TL Johnson Tempio
Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican
Sizes: Churchill, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo
Size for review: Robusto (5×50)
Knowing that I was getting close to smoking my 100th different cigar, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I had a variety of cigars to choose from and I had all weekend to find that perfect time and place to smoke it. Long story short, I chose the Colorado-based TL Johnson Tempio. Of the bunch of cigars I had to choose from, the Tempio was the only one I really sought out. There are but a couple online retailers and before this weekend, the nearest brick and mortar store that carried them was 1200 miles away. I wanted this cigar because of the name. TL Johnson is well known in the fly fishing industry for his phenomenal and well renowned fly rods.
The Tempio is an “extreme box press” cigar. Indeed, the cigar has very pronounced lines. The Tempio even comes in a box with each stick firmly contained in its own divided section, helping maintain the clean lines. The edges are so sharp that the band is visibly creased. The wrapper looks rough and rustic. Amazingly, thanks to the pressing, it is smooth. The whole thing looks like old leather, and feels much the same. It is finished with one of the most beautiful pigtail caps I have seen.
Lighting the cigar I was greeted with a quick hit of black peppercorn, followed by both cedar and oak flavors. From the start the smoke is thick and creamy, helping the flavors hold strong to the palate. The Tempio has a certain toasty sweetness to it that, when combined with the oak, really had be thinking about some whiskey. There is a sweet and savory smokey aspect to this cigar that is really reminding me of some BBQ too. The draw is perfect-not tight, not loose, just right. And it’s quite apparent right away that this cigar, featuring a unique Pennsylvania wrapper, is going to be something different.
The burn was just a bit wavy but the ash held all the way through the first third of the cigar. Into the second third, the cedar flavor remains only in the retrohale, with oak and cream being the highlights. Again, there are some underlying flavors that I’m not really able to pinpoint, but reminiscent of chai tea. The Tempio brings along so many flavors that I would imagine a flavor wheel profile might look something like a Rorschach test. While oak and cream seem to be the main components, there are spikes out to just about every other flavor I could imagine. While the burn started a bit wavy, after the ash fell away the cigar straightened out on its own.
Tearing away the band and moving into the last third, the Tempio again changes flavor directions again. The oak remains strong, but now has a charred aspect to it. Think of hot coals from a campfire that has burned down. Pepper notes returned as I got down to the nub. I’d call this a medium-full flavored cigar with medium body and strength.
The TL Johnson Tempio was an excellent choice for my 100th different cigar. It was nothing short of excellent throughout. The flavors seemed to change constantly, and I was always eager for the next puff. It was complex in flavor and great in build. There aren’t a whole lot of online vendors for this boutique brand just yet, but I will be finding myself a box, or two, very soon.