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Cigar Review – Cain Habano 550

If you’ve read any of my reviews, you probably know that I prefer stronger cigars. That said, I’m sure you could well imagine that Cain was high up on my list of potential review sticks. Well today was my lucky day—I just smoked a Cain Habano 550, and my head is still swimming from the nicotine.

The first thing I noticed about this stogie was the construction—head to foot, it was solidly packed with filler leaves, and the cap was really nicely applied. It’s tough to pull off the seamless roll with a wrapper leaf as thick as the Nicaraguan Habano that was on this stogie, but whoever rolled the Cain Habano 550 came pretty close. The pre-light draw had a little bit of resistance, but that didn’t stop cocoa, pepper, and earthy tobacco flavors from coming through.

Lighting up the stogie was easy; after about 10 seconds under my single torch, the ash began to turn white and I knew it was good to go. I was expecting a pepper kick right at the beginning, but instead I was treated to some medium-bodied flavors of bread, caramel, and cinnamon spice. These pleasant notes, along with a nice chocolate aftertaste, led me to believe that the Cain was not as strong as its reputation let on.

Man, was I wrong. About a half inch into this stogie, the pepper came in like a freight train, and before I knew it, my head was spinning. Underneath the pepper was recognizable black coffee bitterness and some residual butterscotch sweetness. This was shaping up to be a firecracker of a smoke.

The pepper persisted all the way through the first third, and at that point, I realized that the ash was still holding on. It continued to hold on until the halfway point, when it fell onto the blacktop in one solid chunk, exploding outward in about a 5-inch radius. The ash from the filler leaves was still clinging together in the middle of the blast radius, which let me know that a lot of care was taken in rolling this stogie.

Ash aside, the flavors at the halfway point mellowed out a bit. The butterscotch sweetness came back for about a half inch and then ducked back behind the resounding ligero spice. This sweet spice, along with coffee and a little bit of residual cocoa, lasted all the way down to the nub.

I’m impressed with Sam Leccia. The guy took three different types of ligero leaves— Jalapa, Condega, and Esteli—and made them work together in peppery, sweet harmony. I’ll be smoking a few more of these in the future, and I definitely plan on trying the even stronger Cain F line. My advice is to eat a sandwich and wait 30 minutes before smoking the Cain Habano 550, because unless you’ve got the nicotine tolerance of Andrew Jackson, this will prove to be a very heady smoke.