Brand Owner: Peter Hassell Johnson – West Hollywood, CA
Factory: Tabacalera Cubana, S. A. (TACUBA) – Esteli, Nicaragua
Factory: Quality Control – El Rey de los Habanos – Miami, FL
Model/Vitola: Cabaiguan Guapo – Limited Edition
Size: 5.625 x 54 (robusto grande)
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut – Sun Grown
Filler & Binder: Nicaragua
Original Cabaiguan vitola sizes available:
- Petite Cabaiguan 4.5 x 32 (small panatela)
- Robustos Extra 5.25 x 50 (robusto)
- Belicosos Finos 5.5 x 52 (torpedo)
- Coronas Extra 5.625 x 46 (grand corona)
- Imperiales 7.0 x 47 (churchill)
The Guapo is the only “Sun Grown” size offered. It comes in cedar boxes of 20 without cellophane sleeves in a bunch surrounded by a grey satin ribbon and then wrapped in wax paper. The original Cabaiguans are packaged 24 to a box except the Petite which comes in boxes of 50.
The Guapo Experiment
I believe all Pepin fans are quite amazed at the number of cigars he is involved with either directly, as the brand owner himself or for other brand owners. Especially since he has only been at it for about 5 years after leaving Cuba. Pepin’s initial operation established in Miami has been quickly outgrown (discussed in the Serie JJ review) and as Pepin’s business partner and tobacco supplier, Eduardo Fernandez, hails from Nicaragua, it was only natural to set up the next facility there.The success of Tatuaje and Cabaiguan had a major impact on the decision to branch out. Consistency and quality are paramount to any real cigar success and I’m sure Pete Johnson, owner of those brands, enjoyed the control a small operation affords. But then there is the continuing need to create new and exciting products. To facilitate expansion, Pete and Don Pepin decided some production must move to Tabacalera Cubana, S.A. (TACUBA) but it would be necessary to test quality and consistency. Thus the Cabaiguan Guapo experiment was initiated. A limited-edition run of 50,000 cigars “totalamente hecho en TACUBA” and with quality control conducted at El Rey de los Habanos (ERDLH) in Miami. The Cabaiguan Guapo was the chosen guinea pig.
Cabaiguan Guapo (kah-bei-gWAHN goo-ah-poe)
The Cabaiguan brand is named after the purported Cuban home town of Maestro Tobaquero Don “Pepin” Garcia. Cabaiguan is the capital city in the municipality, of the same name, within the province of Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. The Guapo — Spanish for “handsome” — is a regular Cabaiguan on the inside with an Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper on the outside. Larger in ring gauge (54) than the others yielding some blending room. Unlike the original, it was rolled with a pigtail cap. It was pre-released to the market in September just before RTDA 2007.
Both Cigarfan and Lucky7 have sampled the Cabaiguan Guapo and the following review represents a combination of our observations.
Bottom line up front …..
The Guapo is definitely a little stronger than the original Cabaiguan but not by much. Probably a little strong for a breakfast cigar but certainly good any other time of day. Medium body with interesting flavor development through the first half and great aroma. Good construction yielding a beauty to look at as well as good draw and burn. Just a little pricey at $11 but a very good smoke.
This cigar is quite the looker. It sports a smooth milk chocolate brown wrapper with a few veins and an abbreviated pigtail triple-cap just begging to be clipped. Construction is solid with no soft spots and it feels very nice in the hand. Aroma from the wrap is almost non-existent and the foot a grassy tobacco. Pre-light draw was fantastic with just the slightest resistance and a sweet tobacco taste. The aroma from the toasting foot really gets the juices flowing. Lucky7 tried both straight cut with a Xikar and a punch. The punch seemed to limit the ensuing heat towards the nub a little better.
The Smoking Experience
Starts with a little bite then smoothes out quickly to a creamy base of toasty wood and bread with some spice and pepper on the nose. The wrapper imparts more spice than the regular Cabaiguan. Some notes of caramel and vanilla are evident in the first half. Second third ushers in a slight coffee flavor and the peppery edge on the nose subsides. Flavors leveled off at the halfway mark to a creamy sweet tobacco and remained that way to the nub without much additional development. Still a very pleasant smoke.The draw remained fantastic throughout. Burn line was a little bumpy at times but didn’t require the torch. Moderate volumes of smoke remain cool until the last third where it begins to heat up a bit. The ash is a medium gray and holds very well but flakes a bit. Initial ash nearly made the halfway mark and the rest made the nub. As an experiment Lucky7 tried ashing a Guapo every inch or so which seemed to improve flavor development.
Finish is medium in length with a light grassy aftertaste and it gets a little more toasty in the last third. Not much of a nicotine kick evident in this stick. Very easy going. Smoking time ran about an hour 15 minutes.
Our take …..
Lucky7: A very nice easy going smoke. It made for a successful experiment IMO. Quality and consistency were very good. Think it is probably a little too expensive at $11. Pepin makes some $6-$7 medium-bodied sticks that I would select over this one.
Cigarfan: The Tatuaje family resemblance is clearly evident in this Cabaiguan, but it’s also very distinct from its cousins. Not as powerful, but still very distinguished. To start with, it’s a beautifully constructed stick: solid with a velvety texture, though the wrapper looks light for a sungrown leaf. The burn throughout was good; overall this cigar exhibits very good construction. The flavors and aroma are everything we expect from Pepin and Tatuaje: lots of complexity, starting with his signature spicy opening. Later on we are treated to some interesting citrus flavors (which I always read about but rarely experience in a cigar) and varying shades of cocoa. I found a nice sweet maltiness in the last third. The underlying flavor is a mild woodiness that keeps an even steady beat without ever taking over, preferring to let the accents play the tune. Blending a mildish Ecuador Connecticut Shade with a toned-down version of the Tatuaje blend is an intriguing experiment. My suggestion is for everyone to sign up for guinea pig status. ASAP.
MSRP is $11 per stick. Best online price at the moment is Smoke Inn at $179.95/20 or $9 per stick. At Jack Schwartz Importers you can also buy singles for $10.25. This is a limited edition cigar so if you want to try one and can find them. Now’s the time.
Like it … Yes
Buy it again … Probably not
Recommend it … At least for a try
What others are saying about the Cabaiguan Guapo …..
… cigarfan & lucky7
“It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep,and never to refrain when awake.” (Mark Twain)