Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 x 58
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $12.00 MSRP

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Today we take a look at Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars.

From Southern Classic Cigars web site:

“To many cigar smokers, the name Southern Classic Cigars may not ring any bells. Which is understandable, as the brand operates in a very exclusive, ultra-boutique manner. Their factory, which is located in Estelí, Nicaragua, consists of a mere four cigar rollers! This, of course, limits production, which is a solid “plus” for cigar enthusiasts – allowing the utmost control over each cigar’s quality. But it is Cuban-born Juan Alberto Gomez-Pacheco that Southern Classic Cigars touts as their claim to fame. Training directly under “Cuban legend” Alejandro Robaina, Juan is a master in cigar blending and craftsmanship – he has poured his soul into each blend at Southern Classic Cigars.

“Southern Classic Cigars consists of four cigar lines, each focusing on different elements of traditions held by the native Taíno Indians of Cuba. Each cigar is blended in only one size, showing the optimum performance of the blend created by Master Blender Juan “Papito” Alberto Gomez-Pacheco. All blends are Nicaraguan, showing what can truly be accomplished when a classic Cuban approach is applied to the rich soils of Nicaragua.”

You can get a list of retailers on the Cucubano web site.

I want to thank Eloy at Southern Classic Cigars for kind sampler box sent to me. In it, were 3 sticks of all four blends: The line is made up of: Cuey 6.5 x 58 ($12.00), Dujo 6.5 x 56 ($11.00), Coabey 6 x 54 ($10.00), and the Cucubano 5.5 x 52 ($8.00). These are MSRP prices.

This is the third out of four blends that they produce that I’ve reviewed. So far, they’ve been batting 1000 with me. I loved the Cucubano and Coabey. I allowed the Cuey and Dujo to marinate a bit longer in my humidor because they are fallen logs. Huge.

And if you’ve read me more than once, you know I’m not crazy about giant ass cigars. I received three in a sampler box of 12 cigars. Four blends, three each. I wanted this to be a surprise. Only because I smoke so many cigars during the day that I wanted to try this on a fresh morning palate.

The Cuey is also the most expensive of the four blends.
I will try to keep my review down to a four hour read.

The cigar is very rustic looking. Seams are sloppy. The dark coffee bean wrapper, with caramel colored overtones, is mottled with a nice oily sheen. Lots of small veins and a few tree trunk sized ones. But the expertly applied triple cap is flawless. And lastly, there is fine toothiness on the wrapper.

The cigar band is the prettiest of the bunch so far.

I clip the cap and find aromas of dark baking cocoa, spice, cedar, earthiness, toasty, and hay.
Time to light up.

The draw is spot on. The cigar is jam packed with tobacco and not a single soft spot. It has the right amount of give when I used my finger to depress it. If I depress it, will it need therapy?

Nice flavors to start with: Cream, spice, toasty, and earthy.
3

Ooh. The giant behemoth finds a nice flavor profile within the first couple of minutes. In addition to the previous listed flavors, there is also buttery shortbread, cappuccino, and an ever growing dose of red pepper.

Of the flavors mentioned, it is the creaminess that jumps in leaps and bounds with each puff.

The folks at Cucubano Cigars ~ or ~ Southern Classic Cigars really have got this blending business down pat. This is the third blend I’ve reviewed and not disappointed by any. All great cigars. But then for $12.00, this cigar should be having sex with me.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but the Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars, in all its elephantism, is behaving like a robusto in the flavor department.

I still haven’t figured out how to get a good shot of the cigar band when it has a shiny white background and chrome-like lettering.

The ash is hanging tough. Alles ist gut.

A nice sweetness emerges that is derived from an egg cream quality element. I grab a Diet Coke as the chocolate is enhanced against the background of creaminess.

The spiciness is right where I like it: Strong but not overpowering.
4

Damn. This is a good cigar. But I totally expected it to be honest. $12 should buy you a superb blend. And so far it has. The flavors kicked off at the very start of the cigar. No waiting around for some elusive sweet spot. The Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars got down and funky immediately.

