Cubao Atlantic Exclusive | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatran
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli and Jalapa)
Size: 5.5 x 50 “Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $6.12 by the single/$5.00 by the box.
Humidor Time: 5 weeks
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 1

1a

2a

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Cigar:
cubaobox

Today we take a look at the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive.
Thanks to Jeremy S. for the sticks.

BACKGROUND:
From the Atlantic Cigar web site:
“The Cubao brand was re-launched at the 2013 IPCPR in Las Vegas under the name Ortega Cubao and is now part of the Ortega Premium Cigar Company. Cubao was a perennial favorite before being discontinued shortly, but worry not. Cubao is now being offered in an all new exclusive box-pressed version of this outstanding smoke. While on a trip with Eddie Ortega in Nicaragua I mentioned how great it would be to have a Cubao in a box-pressed format. To my surprise Eddie agreed, and ask would I like it as an exclusive, I replied with a quick YES! And the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive Box-Pressed was born!

“The Cubao Box-Pressed is wrapped in an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and blended with an all Nicaraguan core of long fillers, specifically featuring a binder from the Estelí region and Jalapa Valley filler tobaccos.

“The box-pressing of the Cubao blend really adds to the flavor profile, giving it more balance and a creamy smooth finish. The Cubao Atlantic Exclusive is a small batch production, making for a more consistent refined smoke, that’s rich tasting with a medium to full-bodied profile with an amazing aroma and complexity.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5.5 x 50 $7.20 MSRP ($5.00 selling price)
Toro 6 x 54 $7.40 MSRP ($5.00 selling price)
Churchill 7 x 54 $7.60 MSRP ($5.00 selling price)

DESCRIPTION:
First thing one notices is how light the stick is. I predict that this will be under an hour smoke.
The wrapper is semi-oily with a caramel brown wrapper. There is also a dry creek bed look to the nearly translucent wrapper. The wrapper is mostly smooth.
Veins are tight. A lot of small veins are highlighted by the light wrapper color.
The box press is fairly crisp. The first couple of caps look fine but the top cap looks like Moe’s haircut style.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell strong barnyard, red pepper, very potent peach, chocolate, buttered toast, espresso, cedar, and a touch of vanilla.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark chocolate, red pepper, cedar, barnyard, peach, coffee, cedar, and buttered toast.
The cold draw presents flavors of pepper, orange zest, cedar, chocolate, coffee, cedar, and clove.

FIRST THIRD:
Blast of red pepper rearranges my sinus cavity. The draw is fantastic. My head is enveloped in smoke.
First elements out of the gate: creaminess, chocolate, malts, hazelnut, sourdough bread, buttered matzoh, coffee, cedar, and caramel.
Nice.

Fingers crossed. The char line is sharp as a razor. Can it last?
Two minutes later, the burn line begins to wave and a touch up is required. I get no respect from a box press. Ever.
The creaminess, chocolate, and the malt variations are killer. This is the first sign of complexity.

6a

Out of nowhere, I get a bitter varnish-like flavor. No I have never ingested varnish but the pungent aroma is enough to get the taste past your palate. That’s weird.
The cigar goes out.
The varnish crap disappears as quickly as it appeared.

Now there is a big dose of orange zest, black licorice, something pasty and thin, a resurgence of the red pepper, malts are a’ swinging, chocolate and coffee.
Strength is medium body.

The Cubao Atlantic Exclusive is very enjoyable but based on my January 2014 review of the original Cubao, there isn’t much difference in flavors and experience. Although, based on my writing, I seemed to have enjoyed that version more than this one.

Plus, the original Cubao had an Ecuadorian Sumatran Oscuro wrapper. I see no info about the Oscuro in this blend. Clearly, if there was, the wrapper would have been much darker than the sandy color of the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive.

The construction on the original Cubao was terrible. I apologize for the lousy photo from that 2014 review but note the difference in wrappers and construction:
cubao

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 20 minutes.
The Cubao Atlantic Exclusive is blowing through the stick, due to light fillers, as much as I had dreaded.

I don’t understand. This is an Atlantic Cigar exclusive. No one else sells it yet they maintain that vigil of showing a crossed out MSRP price. This makes no sense. How can there be an MSRP if they are the only one selling it?
Instead, the real price is around $5 a stick on all three sizes.
Now this isn’t a bad catalog cigar but I think the $5 price is right on based on the lack of fillers and the character of the blend.

