Saturday, July 25, 2009

Casa Magna Colorado Robusto
Size: 5.5" x 52
Tobacco: Nicaraguan Puro
Price: $5.25

Casa Magna cigars are made and sold by Manuel Quesada (MATASA & Fonseca) in a factory owned by Nestor Plascencia (Joya de Nicaragua); it is rumored to have been a replacement for the JdN Antano 1970. The Robusto took the cigar world by storm after it was voted Cigar of the Year in 2008 by Cigar Aficionado magazine.

Ever since then, online debate has raged as to how a $5 no-name cigar captured the industry's most public honor, if not necessarily it's most prestigious (companies and consumers have been complaining about CA's objectivity for years). Casa Magnas have become very scarce. After waiting on a list for several months, I was finally permitted to buy two at Tinder Box in Memphis (two cigars was their per person limit).

Paul Shook and I enjoyed these cigars, with Old Pulteney islay malt, after dinner on 4th of July while our kids swam in the pool. The cigars were very dark, almost a maduro, with smooth oily wrappers. I didn't note anything distinctive in the prelight aroma or taste. Mine required a touch-up just a few seconds in, probably due to a faulty initial light in the first place, but after that it burned like a champ with a steady draw throughout.

The cigar lasted around 90 minutes and held its flame even when we had to scamper to the garage during a brief summer storm. It was not very complex, but evidenced rich charcoal-like flavors that complemented the grilled dinner and the smoky scotch very well. Paul summed it up succinctly as "very good" but not "overwhelmingly fantastic".

It's hard to make a final judgement after only one cigar. While it fell short of Best Cigar in the World, it also fared much better than most.

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