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Cordoba & Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca robusto extra

Today Punch and Draw review another new release from the 2014 IPCPR show.

Cordoba and Morales Clave Cubana Etiqueta Blanca Robusto Extra cigar

Azarias “Z” and Emille Mustafa are the husband and wife team who are the owners of Cordoba & Morales cigars. We met the Mustafas at the 2014 IPCPR show and here is what Z told us about the Clave Cubana Etqueta Blanca.

The band has a music staff on it. I wondered what that is about, so I asked “Z” and he said that Clave are the sticks that are klacked together for rhythm in Cuban music. The original Clave Cubana cigar of last year came with a music CD of Cuban music made by a three time Grammy winner – thus the music theme. So now you don’t have to wonder about that anymore.
  • 5.5 x 52
  • Wrapper: San Andrés Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapa
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Esteli Ligero, Ometepe Viso, and Jalapa Seco

Punch: The wrapper has an Unremarkable aroma of tobacco – yet I remark about it anyway. This San Andres Maduro wrapper has a very sandpapery feel to it.

Draw: I get an aroma of yeasty bread, bran, and wheat straw.

P: That’s what I said – that is what tobacco smells like!

D: My prensado has a chocolaty dark maduro wrapper with a very fine tooth. There are a few veins made prominent by pressure-stress, and likewise there are a few small places where the edges lifted due to the box pressing. Otherwise the appearance is top-notch. I notice that while the stick is uniformly firm, there seems to be an air-gap between the wrapper and the binder/filler. I can almost “click” the wrapper. We’ll see if that has any impact on the smoking.

P: After punching it the draw is loose-medium, and I notice anise/fennel as the dominant pre-light flavor.

D: I am also getting a lot of seaweed/salt. Okay, no, I’m just getting seaweed/salt. Mine tastes of fish. The draw is pretty good – a touch on the loose side of perfect.

P: Starting off there is that complex cooked sweet onion and leather with some red velvet cake and a mild pepper. (Fish? Really?!)

D: Wow, this is burning quickly. While waiting for you to type your initial flavor, I’ve already burned half-an-inch! I would say initially, it is strong, and sharp without being harsh. At this point, the flavor is a lot of leather with some pepper…I’m saying green chile. There’s like… yellow onion vapor making it to the finish, and it lingers beyond the other flavors at this point.

I’m getting an interesting transition here at the end of the first third. There is a chocolaty flavor coming out; right now it’s milk chocolate. Mexican chocolate, if you figure in the pepper. And it is pulling on the sweetness of the yellow onion.

P: Second third: A pretty big pepper ball has developed in the back of my throat, but this is really smooth. The flavors have made a big transition of becoming subtler and are joined by some salt.

D: The Mexican chocolate I tasted earlier is actually competing with a new, stronger pepper (bell) and onion (white). It burns so quickly, though, that I am hesitant to “sample” is as often as I might a longer-burning stick. Instead, I thought I’d puff-pull, and that purge action brought in some vanilla, pure and clean. So far, I’m impressed with the flavor diversity.

P: Yes, there is a lot to hold one’s interest – if one focuses enough to notice, since I find the flavors to be subtle, but there is a lot there.

D: Coming into the last third was more of the same, and I really like that! At about two-fingers left, everything started to turn for me. I’ve got to keep purging to keep the great flavors coming through, and even then, it’s leaving harshness on the back of my throat. Remember, this is well past where most smokers would have put it down.

Burn quality has been great; there’s generous full-bodied smoke, fairly even burn with no touch ups, and the ash clings for more than an inch before it falls. If I put it down for a bit, the harshness leaves my throat, and I can still taste the good flavors.

P: Here, in the bonus round – getting near the nub – it is still good. The biggest change is the flavors are blended into in-distinctiveness and some menthol is joining in.

D: Okay, I’m amending my early comment; apparently, that was just a rough patch. A lot of the flavor and smoothness have returned, even if it’s a little less distinct. A nice finish.

Burn it or Spurn it?

D: Yes, burn it, burn it through. This Clave Cubana from Cordoba & Morales was medium-to-full flavor, with much complexity and overall fairly smooth. Mild strength as I noticed when I tried to stand up. I especially appreciated the late arrival of the chocolate and its further interaction with the other flavors. It is a fine extension of last year’s red label, and now I’m wishing I had sampled it as well. This is earning a high spot on my list.

P: Yes. Burn it until your lips blister. We enjoyed 45 minutes of pleasant smoking out of this rather loosely-packed stick. I’d classify this as medium flavor strength with a broad flavor breadth consisting of a lot of subtle interest. I had no burn issues. Well worth the $8–9 price.

This is based on one stick each, gifted to us by Mr. Mustafa at the IPCPR show. If we get hold of more, we’ll let you know of any additional thoughts here!

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