Total Flame FTW Limited Edition 2013
Total Flame Cigars was started in 2010 by Russian owners Vladimir Roschin and Maxim Privezentsev. Both shared a love for motorcycles and cigars and wanted to combine their passions for both in their products. When you look at the labels, you can see the motorcycle culture reflected in the names and art work on the bands. Take a visit to their website and you can see just how much they love both. In fact, in 2011, they embarked on a 276 day world tour on their bikes. Of course, cigars were a big part of that journey as well! All of this factors into their motto: “Life’s short. Do it hard!”
Roschin and Privezentsev partnered with both the Plasencia and La Aurora factories to make their cigars. Until recently, they were only available in Russia, but can now be found here in the US and online.
As mentioned earlier, Total Flame Cigars sent this sample to us. We are grateful for the sample but it will not affect the rating.
The Total Flame FTW is an interesting looking cigar. The stick itself is a pretty standard parejo robusto that is milk chocolate brown. The wrapper has some veins and visible seams, but they look pretty smooth. The cap is a little bumpy but flush. The foot looks like it is well packed.
The interesting parts are the bands and how they stand out against the traditional-looking cigar. There are three bands in all. The top band is the widest and is gray with gold and black trim and silver and black print and flames on both sides. It has the name “Total Flame” and the “Life’s Hard. Do it hard” motto on it. The shape of the center is reminiscent of a motorcycle engine block. The second band is right under this one that has about the same colors and says “ Limited Edition 2013”. It also has flames. The third is a foot band that says “FTW”, also with flames. Though this definitely makes me think of motorcycles, the flames are also reminding me of the Hunger Games.
The FTW feels pretty smooth with some texture provided by the veins. When I squeeze it, I do notice that the bottom half has some give, but the top half is a little hard, just like life. I’m not sure this was intentional, but it could be a concern.
The foot has some hay, earth, and molasses aromas. The barrel is cocoa and molasses. I do enjoy the deep sweet aroma of molasses!
I clip the cap and test the draw. The airflow is decent, but it feels a bit tight. I get some hay notes that are a little bitter as well.
It takes a minute to get the Total Flame FTW lit. In fact, I singe the wrapper a little on one side trying to get it lit. Due to this, the burn line starts out a little wavy, but it evens out by the end of the first third. In the final third, it gets wavy again and does require a touch up, but nothing major.
The ash is mostly gray with some white and a few spots of black. It is pretty solid, lasting an inch at a time. I never have any issues with flaking or falling.
I was a little worried about the draw from the test, but the draw was pretty good for most of the cigar. It was a hair tight, but I was still able to get a good amount of smoke on each puff. That is, until the final third, when it tightened up a little. I had to double pull in order to get enough smoke. It certainly wasn’t plugged, but it wasn’t great either.
The Total Flame FTW Limited Edition 2013 Robusto has done pretty well, aside from the draw at the end, in the other departments. But you know what really counts and that is the flavor. Let’s see if it delivers!
The first third starts out with mostly earth and wood. The wood (cedarish) starts to take over early on, being the dominant note in this section. Soon, a floral/white pepper spice appears, first on the retrohale, then on the finish as well. Faint graham cracker sweetness also appears. It is definitely there, but never becomes prominent.
In the next third, the same notes continue from the first. The spice starts to become a little more like black pepper at times, but also continues with the white pepper and floral notes. Still, wood is the dominant note. Near the end of this section, some grass appears as well.
In the final third, the floral spice becomes dominant for a little while. There is also a touch of tanginess that lasts for a brief while. The graham cracker and grass step up a bit too before all the other notes take a backseat to the wood notes. The last inch or so is pretty much all wood/cedar. It also starts to get a little warm (probably because of the tighter draw).
The Total Flame FTW was medium in both flavor and strength. Though the wood/cedar note was by far the most dominant, there were enough other flavors to make it somewhat interesting. The total smoke time was 1 hour 30 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yes, but mostly based on the sample I smoked prior to this review.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
If you like a woody cigar, then yes. If you don’t, then no.
Would I Buy a Box?
I could see getting a 5 pack.
The Total Flame FTW Limited Edition 2013 Robusto was a pretty good cigar. I did smoke a sample prior to this one that had a better draw and was more enjoyable then this particular sample. If this one had been like that one, it probably would’ve been a 9. I think the tightening of the draw impacted the flavor output and possibly the strength too. It is billed as “stronger than average” but this sample was a solid medium.
Since cigars are a handmade product, I expect the occasional discrepancy in quality. This one was not far off the mark but just enough to take away a little horsepower. Based on the two samples and the price being about what I would expect, I say give it a try.