Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cuvee Grand (lancero)

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I just love the elegance of a long thin cigar. When I first began smoking cigars not too long ago, I decided that this would be an "appropriate" ladies cigar. Thank God, I did not allow myself to be limited to this narrow-minded way of thinking because since then, I have discovered many cigar shapes and sizes that I enjoy. However, I still have not lost my fondness for the "panatela" or "lancero".

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A long thin cigar is typically appreciated by a true cigar connoisseur. This cigar shape allows the smoker to really appreciate the flavor of the wrapper since it is not loaded down with filler.

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I first heard about the Cuvee Grand from Cigar Aficionado, who rated this Dominican lancero a 90 in April of 2007. So I went in search of it only to find out that it was no where to be found. Turns out, this cigar is limited in production to only 17,000 cigars a year and only the top 100 tobacconists stock it worldwide.

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The Cuvee Grand is only available in the lancero size. It is rolled by only the most qualified rollers in the Tabadom factory in the Dominican Republic. The boxes are numbered and each cigar is individually numbered by hand. My particular box is #557 out of 870. The cigars in this box are numbered from 11,122 to 11,142 and prepared by someone named 'Manuel Batista'. I thought that was cute. God forbid I hated this box of cigars, I would call down to the factory and yell, "Donde esta senor Batista!" But alas, I actually enjoy these smokes.

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This cigar has two different types of Cuban tobacco (Dos Cubanos) grown in Ecuador for the wrapper, a Mexican Sumatran binder and a filler composed of Jamastran (Honduras), Piloto Visus and San Vicente Ligero (Dominican Republic). The wrapper is a light chocolate brown and feels a little bumpy throughout. The cap was "buggly" and could have been put on much neater considering the price tag on these cigars. (some places were selling them for $12 a piece individually, I found a box for $215.95/20) Each cigar had an extra label on the foot which had the handwritten number on it. I found that the glue was put on these labels with the same care as the cap because when I went to peel the label off, it took part of the wrapper with it. This happened with the first two cigars that I've smoked out of the box so far. Aside from that, clipping the cigar was easy and the draw seemed fairly clear. The cigar did feel soft, (unlike the other lancero that I enjoy called the Trinidad Fundadore (Cuba)) but then again, it did not have the drawing issues associated with a packed thin cigar.

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Flavor wise, the first inch and a half was very mild with very faint coffee flavors and a hint of spice. It wasn't until the second third of the cigar that I began getting more pronounced flavors of coffee, roasted nuts, touch of hay, and cinnamon. I can see where others would compare this lancero to a Cuban cigar, as I detected some faint similarities. The flavors were nicely balanced and I liked that it always maintained that mild spice in the background. I would personally not try to age this cigar for fear of disrupting this wonderful harmony of flavors. In the last three inches of this cigar you get a lovely long finish of new leather, hint of cedar and spicy cinnamon.

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I would say that the flavors go from mild to medium with a hidden underlying kick in strength. I could have sworn I felt a little woozy afterwards! It was all good though because this cigar was very satisfying as far as it's flavor profile goes and it's burn characteristics. The burn line stayed even and the ash was compact and light gray in color. The negatives would be the price, the availability, and the lousy glue job with the labels. All things considered, I would buy this cigar again and smoke them on special occasions.

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I would rate this cigar an 88.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lisa,
Thanks for your thoughtful review of the Cuvee Grand Lancero. I, too, find many lanceros have a special concentration of flavor - which I seek at times. I have been considering trying the Cuvee, but was cautious of the high cost. Your review has convinced me to pick up a couple of single cigars and test them. Thanks again and great cigars to you!
-Bruce in L.A.