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Cigar Review: Midnight Bender

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Brand:  Fuerte y Libre Cigars
Vitola: 6×52 Toro
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano Ligero
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Dominican Piloto Cubano Ligero
Flavor intensity:  Full Boldness
Body: Medium to Full Boldness
Price: $12

What Makes It Special

All night benders leave most wondering; what the hell happened last night!? These nights usually unfold in multiple party locations, are tame at first, gradually escalate, then peak till on fleek! The double ligero and San Andrés wrapper on this Midnight Bender cigar will definitely get you there, trust me!

Its 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.

Piloto seed was originally a purely Cuban seed that was migrated and replanted in the Dominican Republic’s Cibao Valley in 1962. This is a stronger tobacco that will provide some nuttiness, earthiness, and light vanilla undertones to the blend. Today, it is the most common type of tobacco found in cigars from the Dominican Republic. 

Virginia-based Dominican cigar producer, Fuerte y Libre, established in 2018 by owner Greg Free, took full advantage of the Piloto leaf’s potential for this blend. By using it for both the filler and binder, both the flavor and strength are ramped up, appropriately leaving even an experienced smoker wondering; what the hell just happened!?

Visual / Pre-light Draw

Very toothy, veiny, and oily medium brown Maduro wrapper. Bold green grassy hay notes on the side sniff, bold and creamy dark cocoa notes on the dry foot odor. It has a simple blue, red and gold band displaying Fuerte y Libre’s spirit of the brand image, an American bull head over “Midnight Bender”. “The bull symbolizes strength and freedom, standing alone in a field.” All Fuerte y Libre cigars, including this one, are named after famous rodeo bulls. The company’s main Brand Ambassador, Genevieve Harris, is also a Taurus. There is no spice on the head when prepping it for a nice Colibri V-cut, which produces a dark chocolate bomb dry draw.

First Third

We’re on a midnight bender so we have time for a tame proper and slow soft flame lighting of the cigar. There is immediate bold and spicy cocoa on the foot smoke odor. Things escalate quickly with more spicy but creamy cocoa on the first puff. There are heavy baking spices on the retro-hale, then an exotic Graham cracker note, with buttery cream cheese on top, coats the palate. The medium tight draw is perfect, as the cigar transitions again to leathery baseball mitt roasted pistachios. This is a unique experience as all these transitions occur in one puff of the cigar, from mid palate to the finish. Each puff starts with that graham cracker note and transitions to bolder flavors of leathery cocoa, with a nice nuttiness on the finish. This is definitely a dessert cigar with tons of flavor that would pair very well with hazelnut coffee or a nice higher ABV bourbon.

Second Third

The cigar’s nice ash is holding strong, even in this precarious Chicago evening breeze. That creamy graham cracker note remains dominant on the forefront of every puff. Everything seems to be mellowing as the flavors have become softer. The spice on the retro-hale has peaked and then starts to settle down. Then notes of creamy vanilla wafer start coming in. Even the cigar’s roasted nutty flavors are becoming creamier. There is a slight enjoyable char on the aftertaste, almost like a lightly peated scotch. Then back to lighter baseball mitt leather. That bold creamy graham cracker note becomes the prominent note across the entire palate, which transitions to apple pie crust on the finish. Absolutely delicious!

 Final Third

We are on fleek! That perfect ash finally fell off with dignity. All the incredible flavors have meshed together for a unique midnight bender of dessert flavor, which I could appropriately puff on all night! There is the softest hint of cocoa on the foot smoke odor. The cigar’s burn really slows, allowing the smoker to fully enjoy the unique blend of its leathery and creamy dessert flavors. Then some light coffee notes over powdered cocoa on the palate, no spice on the retro-hale, and bolder chocolate on the foot smoke odor. Yes, I am all up in this super enjoyable smoking experience,as it deserves my time and attention. I get creamy fried dough over banana custard on the finish, with lingering creamy vanilla on the palate in between puffs. Then there is some fruitiness on the foot smoke odor while that amazing graham cracker note returns.


Honestly there was nothing tame about this cigar. The individual bold flavors of the cigarI are in your face before mixing and mellowing together for a beautiful dessert like smoking experience. Overall, this bold cigar develops nicely into that creamy gooey middle part of your favorite summertime funnel cake. The draw is amazing and delivers the cigars flavors perfectly. It is a very lengthy smoke that remains lit while resting during short breaks. The burn is self correcting and remains even. For those that love boldness, multiple flavors, and transitions in their cigar smoking experience, this Midnight Bender cigar is for you.

Visit to keep the rodeo going!

“Smoke Strong. Live Free!” ~ Greg Free



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