Craig Heap smokes down some Java Mehari’s cigarillos and comes away with an oak panelled mouth.
Java Mehari’s Cigarillos
Approximate price £4 – 6 (pack of 10)
In contrast to the old regime of the Montecristo or Romeo y Julieta brands, the Mehari’s are a relative newcomer, entering the scene modestly in 1976. They have, however, reached third place in terms of global sales, according to the manufacturers. This means they’re either quality cigar makers or confident talkers.
The Java Mehari’s form their flagship product in the range, which also includes Sweet Oriental, Brasil and Ecuador, and then those flavours all over again in cigar or mini format. It’s worth noting these are the cigarillos – they do make minis, but they’re harder to find in the UK.
The box is noticeably bigger. Inside, the cigarillos can be heard laughing at their mini counterparts and you can’t help smiling along with them as you pick one up. They aren’t cigars, but they come damn close, and for the price you can’t help feel you’ve cheated the tobacconist.
That is until you feel them and light one up. There’s a distinct squidginess to these cigarillos, an almost loosely packed feeling. It very much reminds me of the ready-made sandwich on the shop shelf, the one that looks densely packed with filling, until you open it up and find the filling is all in the outer-facing middle and goes nowhere near the corners.
On smoking, all this growing rage subsides. It smokes clean and smooth, though perhaps a little quickly. There are immediate leather and cocoa notes, with a sweet spice bordering on a hot pepperiness present throughout. Toward the end of each puff there’s a black coffee flavour. In both the smell and the taste, perhaps the most dominating quality is the woodiness. This is a very woody smoke, not unlike chewing on an exquisite mahogany dining table or, as Ted Hockin declared, “my mouth feels oak panelled”.
It’s very bold in flavour, balanced by sweet undertones throughout, though I feel it may be a Marmite experience in terms of whether people enjoy it. For me, and indeed Ted, this was a win.