There have been many words typed around the cigar-loving part of the net about the Casa Magna Colorado line since it was named cigar of the year in 2008 by Cigar Aficionado. I have to admit that a year ago I was still smoking the odd cigar maybe once a month or less, the stogie bug hadn’t bit me and I didn’t even care about who made CA’s top 25. It is funny to read the reactions around the web at the time as most people had never even heard of this brand. How things change… I have three humidors now and Casa Magna is an established brand.
While the top 25 list doesn’t shape my buying habits it certainly tickles my curiosity, so having received this Casa Magna Robusto from a fellow BOTL on UKCF (thanks CJ!) I was planning on smoking and reviewing it to coincide with the 2009 list, but got just a little sidetracked by other things. Jump a few days later and here I am cigar in hand ready too light up my sample of CA’s 2008 cigar of the year.
Casa Magna Colorado Robusto
Length: 5 1/2″
Price: Singles go around 5$ to 6$ in the US, haven’t found anyone selling these in Europe
Smoking time: 80 minutes
Body: Lower end of full-bodied
The Nicaraguan puro cigar is made in Nestor Plasencia ‘s Segovia Cigar Factory but it actually is a collaboration between Plasencia and Manuel Quesada of MATASA. It’s a Nicaraguan puro made from Habano seed tobacco and the “colorado” refers to a Cuban cigar term to describe the dark reddish brown color of the wrapper, and is by far my favourite wrapper shade. To be honest, it is hard to review this cigar objectively knowing its accolades on one side and the underwhelming reactions many have had once people managed to get hold of these, but here’s to trying.
Appearance and pre-smoke
Appearance wise, I think the picture above says it all. I am not particularly sold to the band design, but it is clearly made with quality in mind. The oily wrapper has a fantastic hue, it has a few veins but these are really thin and the seam and double cap are faultless. It feels quite nicely packed with little give: it has one tiny soft spot near the foot and a hard spot under the band which ended up causing some woes. Once cut the draw is perfect for my taste, a little resistance but not too much, which brings earthy and peppery notes.
One thing I was afraid of with this stick was how it would burn; I had read about some pretty bad experiences (like a few posts on this UFCF discussion) or Stogie Review Walt’s short ashes review (linked at the end). This one burned great, very thin burn line, almost picture- perfect straight and slow. The ash was pretty cool, light gray and staying on for the whole first 3rd of the cigar and dropping off only once it reached the 2″ mark.
The flavours are complex but while the basic Nicaraguan spice and earthy cocoa are nice and strong, the other aromas that pop up after the first five minutes are more hints than clear notes. I noticed toasted notes some dry fruit (cherry maybe) and some caramel sweetness. Nice, but if these were more evident I would have been even happier.
I liked the evolution the cigar had at this point. While the earth and spicy notes remained, notes of very creamy mocha and joint these slowly evolving into cedar and barnyard notes with a caramel finish towards the head. Burn remained as faultless as before, a little crack near the hard spot didn’t seem too bad…
… but it was. Soon the tiny crack had become a full-fledged wrapper split and half an inch into the last 3rd the only thing left to do was to get rid of the wrapper and smoke the cigar “naked”. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera along while I was smoking otherwise I would have loved to document the cigar-crash. The aromas here were simpler, wood on earthy notes and more pepper, but the cigar quite quickly tended to overheat and become hot and bitter.
I would say that the answer is “depends how you look at it”. If you smoke this thinking best of 2008, then it is underwhelming. It is really hard to imagine what reasoning CA used when they chose this as best of 2008, except for creating a lot of noise in the cigar community.
On the other hand, as my mate jdawg pointed out , if you look at this as a 5$ stick it is well worth the money. It gets an 87 from me, mainly for the issues with the burn and wrapper at the end, but without these it could have made 90 easily. I think it is a well made cigar, pleasant, but certainly more something for people who are looking for subtle flavours and not bold gutsy ones; I for one would have liked it better if those initial notes were stronger, still for the price I’d buy a 5-pack without thinking about it… if ever I found them available, that is.
More Casa Magna Colorado Robusto reviews:
Her Humidor (I really liked this blog, pity it seems to be abandoned)
and last but not least a video review from Friends of Habanos (their only Non cuban video as far as I know)