Casa Fernandez Copacabana (plus giveaway)

Reviews94 Comments on Casa Fernandez Copacabana (plus giveaway)

Casa Fernandez Copacabana (plus giveaway)

When most people hear the name “Copacabana,” they think of Barry Manilow. As the King of Adult Contemporary would tell you, the Copacabana nightclub was “the hottest spot north of Havana.” That’s a lot to live up to, especially for a cigar. As I found out from Paul Palmer on Twitter, the Copacabana brand was obtained by Casa Fernandez back with their acquisition of Tropical Tobacco, and is actually named after the famous Cuban hotel (not the nightclub or eponymous song). So how does the cigar stack up? Read on to find out… and see how you can enter to win a 5-pack.

This Nicaraguan puro is made from 100% Aganorsa tobacco and features a Cuban Seed Corojo 1999 wrapper. As you know from Stogie Review’s interview with Paul Palmer at IPCPR 2011, “Aganorsa” is short for Agricola Norteña S.A., the tobacco-growing conglomerate affiliated with Tabacalera Tropical, makers of Casa Fernandez cigars. Packaged in cabinet boxes of 15, the Copacabana offers a medium-bodied cigar made entirely from Aganorsa leaf for less than $6 each.

Casa Fernandez Copacabana by the numbers:
Vitola: Toro Gordo
Size: 6×56
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed Corojo 1999 (Aganorsa)
Binder: Nicaragua (Aganorsa)
Filler: Nicaragua (Aganorsa)
Strength: Medium
Factory: Aganorsa in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 3
Duration: 2 hours
Source: raffle prize at 5th Annual Delaware Cigar Festival
MSRP: $5.60 ($84.00 per box of 15)
Twitter: CasaFernandez

The milk chocolate-colored Copacabana is firm and well-packed, but doesn’t feel heavy. From the wrapper, I picked up aromas of sawdust and earth, while the foot gave off a lot of dark chocolate along with a whiff of spicy earth. The cold draw offered some more of the dark chocolate and spice.

The first third started with a quick burst of red pepper spice, followed by a bit of roasted coffee and natural tobacco. The flavor profile was complex and well-balanced, but nothing really stood out. A good draw produced lots of thick, rich smoke, but the stick gave off a fair amount of standing smoke as well. The cigar had a good-looking white ash streaked with gray, which held on quite well and fell off into the ashtray in nice big chunks.

In the second third, I detected a hint of raisin along with a sour note. The red pepper made a return, accompanied by wood, but nothing bold on the palate. Although the cigar started out on the milder side of medium, it transitioned nicely into a solid medium strength-wise. The burn tended to be wavy (quite a bit at some points), but usually self-corrected without any help. On one of the samples I smoked, the wrapper cracked in two spots with an audible “pop-pop,” requiring a couple of touch-ups to keep things going smoothly.

At the end, the Copacabana remained complex, with bits of spice, natural tobacco, and the aforementioned sour note, but still didn’t bring any big flavors to the table. I put it down when it went out during the final third, as the cigar couldn’t keep me interested enough to re-light and smoke it to the nub.

The Copacabana is a decent, well-made cigar that offered an enjoyable smoke… but it just didn’t have that “wow” factor for me. Although I didn’t quite fall in love with (or at) the Copacabana, if you’re looking to try some Aganorsa tobacco in a medium-bodied format at a great price, you can’t go wrong.

As a special “thank you” for reading my first guest post at the Stogie Review, I’m giving away a 5-pack of these Casa Fernandez Copacabana cigars to one lucky person. All you have to do to enter is leave a meaningful comment below (i.e., something more substantial than “hello” or “pick me”). I’ll select one winner using a random number generator on October 10, 2011. Residents of the US & Canada only; must be 19 or older. Good luck!

About Charlie:
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker

Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he currently works as a data scientist focusing on natural language processing and is pursuing a PhD in computer science in his spare time. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Northern Virginia, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker.

94 thoughts on “Casa Fernandez Copacabana (plus giveaway)

  1. Great debut review, Charlie. What better way to introduce oneself to the Aganorsa leaf (which I admit I haven’t had yet, but do have some Padilla Artemis’ sitting) than with a puro? It sounds like something well worth trying.

