Back in the day, I smoked more than my fair share of Cuesta Rey cigars, specifically the Tuscany. There was a sweetness to it that was enjoyable from first light to last puff. However, over time the cigars changed and I lost interest. That is until last week when I was preparing for the most recent podcast of The Cigar Authority.
The show was on Unicorn cigars, cigars that were released prior to August 8th so the cigars have an established market place with the new FDA Regulations. These cigars may never see the light of day again. On the show I smoked The Americans from JC Newman which was outstanding, and quickly sold out from 2guyscigars.com. But there are some hidden gems there including some cigars from JC Newman including today’s reviewed cigar.
A cigar that was part of my everyday rotation back in the late 90’s gets a new blend with one of my favorite wrappers, Brazilian Arapiraca. How does it smoke? Is It any good? Is it a Unicorn?
Cigar: Cuesta Rey Arapiraca
Country of Origin: Nicragua
Wrapper: Brazil Arapiraca
Ring Gauge” 52
The Look: The Cuesta-Rey band gets a modern look for the Arapiraca with colors of red and white. Gone is the traditional looking band that had a feel from the turn of the century. As for the cigar itself it features a wrapper that feels coarse under the fingers like fine sand paper. Otherwise, the cigar has a flawless role that feel balanced in the hand with a nicely packed foot.
The Notes: The cold draw of the cigar instantly reminds me of Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco. It takes me back to the original release of the Torano 50 Years which first turned me on the wrapper. Sadly, those cigars have changed and don’t taste anything like Arapiraca tobacco anymore. There is notes of warm chocolate reminiscent of a brownie with a touch of caramel while the warm chocolate is mimicked on the aroma.
Once the cigar is lit there are notes of black pepper with hints of chocolate and a touch of brown sugar. The cigar is a bit spicy, but the strength is at medium, or medium-plus in my eyes. As the cigar progresses notes of chocolate and coffee dominate the palate with a somewhat lengthy finish.
In the second third the brown sugar notes becomes more dominant as coffee remains as an afterthought. Shortly after the mid-way point some cinnamon is introduced and the finish of the cigar becomes a little shorter. The retrohale has sharp notes of black pepper and a strong coffee aroma.
The final third of the cigar serves up more black pepper especially on the retrohale with a subtle sweetness in the background. However on the palate is all about the strong bitter coffee notes that dominate the finish of this enjoyable cigar.
The Notes: The Cuesta Rey Arapiraca offers some of the bitter notes associated with the wrapper along with some sweetness. For me it is a cigar that is right in my wheelhouse. The cigar could benefit from a little more age, but is definitely something I hope sees the light of day as a regular release before the regulations prevent it from every happening.