Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havana seed
Binder: Dominican Cuban seed
Filler: Dominican Cuban seed
Size: 6 x 52 Doble Seis
Today we take a look at the Arturo Fuente Casa Cuba Doble Seis
The Casa Cuba made Cigar Aficionado’s #23 in their Top 25 Cigars of 2016 with a rating of 92.
From Cigar Aficionado (9-23-2016):
“Casa Cuba, the first new cigar brand from the Fuente family in many years, has gone on sale in a limited capacity throughout select cigar stores.
“The cigars are made by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. in the Dominican Republic, the makers of Arturo Fuente and many other brands. While there have been several line extensions to the Fuente portfolio in recent years, such as Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R, and many brands made for clients such as Ashton and Prometheus, Casa Cuba is the first completely new brand for the company since the late-1995 launch of Fuente Fuente OpusX. And it’s the first cigar that Carlos Fuente Sr. has blended in decades.
“Fuente Sr., the 78-year-old patriarch of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., was 11 years old when his father Arturo turned the back porch of their family home in Ybor City, Florida, into a cigar factory.
“By the late 1950s, when he took over the business from his father, Fuente Sr. had a company making only a few thousand cigars a year. He began expanding to other parts of Florida with his cigars, which were made from Cuban tobacco shipped from Havana to the port of Tampa. The family home remained the factory for many years.”
SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP Box Prices):
Doble Cuatro: 4.5 x 54 $9.27
Doble Cinco: 5 x 50 $9.50
Doble Tres: 5.5 x 44 $8.77
Doble Seis: 6 x 52 $10.00
Nice looking stick…a cornucopia of veins, hidden seams, the color of mocha java, a concealed triple cap, and packed perfectly…although the cigar feels a little light in the loafers which might make it a quicker smoke for this size.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell generic sweetness, cream, spice, mild chocolate, cedar, coffee, and herbal notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell red pepper, creaminess, chocolate, cedar, herbal notes, malts, coffee, and fruity sweetness.
The cold draw presents flavors of heavy cream, red pepper, malts, chocolate, coffee, cedar, barnyard, fruit, and herbal notes.
The draw is clean and accessible. This stick fills the room with smoke.
First out of the gate is a very potent red pepper. Here we go again with non-masturbation watering of the tear ducts. (I always cry after sex, not so much jerking the tool.)
Then the other flavors are flushed out: Creaminess that soothes the savage breast, malts, buttered matzoh, cinnamon, coffee, cedar, and almonds.
Strength is at the mild stage but very flavorful. It seems with every puff, the flavors engage the palate with a doubling up of intensity.
Smooth. Smooth. Smooth.
Carlos Sr, who died in 2016, came out of a decade’s long semi-retirement in 2013 to blend this cigar. He wanted to create a non-Cuban Cuban creation with this blend. He said, “I blended this cigar the way I used to blend Cuban tobacco.”
I’ve had this stick for about 3 months waiting for the right time to review this very delicate flavor profile. I believe it would need more than a few weeks based on its story.
Almonds become very prevalent now.
Transitions kick in and so does the complexity.
I was right about the lightness of the packing. The stick is burning fairly quickly. Don’t think this Toro will last an hour.
Red turns to black pepper.
Transitions and complexity go from start up to full steam ahead. This is by no means a kitchen sink flavor profile but it does compose the needs of the palate beautifully.
Strength moves to medium.
Smoke time is barely 20 minutes.
Something new is added to the mix…a meaty or savory component. With a touch of char.
Still, the lead is given to the combo of cream and spice.
While I am enjoying the blend immensely, I realize that if nothing changes, this will be your typical mild/medium blend containing the pertinent flavor profile to all mild cigars. Simple; but in this case, elegant.
I like this cigar because of the never ending increase of flavor intensity. Few mild/medium strength cigars have a lot of complexity. This one does.
I don’t know if it is the PR or not but I sense a very Cubanesque blend in this cigar. I believe Carlos Sr. did a superb job in recreating a Cuban blend out of non-Cuban ingredients.
I get it now. This is not Connie wrapper territory that usually accompanies a mild or medium blend.
It becomes a story of Carlos Sr.’s life. He is showing he still had it even after retirement.
