In 2014, Sosa Cigars began a celebration of its fifty years of operation. Sosa Cigars is a family run company that actually traces its cigar making roots back to the turn of the century where Don Juan Sosa was a small tobacco grower in the Taguasco region of Cuba. Don Juan eventually built his farm into one of the largest in Cuba. Eventually Don Juan’s son Arturo and grandson would start to manufacture cigars for sale in Cuba and overseas. In 1964, following the Cuban Revolution, Arturo and his son Juan would open its first factory in Miami, Florida, thus Sosa Cigars was born. While Juan is still involved with the company, his son, Arby Sosa is now at the helm of the family’s operation. With 2014 being the 50th anniversary of Sosa Cigars, Arby launched a series of projects to commemorate the occasion. One of those is a unique limited production cigar called the Sosa Half Century that utilizes a Mexican grown Cameroon seed wrapper. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Sosa Half Century. Overall I found this live up to expectations and delivering a unique and outstanding smoking experience.
The Sosa Half Century is just one cigar in the series of projects for Sosa’s 50th anniversary. These projects kicked off last year with the release of the Sosa 50th Anniversary cigar. The company has also went back to its roots, resurrecting and updating two older brands with the release of the Imperio Cubano Miami and recently announced Macabi USA lines. All of these releases have been small batch projects by Sosa Cigars.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Sosa Half Century and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned the unique feature of this cigar is the Mexican grown Cameroon seed wrapper. Arby Sosa told us at the 2015 Southern Cigar Festival that this was a wrapper uncovered by the Fuente family, and Arby’s father Juan Sosa got the opportunity to work with this cigar. Juan also is the factory manager at Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia and worked to develop the Half Century blend.
Wrapper: Mexican Cameroon Seed
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia)
The Sosa Half Century is available in one size – a 6 x 50 Toro. The cigar is packaged in 25 count boxes. There has been a total of 1,000 boxes (25,000 cigars) produced.
The Mexican grown Cameroon seed wrapper of the Sosa Half Century has a medium brown color to it. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling on the surface of the wrapper. There is a slight oily sheen on the wrapper, but the wrapper still has a slight sandy feel to it. There are also some thin visible veins, and thin visible seams on the surface of the wrapper.
The band to the Sosa Half Century is primarily brown with gold trim. The front of the band has an elongated shield design on the front. Just below the center of the shield is the text “HALF CENTURY” in large gold font. Below that is the text “4.50.70” (representing 4 generations, the company’s 50th anniversary, and 70 years of being involved in the cigar industry) in smaller gold font. Toward the top of the shield is a beige ribbon with a small brown and beige shield with the Sosa logo on it. On the left side of the ribbon is the text “Sosa” in small brown classic font. On the right side of the ribbon is the text “Family” – also in small brown classic font. On the left side of the band is the text “PREMIUM CIGAR” while on the right side is the text “HAND MADE” – both in small gold classic font.
Prior to lighting up the Sosa Half Century, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I started the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw yielded what was an interesting chocolate malt-like flavor. I didn’t pick up much in the way of spice on this cold draw. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the Sosa Half Century and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
Out of the gate, I picked up the chocolate malt notes I had detected on the pre-light draw. There was an inherent, but not overpowering sweetness to the chocolate malt notes. These notes along with some classic earth notes became primary out of the gate. Meanwhile, in the background I detected some slight citrus and cedar notes. The retro-hale also produced a subtle cedar spice.
During the early stages, I found the citrus notes increased and by the middle of the first third, I found they made their way into primary note status. The chocolate malt and citrus alternated as the dominant flavor. The earth notes remained constant in the forefront. Meanwhile a pepper component surfaced in the background joining the cedar notes. The pepper also joined the cedar on the retro-hale and contributed to making the retro-hale multi-dimensional.
As the Sosa Half Century moved through the second half, I found the chocolate malt notes started to decrease. By the final third, the citrus notes had also decreased. During this stage of the Sosa Half Century, I found it had more in the way of spice and earth, but there was still sweetness coming from the background notes of citrus and chocolate note. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The resulting nub as slightly lukewarm at the end, but still firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the burn of the Sosa Half Century to perform well. There was a slight incline in the burn line along the way, but this was something that was easily remedied with some touch-ups – and the number of touch-ups needed was not excessive. The burn path remained straight and the cigar did not tunnel nor canoe. The resulting ash was quite firm with a nice salt and pepper color. The ash came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn temperature was ideal. I did find this cigar to burn a bit fast, but this didn’t result in any adverse effects other than a shorter smoking time.
While the burn rate was a little rapid, I didn’t find this was because of a loose draw. I found this draw to be more open and effortless, thus making for a low maintenance cigar experience.
Strength and Body
When it came to strength and body, the Mexican grown Cameroon seed wrapper is a bit of a wildcard here – namely because I don’t have a baseline to compare it against anything else. With the Sosa Half Century, I found this to be a cigar that was a little dialed back when it came to strength and body. I found this cigar started out mild to medium in terms of strength and body. By the second half, I found both attributes had progressed to medium. Throughout the smoking experience I found an excellent balance between the strength and body.
Quietly, Sosa Cigars is having an excellent 2015. I’ve been widely impressed with the products coming from this company. With small batch being a “what’s hot” trend in the cigar industry, I recommend paying attention to what is coming from Sosa Cigars and its associated brands. The Half Century is very much a part of this great story with Sosa. This is a milder offering, but what I found is that the dialed back profile of this cigar worked perfectly with the flavor profile of this cigar. The Mexican grown Cameroon seed wrapper lived up to being something different as I found this delivered a very unique cigar experience. This is a great cigar for either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I look forward to smoking again. It’s one that is certainly worthy of a box purchase.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy