For many years, Luis Cuevas Sr. has operated his Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L. in the Dominican Republic. A little over a decade ago, Cuevas Sr. created a cigar called the Cuevas Reserva. At that time, Cuevas Sr. faced a huge dilemma – either invest in the time and resources needed to introduce his own brand or focus on the family’s factory operation in the Dominican Republic where he was making cigars for other people. Cuevas Sr. made the decision to focus on his factory. Fast forward to last year, and by this time the Cuevas family had established its own brand, Casa Cuevas Cigars, and decided the time was now to release the Cuevas Reserva line. Cuevas Reserva comes in two blends: Maduro (San Andres Maduro) and Natural (Connecticut Shade). Today we take a look at the Cuevas Reserva Natural in the Robusto size.
Casa Cuevas Cigars is a family run company highlighted by the father and son team of Luis Cuevas Sr. and Luis Cuevas Jr. As mentioned, the Cuevas family operates the Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L. Factory. Over the years, the factory has produced cigars for many leading manufacturers such as Toraño, Leccia Tobacco, and Gurkha. Luis Jr. handles the company’s distribution operations in the U.S. and also works with his father at the Las Lavas factory. Luis Jr.’s son Alec Cuevas is now involved in the family business serving as the company’s Director of Operations.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Cuevas Reserva Natural consists of an Ecuadorian Connecticut-seed wrapper, a Havana binder, and a combination of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and U.S. tobaccos.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, and U.S.
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L..
The Cuevas Reserva Natural comes in three sizes. These sizes are the same as what is offered on the Cuevas Reserva Maduro line. Each size is presented in a 20-count box.
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 50
Torpedo: 6 1/4 X 52
The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper of the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto had a butterscotch color to it. There was a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper. This was a relatively smooth wrapper surface as any visible veins and visible wrapper seams were on the thin side.
The band to the Cuevas Reserva Natural is the same one found on the Maduro. This is a band with has a blue background with white trim. On the center of the band is the text “CUEVAS” in a large silver font. Below that text is the text “FAMILIA TABACALERA DESDE 1890” in a small white font. Sitting below that text is the text “RESERVA” in a large silver font. There are some silver adornments on the band including four silver medallions on both the left and right side of the band. The lower part of the band represents a pseudo secondary band and is divided by a white stripe from the rest of the band. On the center of the lower portion of the band is the text “DOMINICAN SELECTION” in silver font.
Prior to lighting up the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The cold draw had notes of a sweet buttery cream along with some cedar and classic wood. Overall this was an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto started out with notes of cream, citrus, wood, earth, and chestnut. Early on the cream and citrus notes became primary. The wood, earth, and chestnut notes settled in the background. As the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto moved through the first third, there also were some black pepper notes that surfaced on the tongue. During this stage, the retro-hale had notes of cedar and citrus on it.
When the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto reached the second third, the citrus notes started to recede and the wood notes increased. Just before the midway point, the wood notes joined the cream in the forefront. The citrus settled with the earth and chestnut notes in the background. The black pepper slowly increased on the tongue – and also became present on the retro-hale.
By the last third, the wood notes remained grounded in the forefront. The pepper notes were now a close secondary. The remaining notes of cream, earth, citrus, and chestnut still rounded out the profile and kept things interesting. This is the way the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto did maintain a straight burn path, at times the burn was a little uneven and a little ugly. There were some touch-ups along the way. On the average of the three smokes I had, it was slightly above the normal amount that I would want on a cigar. The resulting ash had mixed shades of gray. This was an ash that was on the firm side. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto performed extremely well. This is a draw that had a touch of resistance to it – and as I’ve stated in many assessments, this is ideal for me. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto was a bolder cigar than Casa Cuevas’ other Connecticut Cigar, the Casa Cuevas Connecticut. This was a cigar that was medium in strength and body. There was a slight increase in the intensity level of both attributes, but in the end, the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto stayed in the medium range.
In terms of strength versus body, both the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
Today the rise of the “boutique” or “small production” cigar brands has become trendy. If you are really looking for a player in this area, Casa Cuevas is as good a brand that is out there. This is a company that is producing hit after hit out of their own factory – bringing some excellent blends to market. The Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto is another one. As mentioned, I found this cigar bolder than the Casa Cuevas Connecticut – and its a nice complementary offering in the portfolio. The intensity level of the strength and body wasn’t overpowering but seemed to be at the right level to showcase the flavors.
Even though it’s slightly bolder than a traditional Connecticut, I would still recommend the Cuevas Reserva Natural Robusto to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, I would smoke this again – and it’s one that garners box worthy consideration.
Key Flavors: Cream, Citrus, Wood, Earth, Black Pepper, Chestnut
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Assessment: Box Worthy Consideration
News: Casa Cuevas Cigars to Release Cuevas Reserva at 2019 IPCPR Trade Show
Source: Casa Cuevas
Brand Reference: Casa Cuevas
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop