Brand: Cubao by EO Brands
Vitola: No. 5
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro
Price: Estimated $6.50 to $7.50 per single
The Cubao is the latest addition to the EO Brands arsenal and is blended by the praised Don Pepin Garcia. The new cigar was debuted at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas with distribution to follow shortly after. It seems that the look and feel of the new Cubao is to make you think of old world style. Cigars feature a very simple band and are packed in heavily distressed boxes of twenty.
The makeup of the cigars consists of Nicaraguan Fillers, Nicaraguan Binder, and is topped off with an Ecuadorian grown Sumatra Oscuro Wrapper. The line is available in six sizes which include the No. 1 (49 x 7.125), No. 2 (Torpedo shaped 52 x 6.125), No. 3 (38 x 7.50), No. 4 (50 x 4.875), No. 5 (50 x 6.125), and a No. 6 (52 x 5.50).
Before touching flame to my Cubao, I began to give the cigar a quick once over. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the very simple band. The traditional lines of 601 (Red, Black, Blue, Green) all had elaborate and shiny bands. This cigar is far from the others in terms of band design but has a great overall appearance.
The wrapper is a little rough and tumbled with a mildly coarse texture. There are several veins that protrude from the surface slightly, which ads to the texture. The color varies a little from head to foot and appears spotty, or mottled. The variations in color would be due to the nature of the Oscuro wrapper, by looking at it you can rest assured you will not have to worry about getting black dye on your lips and fingers.
I gave it a quick pinch and found the stick to be consistently packed with tobacco. The only soft spot I found was on the foot, in which the tobacco could be easily compressed. When I looked at the foot, I noticed that the filler appeared to have some space and was not over packed. I felt comfortable, by the appearance of the foot and feel of the stick, that I shouldn’t have any problems with the draw.
Once clipped, I checked the pre light draw and found it to be free with little resistance. The flavor on the cold draw was just straight up tobacco. I wasn’t able to pick up any pre light flavors that jumped out at me.
Once it was determined that everything was in order for the pre light inspection, I grabbed my table torch and got to work. While checking out our Fan Forums, I came across a post by our friend Ace that went on to describe his method of lighting. This included toasting the foot until the tobacco began burning and not puffing on the cigar while lighting. I gave it a shot and discovered that Ace was right on the money with it producing a much cooler smoke that did not overwhelm the palate.
After I got my Cubao evenly lit, I took the first puff and thought it was a bit airy. I was getting a mouthful of smoke that just felt thin for one reason or another. After a few more puffs the cigar really opened up and started producing loads of dense smoke that laid flavor on the palate like a paint roller.
The first flavor to stand out was a mildly bitter creamy flavor, much like that of a Stout beer. Once the smoke was passed through the sinuses, I picked up a pepper flavor that came across as something very unique. The flavor itself was along the lines of a green pepper while the bite, or heat, was along the lines of a red.
The body was heavy on the palate but medium at best while the finish was smooth and creamy. A minute or so after the smoke is expelled from the mouth I began to notice a woody flavor that lingered for a minute then quickly faded.
After close to fifty minutes passed, I found myself into the second third of my Cubao. Its seemed that the further I smoked into this stick, the more complex it was determined to be. The medium body of the previous third gradually moved closer to the medium to full range while the finish kept pace with its original smooth and creamy texture.
Just as the body and finish developed, the flavors did the same. The complex red and green pepper dynamic began to fade, there to take its place was an enticing coffee and bitter chocolate flavor. These flavors really stood out and commanded my attention. Just like before there was a definite Stout like component, which was mildly bitter and very creamy. The newly acquired flavors of the Cubao made for an even more enjoyable smoke. The richness and complexities of the cigar make it a real pleasure to smoke at this point.
In order to keep my smoking room a little cooler and less smoke filled, I setup a box fan to help circulate the air. While it did a good job of making the room a little more comfortable it was taking a toll on the burn line of the cigar. With the fan keeping me on my toes about rotating the cigar, the burn line was slightly wavy and easily managed. The burn line itself was thin with a crisp black ring around the foot.
The ash was light in color and held onto the cigar very well. After reaching about three quarters of an inch I had to give it a firm tap to knock it from the end of the stick. The draw was free with little resistance and remained cool on the palate. Each puff lead way to a hearty mouthful of dense smoke which was easily passed through the sinuses.
As I puffed along on my Cuboa, my elapsed time was reaching the neighborhood of an hour and forty minutes. Just like the second third, I was beginning to see yet another transition in the flavor profile of the cigar. The rich coffee and chocolate flavors remained as the primary flavor but the red pepper component of the first third was making a comeback in a big way. The bite, or heat, really picked up when passed through the sinuses. So much that my eyes began to water a little with each passing puff. It was sort of like tasting a good horseradish or Chinese mustard which sends a little shot of heat through the sinuses.
The body slowly progressed deeper into the medium range, but just as I anticipated, it didn’t quite make it to the medium to full designation. The finish remained heavy and creamy on the palate and laid on the palate for a few minutes before fading away.
The burn line remained a little finicky, but I am convinced that it is due to my fan creating a slight draft on the cigar. The burn rate was nice and slow which produced a light resting smoke that filled the room with a rich aroma. While I find it enjoyable I am sure it would be fairly offensive to the non smoker.
With each puff I was getting a mouthful of dense smoke which was easily passed through the sinuses and lingered in the air. The draw remained free with little resistance and was just as cool on the palate as it was early on in the smoke.
When it was finally time to lay this cigar to rest I was completely satisfied. I enjoyed the flavors and complexity a great deal and would definitely recommend this to anyone on the market for a rich medium bodied cigar.
The flavors of the Cubao were intriguing enough that I didn’t want to move onto the next set of flavors, but at the same time couldn’t wait to see what was around the corner. In fact, I enjoyed this cigar so much that if I were to make a top ten list f cigars for the year of 2008, this would definitely make the top of the list.
The thing I found just as interesting as the flavors, was the total package in terms of packaging. I got a kick out of the heavily distressed boxes, rough and mottled wrapper, and the simple band. I think EO brands has a real winner here and look forward seeing what they unveil next year to top the Cubao.
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