Bahia's Rio de Flavor May 7th, 2018 Joe 90 Share: Let me start this review off with an apology. For the last year, I’ve been diligently reviewing cigars here, and to my surprise this morning I noticed only one of the cigars I reviewed (Oliva 2nds) has been an affordable option. My bad! Before you get the wrong idea, I don’t take down Padrons and Alma Fuertes everyday. No, in fact, my cigar rotation leans much more towards the “budget” side of the equation. So, as an apology to everyone’s wallets, my next few reviews will be focused on my favorite cigars you can get for $3 or less. And to start it off, we’re going to take a peek at Bahia Brazil. Some backstory for you: originally crafted by Tony Borhani in the cigar boom of the ‘90s, Bahia cigars were, at one time, some of the highest rated cigars in the world. Unfortunately, since then, the brand has taken a bit of a tumble, cropping up in new blends that come and go with the seasons… but three cigars have stayed true: Bahia Maduro, Bahia Trinidad, and Bahia Blu. These three bundled beauts represent the best mixture of affordability and flavor on the market – and they’ve all been fan-favorites of CI Nation for years. Indeed, those three cigars alone carry nearly 700 verified customer reviews between them at the time of writing this. When things like this work, you just don’t mess with them. No new sizes, no gimmicks, no packaging changes… just sell the cigars, and give the people what they want. So imagine my surprise when a brand spankin’ new Bahia bundle popped up on our docks a few weeks ago. Yes sir, Bahia Brazil is here, and it deserves its spot right along the original trilogy. Now my favorite Bahia has always been the Maduro, but after going through about half a bundle of Brazil, I may just have to change my mind. While the Maduro weighed in at a nice medium body, Brazil turns the dial up a notch, delivering a sultry medium to full-bodied profile that’s rife with complexity but stays uber-smooth simultaneously. On top of this gem sits a beautiful Brazilian Maduro wrapper leaf, each one a rich chocolate brown color with just a slight hint of oily sheen. Underneath, you’ll find Nicaraguan binder and long-fillers that have each been aged to perfection. And now for the best news — for all you who love big ring blends, and who truly want to maximize the bang for your buck, Bahia Brazil is offered in both a 5”x56 Robusto and 6”x60 Gordo. In many bundled blends, these sizes are ones to avoid: the lower quality filler leaves are more present in larger ring gauges, delivering a less enjoyable flavor. But not here. Bahia Brazil shines in its big ring offerings, and they top out at around $3 per cigar. Still with me? Good. Lighting this one up, I’ve got no real complaints. On the larger rings, the draw can be just a tad loose, but that’s typical for me with a 60rg cigar so I can’t really knock Brazil for it. The first half of this cigar delivers tons of spice with a chewy oakiness in the profile as well. As the cigar burns down (which it does very slowly, by the way) it mellows out, and the Brazilian wrapper starts to shine. Indeed, the back half of Bahia Brazil loses most of the spice that starts it off, replacing it with a rich, dark chocolate note and tons of toastiness. You want one of the best bundled cigars on the market? Look no further. I guarantee if you popped the bands off these bad boys and asked someone to guess how much they cost after enjoying one, they’d tell you $6-$7. Instead, you pay half of that, and come out on top every time. Enjoy!