With pure delight in my fingers, I write this review. This has been one of my favorites for years. I'm like a kid who just found Dad's stash of nudie girl magazines. Dark Shark is one of those elusive brands that has just the right mix of the good, bad, and the ugly. About 4 years ago, I smoked my first. It had a dark Sumatra wrapper on a nice Dominican filled cigar with a surprising punch in strength and flavor. Kind to the wallet and the senses, it had more strength than some Nicaraguan cigars and made you say "WOW, that's cool."
The latest version of this brand was just released about a month ago and it does not disappoint. This time, a similar Dominican fill with just the right amount of oomph! that makes your tongue tingle, yet a very dark (almost black) maduro wrapper. It's not like a traditional, slightly sweet, CT broadleaf maduro. Rather, more like an extra-dark Sumatra wrapper. The Churchill I just lit torches up with incredible ease. The draw is easy, even at over 7 inches, and the smoke is not over-powering. I wish I could describe the flavor more poigantly. It leaves no chalky, dry throat aftertaste. It's just smooth and even better than I remember. It burns even and neat. The ash will hang until you're ready to push it off. The maduro wrapper feels slightly oily to the touch and very well-manicured.
This cigar is a great change of pace and will enlighten all of your senses. The Churchill seems huge, burning slow, giving you a solid 1.5 hours. I think this cigar would be perfect for a port wine or perhaps an after-dinner brandy. I wish I had one of those handy, but buying port wine or brandy just isn't in my vocabulary. So, I reach for Keystone Premium Lager (really, at $8.95 a case it does taste just like Coors.) The most surprising feature is the body. So mild in flavor, it still offers that oomph! I knew from the Dark Shark of old. The maduro wrap softens it considerably, and it does seem milder, but I'm just giddy how pleasant this cigar is.
So where does the bad and ulgy come into play. Well, in the name obviously. How does a company market the name Dark Shark with a goofy, almost cartoon image of a shark bursting through a hole on the box and label? Obviously, they give away freebies like a free t-shirt with every box. That's what we're doing. The sad thing is you shouldn't have to. The cigar speaks for itself, so try just a 5-pack and you won't be disappointed.
The finish is just as solid as the start. It might be a little green - I had to relight about 3 times, but give it a few weeks in the humidor and this baby will shine. I smoked it down to about 2 inches and it started to get a little hot, but the flavor held through and through. Well, my head is getting a little wobbly, so I better run.