Berger and Argenti Clasico Rothschild

Berger & Argenti snapped up the number two spot on our Best Cigars of 2010 list with their Entubar, a fantastic and odd-looking cigar with a filler “fuse” that extends from the foot of the stick. The Clasico bears some similarity to that dynamite smoke, starting with the Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut-seed wrapper called “desflorado.”  The binder is a Nicaraguan corojo and the filler is harvested locally in Esteli, Nicaragua, where the cigar is made.

Entubar was designed to be a cutting-edge cigar, and as such it carries a premium price. Clasico, on the other hand, was envisioned to be a “cubanesque” cigar available widely at a more affordable price. The unassuming presentation and simple band on this cigar are true to the “classic” vision, and the fact that I was able to  find these at my local cigar haunt demonstrates the success of their distribution strategy. Now to test this “cubanesque” allegation.

Clasico is produced in four sizes:

  • Rothschild – 5 x 50
  • Corona Gorda – 4 1/2 x 46
  • Belicoso – 5 3/4 x 50
  • Churchill – 7 x 50

Construction Notes

The Clasico Rothschild has the sleek and smooth look that Connecticut wrapper imparts, but the color is a darker golden brown than what is usually found on shade wrapper. The head of the cigar is nicely formed and topped with a classic Cuban-style cap that shears away cleanly. The roll has a little give to it, but the draw is perfect and it burns evenly to the band. The only issue I had was the delicacy of the wrapper, which apparently does not agree with the dry desert heat. There was a small amount of cracking which I fully attribute to atmospheric conditions and not the design of the cigar.

Overall construction: Excellent.

Tasting Notes

The Clasico Rothschild opens boldly with pepper on the palate and a toasty aroma. The spice dies down after an inch or so and earthy flavors emerge on the tongue, while the aroma continues to provide a bready element that is characteristic of many Cuban cigars. The smoke texture is creamy, and at the mid-point of the cigar there is a note of sweet cream on the nose which matches the texture quite nicely.

The base flavor of earth is masked by pepper for the first inch or so, but after that point it takes the reins and drives the cigar home. Meanwhile, the toasty notes in the aroma become sweeter and are replaced by Spanish cedar. Pepper makes an encore appearance in the last scene before the curtain drops.


Berger and Argenti have another success on their hands, and it’s nice to see that affordability was part of their vision for this cigar. The Clasico blend does indeed have a Cuban flair — the earthy base and sweet notes of bread and cedar are, to me anyway, very similar to what can be found in many classic Cuban cigars.

The Clasico Rothschild is a medium-bodied cigar with great construction, a moderate amount of complexity, and at around 5 USD per stick it’s a fantastic deal.

Final Score: 90

Berger & Argenti Entubar Robusto

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.)

Construction Notes

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.

Tasting Notes

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.

Final Score: 92