Since making its U.S. debut in April 2013 with three core lines of cigars, Kuuts has already released a limited edition lancero and will soon be releasing its fourth core line, the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend.
The new line was announced in March 2014 but details didn’t emerge until the second half of June, when it was announced that despite its name, the cigar wouldn’t be a Nicaraguan puro, but rather would use an Ecuadorian wrapper on top of Nicaraguan binder and filler and be made at the company’s Honduran factory. In addition, the five sizes in the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend line were confirmed: a 4 x 48 called Momentos with anMSRP of $4.90; the 4 1/2 X 58 Pequeño, $5.50; a 5 X 52 robusto, $5.80; 6 X 52 toro, $6.10; and 7 X 60 gordo especial, $6.90. All five sizes come in 20–count boxes.
This isn’t the first venture into Nicaraguan tobacco for Kuuts, LLC by any means, as all three of the company’s current core lines use Nicaraguan tobacco in one form or another. The Miró uses a Nicaraguan binder and its filler is partially Nicaraguan; Placeres Reserva used a Nicaraguan habano wrapper as well as Nicaraguan filler; while Tabacalera Zapata has Nicaraguan tobacco included in its filler blend.
While the cigar won’t hit retail shelves until September, the cigar industry got a first hand look at it at the 2014 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, where the company unveiled a new booth and happened to score a fairly high-traffic location, as it was situated right between Altadis USA and General Cigar Co., the two biggest companies in the U.S. market and who have a presence in seemingly almost every retail humidor in the country.
Cigar Reviewed: Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend Toro
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Compañia Hondureña de Tabacos
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Size: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
MSRP: $6.10 (Boxes of 20, $122.00)
Release Date: September 2014
Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
If there’s anything that’s particularly distinctive about the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend, it’s the black and copper wrapper with the company logo front and center, by far the most visible usage of the logo on a band. It leaves no doubt in the imagination as to who makes the cigar or what blend it is, as Nicaraguan Blend flanks the logo on both sides. The wrapper is a slightly lighter than medium shade of brown, almost toffee colored, with a few veins and a little bit of an oily sheen to it. It seems particularly thin, as I noticed a few small cracks in several of the samples, which could certainly be due to their travels as well as the hot, dry climate in which they were smoked. The cigar shows a bit of give, but its firmness is uniform from top to bottom, with a fairly clean cap applied. The pre-light aroma has a sweet and almost buttery note to it, almost a touch damp and very soft in the nose. The cold draw ranges from near perfect to just a bit firm, a mild offering with no pepper and a fairly nondescript flavor, slightly buttery and almost evoking thoughts of Ritz crackers.
It takes a few puffs to get the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend to put out some flavor, but once it does it’s a fairly complex offering that hits both nose and palate with equal abandon. There’s an underlying soil note that starts to lay the foundation for the flavor with a touch of chalk on top of it and the slightest touch of sourness to it, while the olfactory senses are given an aroma marked by a steady buzz of pepper with a bit of chalk mixed in as well. One cigar added a touch of sweetness, a note that had me thinking of some kind of pastry that had yet to go in the oven; needless to say it was a delicious addition. The first retrohale is the most complex interaction with the cigar so far, offering a subtler note of the earth and chalk with touches of cake donut and cinnamon. Those notes start to become part of the cigar’s flavor, with subtle additions of sweetness and a touch of baking spices. While the burn line starts out a bit wavy and races up one side on the first cigar I smoked, it evened itself out fairly quickly, by about the point where it had progressed just about an inch or so. The first clump of ash breaks off shortly after the burn line corrects itself, a detatchment that comes without warning. The flavors continue to be on the mild side, with notes of volcanic earth, chalk and just a bit of pepper guiding things into the second third.
There are some suggestions in the first puffs of the second third that the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend is starting to deliver on its promise to offer more signature Nicaraguan notes, as retrohales suddenly become much more pepper-laden and harder to enjoy in the quantities that they were earlier, while the flavor also bulks up a bit with a touch more pepper and a fuller mouth feel. There’s a touch of sweetness that starts to come out at the midpoint, a note of simple syrup that provides the first real marked change since the cigar started, short of the changes in strength. There has yet to be any problems with the burn or draw of the cigar, with my only concern being how the wrapper will hold up. One cigar smoked for this review—the one photographed, incidentally—had a decently sized crack developing, but it didn’t seem to become a significant issue in the cigar’s performance.
The Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend seems to finally wake up in the final third, with pepper becoming more of a factor in the flavor and aroma, along with a bit drier profile marked by the addition of some wood notes to the earth note that has steadily become drier and a bit more gruff than where it was earlier in the cigar. There are points where I feel inclined to describe the profile as a bit noisy, as it seems that all the newfound flavors have yet to come together to create the balance and complexity that the cigar seems to be aiming for. Retrohales continue to be packed with pepper and are hard if not impossible to enjoy except in the smallest of amounts. The flavors start to come together even more when the band comes off, with the sweetness and wood joining together to create an almost butterscotch-type note, while the pepper and earth continue to provide a sturdy foundation for the rest of the flavors, though they are less upfront and tend to be found more on the second wave of flavors. The technical performance has been solid as well, with just one quick touch-up needed and no problems with smoke production or the draw.
- I’m really not sure what to expect anymore when a company calls its cigar the so-and-so Nicaragua. It certainly doesn’t mean it has to be made in Nicaragua, or that it’s a Nicaraguan puro. It seems to mean nothing more than it’s a cigar that has Nicaraguan tobacco in it.
- Kuuts’ Miró Maduro remains planned for a November release after being delayed from a scheduled IPCPR debut.
- I am a bit concerned about the durability of these wrappers; if you live in a bit more temperate climate they shouldn’t be too problematic, but you might have some issues with them if you smoke in hot, dry climates.
- The ash on the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend leaves a lot to be desired; it holds on decently for almost an inch before quickly falling off, and usually in the most inopportune places. This is one where you’re better off just knocking the ash off regularly.
- Since this is the first cigar to put the Kuuts name front and center, I’m wondering if it will help the company gain the visibility and name recognition that it seems to lack despite having three other lines already on the market.
- Kuuts added a new vitola to its Miró line earlier this year, the 4 x 48 Miró Momentos, which Brooks Whittington reviewed.
- The company has been producing cigars for well over 15 years prior to entering the U.S. market, with the bulk of its business done in Europe.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Kuuts, LLC at the 2014 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show in July.
If there is one thing that I will give Kuuts, LLC a lot of credit for, it's delivering consistently good cigars at very reasonable prices, and the Kuuts Nicaraguan Blend is no exception. With the most expensive cigar in the line topping out at under $7 before taxes, it's pretty easy to suggest giving this a try when it comes out. It won't necessarily wow you with complexity or the purest of flavors, but it will deliver a solid option for when you're looking for a change of pace with a bit of strength, a touch of sweetness and an enjoyable flavor.