(Size: 4 3/4″ x 42 — Time: approx. 40mins)
So it was, and so I was. Back in the UK at the beginning of the week. A terrible palava with my airline, illness and local staff landed me in London a day latter than planned. I was in the city on Monday whether I liked it or not, so I might as well make the most of it… a quick dash to the Royal United Services Institute for a talk on the British Army in the Second World War and an afternoon at JJ Fox left me thankful for the delay. Finally, informed by Nic and Drew, from the UK Cigar Forums, of a Trinidad event at the Ten Manchester Street Hotel that evening, I was set for the last train of the day and a full afternoon and evening of Cuban pleasure.
On this particular day, and edged on by some good things I’ve recently been reading about the Cuaba range, I elected to go for the Cuaba Tradicionales. A great name, summoning up ideas of a rustic, ‘real’ cigar – and when you take a glance at the stick itself, it fits the name perfectly. The figurado shape certainly has a certain je ne sais quoi about it. And the smoke itself?
The Tradicionales (just feel that name run off your tongue) has a dark colorado wrapper with a nice copper tinge. It is wonderfully oily, with a fantastic sheen to it. The leaf itself has something of the rustic about it – it’s not especially smooth, and with the oil has some wonderfully dark streaks – but there are few veins and the seams are smooth. Then there is the shape of the cigar, there are few figurados in the cigar world, and they are very rare from Cuba, but it just looks great! 14
Smoking Characteristics /25
The shape of this cigar can possibly be seen as a hinderance and a blessing. I’m not totally sure, I’d need to have a couple more to be certain. It took a bit of effort to get going properly, as the narrow end had to light an ever increasing girth. Once it got going though, it burned like a dream, fairly even, and only a couple of touch ups required towards the end. The ash was fairly solid, but wasn’t overly attractive, being a darkish grey and fairly flaky. The draw was quite tight at the very beginning, and there was little smoke produced; however, through the middle section, it became spot on with both the draw and smoke production improving. The smoke stayed, but the Tradicionales did start to tighten up a little bit again towards the very end as the cigar narrowed towards the nub. 22
The Tradicionales has a rather distinctive flavour profile (as has, I have been led to believe, the Cuaba range in general). It starts off with fairly green and vegetal flavours – cabbage being something which came to mind particularly. As the cigar soon reaches the widest point, however, the profile changes markedly with coffee coming to the fore – lightly roasted, and not strong – with a milky after-taste (I said it was a little unusual…) Then, towards the end of the middle third, leather decides to get in on the act. This soon gives way to a fairly floral finish – vaguely reminscent of some of the RyJ range. Overall, an unusual flavour profile which worked slightly better than one might imagine whilst reading about it. 22
Overall Impression /35
The Cuaba Tradicionales is a great looking stick, with a wonderfully oily wrapper. It’s shape is stunning, and whilst it may initially pose a minor issue at lighting, it does offer a wonderful draw through the heart of the cigar. The flavours are distinctive and not overly strong, and the strength would fall somwhere in the mild-medium range, no more. A good little stick, well priced, and with a little something quirky about it. Buy a couple, even if they’re not your cup of tea, they’ll be fun. 32
Grand total… 90/100