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Stogie Reviews: Juan Lopez Selección No. 1 (Cuban)

24 Jun 2010

Cohiba. Montecristo. Romeo y Julieta. Hoyo de Monterrey. These and a few others are the brands most think of as quintessential Cuban cigars. Beyond the familiar names and recognizable logos, however, Castro’s communist isle still has plenty of other cigars to explore.

For instance, it would be a great disservice to your taste buds—and indeed your wallet—to ignore Juan Lopez. This brand continues to fly under the radar despite a loyal following of cigar enthusiasts who appreciate its consistency, quality, and relatively affordable price tag.

Juan Lopez was born when a Spanish businessman named Juan Lopez Diaz established the Flor de Juan Lopez factory in 1876. He was intent to make his fortune in the Cuban tobacco trade. It wasn’t long until he died, however, and his cigar operation passed on to his kin before it was eventually swallowed up by the Cuban government.

Today, Juan Lopez cigars are handmade in the west-central Cuban town of Guira de Melena with Vuelta Abajo tobacco and long-filler leaves. Production is limited. Juan Lopez fans point out that the brand occasionally disappears from the market, supposedly due to high quality control standards.

Those standards were apparent in the physical attributes of the six Juan Lopez cigars I smoked for this review. Sampled in the Selección No. 1 (5.6 x 42) format, they featured well-applied triple caps, a firm feel, and a pre-light scent of graham cracker. Each demonstrated a clear cold draw.

I was pleased to find that the graham cracker aroma carries over to the flavor. Remember eating Golden Grahams for breakfast as a kid? Well, if that General Mills product were a cigar instead of a square-shaped cereal, it would be a Juan Lopez. The rich, fluffy smoke tastes a lot like brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Light and delicious.

But there’s more to the Selección No. 1’s profile. Its sweetness is offset by an earthy, woodsy core, and there’s also some creaminess to tie the whole thing together. Sure, while the Juan Lopez isn’t as masterfully balanced as some cigars on the market, I find it to have more than enough nuance and equilibrium to keep me interested without distractions.

That’s why, despite some minor burn issues, I am impressed by this lesser-known Cuban. The Juan Lopez Selección No. 1 is well worth its asking price of $8-10 apiece and definitely worthy of a rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

5 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Juan Lopez Selección No. 1 (Cuban)”

  1. Cigar Seeker Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    Is it appropriate to ask how you acquire Cuban cigars? I'm vacationing in Canada next month so I know I'll be able to sample some there. Is there another way?

  2. Guy Buscéma Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Thank you for a fine review on my everyday go to cigar, the Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 1 with SLR A's

    are cigars that I've been smoking for at least 37 years, the taste is smooth with great aromas and above all they are not brain stormers, great cigars to relax with , OK OK, they may not be exactly BEHIKES,

    but who needs perfection in today's world ?



    Calvisson, France

  3. BubbaGene Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Yea, Patrick(s)… Fess up. Where ya'll getting yer contraband? 😉

  4. Dan Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    What's the saying… oh yeah:

    A journalist never gives up his sources!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Stogie Commentary: Gold Star Smokes (Part VI) - Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    […] of my favorite Cubans is also relatively affordable, and that’s a winning combination. The Juan Lopez Selección No. 1 (5.6 x 42) has a profile of honey and graham with an earthy, woodsy core and good combustion […]