Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Robusto
Size : 5.5 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$6 each
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The latest of the cigars sent to me for review by Tobacconist University President Jorge Armenteros, is the Casa Magna - Colorado. The vitola he sent was the 5-1/2 x 52 robusto, which if it matters to you was voted the #1 cigar of 2008 by Cigar Aficionado. The colorado robusto is the result of a joint effort by Manuel Quesada, who has been making cigars since 1974 (and whose family has been in the business since the 19th century I understand), and Nestor Plasencia, the largest grower of Nicaraguan tobacco and owner of the Segovia Cigar Factory in Esteli, Nicragua. The colorado, so named for the color of its capa, is a Nicaraguan puro made from Nicaraguan grown - Cuban seed tobacco harvested from the Esteli and Jalapa growing regions, which is then rolled at Segovia and distributed in boxes of 27. One of the most remarkable things about this cigar is not the great reviews or high marks it has received from others, but that it did so while costing around $6.00 each! As someone who is always on the look-out for a great every day cigar, I was looking forward to smoking this one to say the least, so I settled back on the aft-deck and made the most of a sunny, mild, February afternoon.
The Casa Magna's pre-light inspection revealed a capa which I place at colorado rosado in color, deserving of its name. It was slightly toothy, but flawless, which gave it a bit of a rugged look that I liked as well. The squeeze was great with no soft or hard spots and was very firm all over, indicating a well packed cigar. The foot was interesting with a visible swirl of light and dark tobaccos clearly visible in the bunch. The pre-light aroma was dominated by sweet tobacco with maybe slightly earthy notes present as well. Because of how well packed it was, I made a straight cut with a double-guillotine because using a punch-cutter on a cigar with a heavy bunch can make it difficult to draw and sometimes cause tarriness at the head. After cutting, the cap held together perfectly without any fraying or annoying tobacco fragments which like to get into your mouth. I then tested the pre-light draw which was firm and even and had what I thought was a "hay-like" taste.
The Casa Magna lit evenly and easily with a soft-flame lighter and produced plenty of blue smoke from the draw. As the first 1/3 progressed it produced a fairly dark grey ash which was crisp and strong. I accidentally knocked a corner off early on and it still held on for almost 1-1/2 inches before finally dropping off. I didn't detect any particular flavor notes in the first 1/3 other than that of full-bodied tobacco which was very consistent. Around half-way a slight spicy tingle developed all around the tip of the tongue, which as I continued to smoke into the second half, moved to the sides. Throughout the middle-third I thought I detected occasional ground coffee notes but couldn't be sure as they were very subtle and short-lived. In the final 1/3 it seemed to have a slight astringent quality and perhaps some slight woody notes from time to time as well. Throughout the entirety of the smoke, the burn remained even and consistent and needed no touch-ups or relights with the overall flavor remaining very consistent, although it didn't lend itself to retro-exhalation. If you read my reviews or study cigars you know that isn't a negative comment at all, it's just something I like to do to get the most out of any smoke.
How do I define an "every day cigar?" Well, there are some cigars that are so complex and flavorful that when you smoke them you want to relax and enjoy every moment of the experience. There are some you may reserve for only special occasions. Then there are those that you want to be able to smoke whenever you feel like it. Perhaps while working or golfing or while driving or maybe just when you can steal a peaceful moment. For me at least, these cigars still have to be handmade, premium quality cigars but are such that they don't require my full time and attention and have a price that doesn't make me pause. In a nutshell, it is a premium cigar that I can afford to smoke as I please. For this review I smoked two on two different days and had the same results. The Casa Magna was a pleasant smoke all the way through, had no problems, and was consistent from stem to stern. I smoked them down to the nubs and they never built up any tar, began to fray, or developed any unpleasant taste. The Casa Magna - Colorado is definitely going on my list of every day cigars.
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