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Cigar Review – Cusano 18 Robusto Maduro

In my year and change working here, I’ve kept a fairly long running wish list of cigars I’ve seen floating around in our humidor. I think I actually have it written down somewhere. Some of these cigars, though, come to mind immediately, for a bunch of reasons. Maybe the back story stuck with me, maybe they smelled particularly awesome when I was building 5-packs, or maybe the packaging just looked cool. For whatever reason, despite how intangibly long this list is, there are some I’ve never had to write down.

The Cusano 18 line is one I’ve been eyeballing since my first day here, for one standout reason—18-year-old filler tobacco. I figured that the tobaccos in most decent cigars had been aged for at least a few years, maybe 4 or 5, but 18 years is a different story. What also caught my eye was the fact that these are rolled with two different types of maduro tobaccos; a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, and Brazilian Mata Fina filler. Anyway, Brad, our sales rep from Davidoff, came by the other day and gave me a few assorted sticks, one of which was the Cusano 18 Robusto Maduro, so today I decided to light it up and see how good tobacco can really get after nearly two decades.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the wrapper on this cigar was gorgeous. It was deep reddish-brown with a near-reflective oily sheen and fine teeth throughout. There were a couple of significant veins, but there were no soft spots. After clipping the cap (and messing it up pretty brutally, 100 percent my fault), the draw was nice and easy with notes of leather, pepper, and bitter cocoa.

Lighting up this stogie was a breeze thanks to my trusty triple-torch lighter, and in no time at all, I was puffing away. Initial notes were heavy black pepper, leather, and some sweet cocoa on the retrohale. Despite the fact that the smoke was fairly strong at the beginning, the retrohale was incredibly smooth, and I was able to retrohale substantial puffs without burning my sinuses.

Further in, as the ash grew (it got to around two inches), the pepper faded out almost entirely. At about the halfway point, the smoke turned very creamy with a noticeable coffee flavor, along with a little bit of malted sweetness and some leather on the finish. I started picking up a very faint floral note in the background of the cigar as it dwindled down to around medium-bodied.

Near the end of the smoke, this cigar’s strength decreased to a very manageable mild-to-medium-bodied. Coming from what I’d call medium-to-full, this was surprising and very impressive. With about an inch and a half left, I got toast, caramel, and leather with absolutely no pepper. Once the sweetness faded out, all that was left was smooth tobacco with an absolutely immaculate finish. Wishing there were a few more inches of this cigar left, I reluctantly set down the stub.

After reviewing (and absolutely loving) the Cusano 15th Anniversary a while back, my expectations for the Cusano 18 Robusto Maduro were fairly high, but this cigar delivered. This was one of the smoothest, if not the smoothest maduro-wrapped stogie I’ve ever had. Aside from the first third, there was barely any pepper, and the cigar gradually got milder and milder as I got towards the end. The burn was perfect and required no touchups, despite my horrible cutting job, and the ashes lasted for an impressive 1 ½ to 2 inches at a time. Considering they’re under $5 a stick for the robusto size (the line peaks at $5 and change for the Churchill), you really can’t go wrong with these. Many thanks to Brad from Davidoff for bringing the samples—I hope to smoke some more of these soon.