Friday, May 2, 2008

Retro-Smoke: Cusano 18 Paired Maduro Robusto

By Gary Korb

I thought I'd start out today by giving you a little teaser. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to receive a preview of a new limited edition eight cigar Cusano Cigars sampler that's scheduled to arrive in cigar stores within the next several weeks. This one's a doozy, too. Presented in all Robusto sizes, it includes one each of the Cusano 18 Double Connecticut and Paired Maduro, a Corojo 1997, plus all three versions of their luxurious Cuvée blends, and two brand new cigars which I'm not at liberty to announce at this time. So keep your eyes peeled for that one.

Looking at the box, my eye was attracted to the Cusano 18 Paired Maduro, mainly because I hadn't smoked one in a while, and I figured it would make a good subject for today's Retro-Smoke.

Like all Cusano Cigars, the Paired 18 Maduro is blended with multiple wrapper leaves. The outer leaf is a oily, even toned, dark chocolate-hued, U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf. At the core is a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper leaf, a 1985-vintage Dominican Oro wrapper leaf, and a Dominican San Vicente binder. The pre-lit flavor (a/k/a the "cold taste") was primarily woody with a hint of sweetness.

The cigar toasted and lit perfectly as burly, semi-sweet-smelling smoke wafted about me. The cigar started out smooth and creamy with light cedary flavors, some sweetness, and hints of black pepper. As the cigar entered the second act, the peppery elements had amplified; the smoke was spicier, but the sweet and woody elements persisted, keeping the pepper in check, and the cigar blossomed into a luscious, full-flavored smoke. All the flavors were so well-balanced, and the smoke so smooth throughout, that I puffed it to the point where I literally burned the first knuckle of my left index finger. TRUE!

In all honesty, I didn't remember my last Cusano 18 Paired Maduro with as much enthusiasm, but this cigar was truly stunning. Definitely a "must smoke" for the die-hard maduro cigar smoker.

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