The stick is now so Cuban that it makes me laugh out loud. I had no expectations of this and I don’t remember reading a review after the release of this cigar that mentioned this. Maybe it’s me…but I doubt it.
The halfway point took only 30 minutes of my time.
The list is slightly different now: Creaminess, malts, butter, fruity sweetness, coffee, black pepper, almonds and walnuts, herbs, banana, floral notes, a wonderful fruity aroma, toasty, and a hint of chocolate.
The burn line has been very consistent.
Strength is now ensconced most definitely in medium territory.
At 2-1/2” to go, the blend moves to a new level. Flavors are so intense that, once again, the mildness of the blend seems to disappear. It has transcended strength and focuses on the blender’s intent of providing an exceptional flavor experience.
I’ve found the true sweet spot.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
It seems that none of the usual big online stores carry the Arturo Fuente Casa Cuba. They can be found on a number of smaller stores. So, no worries…especially since this is a regular production vehicle.
There is way too much glue on the fragile cigar band and I damn near mutilate it removing it…along with some damage to the wrapper.
Super complex now. Transitions are darting back and forth like a woman going through menopause. I must add that my wife went through this a few years back…it lasted two years and even Charlotte says I deserve a medal for putting up with her mood swings. A couple times, I struggled with two possibilities: One was to go outside and just hang myself…And second, was to find a soft pillow and…well…you can figure that one out.
Oh Jesus Cristo…I’m not shitting you when I say this blend is so complex and flavorful that I have a real tiny erection. As a Jew, that’s all I’m capable of. Hence, only Ron Jeremy represents my people in a good way.
I should take points away for the light in the hand packing of tobacco. But clearly, Carlos Sr. had something special in mind when he created this blend; which includes the amount of tobacco stuffed into this enchilada. So who am I to criticize?
The Arturo Fuente Casa Cuba is about as close to a Cuban blend experience than any other cigar I can think of in recent memory.
I know you will enjoy this blend regardless of whether you are an experienced aficionado or a newbie.
Be patient and allow it a few months of humidor time. None of this nonsense of smoking one ROTT. You will have flushed $10 down the toilet.
Final smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of stories about my experiences in the music industry and about my life…So many so, I could make a book out of them…on top of that is my 18 chapters of my other blog, “Blue Star Adjustments” about my mother’s Jewish Mafia family…so a book and a half.
I have a bunch of new readers….a bunch from a secret organization that does good for all mankind…I shall call them CL Industries. These re-treads of older stories are for them and for others that enjoyed them in the past.
Truth be told, I’ve written just about every damn thing I can remember over my life that might be of interest to readers…so I hope that my long time readers don’t mind.
And now for something completely different:
A Primer on Producing Artists…Or..The Fools on the Hill.
I owned a recording studio in Long Beach, California back in the early 80’s. It was the age of analog…with the digital world only beginning.
We used a huge recording machine that was reel to reel and used 3” wide tape. We managed to buy the recorder from Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco. Heider used that very machine to record Jimi, Janis, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and countless other 60’s icons. We paid $800 for it in 1982. And it was already 20 years old.
The 3” wide tape was very expensive. A roll cost $180. That was 1982 dollars.
We were able to run the tape at two speeds: 30 ips and 15 ips.
If we ran it at 30ips, the tape lasted for only an hour or so. Of course, the 30ips, being faster, recorded a more true to life sound. It was all bullshit because the magic occurred in the mixing and producing. It wasn’t hard to convince bands to go for the 30ips so we were able to charge more for the use of the tape(s).
In a city of more than 500,000 people, we were only one of two recording studios in the city. And the other studio was a dump. So, we got a lot of business. Plus, we advertised every week in a free counter-culture newspaper called Uncle Jam. Every week, we’d buy the entire back page. In order to get the price down for the ad, I began writing articles for the paper about the music industry.
My partner engineered while I produced the session. I was able to work the board perfectly but I needed to focus on what was being recorded and help the artists get their best performance possible.
Some would come in, swaggering and sashaying, with a wad of money in their hands. We made sure to get all of it. Same concept as a Vegas casino.
My great mentor, Rick Tunstall, taught me everything about producing. I paid my dues under his tutelage.
