SIZE: 7" X 40
FACTORY: TABSA (Esteli, Nicaragua)
WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Corojo
FILLER: Nicaraguan Corojo 99, Criollo 98 & Medio Tiempo
STRENGTH: Medium - Full
Small Batch CIgar
Three Season Porch at Home
February 22, 2019 @ 3 PM
50 & sunny - spring is coming!
RELEASE TYPE: Limited Release
ORIGINALLY RELEASED: July 2018
650 boxes of 10
6,500 total cigars
o Lancero - 7" x 40
CIGAR BACKGROUND INFO
In case you haven't heard, these were extremely limited production - much like the fabled first release of Warped's Black Honey. There was a lot of hype surrounding these cigars - time will tell if it lives up to it.
Not that there are any left to grab, but here was the list of retailers lucky enough to secure a few boxes.
Moon Garden is an off-shoot of Warped's regular Flor de Valle line. Flor de Valle, or 'flower of the valley,' has been the platform in which Warped has released other very limited edition cigars - including the Sky Flower and Kyle Gellis' personal cigar, the Sky Moon.
If you're unfamiliar with the medio tiempo used in the blend, it is differs from typical ligero in that it's a higher priming, which grows small percentage of tobacco plants. While every plant obviously produces leaves at its peak, medio tiempo is a rarer occurrence - an extra added bit that receives more light than the leaves below. Most find it packs a little more punch strength-wise. Since it is such a low-yield portion of the plant, it's usually found in blend's with a low production quantity - like the Moon Garden.
This marks the first time Warped has officially used medio tiempo in a lancero vitola, but the coveted leaf can be found in Warped's Sky Flower and the near mythic Maestro del Tiempo 6102R.
This is also the first time Warped has produced a 'true' lancero - in the traditional 7" x 40 vitola. The closest to be found prior to this would be the El Oso Mama, a 7" x 38 shape.
While it was hinted at periodically throughout early 2018, it officially debuted July 2018 at the 2018 Las Vegas IPCPR.
Giving some insight into how the blend as developed, Warped's owner and master blender Kyle Gellis offered:
“If you are familiar with medio tiempo, you know how it burns and the body it has, the opulent flavors, and its blend dominance. We started from scratch and built the blend specifically for the vitola.”
There is a bit of conflicting info out there regarding the binder. Some sources report it as a dual binder of the Corojo 99 and Criollo 98, whereas other's simply state it's a single Nicaraguan leaf. Warped offered no confirmation either way.
Warped has never had an issue delivering simple, elegant design that feels timeless.
For the Moon Garden, Gellis confirmed the box artwork inspired by Japanese watercolors - which seems to be a common theme from him recently. The box's simplicity doesn't bother me - I tend to prefer a simpler design to ornate. Moon Garden's box lid showcases the watercolor art as an adhered sticker and the side plainly states the cigar's name. Nothing fancy, just enough to let you know what's up. Regarding the box's artwork, Gellis had this to say:
“Much like the artwork with its dark colors and splashes of bright notes, the blend is similar in its profile. A lot of dark fruit, bright florals, and a touch of wonderment. The artwork is a direct expression of the overall blend.”
The band is bright and vibrant - almost a negative of the typical Flor de Valle band but very much so akin to the other limited edition bands in the line. Where Moon Garden differs is that the "flor de valle" text is almost impossible to find - but - there is a giant, impossible to miss "KG" dead center on the band. There's nothing really wrong with the band - in fact it's a solid design. But it feels like cruise control, not something someone took a deep dive into designing. It's very much the first iteration of the process, a plain band for a rare, fantastic cigar. On top of that, Gellis seems hellbent lately on letting everyone know he's part of the company. It's impossible to disassociate Kyle Gellis from the Warped brand and I don't think the consumer tracking down this cigar needs a reminder. Call me crazy but maybe "MG" may have worked better. Or a moon? In my opinion, the cigar would be better served to find a band that represented what the cigar was - unique and floral with lunar elements.
This TABSA-produced cigar is wrapped in beautiful, aromatic Corojo 99. The wrapper has a relatively matte, soft tan hue. The leaf has a nice uniformity to it - not much color deviation. The seams are easy enough to find but certainly don't stand out. The same can be said about the veins - they are definitely present however they don't detract from this gorgeous lancero.
The cigar is firm with little give. A light inspection did not turn up any soft spots or irregularities with the roll. Just as expected from TABSA - this looks and feels like a well-crafted cigar. The Moon Garden looks to have a triple cap and it is masterfully applied. It fades perfectly and symmetrically into the cigar's body.The foot shows off a variety of colors used for the blend - ranging from a creamy, lighter brown all the way to near black.
There's a pleasant light cedar, hay and faint baking spice / white pepper on the nose.
The cold draw brings a good amount of air to the palate. Flavors are a bit on the sweeter side - a latte with a little spice come to mind. There also seems to be just a hint of pepper lingering.
LIGHT & DRAW
Cut: Colibri SV (v-cut)
Fire: ST Dupont 007 Soft Flame
As has been my trend of late, I use my Colibri to v-cut the Moon Garden. It lights up flawlessly and with ease.
As I'm sorting through the initial flavors the one that stands out the most is black pepper at the back of the throat. Beyond that, I found some good wood/earth as well as some sweet cream to pull it all together.
The draw is perfect - each puff delivers the exact amount of smoke desired - no room to improve here. Even about a half-inch in and the burn is razor sharp. There is literally no deviation to be found. The ash is quite white with striations of light grays and every so often a dark streak of black. It is stacking well however flaying a bit. For now I will cautiously keep the Moon Garden hovering over my ash tray.
