Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Filler: Esteli Ligero (Nicaraguan), Ometepe Viso and Jalapa Seco
Vitola: Robusto Extra (5 1/2 x 52)
Brand: Cordoba & Morales
Factory: American Caribbean Tobacco, S.A. (Estela, Nicaragua)
CigarNoise Price Range: $8 – $10
Availability: Limited (1000 20-count boxes split between three vitolas)
Source: IPCPR 2016
Cordoba & Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca – Pre-Light
Today I am smoking the Cordoba & Morales Clave Cuba Etiqueta Blanca for review. Oily to the touch and with plenty of tooth, the wrapper smells of chocolate, coffee and mild tobacco; all well balanced. From the foot, notes of coffee, cocoa and hay are mild and again, well balanced. I punch through the gorgeous triple cap, allowing me access to a perfect draw on the stick. This cold draw is surprisingly void of anything but barnyard flavor; dank hay.
Etiqueta Blanca, meaning, “White Label”, clearly refers to the classy appearance of the white background for the band, adorned with black and gold lettering. The clean lines of the band and the chosen colors mate well with the dark wrapper of the Clave Cubana. The classic look of this box-pressed, San Andreas Maduro wrapped cigar has me eager to cut, light and smoke.
Cordoba & Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca – First Third
Espresso, Charred Cedar, Spice, Black Pepper, Cocoa, Baking Chocolate
Carefully toasting the foot, the Clave Cubana rewards my care with an immediately complex personality. Heavy notes of espresso, black pepper, charred cedar and spice meld together to form a balanced sledgehammer of flavor. Thick, voluminous smoke pours from the foot before my torch even cools off. I’m beyond impressed with this cigar and the first ash fall hasn’t even occurred.
Ash separates from the cigar at the exact one inch mark. Instantly, the pepper in the profile barges ahead of all other notes, punching my palate like a prizefighter. I smoke through the remainder of the first third trying to bring a single word into play to describe the Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca; the word is “beastly”!
I must mention the mechanics of the Clave Cubana. The draw is just perfect; easy but not airy. The burn line is wavy, but sharp and maintenance free. All of this speaks to the quality involved with the construction of this cigar.
Cordoba & Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca – Middle Third
Cocoa, Red Pepper, Cedar, Spice, Earth Notes, Sweetness
After the battering I received during the first third of this cigar, I’m hoping for just a small amount of relief. As if the Clave Cubana can read my mind, cocoa notes tease at the front of the profile but quickly give way to a transitioning red pepper. Cedar, spice and some milder earthy notes follow the blast of pepper, providing momentary relief. Interestingly, the retro hale on the cigar is smooth and relatively heat free compared to the smoke against my palate.
The light gray ash again falls from the end. As if on cue, the red pepper pushes straight to the front, showing no mercy on my cowering taste buds. As I move through this third, a sweetness appears far in the finish of the flavors. It is the first sweetness offered by this Cordoba & Morales stick.
Before I dive into the final third of this delicious cigar, I’d like to provide just a brief historical picture of Cordoba & Morales. Celestina Cordoba y Morales, the grandmother of the family, was born in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba. At a young age, she learned many family secrets in the tobacco fields.
When she passed away in 1989, she left behind inspiration to continue following the family traditions from sowing of the seeds to the details of creating an unparalleled, superior cigar. A photo of Celestina Cordoba y Morales graces the inside of the decorative band on my cigar.
Cordoba & Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca – Final Third
Cedar, Creaminess, Red Pepper, Charred Meat, Spice, Cocoa, Tobacco
This third starts off with a well balanced transition of flavors. With the red pepper finally relinquishing it’s power play for dominance, lush cedar notes enveloped by a creamy nuance cover my palate in delicacy. Hints of charred meat join the bouquet, followed by spice, cocoa and mild tobacco flavors. This complex transition of flavors is completely pleasing and really adds to the already attractive nature of the Clave Cubana.
The sweetness I noticed in the middle third is completely absent. While it was enjoyable, the transition I’m experiencing in this third pushes any disappointment into the distance. With the draw remaining consistent and the burn requiring no input from me, construction issues are pushed completely aside.
Just when I think the smoke is at max capacity, it takes on a very meaty, thick essence; almost chewy. Chalk this up as yet another positive for the Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca. One minor issue arises as I near the end of this cigar; the heat is picking up making it difficult to look forward to nubbing the smoke. I’m making it work as much as possible but it’s very warm on the fingers.
Complex Flavors Start To Finish
Immense Smoke Production
Transitioning Flavors In Each Third
Heat in Final Third
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