Size: 5 x 48
Wrapper: Nicaraguan-grown Habana Criollo ’98
Binder and Filler: Cuban Seed Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
Price: About $5.00 a pop
Behind The Stick:
One of the things that took me back was when I first saw these cigars I initially thought of Don Francisco E. Fonseca who first established his factory in 1892, in Havana, Cuba and was wondering if they were one in the same. A fun aspect I heard was that the company actually was started when a debt to the family had been paid in tobacco, a business of purchasing leaves began shortly there after. The brand Fonseca was registered in 1907, quickly becoming a huge success and so Don Francisco began different techniques on packaging and marketing – one of which was by wrapping his cigars in a fine Japanese tissue paper and packaging the cigars into tin tubes. After his death in 1930, Don Francisco’s wife Dona Teresa Boetticher continued to run the business but merged it with T. Castaneda and G. Montero to form the new company we now know today.
Shortly after the Cuban Revolution the Fonseca name had changed locations and planted foot in the Dominican Republic where the Quesada family opened their factory. The original factory in Cuba remained, still producing fine Habanos to this day. Through the years they have expanded in the Dominican and been able to produce some highly toted cigars and built quite the following, partially due to their focus and reputation of great mild cigars, especially known for their Connecticut shade blends.
The Habana Seleccion is a bit more of a rare cigar, a commemorative blend that is produced in small numbers and released to only a few retailers in the world so needles to say I feel very privileged to smoke a piece of art crafted by the master blender himself, Manuel Quesada. This cigar, known to be the boldest of the line, is crafted from a Cuban-seed Nicaraguan bind, Cuban-seed seco and ligero filler from the Dominican as well as the well known habana criollo ’98 wrapper grown in Nicaragua. I wonder if the Fonseca Habana Seleccion will be the knock out of the park I hope it is.
One of the things that I really like about the Cosacos is the way they end up wrapping this cigar in a white tissue paper, adorning the cigar and the wrapper with 2 sets of bands. I was a little worried when removing the first layer, one out of the fact that I had never seen a cigar wrapped in tissue paper before and secondly that it may be stuck to the wrapper or an internal band and cause some issue but when all was said and done, it looked and felt perfect.
A simply beautiful wrapper, the brown with a slight reddish hued wrapper carried a few darker veins but upon closer inspection looked as if they had been painted on (they are not) – when I ran my finger along side them it was completely smooth. That is another thing I must point out, the wrapper was incredibly smooth, about as close to velvet as your going to get from a cigar wrapper. If I were to complain it would be that the cigar seemed to be a little under packed, evenly done but soft from head to foot – All in all I can not wait to fire this one up!
Initially this cigar had that nice (border line overpowering) Nicaraguan spice, just enough to make your tongue tingle. Once within the first half inch, the cigar begins to warm up and the more balanced flavors seep through, a mixture of wood, leather and medium ‘over tone’ of the tobacco. Near the middle of the cigar I noticed there was a metallic type taste which would shows its ugly head from time to time but at least it was not a dominant flavor. At the very end the flavor seemed to fall a little flat going into a pretty harsh straight tobacco taste mixed with the metal taste from before. Due to this strange flavor, I smoked 3 and all of the had the same result.
This cigar is ‘alright’ – I really wish every cigar I reviewed I could say was a knock out of the park, but in my own opinion, this one did not ‘hit the nail on the head’. The price (although it shouldn’t matter) was a nice bonus and I really am glad I was able to give them a try but these just did not hit the particular flavor profile I enjoy. The first third was great, second third iffy and by the end I was just ready to put it down. Would I recommend these to try? Hell yeah, they are cheap, look fun, great conversation piece and sport the famous name. Box purchase? Absolutely not.
All in all, if you find these in your local B&M or if a buddy offers you one I wouldn’t pass this one up but in the same thought I would not make a 45 minute drive one way for a 5 pack of these. It could have been that mine were off or maybe the 2 month sit was not enough but I will definitely revisit this cigar at a later time and hope for the best.
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory