Cigar Reviews

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher – PVNISHER

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I hope you all had a great, and safe new years. I was in bed by 10pm. The wife and I both came down with crazy illnesses. Probably for the better, it gets crazy out there! I actually lost a long time friend this New Years in Austin. She was one of three women followed into their homes and attacked, but didn’t make it. My heart goes out to her and her family. Just another reminder, love everyone you meet, treat them as if this day is their last. Anyhow, this week’s review is Cu-Avana’s Intenso Pvnisher, or Punshier, whatever.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

The Good Stuff: Unlike the original Cu-Avana Intenso which was originally created by the master blender Manuel Quesada, The Punisher is actually re-blended, and hyped up by another familiar face, Nestor Plasencia. It wasn’t that Quesada did a bad job, in fact the blend was widely popular. Some people were just craving a stronger, more robust cigar hence the re-blend.  These cigars come only in torpedo-tubo format. You can buy them in boxes of 13 for about $100 or about $14 a single.

Size: 6-52  –  Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano  –  Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

Prelight: The Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher is a deadly looking cigar, from the branding down to the actually cigar itself. The cigar looks as if it has had better days. The wrapper is this crazy looking, extremely dark, baker’s chocolate brown color with a few lighter areas that seem to line the 2 or 3 larger veins the run the length of the cigar. The wrapper itself is tough as hell adding the cigars weight and firmness. This thing feels like it’s made from cement. The cap of the cigar is this strange torpedo cap. I call it strange cause it is actually tilted a bit on top (probably not on purpose) which makes it look kid of like the top of a garden gnome’s hat. The Punisher comes loaded in an all black metal tubo with simply the word “PVNISHER” painted on it. The first band on this cigar bears the same branding only with an extra “-MMXI-” added to it. The secondary foot band is identical to the gold, black, white and red foot band that you find on the standard Cu-Avana Intensos.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

The wrapper gives off an almost motor oil aroma mixed in with some crazy harsh tobacco. I can already tell that I’m in for a doozy. The foot of the cigar is insanely peppery and because of that it’s pretty hard to pick anything else out of there. The cap cut clean using my double bladed Palio cutter. Before even trying to pull a cold draw off this cigar, I put it to my lips and tongue to moisten the cap. Holy hell!!! It was like sucking on a habanero. Seriously. It made my tongue burn for about 2 minutes and even made me second guess my beer selection swapping it with milk instead. Braving the pepper I went in for the cold draw. It was nearly as peppery and spicy as I was expecting, instead I was greeting with a nice, even draw filled with nice cedar, tobacco, and only a hint of spice.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

First Smoke: The foot band on this Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher slid off with ease. Lighting up the cigar was a cake walk as well. As soon as the cigar hit my lips again they almost burned off from the immense amount of  pepper this thing packs. One interesting note is, the pepper isn’t necessarily coming form the filler or binder, its transferring from the wrapped cap straight to my lips. It’s like they coat the cap with jalapeno or something. Not very nice. Outside of the pepper I am picking up some nice spice, dark chocolate, earthy flavors and even some cinnamon. I just really wish the pepper wasn’t overpowering the hell out of the rest of the flavors as they are actually pretty enjoyable. The draw on this pepper machine is awesome kicking out huge clouds of thick white smoke with every puff. The Punisher also gives off a good amount of tobacco/cedar scented stationary smoke. The burnline is razor sharp and dead even leaving behind a beautifully compacted trail of white and light grey ash.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

Halfway There: Halfway through this Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher and my lips are screaming for mercy. The pepper in this beast just will not give in. I live literally a stone throw from Mexico and this cigar beats the hell out of some of the spiciest of foods I’ve tasted. No joke. The main flavor is of course that pepper, although the underlying flavors are finally starting to show their colors with a very nice cedar, spice, cinnamon and chocolate. The retrohale on this cigar is awesome too boasting almost pure bittersweet chocolate which proves once again that the cap on this cigar is the pepper culprit. In the nicotine category, surprisingly, I’m not feeling anything at all at this point. I may just still be in shock by all the pepper setting my lips on fire to notice though.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

Finish: At this point I am very pleased to say that the pepper has really subdued and I am left with the original flavor profile intended for this cigar. First of all, there is a TON of sweetness in this cigar that I wasn’t able to pick up until now. Sucks too cause it is very tasty! Matched with that is a whole ton of cedar, some strong tobacco, cinnamon, and even some clove. Needless to say what lies under the pepper is actually an amazing flavor combination. I am only feeling a slight nicotine kick, if any at all. I can’t tell if it was the beer or the cigar, but I really anticipated having trouble standing once this experience was done. That just wasn’t the case. It took me about an hour and a half to smoke this bad boy down to the nub with no harshness, and actually a very smooth experience within the final inch.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

