Wow. I cannot believe it’s been almost two months since my last staff review. Man, it feels like forever. For some of the other reviewers, that might be acceptable, but not for me. I’m used to cranking out 2-3 a month. Fortunately, timing for a new review couldn’t be more perfect. A brand new cigar hit our docks just before I left for the Eagles game this past Monday. And considering what it is, a full-bodied Cu-Avana, I had to bring some to our pre-game festivities at the Linc.
This new variety, dubbed Cu-Avana Intensus, is intriguing for many reasons. Cu-Avana is a mild-bodied cigar, and has built a solid reputation among those seeking a mellow, but dependable smoke that’s priced for daily enjoyment. The natural is mild, smooth, and straightforward....offering crisp, subtle nuances that have captured the hearts of Macanudo fans. The maduro is just as mellow, with a rich, toasty, and creamy twist....let alone excellent aging potential. Cu-Avana Intensus was crafted with the more achieved palate in mind. It’s made in boutique fashion with a variety of aged ligeros and promises an eventful and satisfying experience.
Cu-Avana Intensus is made in Esteli, Nicaragua by Nestor Plasencia. The cigar is a treat to look at....especially when you crack open the box. The inlay is black as night with attractive gold accents, and flows beautifully into the dark, oily cigars donning just a simple foot band. The wrapper is thick and dark. A Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper grown from Cuban seeds, boasting a deep, reddish hue and ample tooth. Inside, a powerful blend of long-leaf ligeros unites: some from Nicaragua, some from the Panama. In case you didn’t know, Panamanian ligero is some of the strongest and most flavorful out there. The cigar is heavy in my hand, takes to my Xikar with ease, and offers a perfect draw....just the slightest bit of resistance is noticed.
Upon lighting, I first notice a heavy spice that leaves behind a gentle tingling sensation on the palate well after I set the cigar down in the ashtray. There’s an underlying sweetness to it, which is all but muted by the bold spices. From the get-go, it’s clear that this is a far departure from the standard Cu-Avana. Hello Corojo-wrapped ligeros! After the first half an inch, the spices fade a bit, opening the floodgates for a dense and rich series of oak and leather. Clearly, the sweetness in the beginning was the oaky character trying to shine through. The smoke is thick and chewy in the mouth, and creates heavy plumes overheard once exhaled. The zesty aroma fills the room and really lets me know I’m burning something. Then, an inch and a half in, boom. The full-bodied nature of the ligeros at play takes its toll. I feel relaxed and satisfied in the belly. The rich, earthy flavors of the Nicaraguan tobaccos are evolving nicely with the unique spices of Panamanian ligeros, which become more apparent as I approach the final third. The finale is nice. Actually, it’s memorable. A rich, chewy smoke loaded with spices and dense, hearty flavors that coat my palate down to the nub.
In short, this is a great upgrade for Cu-Avana, extending a sizeable olive branch towards those seeking a full-bodied, full-flavored blend.
By the way, the Eagles won....easily. And, I am tied with the boss at the top of our 2008 football pool. 2 weeks left. Big money, no whammies!