Brand: Isla de Cuba Blend 376
Vitola: Robusto Extra
Ring Gauge: 50
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Price: Roughly $7.00
The Isla de Cuba Brand is roughly three years old and is crafted in Honduras by Altadis. The brand president, Darryl Lieser, had a vision to create a cigar of his very own and choose the 1956 Montecristo No.3 to model it after. Years before being released to the public, this cigar was enjoyed only by friends as well as Darryl himself.
Blend 376 is a new addition to the line which was introduced at this years IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. As reported by The Stogie Guys, the reasoning behind the name was that 375 blends were rejected before settling on this one.
Blend 376 is available in six sizes, which include, a Corona Chica (44 x 5.00), Robusto Extra (50 x 5.50), Torpedo (52 x 6.00), Toro Grande (54 x 6.00), Double Corona (50 x 7.00), and a Super Grande (60 x 6.00). The blend consists of a Mexican San Andres Morron wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and a proprietary blend of tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras, and other Central American countries.
After removing my cigar from its cellophane sleeve, I began to give this box pressed beauty a good looking over. The first thing that caught my eye was the smooth, rich brown wrapper. There were very few veins, all of which could be seen and not felt. The color was consistent from head to foot, all the while exhibiting a dull sheen.
When handled the cigar felt solid and well constructed. Giving it a few pinches, from head to foot, gave the impression that it was firmly and consistently packed with tobacco. I was unable to find any soft spots throughout.
After opening up the head of my cigar with my Xikar cutter, checked the draw. My first impression left me with the thought that this was going to be a very long smoke. Just like the Isla de Cuba Aged Maduro, this cigar was packed with tobacco and as a result, had a fairly stiff draw. The flavor on the cold draw was sweet spice.
After a quick and easy lighting process, I had my Blend 376 evenly lit and producing a decent amount of smoke. When the smoke rolled across the palate for the first time, the body was easily in the medium range. The finish was smooth and borderline creamy while the sinus got a quick snap of spice.
As I take several more puffs, the cigar begins to settle down into its rhythm. The body remains in the medium spectrum while picking up slightly from the start. The finish is easy on the palate and remains borderline creamy.
The big difference at this point is the spiciness of the smoke when passed through the sinus. I’m immediately hit with a spice bomb that quickly subsides and leaves the flavors tasting fresh and crisp. I’m easily able to distinguish wood and leather, both of which linger on the palate for a brief moment before fading. Once those flavors have passed, I get a nice nutty aftertaste that is quickly washed away by the spice of the following puff.
After roughly an hour of smoking my Blend 376, I reached the second third of the cigar. Just like I experienced earlier, the body picked up slightly as I progressed but remained planted in the medium arena. The finish was inching its was closer to the creamy designation but wasn’t there just yet.
As I passed the smoke through my sinuses I was greeted by the same spice bomb from the first third. It has become slightly mellower as the cigar grows shorter, which is opposite of what I expected. As the spice settled down and became more tame, the flavors began to shine. The primary flavors consisted of leather and wood up front, then were replaced by nutty flavors as they faded. I also pick up a very interesting tangy flavor on the odd puff. The flavor doesn’t hang around long before quickly disappearing from the palate.
The burn line is slightly wavy but thin and crisp. The draw is a little on the firm side but provides a steady supply of dense smoke. Smoke time is nice and slow while the resting smoke is light and aromatic. The ash is light in color while being firm and displaying an interesting toothy texture. A firm tap above the ashtray quickly removes the ash and exposes a nice coned shaped foot.
After about an hour and a half I was into the final third of my Isla de Cuba Blend 376. Throughout the last two-thirds, the body was slowly progressing. The final third remained consistent and the body was firmly planted within the medium realm. The finish was just about creamy, all while being easy on the palate and smooth.
Just like in the second third, the spice through the sinus remained tame and settled a bit more. After exhausting the smoke, the spice quickly faded and left my palate ready for the rich flavors to follow. The focus was now on the leather flavor more so than the woody tones. Just like before, as the primary flavors faded, an interesting nutty flavor washed over the palate.
The flavors were becoming richer and more defined as the cigar turned to ash. The off and on tangy flavor from the previous third continued to poke its way though and spark more interest in the smoke. The added flavor added even more complexity and enjoyment to the cigar as a whole and definitely made me appreciate the mixture of flavors that the smoke provided.
In general I think that Blend 376 by Isla de Cuba is a solid smoke. It was the first cigar with a Mexican wrapper that I can say I really enjoyed. I expected it to be a bit harsh and unappealing due to my previous experiences with this type of leaf, but it was pleasant. The spice was a fantastic touch that many people may or may not enjoy. If you plan on blowing smoke through your sinuses with this one, be cautious and start off slow.
The construction was solid and the flavor was delivered nicely by this smoke. With a price point in, or around, the $7.00 range, it is outside of my general comfort zone. Even so, I would definitely pick them up on occasion if they were available to me.
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