16 Apr 2008
I wanted to be one of first to review this new Honduran-rolled boutique cigar, so please bear in mind that I only smoked one Isla de Cuba Classic Belicoso for this review. Based on the experience, though, I’m looking forward to trying more.
The Isla de Cuba Group is a Tampa-based manufacturer that was launched in February to bring old Havana favorites back to the U.S. market. With Classic and Aged Maduro lines (five vitolas each), President Darryl Lieser says the “brand is based on the legendary 1956 Montecristo No. 3.” You’ll probably be able to read more about that claim once the full Isla de Cuba website is up and running.
The 6.12 inch by 52 ring gauge Classic Belicoso boasts a beautiful Connecticut Ecuadorian wrapper with a light yellow hue and few veins. The portrait-style band is nostalgic and beckoning, and the cigar is fairly firm to the touch. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but I noticed a slight trumpet-like shape (a feature that’s much more pronounced in stogies like the Puros Piramide).
To its credit, the similarities between the Classic Belicoso and the Puros Piramide end there. Toasting the foot sets the tone with an agreeable floral aroma. The first few puffs are surprisingly spicy as the Nicaraguan and Dominican binder and filler tobaccos start to work their magic. Sweet hay and jasmine move to the forefront until the halfway mark, which is milder and characterized by notes of butter and almond. The culmination of this 100-minute smoke sees a return to the initial spice.
My draw was a bit tight so, after ten minutes of smoking, I re-clipped the head further than I do most torpedo-shaped sticks. It opened right up. The burn is set-it-and-forget-it straight with a wonderful mascara sheen, and the ash holds for about an inch.
You can find these at JR for $151.95 per box of 25. I think that’s a pretty fair price for well-built mild- to medium-bodied cigar with a delicious flavor profile and an all-around quality feel. I give the Isla de Cuba Classic Belicoso four out of five stogies.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys