Cuaba Distinguidos (Cuban)
It’s been a little while since we had a nice Cuban cigar pop-up on the review cycle lately so I decided to do something about that. I’ve had these cigars sitting in my humi for a little while and was waiting for a good time to light them up when there was some warmer weather. Well, we’ve had some awesome weather lately so it was that time and this cigar was ready to hit the flame!
The cigar I’m talking about here the is Cuaba Distinguidos. Now Cuaba is brand that does not have its own factory in Cuba, it’s actually made at the Romeo y Julieta factory. It’s also fairly young, dating back to only 1996 when Francisco Linares launched it. All of their cigars are fully hand made and stuffed with only premium long filler. The region most of their tobaccos come from in Cuba is called the Vualta Abajo.
One unique thing about the Cuaba brand is their choice of vitolas. If you take a quick peek at their line-up, you will see that all the cigars in their inventory are actually made in the perfecto shape with a variety of sizes ranging from a short 4 inches all the way up to a long-smoking 9.1 behemoth. The goal behind the brand was to revitalize this vitola for all cigar enthusiasts. The Perfecto shape was very common in the early 1900’s but as you can see from most cigars on the market today, both Cuban and non-Cuban, this vitola is not very common at all.
I ordered a 10-count box of these cigars in the fall and they’ve had a chance to rest for a few months now. They just recently passed their 1.5 year mark according to the date on the bottom of the box. I think they’ve had plenty of time to age and it’s about time to start smoking them and seeing if they are worth keeping on hand longer, smoking through them now or getting rid of them so other people, lol. So let’s see where this one falls in todays review!
Cigar: Cuaba Distinguidos
Drink: Samuel Adams Barrel Room Collection New World Tripel
Vitola: Perfecto (6.4 x 52)
Price: About $11
Burn Time: 1.5 hours
• This Cuaba Distinguidos is a nicely shaped cigar, very different in terms of most cigars on the market today
• The wrapper is a light woodsy brown type of color, just a shade darker than a connecticut would be
• There are a few sizeable veins on this cigar so I hope it doesn’t cause any issues for me
• From head to toe, there is quite a bit of firmness on this cigar, almost no soft parts to be found
• The cap is finished with a smooth single leaf that looks like it was supposed to have a pigtail at the end but someone cut it off
• I can’t really comment much on the foot since it’s tapered into a small end but from what I can see it is well packed
• The toasting was pretty simple since the foot was so small, I opted for a nice focused single flame torch and tried my best to only light up the foot
• The burn started off fairly well but after almost an inch it seemed there was a hole in the filler that caused a bad burn spot, hopefully it will realign itself without my help
• Happy to report that the major hiccup in the burn fixed itself without any help at all, very nice
• Burn line continues to be nice and even, it’s not perfect and has a slight wave to it but I haven’t had to touch it up and it’s burning without me having to pay any extra attention to it
• It is actually burning a lot faster than I would have thought
• A couple minor touch-ups were needed in the last third but it didn’t ruin the experience
Smoke & Ash:
• There isn’t too much smoke coming from this Cuaba Distinguidos, it is fairly light and thin and takes a few draws to really fill up your mouth
• The ash seems to be holding on nicely, it has mostly light and dark grey accents
• It’s also fairly neat and tidy with no flaking or messiness to it at all
• The first ash held on just past an inch before I tapped it off
• The second ash held on nice and cleanly until just passed the one inch mark again, good construction on this cigar so far
• The smoke volume seems to have ramped up in the second third which is a welcome change in my books
• The smoke volume kicked it up a notch again in the last third, really full and thick now
• Final ash stayed consistent with another 1+ inch before being tapped off
• The wrapper aroma has a nice woodsy and floral aroma to it
• The pre-light draw has a bunch more cedar and some slightly sweet notes
• The initial flavors offer more cedar notes but now mixes in a bit of roasted flavors
• The cedar is the main flavor through the first third but it’s very soft and mild, almost just giving a plain light tobacco flavor, hoping that ramps up somehow soon
• Similarly to the flavor, the strength of this cigar is super mild with no bite on the retrohale and just a slight cedar finish
• As we pass the first third the flavors are finally starting to step up a bit, the cedar is joined by some light coffee notes and a bit of licorice
• The coffee, cedar and licorice have remained through the second third, slightly more flavorful than the first bit of this cigar but I still feel like I’m wanting more of these flavors
• The flavors continue to gather some intensity as I get near the last third, at this point they are sort of what I had hoped they would have started out at. A bit late but we’ll see how they do now
• I’m starting to pick up some light baking spice notes, almost like a gingerbread cookie type of thing
• The licorice and coffee flavors took the lead in the last third which were an interesting combination
• In the last 2 inches, I started picking up some more intense spices, maybe a bit of cloves or pepper, not too strong or overpowering but they are there
• The body approached a light medium at this point, if the cigar would have hit this note earlier I think it could have been a killer smoke
• The Cuaba Distinguidos didn’t have any harshness at all to the nub and finished with some nice tasty flavors, if only they were like that earlier
The size and ring gauge on this cigar seems pretty daunting at first but when you actually light up this cigar you realize it’s not really as bold as it looks. The Cuaba Distinguidos started off very mild and much lighter than I would have liked with mostly just cedar flavors. Lucky for me, the flavors increased their intensity a bit around the halfway mark and threw some more notes into the mix. The intensity did eventually pick up more but I had to smoke through most of the cigar to get to it. If you are looking for a nice strong post-dinner cigar you won’t find it here, I’d actually suggest this more as a morning or afternoon smoke for the more frequent cigar enthusiasts but it can also make a good intro to new smokers who want to try a larger vitola. The flavors themselves weren’t bad but at $11 a cigar I was hoping for something a lot more complex. Unfortunately, the difficulty in rolling this type of vitola often raises the prices so there’s not much we can do. It’s worth trying if you haven’t had a Cuaba before but I probably wouldn’t be purchasing a box of these again anytime soon. It had the right idea but it just seemed to execute it a little bit late in the game. These were also fairly young in terms of Cubans at only 1.5 years so I wouldn’t age them very long as I’d be afraid they might get even more mild with time. But that could be a good thing depending on the person of course.
It seems that I don’t get too many Samuel Adam’s brews up here North of the border. I’ve really only seen the Boston Lager and maybe one of the seasonals. A short while ago I was lucky enough to stumble across a few of these New World Tripel’s from their Barrel Room Collection which looked might interesting, so I picked some up. I’m a sucker for pretty much anything that is aged in an Oak barrel so I had high expectations and this Sam Adam’s brew did not disappoint. This is a very flavorful brew with tons of light fruity notes backed by a dark and thick base. Mix in there some hefty malt and the awesome Oak flavors and I’m sold. This is a darn tasty brew and worthy of trying! As for a pairing, I think I failed here today. The first half of this cigar was so mild that the brew strongly over-powered it. I think a much lighter blonde or amber beer would have gone better, possibly with a nice coffee taking the cake as my number one suggestion on this Cuaba Distinguidos.