    I look forward to seeing more reviews from you here, but watch your back for that Hewitt guy. 😉

  2. Even at this early hour, your review is making my mouth water. Very vividly descriptive of the cigar experience. Your description of the sawdust scent on the package brought back a lot of memories from my early cigar samplings.

  3. I’m glad to see this review, as I’ve been such a big Casa Fernandez fan to date. The Arsenio and Aganorsa Leaf lines are definitely staples in my humidor. Can’t wait to try these and the Miami Reserva!

  4. Nice review Charlie! I always forget to look at who posted what here, figuring I can tell from the context. When I got to the “source” line, I had to scroll up. It caught my interest because I remembered you winning the box. Quite the well written review! Thanks!

  5. Welcome to SR Charlie. I’m always interested in finding a new stick to try and your review has tickle my taste buds. Once again an SR review is going to make me spend some money! LOL 😉


  6. I’m yet to try anything by Casa Fernandez… in fact, I haven’t come across any yet in any B&M, or catalog. I know the history and how they’re tied to Don Pepin. They seem like a solid, well-priced smoke. Would love to sample some of their stuff.

  7. Hello and welcome Charlie,

    This stick sounds right up my alley with the medium bodied flavors or Milk chocolate, spices and something I would like to try. I am fairly new to cigars and this sounds right up my alley.

    Good luck on getting your PhD and thank you for your service.

  8. Hey Charlie, Welcome to SR, this is a Great site, and I think you will fit right in here. The guys are great, and you can learn a ton about Smokes, plus I have gotten the chance to meet some people on here and they are a great bunch of guys. First post and your giving away sticks already, thats a plus in my book LOL. Welcome


  9. Welcome to the SR! Good to have you here Charlie. Thanks for the write-up. Makes me interested in researching the Aganorsa tobacco a bit more, have yet to try anything in that realm.

  10. Nice review. Love the casa fernandez, arsenio and arganosa leaf. Lookin forward to tryin this one.

    You’re from conneticut, live in delaware and like football. I gotta ask… Who’s your team? Pats, Birds, or Ravens?

    1. also what’s your favorite single malt region? I’m a talisker 10 year guy, but I’ll drink pretty much anything from Islay.

      1. Definitely a Pats fan, but I am developing an affinity for the Phillies (and it’s a lot easier to get out to an MLB game than an NFL game).

        Scotch-wise, I’m big into the Islay stuff (Ardbeg, Bowmore, Lagavulin), and I’m working my way through a really nice bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail. I also enjoy bourbon.

  11. Hey Charlie good first review, I hope that in the future you will post some video reviews also so we readers can put a name with a face.

  12. Nicely done, Charlie. I made fun of the name first time I heard it, too! 🙂 But I have to admit that I want to try it since Casa Fernandez has a good track record with some stellar smokes.

  13. Hello,

    What you guys do on this site is an art, I was wondering, how do you pick up on specific flavors so well. I’ve tried to verbalize what I tasted in a smoke but usually end up failing miserably. Now, when I like a cigar and want to express the flavor to my friends, I quote your reviews to help me get the point across. Keep up the good work.

  14. Great first review! I’ve only smoked the arsenio and JFR. I really enjoyed both of those. If I find any of these, I will have to give them a shot.

    Good work on the photography work too. What kind of camera are you using?

  15. Awesome review! Too bad I cant find these at my local smoke shop. However, they are gettign the ABradley Black Market this week !!!! Got a 5 pack reserved.

    At the end of the night I love firing up a smoke, getting an adult beverage and head to the garage/ poor man cave and watch your reviews on an old PC that is setup in there. The wife was like, what in the hell are you doing? and what are you listening too? She tought I was looking at “adult movies” on the PC or doing something illegal. I showed her stogiereview site to which she replied…. thats pathetic…. I said no my dear, free teraphy!!!! Keep those videos coming!

    Keep up the great work

  16. Welcome to SR! It’s always nice to see new faces on this site. The cigar itself looks gorgeous, not the mention the price doesn’t burn too much of a hole in your wallet.

  17. Nicely done review, especially for a first attempt. I look forward to more. You’re straight-forward with your opinions, don’t apologize for not being “wowed” by a cigar, and don’t come up with flavors like “dry-aged pear” or “cajun spiced leather.” Who would know what some of these descriptors really taste like?! So, I enjoyed your review.

