Review: Gran Habano S.T.K. Miami Barracuda
Last year, Gran Habano announced a new project, S.T.K. Miami, a new series of special lines made at Gran Habanos new Miami factory. The projects are intended to be small batch in nature using limited tobaccos. The first two S.T.K. releases were announced and released last year: Opium and Zulu Zulu.
Earlier this year, Abe Dababneh of Smoke Inn showed off the newest S.T.K. project, Barracuda. A few weeks later, artwork and details were confirmed and go as follows:
Gran Habano’s new S.T.K. Miami Barracuda is set to launch at Tamura’s Fine Wine and Liquor on April 7, 2012. The Barracuda was first shown off last month, as the latest of Gran Habano’s limited release to come out of their new Miami factory, G.R. Tabacaleras Co.
Only 100 boxes of 20 Robustos (5 x 50) will be released with MSRP set at $9.00 per cigars. The blend uses the popular Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers.
Barracuda is one of three cigars Gran Habano has announced will come out of Miami in 2012.
Barracuda was released at Tamura’s Fine Wine and Liquor on April 7 and is expected in other stores soon.
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Gran Habano S.T.K. Miami Barracuda
- Country of Origin: USA
- Factory: G.R. Tabacaleras Co.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $9.00 (Boxes of 20, $180.00)
- Release Date: 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 10 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Let’s get this out of the way, it looks like a Cohiba BHK. The flattened pigtail cap, slightly rough wrapper and overall appearance screams BHK, although the Ecuadorian wrapper is a bit darker than your typical Cuban wrapper and couldn’t be confused from that perspective. From the get go, it seems that the Gran Habano S.T.K. Barracuda is unlike your typical Gran Habano. Aromas from the wrapper are sweet caramel, aged leather and a great manure — all rather strong even without the cellophane. From the foot, it’s full this time with some saltiness akin to a sunflower seed note and touches of pepper. Cold draw from the George A. Rico made product is a bit open with the sweet and saltiness continuing, this time with hay at its core.
The first third of the Gran Habano Barracuda begins with a mixture of rich cedars and earth, bits of peppers and an underlying sweetness before cedar and pepper round out the finish. It’s full and mature, but unfortunately not as anti-Gran Habano as the pre-light notes would seem to suggest. Smoke production is average, although the draw is getting near the uncomfortable levels of openness. The first third seems to loose complexity as it develops eventually settling to cedar, pepper and some meatiness. It’s full and aged, but a lot less flavors than I was expecting.
Into the second third and it’s clear the early parts of the cigar were just a tease. There’s some added coffee notes, but the cedar and pepper remain unchanged and up front. Burn line is pretty good, but the ash is really light, falling off without any effort. While the draw doesn’t get much better, the smoke production picks up. Strength-wise it’s on the lighter side of full, although there’s probably some that would consider the Barracuda a heavy medium-full.
The final third gains some creaminess, which is welcomed, but the Barracuda’s cedar and pepper still dominate. It’s not bad and actually does change a bit, but something else would have been welcomed. There’s some hints of leather and earth, but the bigger notes completely overwhelm them. Construction remains relatively unchanged and the cigar actually is smokeable to about the half inch mark.
- The bands are a pain in the ass to photograph.
- While I think the S.T.K. products have all been quality cigars, $9.00 for a Robusto is not what many of the modern fans of Gran Habano are used to paying.
- One of the Barracudas I smoked had near perfect construction, the other two were similar: open draw, light-holding ash and a smoke production that needed time to develop.
- While it’s not convenient for anyone, I think Hawaii getting the first shot at a lot of releases, like this, Fausto FT114 and La Dueña is cool.
- Strength is just south of full, see above for more thoughts. It’s roughly the same throughout.
- S.T.K. stands for stay true kid.
- The Barracuda burns quickly, final smoking time is 55 minutes.
Final Notes: Einstein has that quote regarding the definition of insanity. The first Barracuda smelled like something that wasn’t a Gran Habano and tasted very Gran Habano-like. The second seemed like something not Gran Habano at first, but then was totally Gran Habano. And the third? It’s not that the flavor profile is at all bad, but for those that want more complexity from the Ricos, this is not the answer. The easiest way to describe the S.T.K. Miami Barracuda is a more mature Gran Habano and unfortunately, I can’t say that makes a great $9.00 Robusto.
Final Score: 83