Last year SAG Imports, now Quesada Cigars, released a new Fonseca, the Cubano Exclusivo, meant to break out of the mild profile that people associated with the Dominican Fonseca. Blending the recognizable name with the classic branding, they blended a cigar that was meant to be a more full flavored, stronger product that could break the stereotype. Here is a little bit about what they originally had to say in their press release:

We are really excited about this project. We’ve been trying to figure how best to take advantage of the brand recognition of Fonseca without suffering from the perception that all Fonseca’s are mild. The Cubano Limitado is not a mild cigar but we changed the look and taste so much many people don’t realize it’s a Fonseca.

What we developed captures the best of both worlds in terms of both the cigar and the presentation, something instantly recognizable as Fonseca but clearly distinguishable from any Fonseca currently produced. We are calling it the Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo.

The bands and packaging utilize the imagery and design of both the classic Fonseca and the Cubano Limitado, as well as pay homage to the Cuban roots of the brand. In terms of taste, the cigar falls into the low medium range with cedar and floral notes prominent. The goal is to offer greater intensity of flavor to those who find the classic Fonseca too mild while still providing the smoothness and balance that appeals to those already loyal to the brand.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: MATASA
  • Wrapper: Dominican Havana Vuelta Arriba
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150.00)
  • Date Released: April 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

The Cubano Exclusivo’s almond colored wrapper is still extremely soft and slightly oily. The cigar has firmed up a little but still has a slight bit of give. There is the slightest sheen of plume around the cap. Not much has changed on the aroma of the wrapper – a light barnyard note is still the only thing I can pick out. The cold draw has an extremely sweet tobacco note paired with a sweet fresh cut green hay note and just the slightest bit of peppery hint to it.

The cigar starts out with notes of freshly cut wood, a bit of pepper and some sweet spice. After about a half an inch a vanilla note develops. The second third sees the spice and pepper grow in strength while the wood is relegated to the background. Overall there is a sweetness to the cigar. The profile is light and mostly mild that belies a growing strength that I’m only starting to feel. Wood and pepper notes finish out the cigar without much more development. The Cubano Exclusivo finishes up smoothly without getting bitter or harsh towards the end.

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Redux

The draw is still a little on the loose end of ideal, but there is plenty of smoke production. The light gray ash is a little flaky but it doesn’t fall off until after about an inch. A touch up here and there is needed in the first half, but it evens out and doesn’t need any help the last half.

Quesada Cigars is a site sponsor of halfwheel.

85 Overall Score

I was really looking forward to trying this again after some resting time. I wanted the harshness to mellow out and the nuanced flavors to come out to make an enjoyable and complex smoke. The positive part was the harshness did subside, but with that did not come the nuanced flavors I was looking for. Unfortunately the Cubano Exclusivo still falls short of the interesting mark. Having said that, it’s still an enjoyable cigar that I do still suggest you seek out for yourself. I did like it enough that I will be looking for a few more on my next trip to the shop.

Original Score (March 2013)
Redux Score (June 2014)

Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.