Monday, December 1, 2008

My Weekend Cigar: Cugine (by Arganese) Robusto Connecticut

This past Saturday, I finally had the opportunity to sample the new Cugine Cigars, the creation of actor, author, and chef, Joseph R. Gannascoli, and Gene Arganese of Arganese Cigars. As I wrote in my preview of their northeast debut in-store event at Famous Smoke Shop ("'Il Cugine' is Coming!"), Cugine cigars are blended with prime Dominican longfillers and Honduran Sumatra-seed binder rolled in a milder Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, or a more full-bodied Brazilian-seed Maduro wrapper grown in Ecuador.

The store was packed to the gills with customers who wanted to meet Joe and try his new cigars. Joe also came armed with photos from The Sopranos™ for autographing, a stack of his A Meal to Die For books, and bottles of his own brand of pasta sauce, or "gravy" as my former Italian in-laws preferred to call it.

Right now Cugine cigars are available in only two sizes: Torpedo and Robusto. I started with the Robusto in the Connecticut wrapper (see my sample shown). The wrapper was smooth and buttery, and the cigar was well-packed. The cap, which is a Cuban-style "triple cap," sliced off perfectly and the pre-light draw was excellent.

The cigar lit well, and the smoke was smooth, creamy and medium-bodied, dominated by sweet, woody flavors with just a trace of nutmeg on the finish. It was also impressively consistent and well-balanced through the last act, where I smoked it down to about an inch. So if it's a naturally sweet, rich-tasting cigar that appeals to you, then I highly recommend the Cugine Connecticut. Moreover, the cigar burned for well over an hour without a relight.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to smoke the Cugine Maduro, which I hope to smoke this week, but many of the customers I spoke on Saturday were smoking it. What I gathered from their opinions was the Maduro had lots of flavor, starting out very spicy, then rounding out to a more well-balanced, full-bodied smoke with a sweet and spicy character.

Although Cugine cigars will be presented in boxes, if you want to try some Cugine cigars, Famous Smoke Shop has a limited number of specially-made, pre-box release bundles available on their website.

A lot of celebrities have come out with their own cigars over the years, most of which have failed, because you can't sell a cigar on an actor's or an athlete's name alone. From what I tasted, Gene and Joe did a nice job, and this cigar has real potential. If Mr. Gannascoli and Gene get out there and pound the pavement by promoting it as a fine, premium cigar, and not a "celebrity cigar" they've got a great shot at becoming the exception to the rule.

~ Gary Korb

1 comment:

wolfkat58 said...

YOU ARE GONNA LOVE THE MADURO EVEN MORE THAN THE CONNECTICUT WRAPPER. IF IT IS NOT A WINDY DAY YOU CAN GET A 3 INCH ASH BEFORE IT FALLS OFF. SERIOUSLY! IT WAS THE BEST BUNDLE SAMPLE I'VE EVER BOUGHT AND ORDER A BUNDLE OF EACH SIZE MADURE BEFORE FAMOUS RASIES THE PRICE ON THESE BABIES. SMOOTH, RICH, AND SATISFYING. THE KIND OF CIGAR YOU WANT TO TAP SOMEONE ELSE ON THE SHOULDER AND SAY, "HEY, YOU GOTTA TRY THIS!" THEY YOU SETTLE DOWN AND FEEL SPECIAL BECAUSE YOU HAVE ONE AND SOMEONE ELSE DOESN'T, YET. ;>}