After smoking an impeccable Dominican cigar – the PerfecXion X – Fuente’s top brand, I felt honor bound to contrast that smoke against a Cuban product so last night I fired up a figurado (6.5” X 54, or thereabouts) by San Cristobal de la Cabana.
The cigar started up rough and burned unevenly for about the first 1.5”. At first it cast off a nasty gray-black smoke. The draw was light but unproductive and the taste was like that of tobacco that had first been mixed with the fallen leaves from autumnal trees. Certainly not what I expected.
But the reality is that the Cubans even given the advantage of their great soil, perfect climate, and top-notch rollers still manage to wrestle with quality control problems like everyone else. Like I explained in my last post about the PerfecXion X, sometimes shit happens; a box of 20 reputably good cigars can have one or more duds.
But I kept at this cigar, I certainly wasn’t going to give up on Cuban. And the perseverance paid off. By mid-cigar there had been enough oil pulled in to where it smoked like a first rate cigar exhibiting all those wonderfully chewy Cuban characteristics. The sweet spot lasted for about an inch and then the taste turned bitter for another inch before finally leveling out and returning back to the sweet spot to where I smoked it down to where it was burning my fingers. The last couple of inches delivered a 100% full taste experience.
So yeah, like so many cigars this one was a slightly lopsided smoke but I respectfully acknowledge that it finished on a true note.
For the record, given a choice in a world where many cigars are not equally balanced, I would much rather have a cigar start out bad and end good. Compare this to some cigars which are so flawed you just know at some point you’re going to have to put it down like a bad dog. But thankfully this wasn’t one of them.