Last year, Stephen Adib spent much of the year revamping his Cuba Rica brand. There were changes to the company’s Tesarosso line, as well as new additions in the form of Spirit of Art, Barabbas and Cuba Rica Limitada.

Cuba Rica Limitada No. 1 is the first in the company’s limited edition series. The flagship line is offered in two vitolas: L5 (5 1/2 x 54, $16) and L6 (6 1/2 x 54, $18). Each is limited to 500 individually-numbered boxes of 20 and is sold at only 33 retailers.

Cuba Rica Limitada No 1 vitolas

  • Cuba Rica Limitada No. 1 L5 (5 1/2 x 54) — December 2014 — $16 (Boxes of 20, $320 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Cuba Rica Limitada No. 1 L6 (6 1/2 x 54) — December 2014 — $18 (Boxes of 20, $360 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)

The Cuba Rica Limitada is made at Tabacos de Costa Rica, the same factory responsible for the rest of the company’s lines including Via Havana. Adib would only disclose that the cigar uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper over a proprietary blend of fillers.

Cuba Rica Limitada No 1 L5 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cuba Rica Limitada No. 1 L5
  • Country of Origin: Costa Rica
  • Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica
  • Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: $16 (Boxes of 20, $320)
  • Date Released: Dec. 10, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

I had not seen any pictures of the cigar while reporting about the Cuba Rica Limitada before it was released, so I was a bit surprised to see just how extra the box-press is. It’s a rectangular press that gives the Cuba Rica Limitada a chocolate bar-like appearance, something helped by the deep brown Ecuadorian habano wrapper. There are very crisp roll lines and the cigar itself looks well-rolled. Aroma from the wrapper is sweet with barbecue, orange notes and salty caramel. From the foot, I get big floral flavors, toastiness and a big gigantic sweet chocolate. I’m let down by the cold draw, which is not only a bit tight, but doesn’t have the precise sweetness as the aroma of the tobacco itself. There’s some ketchup, orange, dry nuttiness and floral flavors around medium-plus.

The Cuba Rica Limitada No. 1 is sweet and smooth with a citrus base, cedar, cocoa and some toastiness. The finish has some incredible raw cedar. Unfortunately, five minutes in things are harsh. I also notice that the draw has tightened a lot and I look down at the cigar and it looks way overolled, about what I expect a plugged cigar to be. All three draws look like this, albeit, the draw on two is only slightly tight, where one requires two additional cuts. From there, it’s a tale of two cigars. On the cigar that required additional cuts, things don’t get a ton better and smoke production remains anemic. I am required to take two or three puffs to get enough smoke into my mouth and once it does, there’s not a ton of reward: sour, harsh cedar, dark cocoa and saltiness. On the other two, things are much better with a core of cedar, leather, peppermint. There’s some citrus in the no all three samples, but the levels of harshness vary dramatically.

Cuba Rica Limitada No 1 L5 2

The draw improves slightly on all three samples, but the biggest improvement in the second third is definitely the burn, which is no longer needing to be touched-up. On the problematic cigar, it’s still not good with peppermint, harsh woods and a harshness through the nose. The finish has some saving graces: nuttiness, saltiness and a bit of an Isle scotch note. On the other two, there’s sweet cedar, orange, cocoa flavor, leather and some bready notes. The smoke is warm and a bit harsh, but it’s not uncomfortable The cigar remains medium, although it’s showing signs of drastically improving.

Cuba Rica Limitada No 1 L5 3

I manage to get into the final third of the bad sample, but I toss it in the ashtray pretty quickly. Smoke production dies down and things get harsher, not encouraging signs for me. On the other two, there’s a lot to like: earth, cedar and Granny Smith apple skin and a great potato chip finish. I cannot escape the harshness, which has now moved over to the lips, but the Cuba Rica is enjoyable enough. Strength ramps up getting just south of full at the one-inch mark, while smoke production eventually begins to die down on the two samples that had better draws.

Cuba Rica Limitada No 1 L5 4

Final Notes

  • In addition to Adib’s cigars, Tabacos de Costa Rica also produces Atabey, Byron and MBombay.
  • While these bands look great, they were a pain to photograph.
  • I really did like the appearance of the cigar, particularly with the heavy press.
  • In addition to the poor draws, each cigar needed to have its burn corrected in the first third.
  • As for the draw, all three cigars visually looked like they had too much tobacco in them. Only one required a recut, something that I’m not convinced helped things. The one problematic cigar was just below plugged, while the other two were tight, beyond my preference of slightly tight and most certainly limiting smoke production.
  • I enjoyed the two cigars without the draw issues, but the one sample left a (literal) bad taste in my mouth.
  • All three cigars were harsh, some of that was definitely brought on by the tightness, but it’s unclear to me just how much.
  • Strength starts medium and ends just south of full.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was two hours on average.
70 Overall Score

This year, we’ve been scoring each sample individually and averaging the scores across the samples. It was a change that was made for this exact reason: when one sample has awful construction, the amount of points being taken away really didn’t seem to be a realistic amount. The first sample of the Cuba Rica LImitada I smoked was nearly plugged and it dramatically hurt the overall score as the other two were quite enjoyable. That being said, if I was just buying this cigar as a consumer to see how it was, I would have tossed it before the halfway mark and never picked up another. Even ignoring the high price point, there’s not enough tolerance in today’s cigar market for cigars rolled that poorly.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.