Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Size: 5 x 50 “Box Pressed”
Here is a cigar that everyone has smoked. I don’t have any other cigars ready to review yet so I thought I would maintain my routine and write about the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor. Everyone loves this cigar so this shouldn’t be too hard. I want to thank Ana Cuenca at Cuenca Cigars for the samples.
First, the box press is gorgeous with a perfect rectangular shape. The cap is flat and seems to have only one cap, not three. A single seam is not tight; but the rest are. Veins are very minimal. And the wrapper color looks like a maduro and is a deep chocolate brown. The wrapper has a nice oily sheen and the stick has quite a bit of tooth.
I sniff around and detect with luscious dark cocoa. There is also cedar, sweetness, and Morella cherries. The cherry aroma is very strong near the foot.
I V clip the cigar and light it up.
The first puffs are, of course, cocoa. And then the Garcia blast of pepper. Smoke is everywhere and makes my living room look on fire. The cedar lends a nice woody profile. I don’t taste the cherry or sweetness yet.
The char line is perfect. The body is a classic medium right from the get go.
I have been a fan of Pepin Garcia going back to 2000. Back when there was not a flux of online stores. And I remember being startled by that famous pepper blast… which I have learned to love.
I have the Kleenex nearby as the spiciness is doing a job on me.
Back in my early teens, my mother was very ill and dying. We lived 100 miles north of Mexico in Long Beach, CA. So my dad hired a live-in housekeeper who was Mexican. Her name was Julia and she became our surrogate mother. Now this woman could cook. It was our first foray into authentic Mexican food. But Julia made one thing for herself: Salsa. She would make it when no one was at home. Here is why, I had a short day and walked in the door and it was like I entered the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. My eyes swelled shut. I couldn’t breathe. I coughed endlessly. Julia was making her salsa with the blender. And I walked in while all those exotic peppers were being grinded. This must be 50 years ago and yet I can remember that moment like it was yesterday. Clearly, I came to love spicy food and hot sauce. So from that experience in early life, I learned to like spicy things. Which makes me a sucker for a Garcia cigar.
I meander slowly towards the end of the first third. Everything is on afterburner. But now, a smooth creaminess appears enhancing the cocoa big time. A sweetness appears that brightens the flavor profile. The char line is still close to perfect. And the cap is not letting loose of any tobacco strands.
The creaminess appearing this early is a good sign that the cigar will be well balanced with a long finish. If it waits til the last third, it’s iffy. An earthiness appears that evens out the flavors. I read in another review that the writer tasted mushroom. I’ve never tasted mushroom in a cigar before but I swear to the Cosmic Muffin, I can taste it. Not having tasted it before, I don’t think I would have recognized it if not for the other review. Most reviewers check out their competition. Why? To look for flavor components that we might otherwise miss. A palate is a tricky thing. They are all different, of course. And we taste different things. While I might taste cherry, someone else might taste citrus. If I hadn’t read a mushroom taste, I would have never tasted it. And who is to say it’s not just the power of persuasion? Who knows?
I move towards the halfway point and the sweetness is not only cherry but caramel which gives it a buttery smooth component. Now if I could only taste apple, that would be heaven. This cigar is a bona fide flavor bomb and I’ve been lucky of late having the opportunity to review one flavor bomb after the other.
Coffee appears. It had to. With Nicaraguan binder and filler….it’s a must. In fact, this whole flavor profile is typical of an excellent Nic cigar. Which is why the best cigars coming out of Central America come from Nicaragua. It has become the king of cigar origins in the last 5 years..or longer.
The lower of the double bands comes off easily. Nothing is more frustrating that a band with too much glue on it and you have to shred it to remove it. It’s not a big deal when you are not writing a review. But when I want my photos to be purty, I need that band intact.
The flavors have settled down as the cigar becomes very complex. The even out across the board. No single flavor stands out amongst the rest. That spiciness has tamped down to meet the other flavors. The cigar is now like a tobacco candy bar.
Amazingly, the price point on the line is very reasonable. These sticks could easily go for a couple bucks more per cigar. And be worth it.
And, of course, as I wrote this, the caramel, cocoa, and creaminess move to the front as I begin the last third. It is an absolute wonder to me how tobacco leaves can take on such magnificent flavors. After all, this is tobacco. Just amazing. Can you imagine what it must be like to be a genius blender, like Garcia?
The cigar is jam packed with tobacco and, as such, is a slow burner. I’m at the beginning of the last third and it’s taken me a good hour to get here.
The burn line is still dead nuts.
I make it a rule to review only first thing in the morning. I have the sunlight steaming through the dining room window where I sit and type. And my palate is fresh as a daisy enabling me to discern the most subtle of flavors. Since I am a cigar chain smoker, I lose some of that as the day wears on. I use fruit to cleanse my palate and it works pretty well.
The big band came off without a hitch. I recently reviewed a cigar that gave me a conniption fit trying to remove the double band. Too much glue. I ended up using my folding knife to carefully remove it, cutting the wrapper in its wake.
The body has transitioned from medium to full at this point. I feel a bit light headed. Didn’t eat my Cheerios before the review. Since I’m on a constant diet, I grabbed an Atkins shake instead.
The flavors really explode now. Everything is at the forefront. Except the spice. It has moved to the background.
The cigar finishes up with a massive flavor profile and cool as a cuke.
In summary, I highly recommend this cigar. But then you knew that.
One last note; I don’t use the point system when I review because I think it highly subjective. And what the hell do I know? What is the difference between a 1.6 and a 1.8? I either like the cigar or I don’t. Scores are fine when they come from professionals such as the folks with Cigar Aficionado, but those people have earned the right to score a cigar. The rest of us haven’t. And I’ve been smoking cigars for 45 years.
Anyway, kudos to Pepin Garcia. Well done.
If you purchase cigars from Cuenca Cigars, you will get an additional 5% discount on an order over $49.99. Unlimited use. http://www.cuencacigars.com/
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS