Today, we appraise the Cuba Aliados Original Blend. Two years ago, Oliva Cigar Company made a surprising move when it acquired three Honduran brands from the family of the late Rolando Reyes Sr: Cuba Aliados, Puros Indios, and Roly. When Oliva was ready to roll out the first wave of Cuba Aliados under its stewardship, another surprising announcement came – namely that Oliva would be turn to two third-party factories to handle production. The factories are Julio R. Eiroa’s Fabrica de Puros Aladino S.A. in Honduras (to create a regular production cigar line called Cuba Aliados Original Blend), and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic (to produce a limited edition cigar line called Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo). Today’s focus will be on the Cuba Aliados Original Blend in the Robusto format.
While it might seem like Oliva made a radical decision to have the production handled for Cuba Aliados, there was good reason for it. The name “Aliados” is Spanish for “Allies” – and in this case, Oliva aligned themselves with two “captains of industry,” Julio R. Eiroa and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., to produce these cigars. There is a deeper underlying connection as to why these people were chosen. They were a part of the journey of Rolando Reyes Sr., who founded the brand. When Reyes’ Los Aliados factory in Cuba was nationalized, he first went to New Jersey and then Miami. Down in Miami, he met Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. while he was rolling cigars there. Eventually, labor costs induced Reyes to move his production to Honduras. He had met Julio R. Eiroa, where he procured tobacco from him to make his brands.
For now, let’s break down the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Cuba Aliados Original Blend is a regular production Honduran puro, which is said to mimic the original recipe for the blend. Specifics of the seed varietals have not been disclosed.
Country of Origin: Honduras
Factory: Fabrica de Puros Aladino S.A.
The cigar is offered in five sizes – each presented in 20-count boxes. These are the same sizes offered in the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo line.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Torpedo: 6 x 54
Re-Gordo: 6 x 60
Churchill: 7 x 50
The Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto had what I would describe as a “light-colored” rosado. There was a light sheen of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper seemed to have what I would consider a significant amount of visible veins.
Before lighting up the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto, a straight cut was used to remove the cigar cap. Once the cap was detached, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered sweet raisin notes, natural tobacco, and cedar. I usually do not like raisin notes in a cigar, but this raisin sweetness worked perfectly, helping to deliver an excellent pre-light draw experience.
The Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto opened up with more notes of sweet raisin, natural tobacco cedar, and bread notes. There was no dominant note through the early stages, but by the middle of the first third, the raisin and bread notes emerged in the forefront. The cedar and natural tobacco settled in the background, joined by some white pepper notes. The retro-hale delivered notes of wood and an additional layer of white pepper.
During the second third of the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto, the bread notes remained grounded in the forefront. There was a decrease in the raisin sweetness and an increase in both the white pepper and natural tobacco. Later, in the second third, the natural tobacco displaced the raisin notes, pushing them into the background.
The final third saw the natural tobacco and bread notes remain in the forefront, with the raisin, pepper, and cedar notes in the background. The pepper was now the most prominent of the secondary notes. This is how the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto needed frequent touch-ups to stay on track. The burn line was jagged, and on each sample, the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto tended to meander off the burn path. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, and some minor flaking was present. This ash was mainly light gray with a few dark spots. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto was open. I usually prefer a little more in the way of resistance on the draw. In the end, this didn’t result in any adverse smoking experiences.
Strength and Body
Throughout the smoking experience, the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto delivered a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoking experience. There was a slight increase in the intensity of the body in the second half. In the end, when it came to strength versus body, the body maintained an edge.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
Back when I assessed the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo, I noted how Oliva seems to want to keep Cuba Aliados very separate from the rest of the brands. This is seen on the packaging in that the Oliva name and Oliva logo do not appear on the bands of the Cuba Aliados. In addition, at the 2023 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, the Cuba Aliados booth was separate from (but still adjacent to) the Oliva booth. Ultimately, I think it helps Cuba Aliados as a brand to stand out.
On the other hand, the band does incorporate the Oliva brown and gold colors for the Cuba Aliados name – which I found to be a nice touch on the band. I did not like the use of the red on this band. To me, it was too much and did not mesh well with the wrapper.
Much like the Ernesto Perez-Carrillo release, I really liked the boxes. They are beautiful – especially the inside vista graphic.
Interestingly, the Cuba Aliados Original Blend Robusto scored the same (88) as the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo. These are two very different cigars that delivered very different cigar experiences. To me, the Original Blend did much better flavorwise, while the Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo did better in complexity and construction. Ultimately, it was no contest – I’d reach for the Original Blend. On top of that, I’m inclined to try some of the other sizes of the Original Blend. In the end, the $10.00 price point is attractive for me to buy this cigar again – and recommend it to any cigar enthusiast in the future.
Key Flavors: Bread, Raisin, Natural Tobacco, Cedar, White Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Oliva Cigar Company Announces Relaunched Cuba Aliados
Brand Reference: Cuba Aliados
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop