Review: Cuaba Tradicionales
In late 2011, Habanos S.A. announced their annual list of deletions, which you can read here. It’s still somewhat unclear what exactly the method to the deletions is, but generally, it’s accepted that the cigars that are removed normally aren’t selling well.
Amongst the list was a lone Cuaba vitola, the Cuaba Tradicionales. The Tradicionales, like nearly every Cuaba ever made, is a Perfecto-shaped cigar. As explained by Habanos S.A.:
Every Cuaba is made in the distinctive shape known as double figurado. This was the style that at the end of the 19th Century was all the rage for Habanos.
A century later, in 1996, this rich tradition was revived at the Romeo y Julieta factory where Cuabas are made.
Double figurados are at the pinnacle of the cigar maker’s art and for this alone they merit a place in every cigar enthusiast’s collection.
Cuaba, like Cohiba, is a Taino Indian word dating back to the time of Columbus. It was the word for a highly combustible bush, which the Indians used to light their “cohibas”.
All sizes contain a blend of leaves from the Vuelta Abajo region and are “totalmente a mano, tripa larga” —totally hand made, long filler.
In Cuaba’s relatively short history, there have been Perfectos/Salomons of all shapes and size with the only non-Perfecto shape being the Cuaba Piradmides Edición Limitada 2008.
The Tradicionales is the first Cuaba to be discontinued, although Habanos has reduced packaging options on most of the sizes over the last few years.
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Cuaba Tradicionales
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: Briones Montoto
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 4 5/7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Petit Perfecto
- Est. Price: $6.00 (Boxes of 25, $150.00)
- Date Released: February 1, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
It’s one of the more awkward cigars. First thing first, the Tradicionales is rather thin, perhaps the thinnest dual pointed cigar outside of the La Caridad del Cobre Javelin. Next, the wrapper is dark and full of oils. Aroma-wise, it’s light with aged leather, some manure and very sour with a bit more sweetness off the foot. The Tradicionales isn’t the greatest looking cigar, which has been a consistent feature of the six I’ve had. There’s a bit of a question in regards to how much to cut off (more of that in the final notes), but regardless, the cold draw is going to be rather tight. The flavor is a much different story: twang up front, a big bbq hickory note infused with twang and some floral and black pepper notes on the finish of the full and smooth flavor profile.
The first third of the Tradicionales starts with a sweet cocoa that sours a bit with some bread, fruits wood and cocoa adding before the white pepper dominates the finish. Unfortunately, the draw is tight, record setting tight, so much so that for the next ten minutes it’s difficult to smoke. Fortunately, once the burn line clears the nipple (point), the draw opens up, almost like the fog clearing to show the light. The bad news is the flavor gets worse, perpetually worse. It’s dominated by a deep harshness even with saltiness, earth and herbs making it through.
And then it gets worse. The Cuaba’s second third doesn’t change much, except the harshness, which decreases. It’s still herbs, earth, tobacco and a bit of black pepper on the back of the throat. The draw gets a bit better, but it is unfortunately inconsistent and uncontrollable. Smoke production is still about average, burn of the Cuaba is poor, but the ash holds on.
For the final third of the Tradicionales gets a bit sweeter momentarily and then the flavor just collapses. Draw is still not great with the biggest issue being that it is inconsistent and uncontrollable. It makes the small Perfecto hard to smoke and even harder to enjoy.
- This five-pack came from a 2007 box, it seems to have gotten worse with age.
- I still advocate, don’t clip the foot. If ever I was going to change that, it would be here.
- I don’t really believe that of all the cigars discontinued recently, this is the one that people are losing sleep over. Cuaba hasn’t been the most popular of brands and this is just a poor example.
- I really want to like the size, if it smoked well.
- I’ve smoked six of these (from three different sources), five of the Tradicionales have had massive construction problems.
- Final Smoking Time was 40 Minutes.
The Bottom Line: Plugged, just plain tight, can’t burn straight. Need I say more? That’s been my experience with the Cuaba Tradicionales. The first one I smoked was excellent and every one since has been pure disappoitment even absent the benchmark set originally. When it is on, it’s a real peculiar flavor profile, sadly, it seems for me, it’s rarely ever on. If you want a short Perfecto that is going to deliver each and every time, buy either an Arturo Fuente Short Story (Regular or Maduro) or the J. Fuego Original (Sangre de Toro over Origen); glad I didn’t buy that box of Tradicionales.
Final Score: 63