Last month we got the news out of SAG Imports that it was releasing a new Fonseca line called the Cubano Exclusivo. The cigar was developed with the idea that they wanted to take the easily recognizable Fonseca branding and develop a cigar that breaks out of the expected smooth and mild Fonseca profile.

The cigar first made its debut in February at the 2013 ProCigar festival in the Dominican Republic and is expected to hit stores starting in April. The following four sizes will be available at launch:

  • Robusto (5 1/2 x 52)
  • Corona Gorda (6 x 46)
  • Gordo (6 1/2 x 60)
  • Belicoso (6 x 52)

The press release described the Cubano Exclusivo:

February 25, 2013 — 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.

Here are some pictures of the box:

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Box 1

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Box 2

(Images via SAG Imports)

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Robusto 1

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

With the black and gold secondary band and a pleasantly soft almond-colored wrapper, the presentation of the cigar as a whole starts us off on the right foot. When squeezed there is only the slightest give though no one place seems to have any under filled soft spots. After clipping the cap the cold draw brings notes of sweet tobacco, freshly cut hay and barnyard notes. More barnyard notes jump off the wrapper and foot though that seems to be the only aroma I can pick out.

The first third begins with notes of fresh wood shavings, the lightest touch of pepper and a sweet cinnamon note. The draw is a touch on the loose end, though not enough to be a detriment to the smoke production. Light grey ash holds on easily to an inch, which despite the give when squeezing and slightly loose draw proves the construction is solid. Burn is very solid and the Cubano Exclusivo doesn’t any touch ups. The smoke itself has a heavy mouthfeel to it, and while the flavor profile isn’t overly complex, the heavy smoke gives the cigar a more full-bodied impression. This early in the cigar I would place it at a mild to medium strength cigar.

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Robusto 2

Continuing with the second third there is a bit more pepper, though the woodsy note still dominates the profile. Draw has tightened up a bit so it’s right where it should be now. Smoke production is plentiful when drawing from the cigar, however as soon as you stop very minimal smoke is coming off the foot. The burn has gotten taken a little turn for the crooked, but I’m smoking in fairly windy conditions so it could be due to that – nothing a little touch up can’t fix.

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Robusto 3

The final third is much like the second third – wood and pepper notes dominating. A fresh grassy note has developed, one that might have been there earlier but was too faint to notice. Despite the wind the burn has evened out completely and hasn’t required any touch ups for the remainder of the cigar. With just about an inch left the cigar has become a touch harsh, but it’s a good enough stopping point it’s not too detrimental to my enjoyment. 

Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo Robusto 4

Final Notes:

  • The cigar is shipping very soon.
  • According to a quick Google search, other popular brands that use the name Fonseca include Fonseca Port Wines and a Colombian singer named Fonseca. There’s also the Cuban Fonseca brand.
  • I always enjoy a 52 ring gauge box-press cigars. In my opinion it is a great size for box-press as far as ease of smoking it.
  • As far as flavor goes, I’m actually very interested in trying the corona gorda size of this cigar, as I generally prefer it over robustos.
  • We are giving away a box of the Fonseca Exclusivo Corona Gordas as part of the March Newsletter, click here to sign-up.
  • These cigars were provided to halfwheel by site sponsor SAG Imports.
  • Final smoking time was just under an hour and a half.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and Cigar King should both carry the Fonseca Exclusivo.
84 Overall Score

I would say that SAG Imports got exactly what they were looking for with this cigar - something that has a fuller body while still keeping the mild to medium strength about it. Unfortunately for me, while the flavors were enjoyable, the overall cigar just wasn't too complex or exciting. Though with solid construction and a good base of flavors I’m hoping that a little time and acclimation to my humidor can bring out the best the cigar has to offer. So having said that, I still enjoyed the cigar for what it was and can definitely suggest you try a few of these for yourself.

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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.