SPOILER ALERT: Rarely will you see me give a cigar a 94-point rating. But guess what, I just did. Here’s why.
Throw out what you think you know about Cuba Libre....even if you’re one of the many that enjoys this hearty stick on a regular basis. Cuba Libre One is bold, fresh, and entirely new. A bigger, darker, badder brother fully equipped to soothe your palate into submission. It’s rich. It’s eventful. And many will find it to be surprisingly potent.
Like its predecessor, Cuba Libra One is hand-crafted by Nestor Plasencia. However, it’s produced in his massive Nicaragua factory: a veritable fortress churning out delicious super-premium for more brands than you can even fathom. Fortunately, he has the manpower and the resources to make each and every cigar perfect; just as delicious as the last, thousands of cigars over.
This new breed of Cuba Libre is something I find gazing at for some time before even clipping the cap. The wrapper is dark, leathery in appearance, and oozing with oils. Then there’s the band....a crisp, glossy white band with impressive silver and blue accents – the band literally jumps off the dark Nicaraguan Habano ligero wrapper. A beautiful contrast. The pre-light aroma heightens the rituals, filling my nostrils with a warm, barnyard scent with a peppery tickle from the all-ligero blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers. Oh yeah, this baby is a brute.
The cigar sits very heavy in the hand. Because, well, there’s a ton of tobacco rolled into each one. In addition to a thick wrapper leaf and heavy ligero long-fillers, each Cuba Libre One contains two binder leaves, a practice used not nearly enough in the industry - a feisty Habano leaf from Jalapa and a smooth Costa Rican leaf.
All these tobaccos produce an exceedingly complex cigar from first light down to the nub. Like most strong cigars, Cuba Libre One opens with ample spice. A big, peppery beginning coating the palate with spice and dark tobacco flavor. Flavors that linger long after each puff. Don’t worry, this opening merely awakens your taste buds, preparing them for a deep series of rich, velvety flavors. Roasted coffee tones meet bold earthy nuances, both of which are smothered in cream and delivered in chewy fashion throughout the burn. The finish is always spicy and sometimes sweet, while the bouquet is smoothly presented with perfect balance. And then, the power creeps in as the eventful array of flavor steals the limelight. What was once medium gradually approaches the full-bodied realm, just before a strong, spicy finish ices the cake.
Now that, my friends, is a cigar. I am well aware that not everyone will like this cigar. Hey, not every cigar is for every enthusiast. But I’ll be damned if 90% off full-flavored, boutique fans don’t add this meaty handmade to their regular rotation after trying just a couple.
(To Mr. Pete Johnson....I hope you enjoyed this review. Thanks for the request - keep'em coming.)