Smoke production is not over-powering but not under-delivering. A healthy amount of nice, white smoke can be found with every puff and while resting there is a good little train of smoke typically present.
> Pepper, caramel, sweet cream
Well into the first third and the pepper is still a faint but ever present flavor. It's in the initial flavors and then continues to linger throughout. In between, caramel and sweet cream all blend into a fantastic experience. There's a slight bitterness along the lines of coffee and dark, dark chocolate as well.
I typically seem to find retrohales highlight the peppery tones of a blend and figured the Moon Garden would be no exception. However, in this case, the retrohale really framed the sweeter elements nicely - pushing forward the toasted, caramel creaminess.
No complaints to be found with the draw - it remains essentially perfect. The burn has developed some minor deviations here and there but nothing of concern. It consistently produces about a inch or inch-and-a-half of ash before dropping.
> Cream, chocolate, caramel … all toasted
While the pepper shined to this point, it's definitely fading as the Moon Garden progresses. There is definitely still a hint of pepper but it's nowhere near as prominent as previous puffs. Instead it has been supplanted by a silky smooth cream, chocolate and caramel profile that is reinforced by some sort of toasty element. Many other reviewers listed graham cracker but to me it lacks the graininess of a graham cracker and more closely relates to woodiness or toasted walnuts. But to each their own ...
Retrohaling at about the midway point brings forth more chocolate and a bit of white pepper - all very smooth.
The burn continues to rectify itself and the draw is performing beautifully. I know lanceros don't typically produce a very strong ash, but the Moon Garden's seems exceptionally flaky and prone to dropping at inopportune moments. Watch your laps!
> Caramelized sugar, floral, charred wood
The final third brings about yet another seamless transition of flavor. The caramel sweetness has faded to more of a burnt caramelized sugar found on creme brulee. The chocolate is much less forward and replaced by more earthy, musty flavors backed by a light floral quality. Charred wood, leather and nuttiness are all harmonized by a light, still present creaminess. Also returning to the palate is a hint of baking spice - maybe a little nutmeg and cinnamon.
As with the majority of the cigar, it's performance is never a concern. The draw and burn are each well behaved. The only drawback for me is the weak ash that ensures the cigar stays resting in an ashtray and limits its time in my hand. I never ding a cigar's score for ash quality but the Moon Garden did leave some to be desired.
Moon Garden is a true joy to smoke flavorwise. The cigar's profile is constantly shifting and developing to produce a very fun experience. The flavors never stall - they build on one-another continually and by the end it has the hallmarks of a great dish or meal. There is no shortage of flavors either - including some that you may not typically note together, like floral and musty earth - but they all play exceptionally well together.
The burn was nothing short of fantastic. My lone complaint is the ash. The lancero simply could not hold its ash and my table/lap reflect that. Definitely not a knock - just a smoker beware PSA.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
👍 Perfectly blended
👍 Excellent construction
👍 Unique flavors (and medio tiempo!)
👎 Ashin’ all over the world
Construction & Appearance ....... 0.80 / 0.80
Pre-Light Characteristics ............. 0.50 / 0.50
Lighting Process ............................. 0.50 / 0.50
Smoking Experience ..................... 7.32 / 7.70
Personal Enjoyment ....................... 0.50 / 0.50
worth the hunt.
Rating: 9.6 / 10.0
When using a product so rare and powerful as medio tiempo leaves, a blender needs to be mindful of maintaining balance. Gellis has produced a wonderfully balanced blend in the Moon Garden - a cigar whose vitola could easily be overpowered by the tiny leaf's brute strength. Instead, the Moon Garden is meticulously blended and balanced to deliver a flavor profile that carefully highlights many nuanced flavors throughout the experience - from the initial pepper to the caramel, toffee and chocolate to toasty woodiness.
When cigars this hyped and limited are finally released, there is always a debate in the cigar community if it can meet the hype or be worthy of the hunt to find a single cigar, much less a box. Moon Garden meets those aspects head-on - delivering a cigar that certainly walks the walk of its hype and, to me, is worth every penny and bit of time needed to find one or two. The blend, flavors and construction will not disappoint. Find one and don't hesitate to light up this unicorn!
MORE PICTURES FROM THE REVIEW:
HOW WE COMPARE:
I love reading other reviewers' thoughts on the cigars I'm smoking and reviewing. Here's how my review stacks up compared to some other, probably better reviews:
|Site||Vitola Reviewed||Rating||Normalized Rating||Link|
|Blind Man's Puff||Moon Garden (lancero)||94||9.4||https://blindmanspuff.com/quick-cigar-review-warped-moon-garden-lancero/|
|Cigar Smoke||Moon Garden (lancero)||96||9.6||https://cigarsmoke.net/?p=641631|
|Small Batch Cigar||Moon Garden (lancero)||No Rating||-||https://www.smallbatchcigar.com/cigar-of-the-week-warped-moon-garden|
|r/cigars (u/ThatGuyOnTheReddits)||Moon Garden (lancero)||No Rating||-||https://www.reddit.com/r/cigars/comments/9l9pf4/kyle_gellis_warped_moon_garden_all_hype_or_worth/|
There’s not a ton of info out there for the Moon Garden - much less actual reviews. Of the few I found, only half assigned a rating - averaging to a meager 9.5. My experience was about in-line with the others’ opinion. There really can’t be much doubt out there that this is a phenomenal cigar - worthy of the hype.