La Cucaracha (No. 48), 5" x 54 ring gauge / approx. $7.25
As explained by Frank Herrera, the man behind these cigars, La Caridad del Cobre is the patron saint of Cuba and the only constant in Cuban culture since her appearance in 1608. The cigars produced by Frank and his company are intended to keep Cuban traditions alive by those living in exile. They are handmade in the Dominican Republic and this particular perfecto uses Dominican and Nicaraguan filler, a Dominican binder, and a Brazilian Arapiraca maduro wrapper (with the tips wrapped in pieces of Ecuadorian shade leaf). Some people have indicated being a bit put off by the name "La Cucaracha," which is Spanish for "cockroach," but there is a story with that as well...Bolita ("little ball") was a popular lottery game in Cuba and Cuban immigrant neighborhoods and it was all wrapped up in superstition. If you dreamed of a certain animal or object one night, you might play a certain number associated with that animal or object the next day. La Cucaracha is associated with the number 48. This review sample is the third cigar of this vitola that I smoked; they were provided by Frank Herrera when he traveled through Chattanooga a few weeks ago. It seems appropriate to now stop and say, "Thank you, Frank."
I liked the way this cigar looked and did ever since I first laid eyes on it. The mottled maduro may have a couple flaws; the shade tips may not be the clearest leaf I have ever seen...bu the way the pieces are crafted together into a hard-to-roll perfecto shape is a thing of beauty. Obvious care was taken to fit the lighter tips onto the whole and the ornate band--with all its iconography telling the story of the eponymous saint--wass perfect, centered in the length of the cigar as it was. I got an earthy, barnyard smell on the wrapper and more earthiness on the foot--although it was understandably subdued there because the foot is quite small. After clipping the pointy head, the draw was just slightly snug, but had a nice mix of earth, hay and natural tobacco sweetness.
Even just the smallest bit of shade leaf started La Cucaracha off with a creamy, mild profile; but 3 puffs later when that shade leaf was almost burned away and the maduro wrapper came into play, the cigar suddenly took on more body and a nice hit of pepper on the retrohale. This short perfecto soon settled down into a medium-to-full bodied cigar with a small amount of pepper spice on both palate and nose, and a subtle sweetness from the maduro leaf. The longer I smoked the more I also tasted an underlying earthiness.
Construction on La Cucaracha proved to be excellent across all the samples I smoked--and the ones I saw others smoking, for that matter. An ash half the length of the cigar was not uncommon. The flavors in the second third were still quite earthy, but still with plenty of cocoa powder and coffee notes as well as a lingering pepper burn at the back of the throat.
The spice increased a bit during the last third, but the overall flavor profile remained fairly constant from the second third on. I really enjoyed this vitola from La Caridad del Cobre as it had enough flavor to keep me interested throughout. One of the magical things about La Cucaracha was the relatively short time it took to smoke--somewhere about 45 minutes on average. That made it just about perfect for a mid-afternoon break from work. The price is also very good, especially for a perfecto, which tend to be more expensive since they are harder to roll. I would think this would be fairly accessible to any but the most novice of cigar smokers since it does not pack much of a nicotine punch or overwhelm the smoker with a full body.
Have you tried this cigar? If you have something you would like to add to the conversation, please leave a comment below...