La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial 2020 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano (Cuban Seed)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5.625 x 46 Corona Gorda
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $7.50 (A buck less online)


Today we take a look at the La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial 2020.
Bought a few sticks from a local cigar lounge two months ago.

BACKGROUND:
Released January 2020
Regular production
From Halfwheel.com (6-6-2020):
“La Aroma de Cuba is one of those cigar brands that has seen numerous changes throughout its long life, starting in the late 1800’s, when it was a Cuban brand made with Cuban tobacco. The brand was discontinued at some point after that, but the trademarks were purchased by Ashton Distributors, Inc., which then released the first modern version in 2002 that was produced at the Flor de Copan factory in Honduras. In 2008, Ashton moved the production over to the García family and the then-brand-new My Father Cigars S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

“That same year, Ashton introduced a new incarnation of the line—also rolled at the My Father Cigars S.A. factory—named La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial, which was made with an Ecuadorian habano wrapper along with Nicaraguan tobacco in both the binder and filler. That line remained the same until earlier this year, when Ashton announced it had updated the brand.

“There are a number of changes in the newest version of the La Aroma de Cuba Edicion Especial, but the tobacco it is made with remains the same, at least on paper. Specifically, the blend features an Ecuadorian habano wrapper covering both a binder and filler tobaccos grown in Nicaragua. However, according to Ashton, the blend is meant to be a little stronger this time around.”

SIZES AND PRICING:
No.1: 5.625 x 46 $7.50
No.2: 5 x 50 $8.25
No.3: 6 x 50 $8.50
No.4: 75 x 49 $8.75
No.5: 5.5 x 52 $8.75
No.60: 6 x 60 $8.90

APPEARANCE:
First thing I notice is that the cigar is hard as a rock. I dry boxed it for only one day. Feels like a stick of dynamite.
Seams are visible but tight. Veinage abounds but doesn’t detract. In room light, the oiliness of the wrapper disrobes and struts. In intense light, pretty much the same; except the oils glisten, there is just the slightest hint of toothiness, the wrapper is a milk chocolate hue. The cap is so expertly applied that, in room light, I cannot see any lines of the triple cap…I need to look at my own photo to see them. Nice job of rolling.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
First up is dark cocoa, creaminess, cinnamon, cedar, Almond Roca, a hint of red pepper, the punched cap smells of dirty mushroom and black pepper, a mild black coffee element is at play, and the foot smells of lighter chocolate with mint.
The cold draw presents flavors of light pepper, chocolate, espresso, malt, hints of black licorice, and the Almond Roca again.

FIRST THIRD:
Despite the cigar pretending to be a 50 million year old fossil, the draw is spot on. My PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool scoots away in disappointment.

The stick begins a bit lame. Very mild in strength. Almost reminds me of a listless Connie cigar. Smoke doesn’t seem to want to come out to play. Odd. A hailstorm of black pepper arrives and wipes out any subtleties that may have wanted to stick their nose into the process.

There is no sense of complexity. I’ve loved Pepin Garcia blends forever. The man just nails it every time. But now, like so many cigars, it has changed over and over between the blend itself and who made it. I hear all the time, and agree, from smokers that a cigar they loved a few years ago tastes nothing like the newer ones. The manufacturers futzed around with the blend so many times that they have dug a grave for the blend instead of improving it. Maybe they think they are improving it. You gotta wonder who the hell gives the go ahead for a subpar blend.

Granted, this is not an expensive cigar. You don’t get many Garcia cigars for $6 or $7. So, I’m beginning to think that this new blend of an old blend has been retrofitted into a price friendly blah cigar for the sole purpose of boosting sales.

Just to make me look stupid, the cigar flavors take off. Du-oh.
If I wasn’t so lazy, I might go back and edit what I just said…but we have a long way to go before this cigar adventure comes to a close.

The spiciness calms down allowing instrumental flavors to push on through.
Creaminess is vanilla rich. The chocolate is rising. Black coffee is right in my face.
The strength kicks in. We went from meh to medium+ in 4.4.
A sip of water and the almonds and caramel kick into high gear.

I work tonight. I’ve decided to get a name tag for my shirt that says: FNG. It is what everyone calls me so why not go with the flow?

Transitions begin. A slow campaign that pushes the flavors like a slow windmill. The finish is creamy butter and spice.

The burn is excellent. The Corona Gorda is my favorite size. Sometimes, I just don’t want to commit 90-120 minutes to a cigar. The CG is always around an hour or so. Poifect.

Even though the cigar blend improved dramatically from the early disappointing start, it might take more than the first third for the blend to show what it’s got.

I just bought two pairs of jeans to fit my shrinking body. After a week, they are too big. I do believe I’m heading towards turning into E.T.

Medium strength it is. The black pepper is fucking with me. It comes and goes as it pleases. Each time it surges, it wipes out the other nuanced flavors.

The LACEE is a nice enough pleasant cigar…but it’s not bowling me over. I’ve had some samples for a couple months. Should be long enough for a fair opinion of where it is headed.

SECOND THIRD:
I’ve reviewed several cigars lately in the same price range as this stick. They were better.
Could be that the cigar needs months and months of humi time before it blossoms. There are hints of potential…but my palate and my gut tell me this is just an ordinary inexpensive cigar.

The only thing really going for it is the background element of some complexity that rounds out the cigar nicely. But flavors show up and then run and hide just as quickly.
The finish is merely black pepper, hay, and a touch of creaminess.

Now this is important…Halfwheel didn’t review it til the cigar had been out for 6 months; probably being very patient with humidor aging. Still, it only got a rating of 85. I read a couple other reviews and…pretty much the same thing.
On top of that, Halfwheel found a shit load more flavors than I’ve discovered. I’d like to smoke the LACEE that Halfwheel smoked.

Generally, Garcia cigars are not cheap. I keep thinking that this re-visit to the blend wasn’t thought out well. It feels muddled and confused as to what it wants to be.
I’m bummed. Maybe another sip of water…nope. Nada. Instead of a flourish, it reduces the flavors to nil.

So OK, maybe it will shine in the second half…

That nicely well-rounded complexity keeps showing up when least expected surprising the shit out of me…and making me wonder what the hell is going on? It’s like the little train that could. It’s chugging up that hill, but I worry that this little train is going to be hit by a drone strike.

San and Dave are playing “Hold On, I’m Comin.” When this duo emerged in the 60’s, no matter your musical genre preference, everyone dug the hell out of these guys. Still do.

Miraculously, the blend improves as it nears the halfway point.
And the only floral I’m getting, that Halfwheel described, tastes like a Venus Fly Trap.
While the strength returns to medium plus, nicotine is plotting away.

The smoke emitted from the cigar is now plentiful. Maybe a big transition is about to take place.
Complexity is now a constant. But the flavor profile is lacking.

Around once a month, there is a mini documentary on AXSTV or Reelz about bands from the past. TV loves discussing the brutal relationship of the members of The Police. Just saw one a couple days ago. Every single show discusses how Stewart Copeland started in Curved Air. And they always show a photo of the band with me in it. Cracks me up and I’m sure the founding members of the band hate this. Especially as the band is still around after 50 years and a lot of interchangeable side men.
So, I run from my man cave to show Charlotte and I get a roll of the eyes. I feel like Rodney Dangerfield in my own home. This is the true nature of being washed up.

Flavors seem to be emerging tentatively. Creaminess returns, as does chocolate, coffee, almonds, caramel, cedar, cinnamon, and malt.
I want those flavors to kick me in the face…instead, it feels like a baseball coach kicking dirt on the feet of the umpire during a dispute.

The second half is taking off. Not in a big way, but considering what I described earlier, it seems halfhearted.
Nicotine is raging. I can’t think. (Knock it off). I feel like I’ve just smoked some Wisconsin butt weed.

And the cigar goes out. Must have happened while I was staring at the ceiling completely discombobulated.

I just checked and could only find the singular review of this cigar that has been out 9 months.

I find the cigar very ordinary. Ashton revamped the cigar and Ashton fucked it up.
Most of the La Aroma de Cuba blends are highly smokable. Prices are fair. But this cigar does not belong in that line.
I’m struggling to find flavors of interest and I come up snake eyes.

LAST THIRD:
Assuming that Halfwheel allowed the cigar many months of humi time might be the answer to this dilemma…but still…only an 85.

James Taylor is playing “Fire and Rain.” I’m old. (How old are you?) As a teen, I worked at Wallach’s Music City. A big guitar shop in Lakewood, CA. My job was working in the sheet music department. And Fire and Rain sold regularly. Try and find a store that has an entire department of sheet music now. For a musician, it was easy to buy a big book of songs, either for one band or a book of every song ever written. We learned songs quickly.

All hope is lost.
The cigar has proven itself to be very linear. Transitions are nonexistent. The finish is inexplicable.
Halfwheel was very generous with that 85.

Strength has reached a hefty medium/full and the nicotine is taking no prisoners.
I feel for anyone that picks this cigar off the shelf of a cigar lounge and proceeds to smoke it. A hay ride.

This is a boring cigar that is kicking my ass.
I don’t see the need to go further. My redundancy will hit an all time high.
You can pass on this new blend.

RATING: 70

And now for something completely different:
1974

We played a lot of universities in the mid-70’s in England. There weren’t many arenas to play like now. Schools had huge auditoriums that could seat thousands of people…with no shortage of SRO.

At one of these, the student body president, a woman, gave us her personal office to use as a dressing room.

All the food accoutrement was there but no bottle opener. The prez put her head in and asked if we were OK? We asked for a bottle opener and she grabbed her own personal one from her desk and presented it to us. She wagged her finger and said she must get it back.

After the gig, we were chilling out. Exhausted, sweating, and flopping on the furniture.
The roadies stood guard at the door and one said that there was a persistent groupie who wanted to meet the band. Darryl gave him the OK. I looked at him with a WTF attitude. I didn’t realize he had a devious plan.

In walked this pretty chick wearing a paisley muu muu and earth shoes. And not looking particularly clean.
She sat between Darryl and I on a couch. Darryl leaned into me and whispered that he could have her humping a small orange juice bottle within 5 minutes. I laughed and shook my head. I’d seen a lot on the road but this was fucking nuts. I bet him a fiver he would not, and could not, accomplish this.

Sonja was stretched out on a couch across from us watching everything. Sonja was not shy about her bisexuality. After the original Curved Air broke up in 1972, she became a Playboy bunny at the London Playboy club. While I was in the band, her bunny friends (with the same sexual leanings) would show up at the London gigs and she would always leave arm in arm with several of them; looking at us over her shoulder with a shit eatin’ grin on her face. The next day, she tortured us with details.

Darryl started laying BS on Ms. Earth Mama telling her that people should be free to do what they want, etc. She just nodded.

Darryl grabbed the empty orange juice bottle and played submarine pushing the bottle up her arms and thighs. Then in a quick motion, he lifted her muu muu and put the bottle next to bare skin.
She made insincere comments asking him to stop, meanwhile; her moaning was loud and passionate.

Sonja’s eyes lit up. She was now having a good time.
And with a swoosh, the bottle was inserted into her quedgie. She wore no panties…unless they were standing in a corner outside the dressing room.

Francis Monkman, who was very prim and proper, did no drugs, did not drink, and meditated; jumped over to us and grabbed the last 1/8” end of the bottle so as not to touch much of anything and proceeded to jack hammer the empty bottle.

Apparently, neither Darryl nor Francis were doing a good enough job, so the chick grabbed the bottle away. She leaped off the couch and laid on her back in the middle of the floor. Her dress was up around her waist. Her legs were high above her head in the V position.
She began using the bottle how she wanted to use it.
We all just sat and watched. Rock n roll was good.

The door of the office was flung open and the student body school president came back to get her bottle opener. We told her it was on her desk.

Her eyes were like saucers when she saw the chick on the floor and what she was doing.
Rather than run screaming out of the office, she crossed the room to her desk. She gingerly stepped over the girl with one giant step; got her bottle opener, stepped back over the girl and left in a huff.

It all came to an end in minutes and the roadies escorted her back to the hotel where she willingly gave it up as they all took turns making her a happy woman. Although it was reported to us in the morning that she kept asking if the band was going to join in?

We wanted nothing to do with her. I was 24 and enjoying big time rock n roll but this was just yucky. Luckily, there were other opportunities for debauchery on the road that were a lot more pleasant.

A year later, same university…and there she was again. We told the roadies that once was enough. Once again, she returned to the hotel with the roadies.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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2 replies

  1. Totally off the subject, but I smoked my first Casdagli cigar this morning. It was a Daughters of the Wind in robusto. Man, one of the best early in the day cigars I can remember smoking. I touched it with my lighter once, and that was when I toasted the foot. If I ever start my own boutique cigar company, the first thing I’m going to do is poach their head roller. Anyway, cigar nerd question. Last year I started keeping my cigars at 65% relative humidity and I seem to be having tremendous luck with that. I was just curious what you like to store your smokes at. Thanks, Katman.

    • casdagli
      Hey Andy,
      At one time, Casdagli cigars were considered expensive. But now, every boutique brand is pumping out new cigars in the $17 price range. I’ll take a Casdagli over any boutique brand flavor of the month.
      Working with Hendrik Kelner, I believe Jeremy has managed to get Kelner to raise his game over and above his Davidoff blends. Casdagli are definitely better cigars.
      I only have five 400 count humidors. I keep them at different humidity levels…from 65%-70%.
      I rotate my cigars based upon visual inspection. Sometimes the cigars get a little over humidified and some seem to be drying out unexpectedly. So, I move them from humidor to humidor to manage them. It seems to work.
      But the humidity levels here in Wisconsin are constantly changing due to rain, snow, heat, and humidity.
      It can be a drag when I dry box cigars prior to smoking and the humidity outside is over 70%. And I don’t care what they say about humidors’ sure seal technology…the humidity can change on all of my boxes when the weather changes.
      I’m constantly futzing with moving cigars from one humidor to another. A real pain in the ass. But since cigars are generally an expensive commodity, it’s a pain we all must endure to preserve our reason for living and our wives’ disdain.
      Be well,
      Phil

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