I could say that this is the first Gordo I’ve smoked, with only a couple months or less on it, that had such bold flavors. The only exception is the Paul Stulac blends. But Stulac’s big Gordos need more humidor time than the Cuey.

I’ve got 1-1/2” of ash just waiting to fall into my lap and burn my testicles. (I write in the morning after I get up wearing only a T shirt, boxers, and a robe.) Have I turned you on?

This is an exceptionally good tasting blend.

The ash falls off in the ashtray. Huzzah!

The second third begins after 30 minutes of smoke time. This means the cigar will be a 90 minute smoke. That’s perfect. I was dreading a 2-1/2 hour experience because it is a long time to sit in front of my laptop with a camera hanging from my neck.

The char line is dead nuts perfect.
5third

And here they are: Creaminess, chocolate, spice, coffee, caramel, cedar, earthiness, buttery shortbread, wood, with a slight charcoal element.
Experiencing the Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars relaxes me about the next, and last blend: Dujo. Which is roughly the same size.

The Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars is just swimming in flavors.
The strength, this whole time, has been classic medium body.

I reach the halfway point.

The Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars is one of the smoothest cigars I’ve smoked.

It is oozing creaminess, chocolate, and coffee. The spiciness is on the wane. Too bad.
6half

I have two long Hal Blaine stories for the end of the review.

I am truly digging the Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars. It was nothing like I expected. I was in near panic mode as I started the review. What if this giant Gordo wasn’t ready? What if it didn’t measure up to the Cucubano or Coabey. I’m always wary of behemoth cigars. Most blenders just don’t get the wrapper vs. filler ratio right and you end up with a blah tasting cigar. Not this time. Kudos Southern Classic Cigars.

The cold returned to Wisconsin this week. Last week, we actually had 60° days. Now, it’s back to the high 30’s. And no sun.

At the halfway point, I hit a little over 45 minutes of smoke time. Right on schedule.

There is a new fruity component. There is a taste of orange citrus with floral notes and a touch of vanilla.
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I really like this cigar blend because it has been a slow roll. It started with a bang but then gradually saw new flavors and intensity emerge slowly.
The Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars finds its complexity now. The balance is great. And it has a wonderfully long finish.

While on the other hand, my review of late of the Foyle cigar was a tough road to go. It was 7 x 52 and took forever. Or at least seemed like it. If it had half the panache this cigar has, it would have gone much quicker in the mind’s eye.

The price point. $12.00 is a lot of dough. I don’t have the information on how many cigars were produced but if I had to guess, I’d say this is not a regular production cigar but, rather, a limited run. I’m sure that SCC will correct me on that if I’m wrong. They’ve been very supportive.

The Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars surges. Like a light switch being turned on, the blend takes on a new boldness. The red pepper returns in force. Love it. Flavors jump out at me. It is a whole new cigar.

And still, I’ve got 3” to go. This is perfect for my tastes. I get bored easily. It is blends like the Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars that have my undying respect. Instead of being a flavor static blend, it is in constant motion. It keeps my interest at a high level.

I highly recommend this cigar to experienced palates. You are going to love it.

The strength moves to medium/full at this point.

The construction has been dead on throughout the entire cigar experience. Not a single issue to complain about.

The last third is upon me.

A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Worth every nickel of the $12. And I rarely say that.
8third

SCC said in an email that they wanted me to pick my favorite blend. As this is the third of four blends; that’s going to be tough. Each one has its own distinct characteristics totally different from the others. I can’t wait to review the Dujo. I’ll wait a couple days and get on it.

I get some nicotine now. Oy vay.

The first symptom is the laptop screen gets fuzzy.

Everything Southern Classic Cigars blends is well done. A lot of care and focus were put into developing the four blends.

The Cuey by Southern Classic Cigars is a damn fine cigar.
9

And now for something completely different:
hb1

Hal Blaine did me so many solids; I can hardly remember them all. For some reason he took to me…no, he wasn’t gay. I’m not so sure about me. LOL.

