Bello Natural by Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company – Piramide

The Bello Natural is one of several lines from Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company. The name Bello comes from the company’s owner Pedro Bello. The Bello family has a long tradition in the cigar industry. Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company is based in Little Havana in Miami, Florida and makes cigars both at their factories in Miami and Honduras. The cigars have been sold out of the Little Havana factory for some time, but now the company is beginning an expansion into brick and mortar retailers. The core Bello line comes in three wrapper options, a Natural (Connecticut Shade), a Habano, and a barber-pole. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Bello Natural. Overall I found this to be an excellent and classic styled Connecticut Shade cigar.

The story of Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company can be traced back to the 19th century when Don Bello left the Canary Islands in search of a better place to grow tobacco.  This took him to Las Villas in Cuba where he started growing and processing tobacco.  By 1896, he opened Tabacalera Las Villas where he produced private brands and his first “house” brand called “Bello”. The company established himself, but following the nationalization of the cigar business in Cuba, Don Pedro Bello along with his son Pedro “Peter” Bello Jr. emigrated from Cuba and settled in Miami.

By 1994, the Bello family opened a factory in Little Havana and began producing the successful “Havana Sunrise” product.  Production was expanded into the Dominican Republic, but eventually a dispute between Bello and a business partner led to a litigation in which the family decided to produce cigars with a different mark.  This led to the brands that the company now produces today.

The Bello line is considered the original and oldest of the lines made by Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company.  It is one of the brands made in Little Havana. Let’s now take a closer look at the Bello Natural and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

In terms of the blend, the Bello Natural uses a Connecticut Shade wrapper.  Details of the binder and filler have not been disclosed.

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Vitolas Available

The Bello line comes in seven frontmarks.  Both the Natural and Habano lines come in the same seven sizes – all of which are pretty much classic Cuban sizes.

Belicoso: 4 1/2 x 52
Mojito: 4 1/2 x 42
Rothschild: 4 1/2 x 48
Robusto: 5 x 50
Piramide: 6 x 54
Corona: 6 x 42
Esplendido: 7 x 48

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the Piramide size of the Bello Natural. The Connecticut Shade wrapper has a light brown color to it.  This has a classic Connecticut Shade look as it is not as “golden brown” as many other wrappers.  There is a slight amount of oil on the surface.  There are a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams.

Bello Natural by Cuba Tobacco Company – without sheath

The band is gold and brown.  It features two oval designs on it.  The upper part contains a large brown oval with the text “Bello” in a classic cursive font.  That oval is surrounded by a gold ring and an outer brown ring.  Below that oval design is a second smaller brown oval that says “Est. 1896 ” in gold font with the text “en Habana Cuba” in smaller gold font.  Like the first oval, there is a gold ring and outer brown ring surrounding the brown oval.  The remainder of the band contains many gold adornments.

Directly below the band is a gold foil-like sheath that goes to the footer of the cigar.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up the Bello Natural Piramide, I first removed the gold sheath.  I then proceeded with a straight cut and removed a little less than half of the torpedo tip.  Once the tip was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw provided notes of cream and very subtle floral note.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Bello Natural to be satisfactory.  At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Bello Natural Piramide provide a mix of toast and black pepper notes.  The toast notes quickly became a primary note while the pepper receded into the background.  At the same time, the pepper was prominent on the retro-hale.

By about the five percent mark, the toast notes remained primary while the pepper notes in the background were joined by some cream and subtle fruit notes.  By the middle of the first third the cream notes moved into the forefront joining the toast notes.  The pepper and fruit notes remained secondary.

Throughout the second third, the toast and cream notes alternated as primary notes in various permutations.  The pepper and fruit notes in the background complemented the toast and cream perfectly.

In the last third, I found the pepper notes move into the forefront and eventually displace the toast and cream. I particularly found the pepper more prominent on the after-draw.  There was definitely a spice profile at the end of this cigar, but it was not overwhelming on the pallet.

Burn and Draw

For the most part, I found the burn of the Bello Natural to perform quite well.  The burn line remained relatively straight.  There was a slight amount of jaggedness, but overall the cigar was never in danger of canoeing or tunneling. The salt and pepper colored ash was firm and came off the cigar in nice chunks.  There was a slight amount of flaking that occurred occasionally throughout the cigar experience.  The burn and burn temperature were both ideal.

Burn of the Bello Natural Piramide

The draw performed quite well – especially for a figuardo / torpedo -shaped cigar.  I found the draw to be not too tight and not too loose.  The tapered end of the cigar held up quite well throughout the smoking experience and did not get soft.  There was also a decent amount of smoke produced throughout the smoking experience.

Strength and Body

In terms of a Connecticut Shade cigar, for the most part I found the Bello Natural to be more traditional in terms of its strength and body.  From a strength level, this cigar is going to stay mild from start to finish.  In terms of the body, the flavors will not overwhelm the pallet.  The flavors start out mild to medium-bodied.  There is a slight increase toward the very end and the body increases to medium in the last stages.  Overall I found the Bello Natural to emphasize body over strength.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a nice Connecticut Shade cigar.  This is not going to be a cigar that tries to re-invent what a Connecticut Shade cigar is.  While it might be cliché, this cigar definitely has some Cubanesque undertones to it.  This cigar is going to hold a higher price point – in the $11.00 range for the Piramide, but keep in mind this is a cigar that is made in the United States and there are higher costs from a labor standpoint.  In the end, the Bello Natural delivers a very nice product.  I’d easily recommend this to a novice looking for a great flavorful smoke without the strength.  I’d also recommend it to those experienced cigar enthusiasts who appreciate a nice milder smoke.  As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again. I look forward to smoking more blends from this company.  It’s definitely a cigar I’d reach for a five pack of.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild
Body: Mild to Medium (Medium at end)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Score: 89

References

News: n/a
Price ~$11.00
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Episode: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a

The cigars for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence this assessment