Cienfuegos is a city and province on the southern coast of Cuba, about 150 miles east of Havana. It has been called “The Pearl of the South” after its magnificent bay, so it must be with some pride that Puros Indios named its new full-bodied blend Cienfuegos in 2003.
Literally, Cienfuegos means “one hundred fires,” which coincidentally was the number of re-lights needed to finish a cigar with an H2000 wrapper a few years back. (I am happy to report that the Ecuadorian H2000 on the Cienfuegos has nothing in common with that notoriously fireproof leaf.)
Puros Indios has a well founded reputation for consistently smooth and nutty mild-to-medium bodied cigars, whether it’s the PI Classic or the relatively newer Cuba Aliados. Cienfuegos is a departure from that. As Carlos Diez told Cigar Aficionado:
We wanted to make the strongest cigar we could without compromising the taste and the aroma. We take pride in our cigar’s aroma.
An argument could be made that aroma is in fact the most important characteristic of a smoldering bunch of tobacco, and it is something that Puros Indios does very well, even in its secondary Roly and Pirate’s Gold bargain smokes. Cienfuegos is no exception in this regard, primarily due to its use of an aged Ecuadorian Habana 2000 wrapper. The blend is balanced out with a binder from Nicaragua and Dominican filler.
The names of the various sizes build on the “100 fires” metaphor, calling up images of fire fighting (please, no more H2000 jokes!) :
- Blaze (toro)
- Hot Shot (belicoso)
- Rookie (torpedo)
- Engine No. 5 (robusto)
- Engine No. 6 (Gran corona)
- Engine No. 7 (Churchill)
After removing their cedar sleeves I found the Engine No. 6 long coronas had a rough and dry colorado maduro wrapper — though admittedly more colorado than maduro. It’s mottled and ruddy, almost rust colored. The construction of both samples was excellent, starting with a clean cut and an easy draw.
The Cienfuegos opens up with a rich cedary flavor with some sweet overtones. The wrapper is a little finicky– these probably need to be stored at 70%, whereas I keep my humidor around 65% — but there are absolutely no burn problems. From start to finish these had a relatively straight burn line and required no special attention.
The middle third introduces a little more heft and a touch of pepper. The base flavor is still very woody and the body grows to a solid medium. It’s satisfying without taking me to the mat. The final segment sticks to the program with a mellow and smooth smoke reminiscent of juniper burning in the fireplace. This would be a great cigar to fire up on a cool autumn evening.
The finish is short with a pleasantly mild aftertaste up to the last third where the finish grows a bit longer and the aftertaste gets a little muddy — earth, paper, and a stranger I can’t identify. Aside from this slightly funky finale, the only thing that would prevent me from running out and grabbing a few boxes right now is the price: $150 per box is the best price I could find, and this is a considerable discount off the retail price. Luckily you can usually get a good deal on these if you want to take a stab at the auction sites. If you can get the price under four or five bucks a stick you’re getting a great cigar for the money.