It was gratifying to help artists get what they heard in their head. It didn’t matter if I liked their music; I wanted a fine product coming from our studio. Word of mouth was the cheapest PR.
Over the years, I produced thousands of groups…all kinds…you name it…from punk bands to good ol rock n roll to orchestral harp players to string quartets and everything in between.
We also got a lot of radio and TV commercial work but I never got involved because it was usually a radio DJ or a news TV celebrity with a project and they always deemed themselves the producer. They refused my help; although, after hearing their finished project, I believe they would have been smarter asking for my expertise. These radio and TV people had massive egos. But not much talent. It gave me a new perspective and made me wonder how so many talentless folks got these gigs.
Often, I would use the Phil Spector method. Something Tunstall taught me. This means getting rough with one or more musicians who weren’t on top of their game. Or were in the studio for the first time.
Recording is nothing like playing live where playing a clam, now and again, didn’t matter. In a recording session, one had to discipline themselves so they could play the exact same thing over and over again, if necessary.
Some of the best players around choked in the studio. They couldn’t handle the pressure. It is very intimidating being the only person in the studio, doing an overdub, while a gaggle of people looked on from the booth…and then the producer telling them to do it again..and again.
More often than not, I had to bring in player buddies who knew how to record. Some of them were from the L.A. Wrecking Crew. I had a small coterie of friends that could nail tunes on the first take.
This really caused a lot if ill feeling in the bands. But they wanted a great finished product so they conceded in bringing outside help.
When things were going south on the players, I would take one of them aside and give them a pep talk. I often, if it was called for, got very angry with them. I got them mad. Mad is good. It fires up the adrenaline and their art flowed. The best producers are lay psychologists. You have to know people. And what their limits were.
I tried easy cajoling at first, but sometimes getting rough was the only way. And it was their money; so I wanted them to get the most out of it. It would usually result in musicians telling their musician friends what a great studio we had
Tunstall used the same psychology on me when I played bass on a recording. If I couldn’t get through a killer bass solo, he lit into me that I got so fucking angry, he got me to play in a mode or style that I never thought possible.
If you go to Rick Tunstall’s FB page, he released a new, remastered album from music we recorded in 1981. You can listen to the tracks. He has over 120,000 followers. Mostly from Asia.
There were no CD’s back then so the finished product was delivered on a two track stereo reel.
We were ruthless about money. We bullied the bands so they would have to transfer the reel to cassettes or have them pressed into vinyl. We could copy the reel to cassettes with a myriad of copy machines in the studio. Lots of customers came to us merely to make a thousand cassette copies.
My ear had become the so finely tuned that it surpassed my wildest dreams. The amount of focus required, hearing every detail and nuance of a song takes a serious amount of concentration. And I did this 7 days per week. Sometimes 15 hours per day.
As a result, I got hired out to do bands’ sound for live shows. I would use their equipment and all I had to do was show up. I began to make more money as a hired gun than I was making at the studio.
I had a real knack for getting a big drum sound. I used the classic John Bonham sound. The bands really liked that. And of course, as a bassist myself, I made sure the bass was way out front.
No one records using analog any longer. (Although in the last few years, it has seen a resurgence to get that smoky live sound.) Now, everything is done using computers with recording software. You can sit in your bedroom and get a complete recording studio sound.
So while the bedroom guitarist could produce something equally as good as my studio, the only thing lacking was the Phil Spector syndrome telling them they can do better. A lone musician never gets the most of his talent when he is doing it alone.
I got oodles of bass gigs from bands that came in without a bassist. I did a small audition for them and got the gig.
But I was too busy producing to play bass at the same time. So I’d come in around 11pm and stay all night in a dim booth with my bass. I could play the shit out of a song because I could fix it and do it again until it was perfect. During the latter days of Beatles recordings, McCartney did the same exact thing. This allowed him to come up with some of the most beautiful melodic bass lines every written.
And of course, I loved the solitude. It made me fearless. I was alone. I could fuck up a hundred times but only need to play it right once.
I experimented with my bass lines. I tried to think like McCartney. Providing bass riffs that the band would never have thought of.
Those years were a hell of an experience. I miss them. But not the 24/7 work schedule. Now I have to lay down if I take out the garbage.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS