Cigar Review: Casa Magna Oscuro Robusto
The Fourth of July comes twice here in Kingston, NY. Before the fourth we have a huge festival on the waterfront featuring one of the better fireworks displays in the region. It draws a crowd of thousands from all over the county, including the trashier side of our local society. I try to avoid this one.
After the fourth, a trashy carnival sets off some fireworks of their own. The crowd for these is even more bloated, drunk and obnoxious, but the uptown location allows for more flexibility in viewing location — specifically, our Marketing Director’s rooftop, a prime spectator’s spot for the show.
The best seat in the house deserves a great cigar, and from all the praise it has received I yanked the Casa Magna Oscuro Robusto. Sure, I have more expensive and high-rated sticks in the humidor, but this one came highly recommended and was tempting me on sheer presentation alone.
The Honduran Oscuro wrapper was midnight-black with a beautiful oily sheen. The band looked great too — I feel with cigar bands we see way too much gold lamé and not enough silver and chrome — it’s like Donald Trump is running the cigar world’s graphic design department.
As nice as it looks, I’m definitely in the “who cares what it looks like” camp. Let’s smoke the damn thing. With the torch forgotten at home I’m forced to Bic-start it, and on the breezy rooftop it gets burning right away. I’m hit with strong leather notes and not too much spice — what was present was almost like white pepper. The first few puffs were very full-bodied and it took building a half inch of ash before it mellowed out to the point where I could start to appreciate it fully.
Once it came into its own I could only think one thing — leather! When I started smoking cigars I couldn’t understand why people would want the taste of leather in their tobacco. After doing some research, both reading and smoking, ‘leather’ revealed itself as something between a literal and metaphoric descriptor. It’s not that the cigar tastes like a saddle bag, but has more to do with mouth feel and texture. A Cigar Aficionado video recently described it as ‘the nostalgic smell of a favorite old leather jacket’, which is way closer to reality. Yes, the taste is somewhat leathery, but it’s really more of a tobacco taste with a leathery ‘feel’ to it. The same applies to ‘earthy’, ‘woody’ and ‘toasty’… you’re not smoking dirt, bark or burnt Wonderbread, but the tobacco has a hint of the flavor and much of the olfactory feel.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, I have to say that this was the most ‘leathery’ smoke I’ve ever had. Smooth, rich tobacco taste sat perfectly on the palate. Little hints of earthiness and sweetness could be detected here and there, but this was an incredibly consistent cigar. The complexity was subtle, and just as soon as I thought I tasted cocoa or fruit, it vanished. Lesser sticks would loose my interest with such a straightforward presentation, but this cigar more than makes up for it in balance. As weird as it sounds, this is a cigar that tastes like a cigar… no flavor innovations or tobacco twists and turns… just a fine-burnin’, fine-smokin’ stogie.
A couple of miscellaneous observations: The Casa Magna Oscuro would go great with an aged rum or bourbon. It’s got that kind of full-bodied flavor profile that just begs for the strong cut of liquor. This is not a beginner’s cigar. The first few puffs are like a hurdle, and once cleared, it’s smooth running but still a workout. I made it through 2/3 before I felt like I had my fill. But when all the factors combine for around $6/stick, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve gotten great value from this precision blend of tobaccos.
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