Cuenca 5 Anniversary
Mr. Casas was kind enough to pass off two beautiful sticks he received from Cuenca Cigars. With the name Cuenca, my mind immediately thought of the “C y B”, formerly known as “Cuenca y Blanco”. However, established in 2006, Cuenca Cigars is a cigar retailer located in Hollywood, Florida. Browsing over their Facebook photos, this is a place I would be spending my time at if I was in the area. Cuenca Cigars has an indoor lounge and outside patio, so no matter what Mother Nature brings, you have a place to enjoy a fine cigar with additional offerings of coffee, beer, and wine. This is what Cuenca Cigar has to say about their 5 Anniversary cigar:
A medium to full body cigar with a full flavor profile accented with spicy notes. Uniquely blended by Miguel Cuenca, with a taste group of five seasoned smokers at Cuenca, Cigars of Hollywood, Florida, and later on with the final approval by Ana Cuenca. “This is how we do things at Cuenca Cigars…The blending process is multi layered to insure the best quality,” said Ana Cuenca. The Cuenca 5 reinforces the model behind Cuenca cigars of cultivating consumer palates by allowing the smoker to freely experience the many flavors of the Cuenca Humidor and developing a sophisticated palate. The complexity of the cigar is owed to the testing process of the Cuenca Customers, and we would appreciate a fully engaged feedback process by you in our reviews of the cigar. After all the Cuenca 5 celebrates our appreciation to you as our Customer for the past 5 years.
Our goal was to blend a cigar with complexity and a lot of flavor. We did not want to come out with a mild blend; we love spicy and full bodied cigars. We want to be known and defined for offering a spicy and strong product. We also love to be “different”, in every possible way. Did you notice the absence of the “th” in 5? We like it like that way, and 5 is a great number for us. “Cuenca 5 Anniversary” will have an initial batch of 500 boxes. Full production will be up to 100,000 Cigars.
All boxes will be signed by Miguel Cuenca. The cigar is a 7 x 54, Torpedo Box pressed, with carefully selected dark Habano wrapper from Nicaragua. It is aged and cured by AJ Fernandez the creator of San Lotano Cigars, a good friend of the Cuenca Family. They come in an elegant cedar box which contains 10 cigars.
Samples provided by Cuenca Cigars
Format: Box Pressed Torpedo
Size: 7 by 54
Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Select Habano Oscuro)
Smoke Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
First off, this is a great looking stick. The milk chocolate wrapper is consistent in color from head to foot and is smooth to the touch with the smallest of veins. The festive band is quite large but fits this 7 by 54 behemoth of a cigar. The Habano Oscuro wrapper gives off chocolate, manure, and mild pepper, with the foot showcasing sweet tobacco, chocolate, and pepper. The pepper off the foot is already stinging my sinus passage. This stick may be a spice bomb!
The box pressed format makes the Cuenca 5 Anniversary very manageable. This is one of my favorite formats for a large cigar. The cigar has no soft spots and gives slightly when squeezed. The wrapper transitions to the cap neatly making it barely noticeable. The cap clips clean exposing a draw with a nice amount of resistance. The cold draw leaves a spice tingle on my tongue but not much in the flavor department.
Upon toasting the foot, I’m instantly greeted with a good amount of spice which quickly fades and mixes in with flavors of caramel, cedar, and pepper. The pepper is heavy on the retrohale, tickling the back of throat. The dusty chocolate finish is long with a lingering spice. While puffing away in the first third, I already begin to notice a transition to much darker flavors of coffee and roasted notes. Just like determining the age of tree by the number of rings, you could count the number of puffs I have taken on the stick from the black and white layered ash it is leaving. The burn line is razor-sharp and the ash held on over inch. The draw is a little snug but producing a decent amount of smoke that is medium/full in flavor and strength.
The caramel has moved on as I make my way into the second third and citrus notes enter the profile. I continue to pick up a lot of woodsy notes of cedar with an added layer of oak. I am wrong about the caramel, it is once again in the flavor make-up. The Cuenca has found a great rhythm. The profile bounces back and forth from caramel and wood notes to pepper, coffee, and toasted flavors. While the retrohale is on the spicy side, I am really enjoying it. I have been retrohaling the heck out of this 5 Anniversary, which may be contributing to the nicotine I am now feeling. The smoke has become chewy in the mouth coating my palate with each draw that is now delivering a copious amount of smoke. A slight wave develops in the burn line but quickly corrects itself. The flavors are full and the strength is creeping up on me putting it into the high-end but not unbearable.
The flavors settle into a combination of vanilla bean, caramel, and oak much like spiced rum. There is also a meaty flavor entering the profile. It reminds me of the smell from a wood smoker. I have been so focused on the flavors that I almost burned right into the band. As I nub the cigar, the black coffee and citrus begin to dominate the profile but I have not encountered any harshness. The smoke is no longer chewy but a bit dry. However, my palate is still able to recover by itself (good thing because I’m out of water and too lazy to walk inside). The burn line is rock solid. The strength has steadily picked up throughout the stick and I’m wishing I had a soft drink or something with some sugar to counteract the nicotine. I may be putting a sugar cube under my tongue after I finish this stick.
The Cuenca 5 Anniversary is a solid smoke. It is rare to come across a cigar that A.J. Fernandez has his hand in and not enjoy it. This cigar is no exception. The jumping back and forth of flavors kept me engaged the entire 2 hours and 10 minutes. It is difficult for me to find time to enjoy such a larger stick but this would be a wonderful cigar to have on hand when time permits. The format and packaging of this stick screams “celebratory cigar”, but, with a price of $8.50, the Cuenca 5 Anniversary could be enjoyed anytime.