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Stogie Commentary: We Smoke ’Em So You Don’t Have To (Part II)

10 Apr 2007

The good news about the Havana Blend Maduro is that it didn’t make me sick. In that category, it wasn’t even in the same league as the Dutch Masters I reviewed in the first installment of this series on truly low-cost sticks. On the other hand, if I had to smoke many of these cigars, I’d probably take up a pastime that offered a better chance for enjoyment like dodging buses.

Havana BlendPerhaps the most prominent feature of this five inch by 43 ring gauge Coronado is the cap. It appears to have been applied by a torcedor wearing oven mitts. It was so sloppy and misshapen that it made the rough, lumpy wrapper seem not so bad by comparison. On the plus side, though, the cigar clipped just fine, the draw wasn’t bad, and the volume of smoke was surprisingly full.

For the first half, that smoke was harsh and bitter, though that diminished as the cigar burned down. Then, I was left with little but an acrid coating on my mouth and tongue.

The Havana Blend from Finck Cigar Co. in Texas is said to contain “authentic Cuban tobacco, planted, grown, harvested, and cured in Cuba.” The catalog even provides supporting evidence by way of a black and white 1959 photo of Ed Finck buying tobacco in Cuba.

I have no reason to think Finck isn’t telling the truth about the tobacco. Splitting the cigar revealed what seemed to be short filler (the catalog copy doesn’t mention long filler or hand-made), and a piece or two could easily have been mixed in with what the company described as “Central American fillers carefully combined with Cuban filler…”

Via the box or five-pack, none of the eight sizes of Maduro or four sizes of the Connecticut shade cost as much as $2 a stick, which is what I paid for mine.

The cigar burned erratically and got hot rather quickly. And the taste was difficult to isolate and evaluate. I think the best way to get an idea of it would be to imagine tobacco soaked in stump water and air dried before rolling.

Coming next in my series on Super Cheapies: Alcazar No. 4 Maduro ($2.75).

[To read Part I of George’s series on cheap cigars, please click here.]

George E

Tags: cigars

7 Responses to “Stogie Commentary: We Smoke ’Em So You Don’t Have To (Part II)”

  1. Cigar Jack Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 10:39 am #

    I was going to review Phillies and While Owls on my site, but after hearing your issues with this cigar and the dutch master I'm scared!

  2. Padronnie Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 12:00 pm #

    At least it's better than the dutchie!

  3. ER Doc Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 3:57 pm #

    Thanks, George, for doing this series. Whenever I'm at the supermarket and see the "boxes" of cigars behind the checkout counter (e.g., DutchMasters, Black & Mild, etc…), I think "boy, that would sure be a lot cheaper – and it's certainly more convenient than my local B&M"! But, reading these reviews remind me that there is a reason I have a humidor and smoking quality stogies is all worth it.

    Thanks for taking one (or some) for the team!!

  4. Sanjaya Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 3:58 pm #

    George, you've reviewd some pretty disgusting cigars in this series. I'm wondering (and others can feel free to chime in as well) what's the worst cigar you've ever smoked?

    The ABSOLUTE worst…

  5. George E Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 5:31 pm #

    Hands down, I'd say that Dutch Masters was the worst. Among those that aren't sold by the "box," I think the worst I've had was a Professor Sila. The taste reminded me of grass clippings that had been aged in a backyard compost heap.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Stogie Commentary: We Smoke ’Em So You Don’t Have To (Part IV) - Monday, May 7, 2007

    […] [Please click the following links to read Part I, Part II, or Part III of this series.] […]

  2. Stogie Commentary: We Smoke ’Em So You Don’t Have To (Part V) - Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    […] [Please click the following links to read Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV of this series.] […]