Onyx Reserve- The Onyx is made in the Dominican Republic and distributed by Altadis US. The cigar is a bargain price at about $4-$5 and has gotten a lot of rave reviews. Cigar Insider rated this stick an impressive 94. The Onyx, like its namesake, is almost black. One of the darkest wrappers on the market. The stick has a unique blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobacco. There is some ligero in the fill as well which should pack some punch. The binder is Nicaraguan and the wrapper a blackened Connecticut broadleaf maduro.
Prelight- I've gotta say, this cigar is attractive. The wrapper is dark and oily with some veins. The band is white and black with gold lettering, making it really pop when set against the almost black wrapper. The cigar smells of sweet maduro and cocoa. I usually like sweet maduros, so this should be a good smoke.
The Robusto size is a square-shaped box-press and has solid construction. Really a good looking body shape. I take my cutter to the cap and start to test the draw. Unfortunately, the draw is as tight as can be. I cut a little extra to help open up the pull, but that does nothing. I'll definitely be poking at this cigar to loosen it up. It seems like the problems are coming from the capped end, as the rest of the cigar has a nice spongy feel.
Even though the draw is tight, it is easy to taste dark chocolate and maduro.
Sparking it- The draw makes it a little challenging to light the cigar, but nothing out of control. The first few puffs taste of chocolate, but it doesn't fulfill the palette. It almost feels like I'm eating sugar-free chocolate; the front of my tongue tasted the chocolate, but the back has no sensation to back it up. The ash holds as tight as any cigar I've seen and crumbles off nicely with a roll against the ash tray. The ash itself burns to a peppery white and dark gray. I poke the end to help loosen up the draw. It helps: a little.
Smoking it- This is not a complex cigar. It is tasty though. As the cigar burns, the chocolate flavor becomes more fulfilling and coats the palette. After the first half, I taste some cappucinno work its way into the mix. Great flavor, medium body and strength. It bothers me that the draw is ruining the smoke experience. I think there is a lot of value in this line. I can see myself grabbing this stick when I don't want to shell out much money and know I want a smooth, sweet smoke. I hope that future smokes, don't have such a crappy draw.
The cigar holds up nicely and burns even. Only with about 2" left do I have a little bit of the wrapper pull back and split near the cherry.
I would say that this cigar has points of full flavor, but it so smooth and basic that it would be a great cigar for mild smokers to give a try. There is almost no spice, which surprises me because there is said to be ligero in the blend. If it weren't for the draw, this would be an amazing cigar for the price. I recommend picking one up with hopes of having a better draw than I did. But I've heard that this is a common complaint with the Onyx.