27 Sep 2007
With Monday’s El Rey del Mundo and yesterday’s Ashton, this week has featured some truly great cigars. I wanted to keep that trend going when I picked out a Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown for today’s review.
Surprisingly, we haven’t written much about this brand, save for a February Quick Smoke of a Centenario. Cuesta-Rey got its start back in Cuba in 1884 under Angel La Madrid Cuesta and is now part of the “Cigar Family” that includes Arturo Fuente and Montesino.
At six and ¼ inches with a 52 ring gauge, the Centro Fino No. 9 is a large, torpedo-shaped cigar with some striking aesthetics. The Sumatra-seed Ecuadorian sungrown wrapper is quite nice, despite a few small tears and some discoloration. While I like the classic, portrait-style look of the double band, I had to remove the top half before lighting up because it was too close to the head.
With a few wooden matches, I had an even burn and immediately encountered an interesting and unique flavor of sweet hay and spicy graham – very similar to the first puffs of the Davidoff Grand Cru series (which isn’t at all bad). The Dominican Republic filler tobaccos are airy and mild, and an earthy base of tea adds some complexity at the halfway mark.
My only complaint on flavor is that traces of sour, stale notes rear their ugly head from time to time, mostly towards the very end. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what this taste is, but I know it’s unpleasant. Fortunately, it doesn’t linger too long, and I found you can help avoid it by smoking slowly.
The physical properties of this cigar are fair. The burn is pretty damn straight (but may require a few touch-ups), the draw is quite loose, and – despite some flakiness – the ash holds pretty well.
Overall, my mild- to medium-bodied smoking experience was enjoyable. The flavor is well-balanced, but the sweet hay notes are what I’ll remember most. In the $5 to $7 range, the Cuesta-Rey Centro Fino Sungrown No. 9 deserves three out of five stogies.
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