Perdomo -- Habano Maduro
Don't fall for the fake Cubans
I am constantly amazed by the aura surrounding the Cuban cigar. Since it is illegal to import them, sell them and even smoke them in the U.S., it has become a “forbidden fruit” among cigar smokers. Granted the Cuban cigar is a fine product, but the desire for them in the States is somewhat irrational. The Cuban cigar phenomenon in the United States has been active since the Cuban embargo, more than 45 years, and benefits from a seemingly innate human characteristic: The “you always want what you cannot have” effect.
These dynamics have given rise to a major Cuban cigar-counterfeiting problem, and it goes beyond the black market in the United States. It is a major problem in countries that can legally sell Cuban cigars that many Americans visit. In fact, a few years back, some police estimates indicated that 80 percent of “Cuban” cigars sold in Canada were counterfeit. My first-hand travel experience to the Bahamas last summer also proved that the Cuban counterfeit trade was alive and well in Nassau town, too.
Tips for avoiding getting ripped off:
- Buy directly from a reputable, established dealer. You would think this would go without saying, but you would be shocked at the numbers of tourists buying from street merchants in Nassau.
- Avoid buying single cigars – buy by the box. Single cigars are the easiest to counterfeit; all you need is a Cuban cigar band to wrap around a cheaply made cigar from another country. This is all it takes to fool the vast majority of buyers. The cigar band must have the word “Habana” on it.
- Make sure to examine the box carefully. Authentic Cuban cigars will contain a green and white warranty seal on the left front side of the box, unless they are the authentic Cohiba brand, then it will be on the right side of the box. The seal will contain an insignia that has a picture of a shield and a hat.
- On the upper right hand corner of the box, you should find a white sticker that is placed diagonally with the word “Habanos” printed on it.
- Be mindful of the overall appearance of the box. It should be neat and new. A box appearing damaged, dull in color, used or cheap is a sure giveaway.
- You should find a heat stamp with the words “Habanos” on the bottom of the box. Any method (e.g., paper label) other than burned into the box is suspect.
- There should also be a factory code stamp at the bottom that is stamped in green, blue or black ink. This stamp will tell you when and where the cigars were rolled.
Personally, I have a policy of not buying Cubans. They are illegal and expensive; it’s a hassle to get authentic ones; and the number of quality cigars available from other countries just keeps me away from them.
However, this might all change as the trading ban with Cuba may get reconsidered with this new administration, but that is a topic for future musings. So whether you have a Cuban, a Nicaraguan, a Dominican, Honduran, or maybe something from the good old U S of A -- let’s get smokin’!
Perdomo -- Habano Madura
Size: 5 inches long, 52 Ring Gauge
Price: $7 to $9
Perdomo is another one of the brands that I like. I especially like that Perdomo makes a variety of cigars at various price points, flavor and strength. With a Perdomo, you almost always get what you pay for, and the Habano Maduro is no exception. The cigar also comes in a corojo wrapper. I’ve had both, and for my money, I like the maduro.The Habano Maduro is a blend of Cuban-seed long-leaf tobaccos from Nicaragua’s three major growing regions: rich, full-flavored leaves from Esteli, aromatic tobaccos from Condega, and sweet, creamy tobacco from Jalapa. Wrap it up with a triple-fermented Maduro wrapper and you have an interesting puro cigar blend. A puro is defined as a cigar whose tobacco composition (filler, binder and wrapper) are all from the same country.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
I smoked this one outdoors on a day that was a little cool and breezy, not the ideal environment. This particular cigar came from the same variety five-pack of Perdomo premium cigars that brought me the ESV ’91, that was reviewed recently. I started out with a water chaser, but switched to coffee, given the chill in the air.
Look and feel
The cigar is a maduro and had the dark, oily looking finish. This is a great-looking cigar whose packaging really dresses it up, including an ornate, oversized band near the head and a band at the foot. The veining in the wrapper was medium, the cigar was firm to the touch and had the weight of a nicely filled cigar. I couldn’t help but think that this cigar had the look of man’s cigar. It’s slightly larger ring gauge, and dark, oily wrapper would make the novice cigar smoker wonder if they were “biting off more than they could chew” with this one.
Aroma and Taste
The pre-lit smell of the cigar was fairly rich. The pre-lit draw was perfect, and after a slight toasting of the foot, the cigar was lit evenly and producing a good quantity of smoke. Though this had the look of a powerful cigar, it was certainly not a major head-knocker as far as the nicotine content goes. Don’t get me wrong, you will get a little buzz, it is just a classic case of the look having little to do with the power of the cigar. Even with that said, the novice smoker could still be overwhelmed with the flavor profile.
The aroma and taste were great! Medium bodied at first with the bittersweet chocolate and espresso coffee flavors that are common with a good maduro. The finish was rich and toasty. Pairing the latter half of the smoke with coffee to complement these flavors proved to a good move. At this stage, the cigar moved to a medium to full flavor, and offered a very mild peppery spice with hints of cream (and no, the cream taste was not from the coffee, as I drink it black). For the most part, the burn was even, the smoke was plentiful and the cigar was long lasting. I have definitely found another Perdomo to stock in the humidor.
RATING: 9.2 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – I smoked the Perdomo Habano Corojo and thought it was “good” and would likely buy it again. However, after having the Maduro (a “very good” cigar), I now know why the Corojo version seems to be more plentiful in the market.
Keep the comments and recommendations coming – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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