Cu-Avana Intenso Cigar Review
After reviewing the Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher I really wanted to take another look at the little brother to what seemed like a jalapeno infused cigar, the Cu-Avana Intenso.
The Good Stuff: Kinda funny, when I sit down to finally do this review, and start looking up some of the background on the cigar, I realized just how mixed up the information is. From what I have deduced, this cigar was blended by Nestor Plasencia, or Manuel Quesada. It carries a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan Filler along with Peruvian tobacco, or Panamanian tobacco. Really, that’s how mixed up this stuff is. What I can tell you for sure is, it’s a good looking cigar that you can get for about $2.50 a stick. That being said, lets get to the real review.
Prelight: The Cu-Avana Intenso is a pretty little cigar. The wrapper is this very rich, very dark oily and shiny brown. The color is pretty consistent for the most part, but goes crazy light in a few areas. I’ve said it before, but I much rather experience ugly looking color in wrapper than a dyed cigar, so the light patches really don’t bother me at all. The cigar is crazy firm to the touch, it almost feels like a toothy, solid block of wood. The cigars slender body leads of to a seamless, huge, round double cap. This is one of those few cigars out there that spring for a single foot band versus the standard body band. The band is a simple black with gold decorations, the words “Cu-Avana Intenso” in white and gold as well as a red “Cu-Avana” Medallion on the back.
The wrapper gives off a very sweet and inviting chocolate aroma. Seriously, it smells like a Hershey’s bar. The foot tells a much different tale of spice, tobacco, and other earthy aromas. The cap cut clean using my V-Cutter. The draw was a bit light so I opened it up easily using my double bladed Palio cutter. No problems after the switch and cut while the cigar let lose a very strong pepper, and tobacco flavor on the cold draw.
First Smoke: Despite me thinking that the first few puffs from this Cu-Avana Intenso were going to be filled with massive pepper bombs (probably still traumatized from the Punisher) the Intenso started out with only a slight pepper tingle, a ton of spice, some black cherry flavors and a ton of dark chocolate. It’s already starting to be a completely different cigar. Ever since the change in cut the draw has been great from this cigar. This beast kicks out a butt load of thick, white smoke with each puff so be prepared for it. The burnline is a bit wavy, but not really concerning while it leaves behind a nice zebra striped, semi-compacted light and dark grey ash. The ash held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray. That’s right. My ashtray, not my lap.
Halfway There: The more I smoke this Cu-Avana Intenso, the more the chocolate ramps up. It’s the main flavor now, while there is still a bit of the berry and tobacco in there the chocolate and a bit of coffee have really taken control of the cigar. The retrohale is awesome, and a lot smoother than I thought it was going to be priming my nasal passage with some nice oaky chocolate goodness. I’m feeling a very slight nicotine kick from this cigar, but nothing much at all at this point.
Finish: The pepper has made a huge comeback in the final third of this Cu-Avana Intenso. Let me rephrase that, there isn’t a lot of pepper at all but seeing how there was barely any at the beginning at all I am very surprised to experience a bunch of it towards the end of the smoke. The chocolate is still there, but not very strong as more natural tobacco flavors have really started to take over. The cigar is still really smooth despite ramping in body. I am getting a mean little nicotine kick off of it, but absolutely no harshness into the final inch. All in all it took me about an hour and a half to take this cigar down and it required only one touch up in the final third as the cigar created a crazy wave.
Overview: Needless to say this is a completely different experience than the Punisher. I’m glad too. While I applaud Cu-Avana for trying something different, the Punisher just wasn’t my cup of Habanero flavored tea. The Cu-Avana Intenso started out bold, with lots of flavor and finished with a ramped up body while remaining smooth and true to it’s flavors. I would totally smoke this cigar again, especially at the price point, but I think it may be a tad bit more power then most non-experience cigar smokers can handle. Either way you look at it, it’s worth a try. Now if only they’d release the Punisher blend minus the burning sensation… hmm..
Pairing: Surprised to see that a Canada company makes a style of beer that is not a pilsner? Yeah me too. Unibroue has always made decently priced, great brews that you can find just about anywhere. The Trois Pistoles in particular is a favorite of mine. I actually haven’t had it for quite some time and I am glad that it didn’t disappoint. The beer qualifies as a “strong Dark Ale” coming in at 9% ABV. The beer however, tastes nothing like one. The unique brew is created to resemble “ripe fruit” but it tastes more like celery and tomato. This may sound gross, but it’s a common mashup in Belgian style ales, and a very tasty one at that. It actually compares to Delirium Nocturne, another favorite of mine. And you know what? It paired perfectly with this cigar. The flavors never ceased and the smoothness of the brew really help bring the cigar to another level. Pairing success!