Overview: I really can’t wait till the next time I eat some spicy chili and get to say “I’ve smoked cigars spicier than this!”. Maybe they named it the “Punisher” cause you give it to your friends to punish them for being jerks (Thanks, Lupe). But in all seriousness, the Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher is no freaken joke, and not for the faint of heart. I really, truly think all the pepper ruined the experience for me. I like bolder cigars, but when you just tack on a bunch of crap to make you cigar feel bold it’s a total turn off. Especially considering just how wonderful the flavors hidden underneath all the pepper are. If you are considering buying one of these cigars, I would urge you to pass and consider the standard Cu-Avana Intenso while saving yourself some coin, unless you are looking for a crazy pepper and overall unique experience. I strongly urge any novice smoker to stay as far away from this cigar as you can. Unless you eat jalapenos on a regular basis.

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher

One interesting note is on they actually state the following:  “Don’t expect sweetness from this powerhouse and we highly recommend you enjoy this one on a full stomach.” Although I agree with the full stomach portion, I highly disagree with the lack of sweetness. In the final third the cigar was full of sweet tobacco, and it wasn’t just a hint, there was a ton. Just something I found interesting.

 Interesting tidbit #2: It looks like my detective skills were spot-on when I stated that the pepper might actually be a pepper or chili coating. Our friends over at Cigar Inspector actually confirmed it.

Pairing: No surprise here pairing yet another cigar with a fine Belgian brew. Delirium Noel, part of the Delirium series (Delirium Tremmens and Delirium Nocturne) from the Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium, is a 10% ABV winter seasonal Belgian dark strong ale and one of my favorite holiday treats. I will stalk my local spirit stores until I find these on the shelves every year as they fly right off the shelves. The beer pour a nice amber and copper red with some thick head. The taste profile pumps out some very nice citrus, zest, and almost vegetable flavors before finishing off with a smooth malty aftertaste. This beer REALLY helped tone down the Punisher. I wouldn’t recommend anything too strong with this cigar as the cigar is already strong enough, but something with some really nice balancing flavors. A Trippel, while very light, would pair great with this cigar. Hell even some heavily creamed coffee and dare I say milk?!

Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher with Delirium Noel

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn't loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.


  1. Victor

    January 3, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I have one of these in my humidor and Nick keeps pressing me to try it. I wonder if this is Nick’ s way of getting back at me for something I said or did.

    • Tony Casas

      January 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Letting him get married maybe? Totally joking. Seriously try it. It’s not strong at all and who knows, maybe they found a niche in the hispanic market? haha! Let me know if you do fire it up. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  2. czerbe

    January 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Wow now I like spicy peppers and food but not cigars don’t think I will be searching this one out. Not sure who they are trying to market this stick to S&M freaks maybe. haha

    • Tony Casas

      January 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      HAHAHA! Maybe man. I applaud any attempt the cigar industry makes at trying to do things “different”. This one was just a little too far out there for me.

  3. jjo

    January 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Like czerbe I prefer to keep spicimess in my food, and even then, I want that spice to hit my tongue, not my lips. This sounds like a gimmick for those who want to prove their machismo. I want my cigars to be enjoyable and relaxing. This doesn’t sound like either of those things, nor does the price seem justified. Well, to each their own.

    And my condolences on the loss of your friend. It can be a cruel world out there.

    • Tony Casas

      January 4, 2012 at 9:15 am

      I’m not crazy for spice at all. This is a total gimmick but I applaud them for trying something new and different, although I don’t think I forsee a lot of people reacting well to this, but to each their own! I just can’t get over how GREAT the cigar was after the pepper was taken off. I really wish they would have stuck with that. They would have had a winner instead of something I’d probably never smoke again.

      I appreciate the thoughts man.

