|Cuenca 5 Anniversary Box-press Torpedo|
The Cuenca 5 Anniversary is a collaboration between Hollywood, Florida retailer Cuenca Cigars and blender A.J. Fernandez. We are not saying retail-exclusive here because the plan is to have this cigar in 50 U.S. and European stores by mid 2013. The cigar has been initially launched in a torpedo box-press, but plans are for other sizes to be added this year as well. I recently had an opportunity to smoke a couple of these cigars. This cigar was nothing short of a home run and definitely a cigar to watch in 2013.
In the initial announcement of this cigar, we get some background on the collaborative nature with Cuenca and a group of cigar enthusiasts:
Uniquely blended by Miguel Cuenca, with a taste group of five seasoned smokers at Cuenca, Cigars of Hollywood, Florida, and later on with the final approval by Ana Cuenca. “This is how we do things at Cuenca Cigars…The blending process is multi layered to insure the best quality,” said Ana Cuenca. The Cuenca 5 reinforces the model behind Cuenca cigars of cultivating consumer palates by allowing the smoker to freely experience the many flavors of the Cuenca Humidor and developing a sophisticated palate. The complexity of the cigar is owed to the testing process of the Cuenca Customers, and we would appreciate a fully engaged feedback process by you in our reviews of the cigar. After all the Cuenca 5 celebrates our appreciation to you as our Customer for the past 5 years.
The announcement goes on to say that initially 500 boxes of ten will be produced. The plan is to increase production and full production can be up to 100,000 cigars (10,000 boxes)
While specifics of the binder and filler were not mentioned, we do know that this cigar has a Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed
The current offering of the Cuenca 5 Anniversary is a 7 x 54 box-press torpedo. As mentioned above, additional sizes will be added to the line in 2013.
The wrapper to the Cuenca 5 Anniversary is a nice milk chocolate colored with a somewhat silky complexion to it. The wrapper was just about void of any major noticable wrapper seams, but there are some visible veins on it. The box-press itself is well packed.
The band is highlighted by the Cuenca logo. This featurees a gold C with a green ribbon design sitting over it with the text “CUENCA” in white font. Below the ribbon is the text “PREMIUM CIGARS” in thin gold font. The gold C sits on a black background. The remainder of the band is adorned with black, gold, and red colors. There are also silver and gold medallion designs toward the bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Given this was a torpedo, a straight cut is a must for me. After clipping the tip, it was time to begin the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provide a combination of cherry sweetness and chocolate notes with a slight background spice. Overall, it was a very nice pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light this cigar and see what the overall smoking experience of the Cuenca 5 Anniversary would bring to the table.
The initial draws of the Cuenca 5 Anniversary provided notes of chocolate and pepper. In the early stages of the first third, the flavor profile became a mix of chocolate, cherry, floral, and pepper notes. No flavor seemed to stand out over the others, but it provided some excellent complexity to start.
Later in the first third, some earth notes emerged. These earth notes were joined by the floral notes and pepper as primary notes. The floral and pepper had a nice fusion creating what I term a “floral spice”. The chocolate and cherry notes were secondary giving the cigar some nice sweetness as well.
As the Cuenca 5 Anniversary moved into the second third, the cherry notes surfaced in the forefront with the pepper. The floral notes did diminish significantly. The flavor profile then changed up several times with the chocolate and cherry notes both taking turns being primary flavors with the pepper notes.
The last third was definitely more spicy. As the Cuenca 5 Anniversary cigar came to a close, the spice definitely was front and center. The spice never got harsh. The resulting nub was a bit soft, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
As many readers of Cigar Coop know, my feeling is that torpedo vitolas tend fall shorter of parejos when it comes to burn and draw. No such issues with the Cuenca 5 Anniversary torpedo. The burn and draw scored high here. The burn line remained very straight throughout the smoke – requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. The ash was firm, but not overly tight with minimal flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Cuenca 5 Anniversary|
The draw was a perfect draw for a torpedo. It had a touch of resistance – which I love on a draw. I find torpedoes sometimes don’t provide that resistance, but this one was perfect.
Strength and Body
One thing I really liked about the Cuenca 5 Anniversary is how both the strength and flavor of this cigar had a near perfect equilibrium. From a strength perspective this cigar is medium to full – providing the perfect amount of pop. The flavors are also in the medium to full-bodied range This allows the cigar enthusiast to get a great amount of flavor without going overboard.
Overall, I consider the Cuenca 5 Anniversary to be one of the revelations for 2013 in terms of new cigars. I’m very pleased that Cuenca Cigars is making this blend available to multiple retailers. This cigar has great flavor, great construction, and great complexity. If you like a bold, yet not overpowering Nicaraguan wrapped cigar, this is a cigar worth checking out. A.J. Fernandez cigar fans will also not be disappointed. Not only would I recommend this cigar to the experienced cigar enthusiast, but I found this to be a great cigar for a novice who wants something bolder. As for myself, this is a box worthy cigar and one that I will smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Cuenca Cigars. Samples were initiated by Cuenca Cigars for the purpose of providing feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for this samples, but this plays no role in the final assessment and score.