  18. Hey Charlie, great debut review! I am a big fan of A.J. Fernandez, especially the MOW Puro Authentico and San Lotano Habano. His cigars tend to be great in the construction and burn departments, although I had a San Lotano Oval yesterday that was a little flaky. I always like the 2nd third hints of raisins or dark fruit in his blends. I will be watching for this brand. Congrats on getting to page 1 of the site!

    1. Thanks, George. I’m glad you liked my review.

      Just to clarify: AJ Fernandez ( is not associated with Casa Fernandez ( I’m also a big fan of AJ’s work, though!

      Be sure to give the San Lotano Oval another try. I’ve quite enjoyed all the samples I’ve had so far. Which size did you smoke?

  19. Never tried any Casa Fernandez, so it would be a great opportunity, by the way it was a well written review charlie .

  20. Welcome aboard Charlie. always nice to have some new blood. Great first review. Sounds like these have some decent flavor and potential. Id like to win to find out first hand,

  21. Hey Charlie, enjoyed the review, and I think it’s really cool you get to do these contests! Keep the videos coming…being a newbie I look for all sources of info on what’s out there and how they smoke…have a good one!

  22. Charlie, welcome to SR! I really enjoy most of the reviews, particularly from Jerry and Walt. Looking forward to another point of view. I enjoy a medium to full bodied smoke so I may have the same opinion as you on the Copacabana, but I always keep my mind open and am willing to try anything (almost!). No bigger Phils fan than me and we are going all the way this year.

  23. Nice review Charlie. I’ve only smoked one of these so far and I wasn’t wowed by it either. I’d like to give it another try though.

  24. It’s nice to read a meaningful review about a cigar. This review made me want to go out and try a Copacabana and for only $6 I hope they’re as good as they sound.

  25. It seems that with the cracking and the hints of sour throughout, the cigar was not fully aged. Do you think that if it had been left to age for a while, it might have kept your interest all the way through?

    1. The cracked wrapper was probably caused by a humidification issue, though it only happened for the second out of the three samples I smoked. I usually keep my cigars at 65-68 RH (I prefer them a little drier that way, since I find they smoke better than at 70), and I believe it was *really* humid outside that night (~99 RH), so that abrupt change in humidity might have caused it.

      The sour note, on the other hand, wasn’t necessarily a bad thing… just something I picked up on in the flavor profile. This cigar is a new release and perhaps could benefit from a bit of aging.

  26. Charlie – No need to enter me in the contest. I have my own SR insider sending me things. Anyway, welcome to SR. Enjoyed your first review. Hope to learn more about you. Thanks for your service.

  27. Welcome aboard Charlie and nice review! I’ve liked everything that I’ve smoked so far from Casa Fernandez, this one sounds pretty different from their usual so I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

  28. Charlie, welcome aboard! Thanks for the review, kinda reminds me of an El Baton from your description. Send me the fiver and I’ll let you know what I think comparatively via tweet. Oh yeah, the prize pack on the other contest would be awesome too!

  29. New to cigar smoking and I’m really loving all the great advice from all the Bloggers. The reviews have been helpful.

  30. “, the wrapper cracked in two spots with an audible “pop-pop,” requiring a couple of touch-ups to keep things going smoothly.”

    What type of “touch-ups” do you do when that happens?

    1. Once the burn line caught up with the cracks in the wrapper, the cigar starting to burn unevenly. So I just touched it up with a few blasts from my lighter to keep things from getting out of control.

  31. Charlie – great first review! I’ve never been able to pick out “sour” so I might have to try one of these cigars (easier if I win them of course). It was also great to meet you last night at the CAO OSA SOL Event! Looking forward to more of your reviews BOTL!

  32. Thanks, Mark. Great to meet you, too. The sour wasn’t overwhelming by any stretch (which I certainly wouldn’t enjoy) — just another hint of flavor in a surprisingly complex cigar.

  33. Hey Dude, I love the Casa Fernandze Miami Reserva Cigar. They are I would like to tried the Casa Fernandez Copacabana Cigar. thank guy

  34. Hey, would love to smoke a great cigar with my brothers at the Air Force Academy! First I would like to say thanks for making it 19 and up that is very helpful. And now for something to add instead of just the “pick me,” what’s your preferred flavor in a cigar, and do you have a favorite drink to go along with it?

