In case you haven’t heard, we recently wrapped up our third annual CigarFest. In the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, 1,500 cigar lunatics were let loose on an event floor with dozens of cigar, beer and spirit samples within a stone’s throw in every direction. Throughout the event, I spent a good deal of time with Michael Chiusano, owner of Cusano cigars. Aside from trying to explain the concept of snow and ice scrapers to JT, one of his employees working in his Florida-based office, we found the time to talk cigars.
First, a history lesson (study up, there might be a quiz later): Cusano Cigars has been in business for just over 10 years, steadily climbing the ranks to become one of the finer boutique brands available today. Working alongside Hendrik Kelner in the infamous Tabadom factory, Chiusano has created a handful of top-notch super-premiums that focus on unique complexity, dependability and consistency. To maintain this level of total satisfaction, production is kept to absolute minimum, with every minute detail being considered at all times. Here’s a Snapple Fact for ya: Cusano Cigars is the only manufacturer using more than one wrapper in each of its premium blends.
During the show, Mike and I discussed the Cusano 18. Ever since, I’ve been burning through both the natural and maduro like they’re going out of style. Let me tell ya, even without mentioning the 18 year old Dominican-grown tobaccos, this brand deserves a wealth of praise. Rarely does a mild-bodied, top-shelf smoke come along that’s value-driven, but the 18 is it. Looking for an ultra-smooth natural that’s rich, creamy and layered with leathery, woody goodness? The Double Connecticut is your answer. It combines 18 year old tobaccos with two golden-brown Connecticut shade leaves, one serving as the binder, the second acting as the wrapper. Looking for a step up? Try the Paired Maduro. Covering this dark cigar is an oily broadleaf maduro, with an additional Brazilian maduro wrapper running through the 18 year old Dominican fillers, resulting in a chewy, medium-bodied smoke that’s rich, spicy and eventful. Lately, I’ve been burning a Cusano 18 Double Connecitcut with my morning double-shot of espresso, with several Paired Maduros throughout the remainder of the day. Lately, I’ve been sitting fat and happy, my friend.