Cigar Review: La Unica

Size: 4.5×50, Robusto (#400)

Wrapper: Connecticut

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican

Strength: Mild

Price: Box of 20, $75.95 (Purchase)

Grade: 9.0

I picked a box and a half of these up in a recent purchase and I’ve loved them, so I figured it was time to actually sit down and review them. Before I started reading up for the review, I had no idea what I had been smoking! I knew it was good, but I didn’t know it was the brainchild of the Newman and Fuente families! Nor did I know they can be found for around $3 a stick!

La Unica is a collaboration between J.C. Newman’s Chairman, Stanford Newman, and Carlos Fuente Sr. Back in 1985, Newman had an idea to offer a premium bundle cigar – back then only factory 2nds were sold in bundles. Once the sizes were selected by Fuente and the blend was approved by Newman, the La Unica shortly became the top selling bundle cigar in America. The blend has remained the same, but it is now sold in boxes rather than bundles. It is produced at Tabacalera A. Fuente.

The La Unica is available in Natural, Maduro, and the recently introduced Cameroon. Sold in boxes of 20, there are six sizes offered: 8.5×52 (#100, Presidente), 7×49 (#200, Churchill), 6.75×44 (#300, Lonsdale), 4.5×50 (#400, Robusto), 5.5×42 (#500, Corona), and 6×50 (#600, Toro). La Unica has received high ratings from both Cigar Aficionado and Smoke Magazine.

Pre-light, 1.8:
The stout size of the #400 is a great cigar to hold for Robusto lovers – firmly packed with a nice weight. The light brown wrapper has some quiet spider web veins, a well constructed triple cap, and flawless seams – the seams are so even that it appears as one single sheet of wrapper leaf. The aroma is very sweet with barnyard notes primarily of hay – toward the foot the La Unica has a creamy sweetness to it that is very pleasant. On the cold draw, the pull is loose and airy and the flavors are muted, though there are some wood notes and a bitter tinge detected.

Burn, 1.7:
An ample amount of smoke billows from the loose draw on the #400. The ash is consistently colored and forms into a beautiful thick and firm sheet; it even looks chalky in its structure. The burn is slow but hilly throughout – toward the second third it begins to v, and it requires some minor touch-ups. The temperature stays cool, though toward the nub it burns harsh in the back of the throat.

Flavor, 2.7:
With a creamy burst up front, the profile is mostly gentle with a mild spice present in the back of the throat. Through the first third, the primary note is a pleasant and creamy butterscotch. Moving into the second third, the creaminess decreases and becomes dryer with a harsher finish. The barnyard notes noticed in the cold draw are more present here due to a lack of cream. Into the final third of this short Robusto, the flavor reminded me of Arabica coffee beans – the coffee notes were not overt, but they were present, and were complimented by a dry and less gentle finish.

Overall, 2.8:
Did I mention yet that these are $3 smokes from Fuente and Newman? Well, they are – and they are really, really good for a mild smoke. The flavor is interesting, the construction is what you’d expect, and the price is hard to beat. The La Unica lands in my Top However Many List for sub $5 smokes. Try them, you’ll be happy.

(Total: 9.0)