I have for you this week a cigar whose cryptic name is nearly as long as the smoke itself. Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the review, let’s break that mouthful down. The vitola’s name is La Charada No. 48 “La Cucaracha”, which translates into a pretty random sounding The Charade No. 48 “The Roach”. But there is a meaning to this name charade, which people of Cuban descent may have already guessed.
La Charada is an old Cuban lottery system of divination, where the gambler selects numbers based upon what he dreamt of the night before, using a numbered list of objects, people and animals. The lists I’ve found online number 1 to 100, and seem to be pretty standard. And the number 48 corresponds to a roach, which happens to be somewhat similar in shape to this perfecto. I asked Frank Hererra, owner of the brand about this, and he told me he picked numbers based on what the vitola reminded him of, so the resemblance no coincidence.
The manufacturer’s name, La Caridad Del Cobre is a little easier to figure out. The first search result on Google will tell you it’s the name of the Patroness of Cuba, and will give you the scoop on how that came to be. But we’re more interested in how the cigars came to be, and how they well they burn, so I won’t get into that.
Including the No. 48, there are a lucky seven vitolas in the La Charada line, four maduros (again including this one) and three naturals. All of them are made at the La Tradicion Cubana factory. For the sake of brevity, here’s a link to the full list of vitolas.
OK, I’m feeling lucky, let’s burn some roaches.
Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.49
You can probably guess why I selected the No. 48 of the seven available options, it’s a great looking little prefecto. And it happens to be the only La Charada that could technically be considered “dos capas” with the natural wrapper decorating the foot and the tapered cap.
Looking the review assortment over, I found a hole in the wrapper of a couple sticks and some minor foot damage. I also noted a general inconsistency in the placement and size of natural wrapper from one stick to the next. Another thing that varied was the amount of veins and tooth in the wrapper. The sticks were anywhere from smooth with almost no veins to very toothy, veiny and a tad lumpy.
From a tactile standpoint, there wasn’t much out of the ordinary. The smokes were consistently firm to the touch. No soft spots. And both the wrapper scent and cold draw were a pretty light. Sweet barnyard for the former, mild earthiness for the latter.
I’m going to start this off by saying it’s a good thing I smoke more than one cigar for a review. Because the one featured in the tower of burn below drew like a brick. (I soldiered through it to see if the draw would open up. It finally did a little after halfway.) Fortunately, on average, the No. 48 tended to be rather loose, which I’ll take any day over a tight draw.
I also had a pretty consistent issue with the wrapper cracking as I was smoking. These cracks proved to be more of a nuisance than a serious problem, but not ideal. A little extra fire helped keep things in line.
On the positive side, the cigars consistently produced a surprisingly solid long ash. Without special treatment (i.e. smoking vertically) it easily grows to at least two thirds the stick’s length. With a minimal amount of help, this cigar would never ash.
[UPDATE: After seeing my review, Frank Hererra gave me the following pointer on cutting the La Charada No. 48 to ensure a good draw: “[The] tight draw was a result that you did not cut past the decorative natural wrapper cap line. I can see it in the pics. That’s the purpose of the cap because perfectos draw tight based upon the manner in which they are rolled, thus, a guideline for cutting.”]
Burning through the small, naturally wrapped foot of the No. 48, I noted a rich creamy sweetness that wasn’t present later on. Savory earth and smokey wood picked up as it progressed into the expanding maduro wrapped body.
Around the half way point, the No. 48 took on a surprisingly distinct sour cream flavor, with earth and a touch of zing to follow.
Burning back down the taper toward the cap, a white pepper spiciness appeared, and the wood returned, tasting less smokey and more cedary this time. The sour cream flavor lingered, continuing well into the final third before it faded.
No complaints about the price, it seems reasonable for this decorative figurado.
Though the burn issues were a little troubling, the La Charada No. 48 is a solid smoke with a pretty unique flavor profile. I don’t see it making my top ten list for this year, but it’s pleasant enough to smoke again from time to time. If you’re looking for an inexpensive change of pace, or you just want to impress people with gorgeous long ash, try “La Cucaracha” on for size.
Liked It: It was pretty good.
Buy It Again: Occasionally.
Recommend It: Sure, it’s a fun little stick.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.