Cuenca Cigars in downtown Hollywood, Florida is “The only place that will put up with your ash”. They are a cigar shop, bar, a patio and a cappuccino bar that is next to a “Members Only” lounge. In celebration of their 5th Anniversary, Miguel Cuenca created a special cigar. He specially blended the cigar himself, then had Ana Cuenca and five seasoned smokers from the shop to help with the “taste testing”. The loyal customers helped them with an unbiased opinion of the cigar to make the final blend. AJ Fernandez, a good friend of the Cuenca family, produced and kept a watchful eye of the aging and curing process of the 5 Anniversary at the Tabacalera Fernandez factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Each of the first initial 500 boxes of 10 cigars, was released in December of 2012 to 20 cigar shops in the US and Europe. Each box will be hand signed by Miguel Cuenca. In the later part of 2013, a full line will be released using the same blend as the 5 Anniversary. By the middle part of this year, the whole line will be more available and in 50 total stores.
Vitola: Box Pressed Torpedo
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
First Looks: This is a very impressive looking cigar. A fairly dark brown, smooth wrapper covers this long, box pressed torpedo cigar. The box press is not a very hard press, yet more of a soft press. Along the lines of a square pressed cigar and the AJ Fernandez “Oval” type of pressing. There are no flaws in the wrapper, has some very tight seams and very few minimal veins. The overall feel of it is slightly soft; no major hard or soft spots. The band is as attractive as the cigar is. It has a large “C” with the Cuenca name in a banner across it. The number “5” is adjacent to the “C” on both sides of the band.
The foot has a light, but strong cedar aroma to it. The cold draw has flavors very similar to the aroma of the foot, yet lesser in strength. I straight cut a little less than 1/4″ off the tip and got an easy draw off it. I typically prefer a draw that’s a little thicker, but this type of draw I prefer more than a “milkshake thick” type of draw.
Construction: The draw was pretty good. It was a little looser than “perfect”. Its better (for me) to have a slightly looser draw, than have a slightly tighter draw. Considering the box pressed, the cigar burned quite well. A good bit of box pressed cigars need a lot of attention on the burn. But this cigar burned well with a tight white and off white ash, minimal flakes and no relights/touch-ups. Each of the ashes held for way over an inch, some closing in on two inches. Overall, a very well constructed cigar. The drawn smoke was very dense and long lingering in the air. The ambient smoke had a dark woody aroma to it.
Flavor: The fist few draws, I get a slightly spicy type of pepper with a charred wood flavor as well. About a 1/2″ into the cigar, the spiciness of the pepper eased off some, but still there. I get the spiciness a bit more in the retrohale. The flavors got a bit more creamy the more I proceed into the cigar. This cigar starts off really well and I am liking it already. Working into the end of the first third, I get a sharp toasty kind of flavor associated with the wood. The creaminess is still there, but fell off to an undertone of the smoke. The pepper has eased off, yet still can be tasted on the tip of my tongue on the long finish of the smoke.
Into the second third, the flavors are still as the end of the first portion. I start to get a hint of an espresso flavor on the back end of the smoke that is a nice compliment to the wood flavors. With the espresso, some of the pepper comes back up in flavor strength a ways into the second portion . The longer I held the smoke in my mouth, the stronger the pepper got. Working out of middle portion, the spice picks up in strength and lingers on the middle of my tongue. The spice wasn’t overbearing nor lacking in strength. Going out of the second third the wood flavors pick up a little bit in strength and the espresso eases off.
Coming into the final third, the spice comes up slightly in strength. The wood flavors are now a type of charred dark wood flavor with the spice and pepper as previously tasted. The retrohale has a deep woody flavor with a healthy portion of spice on the latter part of it. The charred wood is less creamy and more on a sharp toasty level as this cigar comes to an end.
Final Thoughts: This cigar is slightly longer than I prefer to smoke at 7″. I usually don’t like to smoke anything longer than 6 or 6 1/2″, but this was such an enjoyable smoke, I didn’t mind it at all. The body of the smoke was on the fuller end of medium. The strength of the smoke was a good solid medium which paired well with the body. The smoke was cool and not dry but not a “wet”smoke either.
There are a some “house cigars” that are definitely worth their price. With the Cuenca 5 Anniversary being $8.50, its worth the price. Not an overly bold cigar, yet not too mild with some good complexity. The 5 Anniversary doesn’t seem like its one of those spur of the moment happenings. There seems to be a good amount of time and patience put into it and not rushed. It would be a great smoke for someone who usually smokes a more milder cigar that wants to have a more fuller cigar. I like to smoke a good bit of full & bold smokes, yet I really enjoyed this cigar a good bit. So, this would be a good cigar for actually anyone to try.
Purchase the Cuenca 5 Anniversary.
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This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from the company for this review. Many thanks to Cuenca Cigars for the opportunity to review this cigar.