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Renowned Cuban cigar roller, José Castelar Cayro (Cueto) rolls cigars out of LCDH El Morro across the bay from Old Havana in Cuba, and also travels around the world rolling cigars at different functions and shops.

Cueto has been rolling for quite a while, and even received a certificate recognizing a Guinness record for the longest cigar in the world, at 803 1/2 inches (20.41 meters.) In fact, he established his latest record in 2005, during the Festival del Habano that takes place every year in the Cuban capital.  

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Cueto Salomone (2008) 1.png

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cueto Salomone
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: La Casa del Habano El Morro
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Size: 7 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 58
  • Vitola: Salomone
  • Est. Price: $25
  • Date Released: 2008
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The cigar itself looks like a custom rolled stick, slightly rough with a dark chocolate brown wrapper—darker then I expected—that is covered with seams. There is a small amount of oil present and the wrapper has quite a few bumps up and down it’s length. It is firm, but does give a bit when squeezed. The wrapper smells unmistakably Cuban with a combination of hay, bitter chocolate, barnyard and earth. The cold draw is a great combination of sweet tobacco and dry hay.

It starts out the first third with quite a bit of spice on the tongue and back of the throat, but dies down quickly to a background note. Oak, leather and espresso flavors are easy to pick out, but not much else. There is some bitterness to the profile as well, although not enough to impact the flavors in any major way.

Cueto Salomone (2008) 2.png

The second third picks up where the first third left off. The profile has not changed much, nor have the flavors, but it still is pretty straightforward, although the bitterness I detected earlier ebbs and flows throughout this third. There was a slight note that I could not really place towards the end of the second third that I wrote down as “citrus,” sort of a tangy flavor.

Cueto Salomone (2008) 3.png

The last third really had almost no change at all, flavor-wise. It’s still leather—perhaps a bit more of this note than in the previous two thirds—earth, and wood flavors. Just not the most complex cigar in the world, that is for sure. However, the bitterness from the first two thirds almost totally disappeared by the end of the cigar and it never got harsh at all.

Cueto Salomone (2008) 4.png

Final Notes

  • While the cigar is unquestionably a salomones, the bulbous end is not quite as bulbous as other salomones I have smoked and seen. In fact, these specific custom rolls almost look like a cross between a typical salomones and a diadema vitola.
  • This is one of the fastest burning cigars I have ever smoked, taking only one hour and 20 minutes.
  • The burn and draw were astoundingly good, just a great physical experience to smoke. It was obviously rolled by a master roller.
80 Overall Score

This specific cigar is a great example of what can go wrong with a custom-rolled Cuban. I have smoked quite a few of the different vitolas by the different rollers and it is almost impossible to nail down a overall method of deciding what will be a good smoke, simply because the tobacco is different for just about every period these custom cigars are rolled. So while the early 2008 salomones from Cueto may be underwhelming, the late 2008 or early 2009 crop may be the most amazing cigar of all-time. That is part of the allure for me—you never really know what you are going to get—but it bit me in the ass this time. The construction was great, the roll was great, the burn was great, the draw was great, but this particular vintage was just totally underwhelming in the flavor department. Not a bad cigar, just typical Cuban flavors that you can find in just about any typical Cuban 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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