This top-selling handmade ain’t the prettiest girl at the prom but it may be the least worst option in this price range - especially if you like maduros. That’s ’cause this mild-medium number really ain’t half bad. Crafted with a dark Broadleaf maduro wrapper and an all long-filler blend of Cuban-seed tobaccos, Dark Shark is indeed a lot more premium than it appears at a glance. And that’s probably why I’ve had such a damn hard time keeping these things in stock. Expect rich, mellow maduro flavor for just $25 per mazo of Churchills. I’m done with the sales pitch....Dark Shark sells itself. Buy it or don’t - doesn’t matter to me - I’ve got a long list of guys waiting for their usual 5-10 mazos per month.
For the last several years one of the most popular week-long segments on television is “Shark Week.” Something I’ve learned from the ominous documentaries of these man-eating monsters is that they can literally smell fear.
Normally, the fear is detected through the substance commonly known as “shark sugar”. This, of course, is when the individual bobbing up-and-down haplessly in the murky shark-infested waters become so nervous about their fate that they essentially…well, you figure it out.
The key to survival in this precarious situation would be to remain calm (easier said than done) and not create “shark sugar”. By nature, sharks generally do not favor the taste of human meat.
On the flipside, we humans tend to dine on the fine delicacy of shark steaks and filets while finding the flavor to be quite rich and plentiful. Since we watch sharks on television and feast on them in restaurants, why not take our obsession of sharks into the cigar world?
I get it…ridiculous segue from sharks to cigars. But the Dark Shark is THE BEST moving bundled cigar in the CI Super-Store and I’m going to tell you why.
This blend is quite different than the other cigars which comprise “The CI Unsmokeables.” Many of the anonymous cigars that are categorized into the ‘Liga Unsmokeable’ I would describe as “vomit-inducing” or “capable of gagging a maggot”. However, regarding the Dark Shark, this is an obscure gem.
Let’s take a look at this Nicaraguan handmade. The Dark Shark has a solid midnight-black maduro wrapper that hails from Brazil. The “Brazilian Aripiraca” wrapper takes on its oily, dark characteristic during fermentation, where the tobacco leaves change from a light brown to a darker hue as the sugars extract from the tobacco. Typically, Brazilian maduro tends to have a full, peppery flavor although the wrapper on the Dark Shark possesses a smooth, natural sweetness. The shiny, Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper encompasses aged, Cuban-seed Nicaraguan fillers, giving the blend a rich, sweetness with just a touch of black pepper.
I hope you’re not looking for a quick smoke in this Nicaraguan-made cigar; the Dark Shark is only offered in a Churchill (7.0”x50). However, for a churchill-sized cigar, they don’t burn particularly slow either. Out of a bundle of twenty, you may find a few under-filled. Overall, the Dark Shark is fairly light in the hand, but, despite my criticism, has moderately good construction.
To put it bluntly, there are certain cigars for certain occasions. My Man O’ War Armadas, Puro Authenticos and Ave Marias are normally for the balcony with a glass of rum in hand. My 5 Vegas Golds, Rocky Patel Connecticuts and Morro Castles are the everyday “go-to” sticks. Then, there’s those grass-cutting, pooper-scoopin’, take-my-dog-out-for-a-walk-cigars. Inappropriately prejudiced toward the Dark Shark, I brought one with me to the “place where all bad nights end,” R-----‘s Pub in Bethlehem.
I’m with my friend (for sake of argument, let’s call him Qbert) and after a long night of striking out with the young ladies, we end up at R-----‘s (yes, I’m censoring myself because a good friend of mine works at said “Hell on Earth”).
Upon lighting up the Dark Shark with dirt cheap lager in hand, I’m pleasantly surprised as a giant cloud of white smoke fills the air and my palate is surrounded by a subtle coffee bean flavor. I know I had myself a few ‘Stoli and tonics earlier but I’m not even half in the bag so I confidently stand by my current notion.
Throughout the middle third and finish on the cigar the Dark Shark remained fairly consistent and I don’t notice much change in flavor. However, something notable about this blend is that, strength-wise, it touched medium bodied after about the first half inch. My pre-conceived thoughts were that this blend would be fairly mild.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised as the Dark Shark surpassed many expectations. The Shark was a solid smoke, decent flavor, above-moderate construction and dirt cheap. At a buck a piece, this is one of the best values CI has to offer.
Qbert was fairly confused as I declared the Dark Shark as “a tasty morsel”. Of course, he had loaded up on Vodka and Rhino Energy Drinks before we ventured about town so he was quite bewildered beforehand.
I reviewed the ambiguous Dark Shark because I can’t keep them on the shelves. Customers are buying them two and three bundles at a time! If you happen to stop by the CI Super-Store in Bethlehem and pick yourself up a bundle, you will be greeted with an uproarious "SHARK ATTACK!" declaration by the expert-friendly staff. Anyway, maybe there’s something I’m missing, but if you’re looking for 20 cigars for dirt cheap, buy these bundles and see for yourself!
Expert thought for the day: “Why do they call it a drive-thru if you have to stop?”
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.