Bite Size Review: Arturo Fuente Casa Cuba Doble Seis

 

Someone recently asked me why we don’t review more Arturo Fuente cigars – a fair question. I think the short answer is that it’s because so many, if not all, their lines are well-established, much loved the world over and supported by iron-clad, word-of-mouth marketing. So, it’s fair to say our rationale is based on this question: what could we say about them that could compete with that? It’s like doing a review of Coca Cola. Said another way, would someone be inspired to/deterred from try(ing) a Fuente cigar based on one of our reviews, good, bad or indifferent? Maybe. Maybe not.

 

We’ve reviewed a couple of cigars from the Dominican icons in the last couple of years, the Opus X and Gran Reserva Sun Grown, two very different cigars with equally diverse blends, followers and price tags, but the lion’s share of reader attention has been given to our Opus X review. Which brings us to another cause for the perceived snub: almost half of their lines have become so exclusive (eg Opus X, Gran AniverXsario, etc) that availability is fleeting. That leaves their core lines, like Don Carlos which, thanks to 2018’s #1 Cigar of the Year honors from Cigar Aficionado, has placed this cigar, in some vitolas, on permanent backorder. It is what it is.

 

This fact alone highlights why a review of a Don Carlos may be a moot point. But, sometimes we’re reminded that the spirit of shining, or in this case,  re-shining a light on established or overlooked brands is a good thing as new smokers enter our community every day. So, point taken. I recall a couple of years ago I ran into one of my local B&Ms and sheepishly asked a rep if they had any Opus X.  After some eye rolling and a haughty ‘no’, he flippantly handed me a Casa Cuba and said, “if you like the Opus, then this is a good fix.” My overwhelming doubt notwithstanding, I took the Casa Cuba home as it was something new to try.

 

Comparing the two really is irresponsible and while the Casa Cuba paled in comparison in, among other aspects, flavor-palette and level of unique complexity to the Opus X, it seemed to be a solid Fuente offering. Launched in 2013 as part of Fuente’s 100th anniversary celebration, Casa Cuba  is the last blending hurrah of Carlos, Sr. The line originally featured 4 vitolas, but 2 more were added later: the Doble Dos, a lonsdale and a Don Carlos-inspired corona, aptly named, Divine Inspiration.

 

 

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With a flat-top cap and almost two years of age on it, our toro still retains a light oily patina. The cigar remains firm throughout and it’s rusty, wrought iron hue shows some lumps and veins but appears seamless. Aromas are muted but there’s no mistaking the sensual scent of milk chocolate with just a hint of black pepper from the wrapper complemented by a light, but rich fragrance of caramel from the foot. The cold draw is mostly open and it is brimming with a chocolate essence.

 

The opening profile features a warm, breadcrust core highlighted by a spicy draw of dark cherries and intonations of black pepper, cocoa and graham cracker. The rich, chocolatey finish at times smacks of macchiato. There’s a noticeable oaky character as it maintains a spicy, medium body and a smooth texture. Not exactly packed with complexity, but still enjoyable. Transitions feature rich, chocolate- and wood-based foundations with spicy nuances of cocoa, puffed rice and cedar. The robust epilogue ups the spice with a focus on charred wood and cocoa dominance.

 

The Opus X it is not although it is fair to say there are shared nuances present. Combustion is near perfect, the toro is a generous smoke producer and it’ll hold a 1” ash without batting an eye. While this cigar is short on anything really interesting going on, this blend packs it in on a tirelessly delicious finish. Every time. There’s no question this is a solid cigar, but at $10+, you can find all of this and a bag chips for a couple of dollars less with other brands. Casa Cuba may not seem like the grand hurrah we’d expect from the man who brought us the Opus X and “the Shark” but maybe that wasn’t the point – perhaps it was his way of re-shining a light on a bygone era so that we might appreciate where it all began. – In Fumo Pax!

 

Recommendation: 5-Packer

 

Did you Know: The Casa Cuba was the last blend created by Don Carlos Fuente – to honor of his father, Arturo – before his death.

 

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  • Profile: Med-Full
  • Vitola: Doble Seis [Toro]
  • Length / Ring: 6.0″ X 52
  • Purchased: B&M
  • Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler: Dominican
  • Production: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
  • Blade: Xikar Xi1
  • Fire: Colibri Firebird
  • Price:$10.50 [Box $315]
  • Humidor Age: 21 mo.
  • Box: 30
  • Other Vitolas: Doble Dos [6.5″x42], Divine Inspiration [6.125″x47], Doble Tres [5.5″x44], Doble Cinco [5″x50], Doble Quatro [4.5″x54]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N O T E S

Smoke Time: 1:28
Draw
: Open, somewhat restricted
Construction: Light, residual oil; sturdy, firm; flat-top cap; seamless; veiny; lumpy; rusty, wrought iron color; generous smoke producer; holds strong 1″ ash.
Aromas:

  • WrapperMuted pepper, milk chocolate
  • Foot – Light caramel
  • Cold Draw – Rich milk chocolate

Tasting Notes:

  • Initial: Nucelus of breadcrust notes with oaky persona; spicy draw with tang of dark cherries on palate; notes of black pepper and cocoa on retro; rich finish of chocolatey macchiato with subtle graham cracker notes; spice on palate; medium-bodied.
  • Transition: Core of chocolate; oak and cocoa dominate retro; finish becomes sweeter with milk chocolate and puffed rice; draw more toasty; spice persists.
  • Transition: Woody character; elevated spice; finishes woodier  – cedar; cocoa and chocolate notes carry over; core evolves into that of charred wood; little going on.

Complexity: Very Good
Balance: Very Good
Touch upsN/A
Combustion: Excellent
Weaknesses: Weak on complexity
Recommendation: 5-Packer

Recommendation scale:

  1. Go-to
  2. Boxworthy
  3. 5 packer
  4. Yard ‘gar
  5. NR [No Recommendation]

 

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