Cuaba Exclusivos Cigar Review

Cuaba Exclusivos Cigar Review

by Nick Hendry

There once was a time, in the late 19th century, when Cuban Cigars were of a vastly different appearance to the majority seen in our humidors and on our shelves today.  The fashion of the day was for cigars rolled in the perfecto format – tapered at both ends, with a slim head and foot – which required a great deal more skill and attention from the torcedores than today’s more popular parejo. There are currently very few brands who release cigars in this shape, partly due to the difficulty of their creation and the fact that, such was the decline in demand, very few people still possess the skills required.  In 1996, however, a marca was established releasing only these beautifully-shaped cigars with the target of returning this pinnacle of the craft to the zeitgeist of the aficionados: Cuaba.

The name Cuaba comes from the ancient Taino word for a flammable bush used to light their own early cigars.  It is officially designated as medium-full in strength, with a blend initially reputed to be inspired by that of Montecristo.  The Exclusivos measures in at 5 ¾ inches by 46 ring gauge, at its thickest point, and will be enjoyed by the smoker for around and hour.

The beautiful Cuaba Exclusivos.

The perfecto is an exquisite form of cigar rolling.

Construction: 8/10

  • A heavy grain to the dark colorado wrapper and the hint of a vein or 2 were a touch worrying on the eye, but the fill was even and generous throughout. The shape, so difficult to create, was excellent.

Draw: 8/10

  • As is perhaps to be expected with this style, the initial draw had to be worked at as the slender point of the cigar smouldered up and allowed the body to take light. Once the first centimetre had been enjoyed, this gave way to a smooth flow of smoke.

Combustion: 10/10

  • The burn on this stick was uniform throughout, a testament to its creator. As the shape changed along the journey there was no hint of any part burning too quickly, or too slowly, and causing an uneven line.  Very impressive.

Ash: 5/5

  • The ash on the sample enjoyed for this review had only the slightest hint of grey and clung to the foot for a good length of time before the initial clump rolled gently off. Exactly what we hope to see.
The Cuaba Exclusivos in full flow.

 

A pointed cone of ash clung firmly to the foot of the cigar.

Smoke: 4/5

  • At times plentiful, at times less so, but always packed with flavour. A steely blue in colour and with a delightful aroma.

 Flavour: 23/25

  • The official classification may be medium-full, but my palette found this cigar medium at most. Whatever your view on the strength, the flavours cannot be denied.  Very woody in character, with intensity building as the burn progressed through the undulating shape of the stick and building towards the finish.

Overall: 32/35

  • My experience with this brand is not vast, so I was unsure of what to expect from this smoke. Initial, but mild, concerns about the grain of the wrapper and the effort required to draw the slender section at the start gave way to a surprising, yet eminently pleasing, range of tastes.  A very impressive cigar that I will return to soon.

The pleasing shape of the Cuaba Exclusivos

This is a cigar which delivers on flavour as well as appearance.

Final Score: 90/100

  • I cannot profess to be an expert in the blend and typical flavours of Cuaba, so I was excited to try this vitola to further my education on the world of the Cuban puro. The initial third brought very pronounced notes of cedar and honey, which mingled beautifully.  As the burn progressed to the middle third, and the widest part of the body, the sweetness of the honey gave way to a deeper cedar note, mixed with warming flavours of incense and punctuated with the occasional flash of menthol – a flavour I do not recall ever encountering in a cigar before, but one whose presence enhanced the experience, however surprising it was. The final third was more intense than those which preceded, but still more mellow than I had expected and with a delightful salted caramel note lingering at the back of the palate.

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