7a

The complexity I thought I saw coming early on has petered out. Transitions are minimal and complexity is gone.
Nice flavors, I grant you that. And for $5 a stick, it is worth it. But it burns my petootie that I am burning through this cigar like a cigarette.

I’m enjoying the slightly flatulent flavors but the damn cigar is burning so fast, I can’t keep up with writing and taking photos.
The char line has been a mess. It started off beautifully and then went to shit by the 1” mark.
I can’t blame the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive for the burn because I have zero luck with burns on box pressed sticks.
Only minutes have passed and I’m already at the halfway point.
Smoke time is 27 minutes.

8a

The Grateful Dead are playing. Am I the last Hippie on the planet that never got into them? I don’t get it. I don’t get them. Never did. Now I will probably expect death threats from their fans.

The burn line just gets worse and worse. It’s not bad enough that the damn cigar doesn’t have enough filler to make it a nice slow smoke, but now I’m burning half an inch of cigar off every time the char line freaks out.
I mean look at this shit:
9a

I smoked one prior to this review and had only a fraction of the burn line issues I’m having with this stick. Of course.
We finally hit the sweet spot. Flavors become complex. Nice transition of flavors.
And here they are: Pumpkin spice, creaminess, malts, coffee, chocolate, cedar, fruit, sourdough bread, orange zest, and just a little bit of pepper.
These flavors work together like a team now. About time with only 2” to go.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.

This is ridiculous. Take a look at “The Katman’s List of 167 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$8.00 Range” and see all the great cigars at the same price point as the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive. This stick won’t make that list. I must apologize for the incomplete list. I haven’t updated it in a while. And the list is made up primarily of catalog brand cigars.

Being only a $5 stick, the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive makes it hard to bitch too hard about it but I don’t know what’s going on with Eddie Ortega. This man is a brilliant blender with so many terrific blends under his belt. I loved the Serie D blends and the Wild Bunch series. Everything since those blends, which are a couple years old, Ortega has put out strictly low quality sticks. If you enter Ortega in my Search Window you will see a long list of reviews but the latest ones are all sort of bundle quality. The Larceny was a huge disappointment. And the Larceny EPM was OK. The Wings for Warriors wasn’t bad.
And that was his latest releases back a year ago or so.

10a

Strength moves up to medium/full.
Except for the varnish incident, the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive has some really nice flavors. But the complexity is inconsistent. Too bad. This blend is one tick away from being an excellent cigar.

I don’t know if Atlantic Cigar was trying to put out an affordable cigar for that reason alone but the quality control of this $5 stick is wanting.
I think most smokers would gladly pay $7 a stick like the phony MSRP proclaims if the cigar was built better. Instead of worrying about producing a box press, more attention should have been put towards the basic construction, using good rollers, and a little more thought into the blend.

The original Espinosa y Ortega Cubao was a much better stick on all counts. And only $7.00.
For some reason, that $2 difference had a big impact on the outcome of the Cubao Atlantic Exclusive.
If you try a 5 pack, I’d go for the Churchill so you get more cigar to smoke. Especially if the cigar is under filled like my Robusto. This will take you to Atlantic Cigar.

I bum out my friends when they are so gracious by sending me sticks for review and then I trash them. But I tell them, no worries…think of it as doing a public service for those smokers that haven’t tried it yet…and were thinking of purchasing them. You are giving smokers an opportunity to think twice about making that purchase. A critical review is just as important as a rave review.
With an inch to go, the foot looks like it has been fire bombed so that’s all for me.
Final smoke time is 45 minutes.

RATING: 85 for flavors. 75 for construction.

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1 reply

  1. I am disappointed because I really enjoyed the original. Thank for another entertaining and honest review.

    On Sat, Oct 22, 2016 at 6:24 AM, Cigar Reviews by the Katman wrote:

    > The Katman posted: “Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatran Binder: Nicaraguan > Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli and Jalapa) Size: 5.5 x 50 “Robusto” Body: > Medium/Full Price: $6.12 by the single/$5.00 by the box. Humidor Time: 5 > weeks Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 1 ” >