Havana Soul – Cigar King Exclusive
While half of the country is buried in snow, I’m relaxing in the 70 degree weather in my backyard with a Cigar King exclusive Havana Soul and a growler of El Paso’s own Deadbeach Abuela Stout.
The Good Stuff:
The Havana Soul is a Cigar King exclusive release that first hit the cigar community in 2003. Back then, Don Pepin Garcia created a few variations of the blend which quickly gained traction. In 2007, Garcia discontinued the project as he and his family were tied up in creating other various projects. In 2010 Rocky Patel stepped in and continued production but only had enough available tobacco to create 200 boxes which quickly sold out. Fast Forward to the present where A.J. Fernandez is now spearheading the project using the same vintage tobaccos from the same blend. Creating at the Tabacalera Fernandez in Esteli, Nicaragua the Havana Soul uses a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan filler. The cigar is sold in a single 6 x 52 format with only 200 boxes of 20 released running $9.99 a stick. The only place you can get these is at Cigar King in Scottsdale, Arizona and a huge thanks goes out to them for sending us a few to review.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Pairing: Deadbeach Abuela (Imperial Stout 8.9% ABV)
The Havana soul starts out with a very, very dark brown wrapper. The color is extremely consistent with the only darker areas around the cap of the cigar. The texture of the leaf is very toothy as the wrapper feels very thick and firm in my hand. There is little give anywhere in the cigar’s body as I squeeze it between my fingers. There are a few mild veins running through the cigar’s body as its finished off with a round, double cap. The cigar carries a creamy yellow and manilla band with the word “Havana Soul” in gold embossed in and a portrait of a woman in the center.
The wrapper on the Havana Soul gives off a faint cocoa and coffee aroma while the foot of the cigar carries some nice spice and earthiness. The cap cut clean and easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces flavors similar to the aromas, cocoa, coffee, spice, and earthiness.
The Havana Soul starts out with a massive cayenne pepper zing which lasted through the first few draws before settling down to showcase more of the cigar’s flavor profile. The cigar leads with some really bold dark chocolate, espresso, malt, and sweetness. As I smoke on I pick up some nice earthiness and a little bit of clove buried in the profile. The draw is perfect, each puff kicks out a great deal of thick, white smoke which lingers quite some time before dissipating. The Havana Soul gives off little to no stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is a bit wavy leaving behind a semi-compacted trail of dark and light grey ash which held on for a inch before giving way.
Into the second third of the Havana Soul and the flavors are still rockin’ strong with loads of dark chocolate and espresso over some great spice, sweetness, soft vanilla and malt. I couldn’t have paired this cigar any better. The retrohale is smooth coating my nasal passage with a great cedar that isn’t really evident through the cigar’s standard profile. The burn line is now dead even and sharp and I close out the second third with very little in the nicotine department.
Into the last third of the Havana Soul and the strength of the cigar has ramped up into the medium/full range. The flavors have become more full as well leading with the dark chocolate and espresso backed by the spice, cinnamon, and sweetness while the pepper has slowly started to reemerge. It took me a little over an hour and a half to take this cigar down to the nub and I experienced no harshness, no added heat, and no burn issues whatsoever as I never once had to reach for my lighter to touch up or relight the cigar.
I’ll be the first to admit the band and packaging is a bit dated on this cigar, however the Havana Soul really turned into a treat of an experience. The flavors were incredible and very well balanced while the cigar preformed flawlessly. It’s a bit pricey, but I wouldn’t mind dropping the coin on this smoke. It’s a shame that it’s so limited though so if it sounds like something you’d be interested in smoking you better act fast. Again, Cigar King is the only place to get there. Click here for more info.
Following up with the El Paso-based beer pairing is Deadbeach’s Abuela stout. Deadbeach is one of two new breweries to open up in El Paso this past year and is conveniently located across the street from my work. I’ve spend quite a good amount of time there, and have tried out most, if not all of their offerings so far. Their Abuela stout is probably my favorite so far. The 8.9% ABV Imperial stout carries a rich chocolate, and cinnamon flavor as it’s brewed with the Mexican favorite Abuelita hot chocolate. The beer leads with a ton of sweetness and roasted malt, chocolate, spice, and cinnamon with a heavy mouthfeel before finishing even sweeter with dark chocolate, coffee, and just a pinch of cinnamon. The cinnamon and spice isn’t very bold, more of an afterthought wile the chocolate and espresso lead the charge. It’s easy to see why I chose this pairing as the chocolate, spice, sweetness, and coffee married up perfectly with the flavors found in the Havana Soul.