Monday, October 13, 2008

My Weekend Cigar: Cubao No.1

It was such a beautiful October weekend here in the Lehigh Valley, I got to smoke a lot of good cigars (one which I'm saving to report on later this week), but since I can only pick one for this column, I'm going with the Cubao No.1. I got the sample from Patrick Vivalo and Eddie Ortega of E/O Brands, who were visiting Famous Smoke Shop for a 601 Cigars in-store event this past Saturday. The company recently introduced Cubao Cigars in July at the IPCPR show in Las Vegas, and my only experience with the cigar until this weekend, was the Cuban Corona they were handing out at the show. I remember enjoying the cigar a lot, but as it often goes at the trade show, I didn't have a chance to finish it.

However, Saturday night permitted me to enjoy the entire experience, and I was more comfortable with the Double Corona-sized No.1, which weighs-in a 7 1/8 x 49. Like its 601 cousins, Cubao is made by Don José Pepin Garcia, and the No.1 just received a "92" rating in the October 7 issue of Cigar Insider.

The Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro wrapper is not almost black in color like most "oscuro" wrappers. It's more bronze in color with a lush, smooth-looking patina. The cap shaved-off cleanly, the cigar drew perfectly, and the pre-smoke flavor was spicy (as advertised) and very woody.

Once lit, the first few puffs were very spicy. It stayed that way for about the first three-quarters-of-an-inch, then suddenly rounded out to a predominantly dark, woody flavor with a long finish. I remember the Cuban Corona at the show being much spicier and for a longer period of time, too. So here again, size and length make a difference. I paired the cigar with a bottle of Luna de Luna Red Merlot/Cabernet, which Patrick selected, and it really complemented the cigar well.

The cigar remained well-balanced through the last act, and although it was not a very complex cigar in terms of flavor, I liked where it locked-in and the consistency it maintained during the entire smoke.

Is it a "92?" I think more experienced cigar smokers will agree it's definitely in the ballpark. What I can tell you is I enjoyed it immensely. For you new cigar smokers, you may want to hold-off a while on the Cubao, but if you like spicy, full-bodied Nicaraguan cigars, go for it.

~ Gary Korb

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