Sabor Cubano is a product of La Tradicion Cubana, owned and operated by Luis Sanchez in Miami’s Little Havana. Sanchez comes from a family with roots in Cuba’s pre-revolutionary cigar industry, and his tabaqueros are veterans of Havana’s galeras, some with more than twenty years experience rolling cigars in the traditional Cuban fashion.
La Tradicion Cubana got its start in 1995 using blends that were inspired by Sanchez’s grandfather. Sabor Cubano — La Tradicion’s maduro entry — was first released in 1997.
Sanchez is obviously very proud of the maduro used in this blend, repeatedly noting (on La Tradicion’s website and elsewhere) that the wrapper is processed in an entirely natural fashion. (Some of the maduro cigars I’ve smoked recently have made me wonder, like Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, “How much more black could it be? And the answer is… None. None more black.” And while these cigars haven’t stained my lips or fingers, they have raised some suspicions… but I digress.)
The maduro wrapper employed here is from Mexico’s San Andres valley. By the time it is used in the Sabor Cubano it has been aged for five years, and is accompanied by a binder from Ecuador, and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. La Tradicion makes some huge cigars; the standard La Tradicion line includes a gigantic pyramid that comes in at 8 1/2 inches by 80 ring gauge, and they are also the makers of The Big One, perhaps the largest cigar made for non-Guinness breaking purposes. It measures 12 inches long by a whopping 192 ring gauge. Wow.
At only 5 inches by 54, the Petite Torpedo is a veritable dwarf by comparison. The wrapper is not quite oscuro, but most definitely maduro. It has a rough texture, glistens with oil, and prelight the scent is bright and grassy. It smells very much like the few fresh rolled cigars I’ve had the pleasure to smoke. After snipping the tip I found a perfect prelight draw and a touch of pepper on the tongue.
This little guy smokes like a champ. Trails of white smoke wisp from the head of the cigar after every puff. I love that. It doesn’t burn perfectly evenly (what maduro does?) but otherwise I’m very impressed with the construction here. It starts up with a peppery flavor that has a slight bite to it without being truly sharp. The texture of the smoke is smooth and rich, and the aroma is sweet with woody spices.
I’d characterize this cigar as medium in both body and strength. It’s full flavored, but with a short finish and little aftertaste. What really sends me over the edge is the aroma from the wrapper — it’s far more complex than the last two double maduros I’ve reviewed. There’s a bit of char towards the end of the cigar, which is what typified the MX2 and the SLR Serie G, but the Sabor Cubano offers the sweetness of maduro without that carbonized flavor overtaking the softer notes. It’s a more balanced aroma, and in my opinion, a superior smoke overall.
La Tradicion is a boutique brand, but their prices don’t reflect that. Boxes of the Petite Torpedo go for around 75 dollars — well worth it; in fact I’d call that a steal. With a recent expansion to the Dominican Republic the company may be looking to go big, which puts fear into my stogie loving soul. I have a few other blends from the Calle Ocho shop to try, and if they’re as good as the Sabor Cubano I’m going to be eying a certain closet in my house for its humidor potential.