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Stogie Reviews: Guantanamera Compay (Cuban)

12 Jul 2007

Here at StogieGuys.com, we don’t get to review many Cuban cigars. So while we plan to change that shortly, I jumped at the chance to smoke the Guantanameras a friend was nice enough to gift me after his overseas trip.

The brand is named for the famous Cuban song of the same name which means “girl from Guantánamo.” Guantanameras have a reputation for their mild flavors and inexpensive prices.

The Compay is a small vitola (four and ¾ inches by 40 ring gauge) that comes in boxes of ten for about $25 American. With a crumpled, wrinkly wrapper, even a novice stogie enthusiast can tell it’s machine-made.

Exposed behind sealed cellophane, the interesting, cedar-colored band makes no secret of Guantanamera’s forbidden origin. The head comes pre-cut, and the small foot is easy to light with just one wooden match.

The taste is very mild and a bit papery right out of the gate. This was somewhat of a disappointment to me because the tobacco – grown in the Vuelta Arriba region of Cuba – radiated rich earthy aromas once I peeled away the cellophane.

At the midway point, a clove-tasting spice introduces itself, and this adds some much needed flavor. Then the papery taste gives way to notes of leather. For me, these changes were too little too late.

While the burn and draw are just fine, the ash is about what you’d expect from a machine-made stick: flakey and unstable. This characteristic, coupled with the cigar’s rustic appearance, made me thing of Altadis’ Backwoods.

When it’s all said and done, this 45 minute smoke just doesn’t amount to much. I’ve heard Guantanameras are popular with American tourists who don’t want to waste money on pricey Cubans just to have them confiscated by customs upon their return home, but I’d rather take a chance on something decent.

So even though I tried to review this cigar on its merits as an inexpensive, machine-made Cuban, I can’t give the Guantanamera Compay anything better than a sub-par two out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

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Drew Estate

7 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Guantanamera Compay (Cuban)”

  1. sungrown Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 6:45 am #

    Guantanamera is impossible to review after having just one. I've had dozens of these cigars, and couldn't tell you how many different smoking experiences I've received from this brand. It's machine made, with short filler. As you know, many short filler cigars are not blended, they are simply made with whatever is available. So, the one cigar may taste very different from the next. I've had some that were very good, and some that were very bad. Each smoked quickly, and burned very hot towards the end -a common characteristic among thin, short filler cigars. But, these can be had for as low as $36 for a box of 25, or $40 for a box of 30…making it an affordable smoke if you're not too picky.

  2. Patrick A Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 7:53 am #

    Sungrown,

    Thank you for your comment. It’s worth noting that my review is based on three Compays that were all very similar – but they were from the same box.

    I suppose it’s entirely possible for someone to have the same cigar and come away with a completely different experience. That would be due to the inconsistencies you mentioned. The three I had, however, were all consistently poor.

    As you point out, though, they are cheap. I suppose a new cigar enthusiast on a budget could find Guantanamera to be a decent introduction to Cuban tobacco.

  3. Jerome L Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 10:47 am #

    I like reading your Cuban reviews, even if I can’t get my hands on any of the cigars. I guess I want to know what I’m missing — which, in this case, doesn’t sound like much.

  4. furious Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 9:53 am #

    I would really like to be introduced to some fine Cuban tobacco. Damn that embargo!

  5. matthew cortez Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 5:12 pm #

    I ALWAYS WANT WHAT I CANT HAVE!

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