  4. Jarvis DeBoice

    January 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Tony, great review, made me chuckle as well, I scored 4 of the Cu-Avana Intenso Punisher back in November from a Cigar International purchase and like you bought them on the fact I totally love the Cu-Avana Intenso.
    My son and I were getting ready for some Monday Night Football and I decided it was time to try one of the Punisher, my pre light routine is very similar to yours and when that unlit baby touched my lips…waaaahoooooooo, I thought I was losing it, I had to pass it over to my son (21), to see if I had gone mad, he also put it to his lips and said just one word “wow”. Put on Donna S
    I agreed with your review and the bitter chocolate sweetness, but come on, I have been talking about this Cigar for weeks, it was simpley put, fun to smoke, sort of reminds me way back when a close friend dared me to try my first suicide wing : )

    • Tony Casas

      January 4, 2012 at 9:19 am

      First of all, I love that you tell us these awesome stories whenever you comment. Really! I look forward to them. I was really hoping someone would fill that niche and come forward and say “I enjoyed smoking this thing, it’s different”. After all, I smoked and actually had fun smoking, Drew Estates “EGG”. Sometimes we all look for a little excitement when smoking, something different. Although this experience didn’t interest me, I again love that a manufacturer decided to be different. Drew Estate has been doing that for years and look how succesful they are. Thanks for your thoughts man!

      • Lou Bozzelli

        January 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

        Jarvis is a fantastic story teller eh, Tony!! You’ve got to come to one of our cigar nites. Just kidding, I know it’s a bit of a drive for you. When he told me about what the “PVNISHER” was like I thought he was overdoing it a touch. On occasion he might embellish a little bit. Then I read your review and it’s the same references and commentary as Jarv’s. All I could think, wow, I gotta try this cigar!!!!

        Once again, great review and pics!

    • Dalamscius

      January 4, 2012 at 10:12 pm

      Well, now I see why you’ve been pushing me to try this cigar Jarv. Did I do something to offend you and you wanted to “punish” me? lol

      I am curious though, what would happen if you rinsed off the cap a bit to sorta wash off the infused pepper? If that super spiciness was gone, maybe we’d have a stellar cigar here?
      Or maybe smoke it using one of those plastic tips that you attach to the cap?

      Just a random though as I sit here enjoying a non-lip burning cigar! lol


    January 4, 2012 at 11:05 pm


    Just tried the Punisher, it’s an interesting smoke. It has a lot of peppery goodness and some Sweet flavors. It’s interesting to see how they tried a different approach on making this spicier. I was expecting more of a kick but like you stated not much at all.

    Sorry to hear about your Friend, my Wife was her Neighbor for about 10 years, just shows you how fragile life is.

    • Tony Casas

      January 5, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Thanks Lupe, and thanks for the cigar too! It’s a small world that Esme seemed to be a huge part of.

      I agree, I am actually really glad that cigar manufacturers are trying different approaches to captivate smokers. It needs to be done.

  6. abraxas828282

    January 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Great review Tony. I have not tried this stick yet but am a fan of the original intenso. Still in all I will give it a try. I also enjoy it when companies try new things. As for the beer, I enjoy the Noel but I prefer the Delirium Nocturne. Keep up the good work.

  7. Lou Bozzelli

    January 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Hello again Tone. I smoked the “PVNISHER” on saturday eve. Thanks to my good buddy Jarvis D who is always a giver when it comes to trying out new stogies. Just as you said with the prelight………….Wow, Pow and Bang!!! That was a spicy tip. I found myself breathing heavy with mouth wide open just to keep things cool. An inch and a half in, the spicy tip was gone, thankfully. I must say I rather enjoyed the rest of the smoke. I love the size shape and look fo the cigar. The early spice; was it a bit too much? Probably, but an interesting idea none the less. At $100 for 13sticks, not even
    the most ridiculously priced cigar out there.
    I call it a good tasting cigar with a bit of novelty thrown into it. Enjoy everyone!!!!

  8. Rudy Roman

    April 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Well I just tried to Pvnisher and i have to say “wow!!!!” I have never had an experience like this before. I received this cigar as a gift from a co worker and i have to say “thank you very much!” I went out trying to find more and did not succeed . Now i know what it must feel to be a crack head!! If any one out there knows where i can order these from please share.

  9. Jim

    January 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I love cigars, but the pepper just overwhelms any other flavors that might be in this stick. I am giving mine away to my worst enemy (who will probably love them, considering he is the devil himself.

  10. JP

    April 15, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve had this in a humidor for at least 5 years. Just lit it up and have to say that I’m thoroughly enjoying it, pepper and all. Not sure if it’s the additional aging, but this is really good. Perfect burn, great smoke volume, just an excellent cigar. Double pepper in the first quarter, mellowing out with a rich, complex and tasty finish. Not sure if these are still available anywhere, but I’m a fan.

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