Berger and Argenti’s Entubar. It sort of sounds like a dicey place to get a flat fixed in Ensenada. But of course it isn’t, so allow me to parse the name a bit.
Berger and Argenti are the combined forces of Kiki Berger, the man behind Cuban Crafters Cigars, and the Argenti brothers, who brought us brand extensions such as Por Larranaga Cuban Grade and El Rey del Mundo Olvidados through their Cuban Imports company. In 2009 Berger and the Argentis together developed a new cigar that incorporates the traditional entubar method of rolling cigars, with a proprietary twist.
Entubar refers to the method whereby individual filler leaves are rolled into themselves to create very small “tubes” which are then bunched together in the standard manner. This is an old Cuban bunching style which is said to promote oxygen delivery, resulting in a more productive draw and an even burn. This method is not new, but it is not often employed because it’s very time consuming for the roller and calls for greater skill. But it boosts the quality of the cigar (and unfortunately, also the price.)
The twist in Berger and Argenti’s Entubar is the center ligero bunch that protrudes from the the foot for 3/8ths of an inch. This is actually bunched separately from the rest of the filler and is perfectly centered. This center “fuse” is composed of oily ligero from the the top of the tobacco plant — ligero provides power and concentrated flavor, but it does not burn well, which is why it is so important that it be correctly centered. This separate bunching process ensures that the cigar will burn evenly and develop a conical cinder.
The standard Entubar is wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf called “Desflorado,” a leaf that is used in some other Cuban Crafters cigars as well. The rest of the cigar, filler and binder, is Nicaraguan in origin, and the cigar is produced in Berger’s Tabacalera Esteli in Nicaragua. (A brand new box-pressed maduro version called “Entubar Quad Maduro” was just released at IPCPR a few weeks ago.)
The Entubar robusto looks sharp with a slightly oily colorado claro wrapper and it makes a solid impression in the hand. The shoulders are clean, the head is well integrated, and the cap is nicely triple-wound. The draw is easy to pull but not airy at all.
It burns evenly and at moderate speed; it may have been a little too fast, or I may have been enjoying this cigar a little too much. These things are all relative, you know. The only place I could fault the robusto is the ash, which was a little bit flaky on the perimeter. Otherwise the construction here was about as close to perfect as you can get. I think there may be something to this entubar technique after all.
Overall construction: Superb.
Carefully heeding the advice on the foot band, I thoroughly toasted the entire foot of the cigar as well as the protruding fuse, and was soon met with a mouthful of silky smooth smoke. The smoke texture is full in body, but with a docile temperament. The flavor is mild to medium in the first third, somewhat cedary, and a bit dry. The aroma is floral, but in a muted way that blends well with the woody component on the palate.
After an inch or two the flavor gets a little sweeter while remaining soft with a touch of earth or gunpowder. There is a hint of caramel on the nose, and the flavors are very well balanced.
The final stage tastes more typically Nicaraguan to me — it’s more intense with hard wood and a dash of black pepper. The caramel is joined by a powdering of cocoa. The flavor is good to the last inch or so, way past the point where I usually put down a cigar.
Berger and Argenti’s Entubar is one of the better cigars I’ve picked up this year, and after crunching the numbers it looks like it has every other cigar beat hands down in the construction department. An almost perfect construction score and a very respectable tasting score has it in the running for the year’s top ten best cigar list.
The only bad news about this cigar is that sometimes you get what you pay for, and in this case what you get to pay is around 9 USD per stick. In that price range I’d normally be looking for a heavier, more expressive cigar, but in this case smooth flavor and impeccable construction is worth the extra consideration.