It’s another one of these attempts to find a cigar that many never knew existed. I think from that aspect, the Cusano 15th is probably a great candidate. One size, a small company and little info. It came at the end of Dom Rey’s independence, partially helping the relative quiet nature of this — so quiet, the Cusano website doesn’t even list this on their site.

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    • Name: Cusano 15th Anniversary Lancero
    • Vitola: Lancero
    • Size: 7 x 40
    • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Hybrid
    • Binder: Dominican
    • Filler:Dominican & Nicaraguan
    • Country: Dominican Republic
    • Factory: TABADOM
    • MSRP: $8.99 (Box of 15, $134.85)
    • Source:Serious Cigars
    • Time in Humidor: 1 Month
    • Cut: Wolf V-Cutter


  • Light: Colibri Boss II
  • Beverage: Coke
  • Smoking Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
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The Story
This was introduced at last year’s IPCPR, right before the finalization of the deal that sold to Dom Rey (the parent of Cusano) from the Chiusano family to the Oettinger Davidoff Group. For those familiar with Cusano, there might be a bit of confusion as Cusano also has the Cusano 18, unrelated to any sort of anniversary. To be quite honest, I didn’t know these were even released until a random tweet from Bryan Newbury of Centro Cigars.

The Ecuadorian Hybrid wrapper is dark with good reds on top of decent caramel. Aroma is relatively mild (likely due to the lack of cellophane) with barnyard and sour nuts being the only flavors I can get. Veins are a bit more than average. Packing leaves a bit to be desired with a relatively soft feel. From the foot of the Cusano I get a medium mixture of sweet grass, barnyard, espresso and fruits.

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After the V-Cut, the top of the cigar has a mixture of barnyard, nuts and espresso. Cold draw of the Dominican is about as good as it gets in terms of tightness with a medium nut and barnyard core accompanied by a bit of harsh pepper and tons of wasabi spice. Lighting creates a rather heavy mixture of toasty nuts, sweet and cocoa and barnyard. First draw starts off pretty glorious with a dry cocoa transitioning pretty quickly into a sweet nut before a heavy earth and nut mixture is accompanied by some harshness on the lengthy finish.

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First Third
Up front it’s a contrasting sweet and harsh earth with hints of espresso and barnyard rounding out the Cusano 15th Anniversary’s full flavor. But the retrohale is a rather different story with a dry pepper and herbs taking the flavor profile to a different place. Finish is that same earth note with bits of herbs and pepper on the back throat, average in length. Draw remains about as good as things can get producing a great amount of heavy smoke inside and out. Strength is maybe medium-plus with a fairly full body.

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Second Third
It’s a completely different flavor as the Cusano sees an awesome nuttiness take over most of the flavor with oaks and coffee bean underneath. While the harshness leaves the initial flavor it’s still present on the finish which is comprised of nuts, coffee and oak; somewhere around medium-full. Draw tightens, which decreases smoke production slightly, but there’s still a good amount of oak in the Carolina air thanks to the Henke Kelner creation. Burn remains good, still producing inch long chunks of medium-colored layered ash.

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Final Third
It falls off, or at least that’s how I took it. Toasty oak is about all that’s going on, fortunately still full. Finish is grass and herbs, remarkably consistent, but disappointing nonetheless. Strength is a bit more solidly in the medium-plus range, definitely a slightly increase, although not a major change. One of the Cusanos I had featured a smoke that got noticeably hot at the two inch mark, but I cannot say that was a consistent trait. Whatever the case, somewhere north of an inch, these get put down.

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For the Novice
No. TABADOM’s largest client, Davidoff, isn’t known for “full” cigars, even though I tend to disagree with a lot of the connotation. Whatever the case, I feel this is towards the top when it comes to completeness of the fuller TABADOM products. I suppose what I mean by that is, this is solidly a medium-full to full in just about every category to judge that. This is a far contrast to a lot of other TABADOM products, say the Paul Garmirian Reserva Exclusiva Gran Panatela, which is rather mild in strength, despite fullness in every other category. Whatever the case, the Cusano 15th Anniversary is not a cigar I’d give to a new smoker.

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In the End
I ponder if these are going to get better over time. There is still a lot of harshness that is not helping this cigar, and I hope that over time this will die down. I’m not sure what the state of the Cusano 15th Anniversary is at the current moment, in fact I’m not sure what the future for Cusano looks like. Whatever the case, I think this cigar is worth a try for those that like things on the fuller bodied side of things. There’s a lot that I like, and then there’s a lot that needs help in my book, but I’m still glad I picked up a few of these.

84. I’m not all the way there yet on these.


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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 have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.