Back in 1950, a man named Benigno Arronte was born in Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. At the time, his grandfather owned a cigar factory named “Ceniza” in Vuelta Abajo, where Don Benigno would learn the processes of cigar making at a young age. Things took a turn for the worse following the Cuban Revolution when Fidel Castro eventually took over, ultimately causing the Ceniza factory to close it’s doors. After fleeing Cuba, Don Benigno settled down in Costa Rica where he would start his very own brand of cigars that bear his name and carry a story as interesting as the cigar.
What am I smoking?
Cigar Review: Don Benigno Reserva Maduro
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Length: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 52
Power: 7 / 10
Packaging & Design
The packaging of these cigars is simple. Lacquered cedar wood boxes that carry ten cigars, with the Don Benigno name on top and size on the front side. The bands are also just as simplistic; using gold and black colors with a styled “B” in the middle. I like the basic look of these bands and boxes. It gives me some kind of enjoyment knowing more money went into the tobacco as opposed to the packaging.
The Don Benigno Maduro is a rather rough looking cigar. It has bumps, visible seems, but has a solid and sturdy feel. This toothy wrapper isn’t uniform in color, but that’s how a genuine maduro wrapper should look. The filler is densely packed and gives off an almost fruity, slightly earthy aroma. On the cold draw, this cigar offers a lot of cocoa powder flavor with a back end of pepper and gritty cedar.
After lighting up, smoke immediately starts pouring off the foot and produces even more on the exhale. Nuances of aged tobacco, cedar and black pepper are the pioneering flavors right off the bat. It leaves a slick feel on my palate, due to the oils on the wrapper, and helps the finish last quite a while.
Into the second third, the ash is holding on strong. The profile has changed up into a floral bouquet of flavor. Driftwood and dry earth begin to make the smoke take on a different mouth feel since the beginning. There is an underlying sweetness that accompanies these flavors, and compliments the peppery bite that is present on the draw.
Closing in on the last few inches, this Don Benigno is hitting my taste buds in all the right places. Now, it has evolved into a fuller bodied version of what the first half of the cigar was. Its strength has picked up slightly, but that’s not incredibly noticeable. What has caught my attention, however, is how balanced the final third has become. Everything has come together for a great finale. One more thing I’d like to note; after I put the cigar down, there was hardly any lingering taste on my palate. This was a very “clean” smoke.
The Don Benigno Maduro was an incredibly unique cigar. It had many qualities that you’d typically find in Nicaraguan tobacco, but had an interesting twist. This cigar is so different, yet it seems so familiar. Don Benigno knows how to work with the leaf, and this is a fine example of his experience. If you’re the type of person that is always looking for something new and interesting to try, pick yourself up some of these cigars. They are most certainly worth it.