Cigar Review: Cu-Avana Intenso

intenso_web_1

Size: 5×50, Robusto

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo

Filler: Peruvian and Nicaraguan Ligero

Strength: Full

Price: Box 0f 20, $59.95

Grade: 8.8

Cu-Avana cigars have long been known for their consistency, value, and mildness. The Natural and the Maduro are both very mild cigars and this left the Cu-Avana line with no real place in the new market of fuller-bodied cigars. And so, the Intenso arrived. The Intenso was created with fuller-bodied smokers in mind, with the filler packed with ligero tobacco. Some have compared this stick to the higher priced Oliva Serie V and the Joya de Nicaragua.

The original Cu-Avana was created by Manuel Quesada, who created a very popular, smooth, and consistent cigar. For the new powerhouse, however, Cu-Avana turned to Nestor Plasencia, the man behind Rocky Patel’s Edge and Sungrown line of cigars, among others.

As a fan of Cu-Avana’s consistency and value, let’s see how the Intenso compares to the Natural (review) and the Maduro (review). Let’s toast that foot!

intenso_web_2Pre-light, 1.8:
The Intenso was a great looking smoke. The dark Corojo wrapper was coated in oils and was very inviting; the banded foot really made the smoke stand out. A roll of the hand revealed some good weight—it was tightly packed and there were no soft spots. The cap was clean and appeared to be well constructed. The pre-light aroma was of tobacco only but towards the foot I pick up a bit of barnyard, which was surprising on a ligero.  The cold draw followed the above profile but there was a tickle of spice on the end.

Burn, 1.8:
Clean cut, good toast, and away we go. The draw was decent, a little tight, but I expected it so not a big deal. The medium gray ash layered nicely and held very well. The burn itself became a little jagged into the second third but corrected by the beginning of the final third, as the draw became looser. The temperature on this smoke was very pleasing and the Cu-Avana produced an adequate amount of smoke throughout.

Flavor, 2.6:
The first puff on the Robusto was of solid tobacco. The first third matured with some leather, caramel, and a little spice, not pepper, but close. The second third was lighter in flavor, but still pleasing to the palate with a shorter finish. The flavor profile for this part of the smoke was sweeter, with no spice, and the finish was longer as the smoke began coating the mouth. The final third seemed to trend back toward the beginning of the Intenso—a shorter finish with some pepper on the back of the throat and a continued mild sweetness. This flavor profile was not as complex as I initially expected in the first third, but it was still a nice combination.

Overall, 2.6:
Three dollars a stick is the selling point on this smoke. Cu-Avana cigars are very consistent, very flavorful, and very reasonably priced. They have done well with this full-bodied smoke, and in my opinion it is just that, full-bodied. The Intenso is a bit more expensive than the Natural and the Maduro and it also scored a few points higher. This one is not going to spin your top for complexity, but for a good solid smoke, pick a few of these up and toast the foot–they should be ready out of the gate with no aging needed.

(Total:  8.8)