Brand: Diamond Crown MAXIMUS
Size: Toro (6” x 50)
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente, Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador El Bajo Sungrown
The Diamond Crown MAXIMUS was released as a bold, full-flavored line extension in 2005. It was made to celebrate the 110th anniversary of J.C. Newman Cigar Co. What makes this cigar special in my eyes is that it is a collaboration between three notorious names in the industry.
The wrapper is an El Bajo Sungrown from Equador, grown by the Oliva Tobacco Company (not to be confused with Oliva Cigar Co.). The mountain geography in this area lets the nutrients erode down the mountain and settle in the valley where the tobacco is grown. In combination with the soil, they also use the higher primings of the plant that carry more flavor and intensity. In the Dominican Republic, the Fuente family grows the binder and filler. It is a top-secret blend and they do not disclose the exact region and varietals used.
Once these unique, flavorful tobaccos come together they are crafted by the Fuentes at Tabacalera A Fuente. The dark wrapper is offset and complimented by the blue and yellow on the band. After that, the fully dressed cabinet style boxes compliment the dark wrapper and make it pop when put on a shelf. I think this is a beautiful and elegant addition to the Diamond Crown Line.
The packaging and presentation really catch your eye. When parting ways with the cellophane, the wrapper really takes the stage. The extremely oily, dark wrapper makes for an attractive look, hinting at the full flavor that is to come when you set it on fire. I would also like to note the bold yet clean vein structure. There is a noticeable number of teeth to this cigar. The oil and teeth make for an excellent feel. Both characteristics help avoid a one-dimensional experience. Upon smelling the foot, I can get quite a bit of damp earth and cocoa. The wrapper on the other hand, smells like straight up dark chocolate! There is no mistaking the wrapper smell. I wish I had some high-end dark chocolate to pair with this.
There is only a little give to this cigar, it falls on the firm side of the spectrum. No holes or dips to be found. It seems to be rolled consistently. The cap is constructed well and holds a good shape with a shallow straight cut. The wrapper taste makes for a great experience. Unmistakably, sweet chocolate is apparent. There is also some sort of dark fruity undertone coming from the wrapper, I want to describe it as cherry. The cold draw is very enjoyable with hints of hay, earth, and chocolate. There was enough complexity in the MAXIMUS without even lighting it up. I found myself enjoying the cigar before even lighting it up.
When I started toasting the foot of the Maximus, I got a good smell of charred spices. It really caught my attention and sparked my senses. After a few good puffs, it is lit! The draw required effort but not enough to call it tight.
The first third stays true to the claim, full flavored without a doubt. The intensity on the other hand, is medium to full. I pick up notes of hay, sweet earth, pepper, and dark chocolate. The retrohale was strong during the first third and delivered a taste of peppery cocoa. Afterwards, the finish was sweet and spicy. The pepper did not linger on the palette which makes everything a little more pleasant. Once the temperature cooled down a bit after lighting, the pepper became evenly balanced with the other flavors.
I find it enjoyable to smoke it at higher temperature as well as a cooler one. A mixed ash of white and grey clings tightly with an even burn. The ash is very sturdy and straight as an arrow. No touch ups required at all during the first third. It started out even and stayed that way. Overall, the first bit of the cigar was very strong and flavorful. There was a significant amount of bite. By the end of the first third, I’m finding that the flavors balance out and it becomes a little more well-rounded.
During the second third, everything seemed to level out. The pepper dissipated; I was left with a sweet and spicy, smoother smoke. Damp earth, hay, and dark chocolate dominate the foreground. The finish is rather sweet, and the chocolatey note sticks around afterward. On the retrohale, there is a fair bit of spice and cocoa. The smoke from the foot is thick and pungent and smells very dark and spicy. I found the intensity to be medium to full during this portion of the cigar. Even though the pepper and bite leveled out, I still found it to be full-flavored.
For the rest of the second third I am plagued by trying to name a flavor that appeared. I can only describe it as a dark fruit and my brain wants to name it black cherry. This appearance and transition really kept my attention. It is easy to get overwhelmed and bored with a stronger cigar, according to my opinion. The flavor change during this portion made for a great change and kept my palette intact.
The final third of a full flavored, stronger cigar is usually a toss-up. Sometimes things get too hot to enjoy or decipher flavors. With the Maximus, it is a very different experience. Pepper becomes a noticeable part of each puff while dark chocolate and earth reinforce the flavor. This cigar never becomes one dimensional. I did find there to be an iron and gamey undertone which seemed to replace the dark cherry flavor I previously named. While still being full flavored and medium to full bodied I never tasted anything acrid or unpleasant. I enjoyed every part of the flavor and smoking experience all the way until the very end. I decided to put it down when there was little more than an inch remaining.
Reflecting on the MAXIMUS, I can best describe it as complex and flavorful. The flavor was very well delivered for a fuller bodied cigar. I was impressed that the pepper never protruded and became unpleasant. While the pepper did fall to the background during the second third of the cigar, I found the intensity to remain the same. The sweetness and chocolate remained resilient during the entire cigar.
Other flavors varied: hay, earth, game, dark fruit all came in at various part of the cigar. All these attributes made for a full-flavored experience that kept things interesting. I think the MAXIMUS is the perfect cigar for the end of your night or after a hefty meal or start your day with a little kick.
A Note to Retailers:
There are many different selling points to this cigar. The easiest point to relay is that the Maximus is the product of three very prominent and experienced families in the cigar industry. It combines the innovation of the Newman family, the craftsmanship of the Fuentes, and the tobacco growing expertise of the Oliva Tobacco Company. I would like to suggest retailers educate full bodied cigar smokers and encourage them to try this.
A lot of full-bodied cigar consumers may be stuck on Nicaraguan or Honduran blends. The Maximus has a comparable amount of strength and body but has a Dominican feel to it. Also, consumers may associate Diamond Crown with the classic shade grown line. Make it a point to tell them about the darker stuff in the line-up like the Maximus, Diamond Crown Maduro, or Black Diamond.
About Nikolaos Psilopoulos
Nik has been working on the retail side of the cigar industry for 5 years. The past 3 years his palette has been experienced enough to formally taste and review cigars for your reading pleasure. At El Reloj he is running our factory store and giving tours. He is a Certified Retail Tobacconist with the PCA’s educational resource, Tobacconist University. You can expect him to further his tobacco knowledge with us at J.C. Newman and encourages visitors to ask all the questions that come to mind.
Outside of the world of cigars, you can find him enjoying the great outdoors or participating in dog sports with his Australian Shepherd.
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Rolled with an American Cameroon wrapper, and named after a regular perfume brand, this cigar has stood the test of time,the Cuesta-Rey No. 95