The Nub, the brainchild of Sam Leccia, who spent a number of years working for the Oliva cigar family, is a novel concept. Sam believes that every cigar has a sweet spot where, at some point during the smoke, it achieves the pinnacle of its flavors. He was driven to see if he could create a cigar that would capture this sweet spot from the very first puff and hold it to the very last. Thus, the Nub was born. The design is for function, not novelty. Anyone can create unusual shapes, but each of the Nub blends has a shape created to summon and deliver the blend’s sweet spot right off the bat and hold it at its peak right through to the end. Nub cigars are very short with huge ring gauges. The smallest of the line is a 54 ring, but the majority of them are 60 and above. The Habano we’re featuring this month has a ring gauge of 60. (The largest of the line is a whopping 66 ring gauge.) Each size is supposed to be equivalent to a more traditional-sized cigar. Your 460, for example, contains as much Nicaraguan filler tobacco in it as a 6.75″ x 50 Churchill, and it burns nearly as long as any Churchill. Sam’s aim behind the Nub is to isolate the best part of each leaf and only use it in the cigars.
The Habano 460 is well constructed with a smooth, oily Nicaraguan Habano wrapper the color of milk chocolate. The binder is also Nicaraguan. The draw is almost perfect, the burn is fine, and the smoke has a great, spicy aroma. Panelists found the need to touch the cigar up just once or twice during the entire 90 minutes it took some to smoke it. (Others smoked it in an hour.) They had a hard time pinpointing the flavors, agreeing that they seemed to meld into one rich tobacco taste with a strong woody core and a smoky aftertaste. Also look for notes of oak and leather and, at times, a touch of sweetness. This medium- to full-bodied stogie has a baked bread component accompanied by nuts and a rich creaminess. One panelist said he detected a touch of red pepper at the halfway point, but only briefly. The ash was a bit flaky on the edges, but it holds so firm you don’t have to tap it off unless you want to. The finish is smoky and toasty. Not surprisingly, this is a cigar you can nub. If you’re doing ribs on Memorial Day, the Nub 460 will be great company while you’re stoking the fire. Enjoy it with your ribs accompanied by a bold red wine or an ice cold brewski.