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At the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Quesada unveiled the first new Casa Magna release in five years.[ref]The first new nationally-related Casa Magna brand in five years.[/ref] Dubbed the Casa Magna Jalapa Claro, the cigar was only available to retailers who placed orders at the show.

“With the current regulatory environment, the IPCPR is a crucial organization to ensuring the future of the cigar industry, and so we want to reward those who support it by attending the annual trade show with this exclusive edition of our most acclaimed brand,” said Terence Reilly, general manager of Quesada Cigars, in a press release.

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Blend-wise, the new cigar incorporates the same binder and filler as the original Casa Magna line, but replaces the Colorado leaf on that blend with claro-colored wrapper that is grown in Nicaragua’s Jalapa valley. Only 500 20-count boxes of each vitola was produced and the cigars were rolled at Plasencia Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua.

The three vitolas are:

  • Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Box Pressed Toro (6 x 50) — $6.79 (Boxes of 20, $135.80) — 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Robusto (5 1/2 x 54) — $6.65 (Boxes of 20, $133) — 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Toro (6 x 58) — $7.65 (Boxes of 20, $153) — 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Toro
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 58
  • Vitola: Gordo
  • MSRP: $7.65 (Boxes of 20, $153)
  • Release Date: July 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Toro is really a gorgeous specimen, with a red-brown wrapper that is extremely smooth to the touch and a number of veins present. The cigar is a bit firm when squeezed and the cap seems well applied. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet oak, creamy peanuts, earth, manure and leather, while the cold draw brings flavors of sweet oak, creamy leather, marzipan, spice and a touch of white pepper.

The Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Toro starts off with a wonderful combination of roasted peanuts and espresso, followed closely behind by notes of creamy leather, earth, barnyard, baker’s spices, hay and sawdust. There is a noticeable amount of orange sweetness on the retrohale, as well as some great white pepper on the retrohale, but both of those are fairly restrained in the profile so far. There is just a touch of spice on my tongue that does not seem like it will stick around very long. The draw has an excellent amount of resistance on the draw after a straight cut, and while the burn is a bit wavy, it is nowhere close to needing to be corrected so far. In addition, the smoke production is quite high off of the foot. Strength-wise, the Jalapa Claro starts off quite light, and really does not seem to want to go anywhere before the first third comes to an end.

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While the roasted peanuts and espresso beans both retain the dominant spot in the profile during the second third of the Jalapa Claro Toro, a host of new flavors comes to the forefront as well, including pencil lead, grass, aromatic cedar, butter, yeast and a slight hint of floral. The orange sweetness from the first third is still very much present, but seems to be receding as the second third moves to its conclusion, while the white pepper on the retrohale is virtually unchanged. Construction-wise, the draw continues to impress and while the burn remains a touch wavy, it is still not bad enough for me to correct. The smoke production is still quite high, and while the overall strength has increased noticeably, it still fails to reach the medium mark by the end of the second third.

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Unfortunately, the final third of the Casa Magna Jalapa Claro has some issues, starting with the profile, which seems to become a bit muddled, with the flavors losing the distinctness that was so prevalent in the prior two thirds. While I can still taste notes of peanuts, espresso beans, hay, earth, cedar and butter, there is not one flavor that dominates the rest. Both the orange sweetness and white pepper are still obvious in the profile, but in much lesser amounts, with the sweetness in particular taking a major hit. Finally, the burn is bad enough that it forces me to correct it, but the draw is as excellent as the first two thirds. The strength hits a point close to the medium mark just as I put the nub down with less than an inch to go, but it never threatens to go over.

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Final Notes

  • I would love to tasted this blend in a corona gorda vitola, or better yet, a ninfa.
  • Although it was not a major player in the profile at any point, I really loved the generic citrus that was present on the retrohale, and wonder if that note would be more of a player in the smaller vitolas.
  • The band on this release has quite a few of the same colors as the wrapper, and really seems to blend in with the wrapper, almost to the point where it is sometimes hard to determine where the band begins and the wrapper ends.
  • You can see halfwheel’s coverage of the Quesada Cigars booth during the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
  • Cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by Quesada Cigars.
  • Quesada advertises of halfwheel.
  • This particular vitola is extremely slow smoker even for a 6 x 58 size and as a result the final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over two hours and 15 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Casa Magna Jalapa Claro cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and JR Cigar have them in stock.
89 Overall Score

While this is by no means my favorite vitola, I have to say, the profile of the 6 x 58 Casa Magna Jalapa Claro Toro really held up quite nicely, especially in the amount of sweetness that was present in the blend. There were some issues with the flavors becoming a bit muddled in the final third, but the cigar was still enjoyable even with that, and the balance was quite good overall. No, the Casa Magna Jalapa Claro is not nearly as good as the Quesada Jalapa or the España— at least in this vitola—but it is a nicely balanced, well constructed smoke that would make an excellent morning cigar.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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