“You are not only smoking a great cigar, you are smoking a piece of history!”
~AJ “BIG BEAUFORD” Founder, Big Kuntry Cigars
What Makes It Special
Big Kuntry Cigars founder and Panama Canal ‘Operation Just Cause’ combat Veteran, AJ “Big Beauford”, created his cigar line as a tribute to his Grandfather, Big John Reeves, who raised AJ in the countryside. Big John was a Seville, Florida pig farmer and Seaboard Coastline Railroad worker, who loved farming while smoking pipe tobacco and cigars. After a near death trucking accident in 2016, AJ decided to pursue his passion for cigars, in honor of Big John, family and friends “who all paved the way” for his charming down-to-earth nature and humble success.
Big John once told AJ, “A thousand mile journey starts with a single step”, and AJ hasn’t skipped a beat since. Listening to AJ’s American story on his first October 2022 Great Cigar & Pipe Show appearance, and the GC&PS Chooches’ enthusiasm for his cigars, compelled me to order a sample pack. “Cousin Frank” Minutillo described Big Kuntry Cigars as “a boutique cigar brand that truly steps up the game.” I immediately fell in love with these cigars, especially the Maduro blend. This cigar features a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, over Nicaraguan fillers from Jalapa, Condega, and Esteli, and an Indonesian binder, all aged three years.
The cigar’s Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper leaf is grown in the volcanic soil of the San Andres Valley, and can be traced back to ancient Mayan carvings in Veracruz. Known as “Morron” or “Negro”, for its dark brown color, this tobacco is stalk-cut (entire plant) versus primed (leaves picked off the plant two or three times), and so it is thicker, naturally sweet, and earthy. The Nicaraguan fillers will provide a leathery spicy punch, while the thin and mild Indonesian binding tobacco will give the smoker a very unique and aromatic experience.
Big Kuntry Maduro
Vitola: Toro 6×52
Filler: Nicaraguan Jalapa, Condega & Esteli
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Age: 3 Years
Body: Medium to Full Boldness
Visual / Pre-light Draw
Nice oily dark chocolate brown and pig tailed wrapper with a semi-closed foot. It has a unique fresh wet hay exterior odor, toothy veins, but overall it is smooth to the touch. There are more nice wet hay notes over subtle floral notes on the dry foot odor. AJ’s humble circular red yellow and black band displays Seville, Florida over a cool cigar. The cigar’s brand name, Big Kuntry Cigars rests over three patriotic red stars, and Established 2020. Its secondary black foot band identifies its Maduro wrapper, and slides right off. The side of the band and the cigar’s wrapper pattern are hypnotizing as you rotate the cigar, indicative of a hypnotizing smoking experience. There is no spice while prepping the head for a nice Colibri V-cut. The dry draw produces bold Raisin Bran cereal notes over subtle orchard fruits.
Creamy cocoa on the foot smoke odor and first palate coating cocoa puff. There are nice baking spices that are very brief but enjoyable on the retrohale. The cigar’s even burn and ash are near perfection, with transitions to awesome spicy leathery notes, which remain creamy on the palate. This is a very complex first third with dark orchard fruit notes and vanilla on the finish. Absolutely mouth watering and delicious!
There is a big and noticeable transition to dry vanilla frosted oats. The cigar’s already excellent draw opens up even more, producing even more palate coating sweet and leathery flavors. Its beautiful spice mellows, the retro becomes creamier, and packed with a very bold flavor of baseball mitt leather, while the ash finally falls off with dignity. This is AJ’s favorite smooth Jazz track by Brian Culbertson. I DIG!
The band comes off no problem, time to dig deep into this now bolder Maduro. The spice on retro has nearly disappeared, allowing those creamy leathery notes to dominate. The ash’s second chapter is lengthy and everything just comes together, producing a very unique, enjoyable, and consistent creamy leather bomb smoking experience. Overall, this cigar is my jam! Bill, who prefers Connecticut broadleaf wrapped cigars, thoroughly enjoyed it. I nubbed it and absolutely loved it!
This WBSE Rickhouse pick originates from the light whiskey’s current home-base at Cat Eye Distilling in Bettendorf, Iowa. It was aged for seven years in a used charred barrel, and bottled at 64.5 ABV on July 13, 2022, after receiving an overall rating of 95 by Publisher Bill Varnell
Photography by: James Archie