  35. I need these cigars!!!!!!!! Please give them to me!!!!! Thanks for the great reviews. You guys rock!!!!!!!!

  36. Something meaningful… hrmmm..

    “Any cigar smoker is friend, because I know how he feels.”
    — Alfred de Musset

    Welcome to SR Charlie!

  37. Interesting review. Based on this, I would probably tend to pass over these cigars if I saw them on the shelf. They probably would be a good choice for just kicking back with a friend, though.

    Welcome to SR, Charlie.

  38. Thanks for the great review. This smoke is definitely on my “To-Do List”, certainly for a mid-priced cigar for golf, etc. I especially appreciated the history of the seeds and the acquisition of Tropical Tobacco. This is a good-looking chunky toro, and sounds sufficiently interesting and complex, although I was a little disappointed that you weren’t inspired enough for a re-light and smoke down to the nub!

  39. Have tried and liked the med-full Particulares and tried and loved the full bodied Casa Fernandez Aganorsa both of which use the aganorsa leaf. Would be interesting to try one of these to round things out.

    Thanks for the review.

  40. Welcome to Stogie Review Charlie. I thought yours was quite a detailed review for a first time guest. Really enjoyed reading it. And I would really like to try those Casa Fernandez Copacabanas. Hope to see more of your reviews.


  41. Great review Charlie. I always reading other people’s thoughts on cigars. My appreciation and love for cigars seems to continually grow. Thanks for giving those of us who’ve never smoke this, a sneek preview of what we may experience.

  42. I’ve never tried these. I am unsure if I have ever tried “Aganorsa” tobacco. I looked at the Casa Fernandez website for more information. Is this brand affiliated with AF Fernandez?

  43. Great review Charlie! I use this website and the reviews to assist my future cigar purchases and the flavour profile of this cigar (and construction characteristics) are ones that I enjoy; moreover the smoke time and price point definitely seem reasonable.

    I see you are a scholar in waiting too (completing my Ph.D in biomechanics), good luck with that. Also, a quick question; do you drink your single malts with a cigar, and if so, do you match the whisky and cigar for strength or flavour profile?

    Cheers mate

  44. In the past, I have enjoyed cigars made with Aganorsa tobaccos (notably a couple of Corona Cigar Co. in-house brands) but it’s becoming more difficult for medium-bodied cigars to obtain that “wow-factor” status in a market that is increasingly more receptive to fuller-bodied creations. When you want a little break from heavier smokes, I would think that a well-constructed cigar such as this one would be a welcome addition to your rotation.

  45. Thanks for the great review. I was actually contemplating on buying this or the CAO Traviata. I think I’ll go with this Copacabana based on your review. Very nice.

  46. Great start! I will need to look for these at my local B&M’s… Your review makes me want to smoke one…. Thanks!

  47. Hi Charlie; Good review. I have been working my way through a sampler of Padilla artemis and I like them. Didn’t care much for Particulares however. I’ll be giving the Copacabana a shot as this stick is in my price range. The Aganorsa leaf seems worth while. Keep up the good work.

  48. Awesome review. I have to admit I don’t have a very educated palate. I rely on reviews such as yours to help me pick cigars. I certainly have my idea of good and bad cigars, but I can’t usually identify the individual flavors that make it up. I’m intrigued by your description of the flavors that make up this cigar and would love to try them to see if I too can identify them. I also love cigars that the ash holds together well and comes off in large heavy clumps.

  49. Wow, never had a hint of raisin in a cigar. Well done, may have to try it just for that
    reason. I do appreciate your honesty, I rarely read reviews anymore because no one admits they didn’t like a cigar. Personally when my cigar wrapper “pops,” as you say, that’s the worst. I generally blame it on a bad cigar or a cigar shop with a sh–t humidor.
    Also, cigar makers don’t always realize a cheesie name won’t work on the casual American cigar smoker. Copacabana is the last name I’d choose…considering all the history that comes with it as you duly noted.! Verdad!

  50. I have one particular cigar that I smoke but this cigar looks like it has a great flavor. I like the size and color of the leaf. I hope I can try this one soon. It may replace what I already smoke.

  51. I really enjoyed your writeup, i never heard of this cigar til reading your reveiw and now i must go out and look for these ! I hope they taste as good as you have described .

  52. Great review (and pics) on this cigar,exerpt to me, i tastes and smokes much like the ASERNIO,(also by CASA FERNANDEZ) but a notch milder. Decent smoke nontheless! Mos Def a MUST TRY.

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