Cuchillos Cubanos

CuchillosCubanos

As the humidor slowly empties of my small supply of cigars from Casa Fernandez- Tabacalera Tropical, I still find myself gravitating  to the rich earthy flavor of Nicaraguan tobaccos. Cuchillos Cubanos are from the maker of Illusione and Cruzado cigars, Dion Giolito, and even though these were designed with economy in mind, they’re top-notch full-bodied smokes.

Giolito prefers narrower ring gauges to showcase the blends he likes, so these are all relatively small cigars, with the exception of the Churchill sized ~47~. This makes a lot of sense to me, because I think the real treasure here is the wrapper. This cigar utilizes an esoteric blend of long and medium filler, with a double binder to encourage good combustion. The wrapper is advertised as “silky grade A,”  secretly grown by a specially trained order of hermetic tabaqueros.  Or so I’ve heard. (Not really.)

They’re sold in convenient five packs (four for the ~47~) at an equally convenient price: around 18 USD per pack. Four sizes are in production:

  • ~40~  5 1/4 x 40
  • ~42~  4 3/4 x 42
  • ~46~  4 1/2 x 46
  • ~47~  7 x 47

I picked up a pack of the ~42~, which is almost a standard corona size, and smoked them up in short order.

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Construction Notes

All of the cigars in this line arrive unbanded and encased in an attractive Davidoff-style white box. The imperial double-headed eagle is an impressive touch, and a fitting statement for the cigars that lie within.

Despite the fact that the wrappers are billed as “silky grade A” they are actually pretty rustic looking: veiny and inconsistent in color. The cap is slapped on tightly without regard for aesthetics, and there is an occasional surface nick. But the roll is solid and the draw is good, and that is obviously what matters most here.

Overall good construction.

Tasting Notes

Cuchillo is Spanish for knife, and that is a good one-word summary of what this cigar has to offer. It starts up with earth, black pepper, and a long leathery finish. There is no preamble. It takes you by the collar and demands your attention without any introductory niceties. Within a few puffs it is clearly full-bodied and it doesn’t let up from there.

Along with the sharp spicy flavor on the palate there is a nice subtlety to the aroma. There is a little of the hickory smell that I look for in Giolito’s blends, but there’s also an earthy, bready quality that reminds a lot of the Cuban Fonseca KDT Cadetes.

This cigar doesn’t have much of a transition — it punches the accelerator and keeps it there. The sharp, bright, peppery tobacco flavors just keep pouring in. The finish remains lengthy and the leathery aftertaste lingers as the ash grows and flakes off into the ashtray.

I was reminded as I smoked this of what Jose Blanco once said about Cuban cigars — he said smoking Cuban tobacco was like getting a big mouthful of dirt. That’s what this cigar is like, except it’s much more expressive and powerful than most current production Cubans. The distinctive and highly desirable quality of Cuban tobacco is, for me, the aroma, and Cuchillos Cubanos emulates that very nicely. It should also be noted that the nicotine hit here is not inconsiderable. It may be small in stature, but this cigar sticks up for itself just fine.

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Conclusion

While the Cuchillos Cubanos can be a bit harsh on the throat at times and they’re not much to look at, they’re great economy smokes if you’re in the mood for a full-bodied Cuban-style cigar. They’re not as refined as the premium Illusione and Cruzado lines, but for less than four dollars a stick you won’t find this kind of flavor anywhere. Not that I’ve found anyway.

Final Score: 86

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