I could have been his son the way I was treated by him. A boyhood hero was treating me like his son. Wow.

Back in the 60’s, I listened to the Mamas and Papas or Simon and Garfunkel…lying on my bed at home…I loved to read the liner notes on the LP and there was, of course, the players listed: Hal Blaine on drums, Joe Osborne on bass, and Larry Knechtel on keys. I would fixate on those names as I drifted away with the music.

Hal is a nice Jewish boy like me. But 10-13 years my senior. He came up through the ranks when changing your last name was a regular thing. His real name is Harold Simon Belsky.

After spending a lot of time recording with him at my studio on other people’s projects, he offered me a gig. Wow. It was a Chevy TV commercial. There would be a full orchestra and rock rhythm section and I could play bass on it. Every time it played on TV, I got zippo. I signed away my player’s rights. Hal encouraged me to do so until the band leaders and the management team got to know me.

I remember once going to Hal’s yacht, docked at Marina Del Rey, where he would drive us, in his Rolls Royce, to the gig at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood.

I was shitting bricks even though my experience level was more than sufficient for the challenge. Hal was revered by all and there would be whispers of who is this kid with him? I should add that this kid was in his early 30’s.

I was introduced to the orchestra conductor and we shook hands. He asked me a little of my background and was thoroughly impressed with the Curved Air and Stewart Copeland connection. Remember, at this time, The Police were peaking.

He handed me the charts which seemed the size of a telephone book. I went off to a corner to study them. Hal was schmoozing with everyone and didn’t miss me.

I made notes and highlighted passages. It was a 75 second song. And pure pap. But with a rock feel. And OMG! Heavy on the bass line. I brought my Schecter fretless with me. When the band leader saw that I had a fretless, he immediately became worried and told me so. He was worried that I might hit some clams. With frets, there is never a chance you might be off by an eighth of a note. Merely rocking one’s finger could put you out of tune on a fretless; but I was good on this thing and told him not to worry. It went off fine.

We did a rehearsal and the band leader spent most of his time listening to me. At the end of the tune, he gave me a big thumbs up and everyone clapped. Whew! Hal looked at me and beamed. Like his son had done good.

It took 4 hours to complete the task at hand. And as a result of Hal’s generosity, I continued to do commercial session work for several years.

This is a list of the #1 songs that Hal played on:
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” – Elvis Presley (12/18/61)
“He’s a Rebel” – The Crystals (10/06/62)
“Surf City” – Jan & Dean (06/22/63)
“Everybody Loves Somebody” – Dean Martin (07/11/64)
“Ringo” – Lorne Greene (11/07/64)
“This Diamond Ring” – Gary Lewis & the Playboys (01/23/65)
“Help Me, Rhonda” – The Beach Boys (05/01/65)
“Mr. Tambourine Man” – The Byrds (06/05/65)
“I Got You Babe” -Sonny & Cher (07/31/65)
“Eve of Destruction” – Barry McGuire (08/28/65)
“My Love” – Petula Clark (01/15/66)
“These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” – Nancy Sinatra (02/05/66)
“Monday Monday” – The Mamas & the Papas (04/16/66)
“Strangers in the Night” – Frank Sinatra (07/02/66)
“Poor Side of Town” – Johnny Rivers (10/08/66)
“Good Vibrations” – The Beach Boys (10/29/66)
“Somethin’ Stupid” – Frank & Nancy Sinatra (03/25/67)
“The Happening” – The Supremes (04/15/67)
“Windy” – The Association (06/03/67)
“Mrs. Robinson” – Simon & Garfunkel (05/04/68)
“Dizzy” – Tommy Roe (03/15/69)
“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” – The 5th Dimension (04/12/69)
“Love Theme – Romeo & Juliet” – Henry Mancini (05/24/69)
“Wedding Bell Blues” – The 5th Dimension (10/04/69)
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon & Garfunkel (02/14/70)
“(They Long to Be) Close to You” – The Carpenters (06/27/70)
“Cracklin’ Rosie” – Neil Diamond (08/29/70)
“Indian Reservation” – Paul Revere & the Raiders (05/29/71)
“I Think I Love You” – The Partridge Family (10/31/71)
“Song Sung Blue” – Neil Diamond (05/13/72)
“Half Breed” – Cher (09/01/73)
“Annie’s Song” – John Denver (06/15/74)
“Top of the World” – The Carpenters (10/20/74)
“The Way We Were” – Barbra Streisand (12/22/74)
“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” – John Denver (04/05/75)
“Love Will Keep Us Together” – Captain & Tennille (05/24/75)
“I’m Sorry”/”Calypso” – John Denver (08/30/75)
“Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” – Diana Ross (01/22/76)

