I love when friends launch their new cigar lines. There are two things that I know:
- I know that I am going to be asked to try and review the cigar for my blog; and
- I know that none of my friends would give me a bad cigar to smoke, let alone write about.
So, when my friends Chris and Ozhen told me they were launching a new cigar line, Case de Sueños, I was excited to try it. Ozhen owns the LG Cigar Lounge in San Jose, California. The two of them were in my Cigar Sommelier class, and they were telling me about the new line back in September. “Don’t worry, as soon as we have the labels we will send you one to try.”
A few weeks ago my mailbox was filled with a gorgeous new stick called “Casa de Sueños El Soñador.” The only problem was that I was in Canada at the time. Trying this new stick would have to wait a few days…
…or longer. I came back from my trip to a whirlwind of activity – I started a new contract at work, and it was going to be a very hectic week. I would enjoy it on the weekend…
…and then I caught a cold. Really? How do you catch cold in Southern California? Well, I did… and it dogged me for a couple of weeks. I wanted to get the full experience of this cigar and give it a fair and uncluttered review, so it was going to have to wait until my cold cleared up.
This afternoon was the day. My head is clear, and so is my schedule. After my last meeting of the day I pulled this new stick out of my humidor, poured myself a glass of Oban 14 single malt whisky, and took them both out to the patio.
The smells of the unlit cigar is one of the nicest smells known to man. There is only one thing that can mar the smell is when the cigar rollers use too much vegetable glue to hold it together. There was almost no hint of glue, so I spent a minute enjoying the aromas.
Casa de Sueños are rolled in the Dominican Republic. While Dominican cigars are not generally my favourite cigars, there are several exceptions. It did not take me long to realize that this stick would be on that list of exceptions.
It lights very smooth and creamy, and after about a millimetre you could start to sense the complexity of it. The peppery notes are subtle but unmistakeable. Within a few minutes I was tasting notes of dried leaves, and it was delicious, and was pairing perfectly with my Oban whisky.
The peppery notes got a little stronger into and through the second third of the cigar, but were never overpowering. However at this point I was tasting very nice notes of a light, fresh wood. I was truly impressed by the transition that was literally from one puff to the next.
There are very few Dominican cigars that I will smoke right through the final third, but this one was just too tough to put down. The coolness on my tongue was a nice counter-balance to the peppery flavours, and was a nice surprise, even with only an inch left to smoke. From start to finish, this was a very enjoyable cigar.
The vitola that I smoked was a Robusto – 52 ring gauge by 5”. The construction of this cigar was excellent – if you look at the pictures you will see the ash lasted almost all the way to the label. It was dark, which is not unusual for the region. I turned the ash only to avoid burning through the paper.
This cigar gets two big thumbs up… if you are looking for a medium-bodied cigar that is complex and tasty, you have to try the Casa de Sueños. It is a spectacular Dominican cigar that is reasonably priced and thoroughly enjoyable. I will definitely be ensuring there are some of these in my humidor going forward.