Bite Size Review: Casa Cuevas Habano
The first box of cigars on which I spent my hard-earned dinero set me back about $110. Not a king’s ransom considering today’s market, but still a decent outlay for both the frugal and spendthrift alike. I get asked a lot about pricing as it relates to value and it is a standard by which I think most cigar smokers, including yours truly, live by. Of course, the exception to this rule are the cigars reserved for special consideration where value is tossed out the window: Cubans, limited runs, exclusives, collectibles, vintage, etc.
Lets be clear: where value earns its money is in the senses of the beholder. I for one believe that just because a cigar is in the $4-$5 range doesn’t automatically disqualify it from being great. Conversely, super- and ultra-premium sticks that break the bank can be equally underwhelming. As a reviewer, I come across cigars of all shapes, sizes, tobacco content, qualities, age and price. I’m happy to report there have been many occasions in which sub-$8 cigars, both reviewed and enjoyed personally, were phenomenal.
Enter the Casa Cuevas Habano, a sub $7 stick that, at least on paper, initially checked our boxes.
The Cuevas family brings 4 generations of cigar-making prowess to the industry from the PDR region of pre-revolution Cuba. With their well-established Dominican Tabacalera Las Lavas factory in Santiago, the Cuevas family (now Luis Sr. and Luis Jr.) have capitalized on producing contract brands for Ghurkha and Carlos Toraño, but also make house blends for industry icons like Cigars International and Thompson Cigars. Within the last few years, the Cuevas family decided to make a namesake stogey, beginning with a Connecticut then adding the Maduro and Habano.
Our Habano sports a colorful, metallic band with embossed coins and features four stars under the “Cuevas” name, presumably as a nod to the four Cuevas generations. The band complements the oily caramel hue of the robusto which also features a well-executed triple cap and is reassuringly firm throughout. Moderate aromas of tangy raisin, hay and sweet cocoa powder emanate from the wrapper and foot. The cold draw offers just enough resistance and treats the palate to a spicy pimento (allspice) liqueur essence.
There is an overwhelming nutty and toasty character after lighting, complemented by a silky smooth medley of leather, charred wood and caramel notes. There’s a sweet, tangy cherry essence to the retro followed by a savory, toasty, nutty finish. A casual spice increases as I smoke along with intermittent hints of red pepper. The Habano is one of those cigars that tickles the Bourbon centers of the brain so pair at will. Transitions offer more body, but decreasing complexity; however, the warm, savory character is enjoyable and balance is spot on as notes of baking spice, pine wood and espresso become more prominent.
Combustion is flawless and the Habano is a moderate smoke producer, but the flaky ash is prone to fall with even minor bumps. Even with a few warts, the overall flavor, performance and character of this cigar suggests it should be priced higher. You can tell there is a deliberate nuance to this blend and it’s very satisfying – an artisanal cigar you can enjoy every day. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Juan Cuevas, the Cuevas family patriarch, emigrated from Spain to the PDR region of Cuban where he began building his popular cigar business.
- Profile: Medium-Full
- Vitola: Robusto
- Length / Ring Gauge: 5.0″ X 52
- Purchased: Online
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $6.85
- Humidor Age: 4 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Toro [6”x52], Gordo [6”X60]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:15
Draw: Very Open
Construction: Caramel hue; visible seams; oily; veiny; triple seam cap; uniformly firm; ash flaky and weak; moderate smoke production.
- Wrapper – Spiced raisin, hay
- Foot – Cocoa powder, hint of cinnamon
- Cold Draw – Pimento dram
- Initial: Nutty and toasty core; medley of leather, charred wood and caramel notes; roasted peanuts on draw; light red pepper notes and cherry residue on retro; savory nutty finish; becomes spicy in the nose then palate.
- Transition: Spicy, pine wood profile; notes of baking spice and charred oak; nutty finish adds some espresso flavor;
- Transition: Dominant cedar and chocolate palette with earthy underpinnings; more body and spice with hints of red pepper; long, piquant espresso finish.
Touch ups: N/A
Weaknesses: Poor complexity late; weak ash prone to falling with slight movements
- Boxworthy / Go-to
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]