ONE LAST STORY:

Meeting Carol Kaye for the second time:
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Hal told me to meet him at the boat dock in Marina Del Rey, CA where he lived due to divorce proceedings. And then we would drive from there. I was driving a 1981 Datsun. Hal drove a Rolls Royce. There was no way he was going to arrive at Carol’s mansion in a Datsun.

I had just bought a 1980 Schecter fretless bass. It was my first fretless and I took to it like a duck to water. Which later found me buying an electric upright bass. I don’t need no stinkin’ frets.

We get there and someone opens my door for me. It was a man servant. You gotta’ be kidding.

Carol, of course, had her own recording studio and that is where we were ushered. The studio had a lounge that would rival a Pasha’s.

Carol entered the room in style and grabbed Hal and smooched him. She turned to me and did the same. She remembered me! I took lessons for 6 months.
I got that coveted position of being on a long list waiting to take lessons from her because I was the cousin of famed reed session player, Fred Selden. She and Fred were good friends.

We sat down and kibitzed while being served High Tea. Little sandwiches and tea…just like in England. For an hour, Carol and Hal exchanged work stories that fascinated me because they were dropping names like a feral cat drops kittens.

They were dishing dirt on everyone. These two played with every single musical name in the business and had dozens and dozens of Top 10 hits under their belts.

We were just finishing when the door opened and Art Garfunkel walked in. He was in town for some recording work. Actually, he was co-writing with someone. The name was never divulged in front of me.
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My heart was beating like a rat.

I’m thinking that Hal invited me for a jam session and Art Garfunkel was going to sing. This was making my head pound. Soon after that, Larry Knechtel entered. He was in the group Bread and part of the famous L.A. Wrecking Crew. He and Hal played on the “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album.

So now we had a rhythm section. Carol marveled at my gorgeous bass and asked if she could play it. She stomped me. This woman was playing electric bass in sessions going back to 1949. I was an ant compared to her. Curved Air.. Shmurved Air.

We got set up and Carol was so gracious that she let me play bass and she played guitar. In fact, that is how Carole started doing sessions; as a guitarist. But there was so much competition; she changed over to bass guitar. Which back in those days was a real rarity.

The bass guitar was invented back in the 1930’s but was considered a non-instrument. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that it came into vogue. And Carole was one of the main people to take it there.
This is the patent office design of the Fender bass:
fenderpatent

We played everything. You name it. Some of it was woodshedding and some we played from charts. And then it happened. Carole handed me the “..Bridge” chart. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I was going to play this song with Art Garfunkel.

I blurted out that I was having a panic attack and everyone laughed. Art came over and hugged me. A nice Jewish hug. He kissed me on the cheek and told me to relax. And to excuse any mistakes he might make. OMG!

Fortunately, there is not a lot of bass in that song and it was simple. Mostly, it felt like I was an observer to history.

I asked for a copy of what we played because Carol always had the tape machine on when there was a jam session. But I was told that music never left her house. She didn’t want to see it on the black market, a bootleg cassette. I was disappointed but understood.

We played for 6 hours. And then we had dinner. Around 9pm, we left, hugs all the way around, and I was on cloud 9. Hal and I hardly spoke on the way back to his yacht. I was in complete shock. And I was totally drained.

My heart is actually pounding as I finish writing this. I miss those old days. Since I was a young man, I took them for granted. I never thought it would end. I treasure all those memories.

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