What’s old is new again.
While it’s not surprising that many manufacturers are rereleasing cigars from their past, it’s a bit odd that a company that has only been around since 2016 has found a way to release a cigar from its past.
Casa Cuevas is relatively new, but the Cuevas family is not new. The family owns the Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L. factory in the Dominican Republic, which has long made cigars for other people. In the early 2000s, the family was also selling cigars on its own, but it opted to focus exclusively on contract manufacturing before Casa Cuevas was launched in 2016.
The Casa Cuevas Reserva was one of those cigars. It returned over the summer in two different blends. The Natural uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper over a habano binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and the U.S.A. As for the Maduro, it uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over a Dominican piloto cubano binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic and Ometepe, Nicaragua.
It’s offered in three sizes, each priced $1 more than the Natural versions:
- Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro (6 x 50) — $10.90 (Box of 20, $218)
- Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Torpedo (6 1/4 x 52) — $11.40 (Box of 20, $228)
- Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Robusto (5 x 52) — $10.50 (Box of 20, $210)
- Cigar Reviewed: Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L.
- Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
- Binder: Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano)
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua (Ometepe)
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $10.90 (Box of 20, $218)
- Release Date: Aug. 6, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The wrapper on the Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro is dark, with an almost purple-like hue. Once the cellophane is removed, I don’t find the most inviting of wrapper aromas, a mixture of mud, raisins and some barnyard. Smelling the foot produces both a stronger and more enjoyable sensation: varnish, raisins and smells of both asiago cheese bagels and a bag of chocolate morsels. The cold draw is also a rather interesting array of flavors with barnyard, dry spaghetti, almond liqueur and some paint smells.
A chewy, thick chocolate is both the first and most dominant flavor I pick up after the opening puff. There’s also some meatiness, a medium amount of earthiness and most importantly, none of the paint-like flavors I picked up on the cold draw of two of three of samples. An inch or so in, the Casa Cuevas Reserva is now being led by a three-headed attack of toastiness, earthiness and the aforementioned chewy chocolate. There’s some black pepper on the top of the mouth and the back of the throat, but it’s nowhere near as intense as the main trio. Retrohales have peanuts, hickory, a lot less toasty flavors and some spice—at times I seem to think it’s paprika—but no pepper. The finish after the retrohale is super nutty. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Construction is great, though the ash is flaky and falls on my keyboard more times than I would like, though that’s not something we deduct points for.
I am very surprised that the toastiness has completely disappeared by the midway point of the cigar. Instead, the main flavors are now earthiness and a different chocolate, almost like a chocolate syrup that has been slightly watered down though still very sweet. On one sample I find some key lime flavors right before I need to take the band off. Retrohales are great with floral, peppermint, some uncooked tortilla, almond liqueur and then a charcoal-like finish. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium and strength is medium, though seemingly creeping to medium-plus. Construction remains great.
The Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro gets both toastier and earthier in the final third, meaning that secondary flavors are once again getting drowned out. There’s some sunflower seed, sourness, a very bitter dark chocolate and, at times, a petroleum flavor—though all are a far cry from the two leading flavors. Retrohales are a lot less exciting than the second third with burnt bread, some sourness, a bit of white pepper and a lot of dark chocolate. Flavor, body and strength are all now medium-full, though the body seems like it might be just a tad bit fuller.
- Casa Cuevas has been in the news a bit more in 2019 compared to its previous couple of years, though not for particularly positive events. In February, the company’s warehouse in Miami was broken into and thieves stole an estimated 25,000 cigars. The company at least turned the event into something positive, releasing a cigar called La Mandarria, Spanish for sledgehammer, the tool used in the break-in. More recently, Gabriel Alvarez, the company’s national sales director, resigned.
- The samples that I smoked appear substantially darker than the photo Patrick Lagreid took at the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- For what it’s worth, the press photos show a cigar that is even darker.
- I like the color scheme of the band quite a bit, it matches my car’s paint scheme.
- There are multiple places in my notes where I’ve written down that some sweetness would go along way towards making the cigar feel more complete.
- I was a bit surprised just how good the retrohales in the second third were, particularly given that they weren’t impressive in either the first or final third.
- At the end of each cigar, my mouth had a bit of a chalky-like feel.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Casa Cuevas.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
At times, the Casa Cuevas Reserva Maduro Toro showed it could be something great. Those retrohales in the second third were great. The construction was also great, but the other parts of the cigar were at best good, and oftentimes, much closer to average. I wish there was more sweetness, I wish there was more excitement, sometimes, I just wish there was more.