A few years ago, Casa Magna made its debut. And the big-name, all-knowing rating panel immediately took notice in a major way, awarding Casa Magna an outstanding 93-rating an #1 ‘Cigar of the Year’ honors. But unlike the rest-of-class, this beauty was available and affordable. So the regular fellas like you and I took notice too, making Casa Magna a top-seller and a household name. Like Stu says: good ideas breed better ideas. The next big idea is here: Casa Magna Dominican, made in Manolo Quesada’s Dominican MATASA factory. And I’ll be the first in line to say Manolo nailed it.
Casa Magna Dominican is an all Dominican puro that is expertly blended using all Cuban-seed Dominican long-fillers. A deliciously inviting Dominican Corojo wrapper is draped over this medium to full-bodied blend. Notes of earth, oak, coffee, and pepper linger on the palate, while clouds of smoke emanate with every puff of this rich flavorful cigar. Well balanced, quality blends like this don't come around too often, so sit down and enjoy this rich complex blend.
Apparently you guys like beer. I received a lot of feedback on the beer portion of my review. While I don’t want these reviews to lose their focus, I’ll gladly toss in some sidebars on craft beer from time to time. And since I just had two new (to me) IPAs this past weekend, I might as well tell you about them.
Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA – A flavorful, 9.4% IPA that is extremely hop forward, but complemented with a strong note of pink grapefruit that’s crisp, somewhat bitter, and surprisingly refreshing. A must-try from a solid brewery.
Spring House The Astounding She Monster Mango IPA – This one surprised me. Big time. Not a huge mango fan, but I love IPAs, and I love Spring House’s other unique offerings, so I had to reach for it. A little lighter, at just 7.7%, no doubt floral, but mildly bitter with a noble mango-sweetness throughout. Not something I’d gravitate towards regularly, but definitely worth a try and re-try occasionally.
Now, for the cigar.
Casa Magna Dominican. Years back, legendary cigar-maker Manuel ‘Manolo’ Quesada spread his wings and created an entirely new line of handmades called Casa Magna. Soon after its release, Manolo’s efforts were rewarded by Cigar Aficionado, who named Casa Magna the Number 1 Cigar of 2008. This achievement paved the way for his long anticipated unveiling of the ultimate Dominican puro: Casa Magna Dominican.
Like all of Manolo’s cigars, Casa Magna Dominican sits heavy in the hand and comes jam-packed with sweet, aromatic tobacco. The wrapper is one of my favorites, a Dominican-grown Corojo glistening with oils, boasting a reddish hue and a thick, leathery texture. Each cigar is solid from head to toe, with minimal veins and perfect color. It looks edible, and it is tempting.
Upon lighting, Casa Magna Dominican shows instant character. Thick, creamy smoke envelops my palate with each puff. I notice oak and earth instantly, while a trace of fresh black pepper lingers on the finish. The bouquet is rich and chewy, coating every taste bud in velvety-smooth fashion, yet offering just enough bite to let me know this isn’t your average Dominican puro.
Side note: when I say bite, I don’t mean harsh or sharp. Consider it a slight edge to the flavor. An intentional roughness. A little meat on the bone, if you will.
The richness of Casa Magna Dominican does not waver. The burn is slow and cool, and continues to deliver thick plumes of smoke no matter how long this Belicoso sits in my ashtray between performances. The flavor opens up a bit more after the first 2 inches to yield coffee bean and a hint of nuts. A toasted peanut flavor, like eating the thick brown ‘skin’ of a peanut. I enjoy this flavor, and don’t find it often....but when I do, I instantly recognize it.
Just past the midway point, the strength of this cigar becomes relevant. Casa Magna Dominican is a strong cigar. It’s not in your face strength with unbalanced flavor, like so many of the ‘full-bodied’ handmades on the market today. You know how it goes: cigar has a lot of bold flavors, confuses my palate, smacks with spice, overwhelms my taste buds, etc. etc. Casa Magna, on the other hand, has an underlying strength that’s constant from start to finish. It hovers right on the border of medium and full, and gradually becomes more noticeable as my palate grows accustomed to the flavors at play. I feel it less in my head than my belly, especially when I’m taking my time with the cigar.
The final leg is exactly like the first. Velvety smoke blanketing my palate in rich and chewy fashion. Balanced notes of oak and earth, and of course rich tobacco, with a subtle touch of coffee bean and that freshly cracked black pepper to top off each puff. No twists, no turns, just a solid cigar with a lot of flavor, and something you don’t have to sit down and think about to enjoy. That’s Casa Magna Dominican. Satisfying, and (very) easy to enjoy.
While some cigar-makers try to wow you with something drastically different or ‘revolutionary,’ Manolo simply masters what we ask for: a quality cigar that delivers at every level.
After I finished this, I realized Steve R just wrote the same. Whatever, it just shows the communication gap that happens when you sit five feet apart. Plus, it’s an obvious vote of confidence for a really good new blend….
March Madness is in full swing around here, and between the basketball brackets and the ongoing push to enjoy as much daylight savings as I can, there’s not much time for cigar reviewing. Smoking them, sure, but to actually take the time to sit down and make sense of my thoughts on a blend? That’s a bit more complicated and time-consuming. But since so many of you seek out these reviews and since the big dogs around here have been bugging me about it, I decided to take a moment to reflect on Casa Magna Dominican.
But before we get to all that, a little background on the brand itself. It’s kind of a funny story, actually. Casa Magna is the brainchild of Manuel Quesada, who also happens to own a factory in the Dominican. But that’s not where he chose to produce the original, 93-rated, #1 Cigar of 2008, Casa Magna....instead, he took it to Nicaragua and teamed up with Nestor Plasencia. A very atypical cigar industry scenario. But here’s where the story gets even stranger. His next Casa Magna release was Oscuro, and once again, rather than playing the home field advantage, he opted to have it manufactured in Honduras. But the point of the story is this: he’s finally come home, and Casa Magna Dominican is finally manufactured is his own factory in the Dominican Republic. So now the world makes sense again.
Now that we’ve delved into the history, let’s take a moment to review the specimen at hand, shall we? The first thing I notice is a thin, brown wrapper that’s evenly colored, with a very naturally fermented look. It’s not super oily, but still, I find myself eagerly anticipating lighting this baby up.
The first puff is smooth and easy, with a notable sweetness that envelops my palate nicely. Besides the hit of sweet, I detect notes of toast caramel, nuts, and wood. A few more puffs and I notice a straight burn with a nice white column of ash. Overall, the character is mellow, which thankfully matches my mood at the time. It’s easy to sit back and enjoy this one.
About an inch in, the strength starts to pick up nicely, hitting all sides of my palate. I can feel my salivary glands start to get going, and I can’t help but notice how much I’m looking forward to what comes next.
Now I’m about halfway, and enjoying a nice array of spice, pepper, peat, orange, and ginger. The complexity is definitely impressive. Smoke production stays consistent, which is to say it’s voluminous without being excessive. No complaints here in that department.
The final third reveals yet another layer of flavor, but this time it’s a tinge of cream soda and pepper. As it comes to an end, I’ll admit that I’m a bit disappointed, and hope that another makes its way across my desk in the near future. In short, Casa Magna Dominican is a SLAM DUNK for Manuel Quesada and a cigar I really enjoyed. Good thing he finally brought it on home to the DR.