is even. It quickly gets wavy, but not out of control. The lip of the burn line is pretty thick. I finally have to give it a couple of touch ups in the final third, but never have to relight it.
Like on the prelight, the draw was great. I get plenty of smoke on each puff. This remains constant throughout the smoke.
Besides the burn line, another thing that is not so attractive on this cigar is the ash. It is mostly gray and black and looks a little loose. However, it hangs on for an inch. When I try to tap it off, it takes several times before it goes. I guess it was stronger than it looked!
Now for the moment of truth: It’s time to see if any of the “badass eagle powers” have been transposed into the Cigar Federation the Collective.
The first third is certainly the spiciest of the three. It starts out with spicy black pepper, wood, and earth notes. As it develops, the spice becomes creamy and more of a cayenne pepper. In fact, it reminds me of this Creole dish, Fettuccine Acadian, that I really enjoy. The retrohale has a definite cayenne spice to it. Near the end of this section, the wood note starts to take over.
The second third continues with the spicy cream and wood. The earth is very faint now, and a sweet grass/floral notes comes in. Further in, the floral and cream notes take the forefront. There is a hint of nut developing as well.
The final third sees the pepper almost die out, only noticeable on the retrohale. The wood, cream, floral, and nut flavors are still there. The last bit is mostly wood and some floral notes. The flavor does get quite mild at the end, but there is never any bitterness or harshness.
The CF the Collective is a full flavored/medium-full strength cigar that had very nice flavors and enough variance to be interesting throughout the smoke. The very end was a little bit of a let down, but will take mildness over harshness any day. Total smoke time was 1.5 hours.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yes, but it is a little expensive in my opinion.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Though I might want something smaller or a little lighter some days, it could be an everyday cigar.
Would I Buy a Box?
For the price, no. I would recommend a 5 pack though.
The Cigar Federation the Collective is a very nice offering from a website that is trying to really establish itself as the premier, one-stop spot for all things cigars. I must say, I really enjoyed the cigar and hope that people will not dismiss it as some gimmick or promotional item that shouldn’t be taken seriously. I think that would be a big mistake.
Besides the burn issue (which wasn’t that big of a deal), I do have a bit of an issue with the price. I realize most Ezra Zion cigars are a little on the pricey side, so I understand it. However, I think this is more of a solid $8 cigar. I guess $3 more isn’t that bad of a stretch! Go get you a 5 pack today!