The Cuevas family has been in the cigar business for over 70 years through 5 generations of family members. They started growing and cultivating tobacco in the famed Pinar de Rio region of Cuba as far back as the 19th century. When Cuba nationalized the industry, the family relocated to the Dominican Republic and eventually established their factory – Tabacalera Las Lavas S.R.L. – in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The latest of the generations to enter the family business is Alec Cuevas the son of Luis Cuevas Jr. Alec had his first try at creating a cigar with his father last year which ended up being named the #1 Cigar of the Year on Stogie Press – The Patrimonio, a tribute to Alec’s grandfather Luis Cuevas Sr.
Now it was time for Alec to create his own cigar and was given the family blessing from his grandfather to create the aptly named Sangre Nueva. The name translates to New Blood. Alec Cuevas, the 5th generation of the Cuevas tobacco family looked to create a blend that represents “old Traditions, new Generation”.
In a press release earlier this year Alec Cuevas stated:
“The slogan “old traditions, new generation” signifies so much more to me than a passing of the family torch. It represents all the experiences I’ve ever been through in this industry, from working behind the counter selling my fellow manufacturer’s products, to spending my summers learning all there is to know about our factory from a very young age.
Sangre Nueva is a personal love letter to my family, who placed their faith in me to create something from scratch given my knowledge of tobacco. It is also the culmination of patrons and distributors alike that took time out of their day to educate me and better help me define my palate throughout all these years. It’s been a blast creating such a savory blend, and I think it’s a perfect representation of the gratitude I have for this one-of-a-kind industry.”
Alec describes the Sangre Nueva as a Medium plus strength cigar that elegantly boasts rich, savory chocolate notes along with hints of pepper, earthy tones, and a tad bit of spice. The cigar has a blend described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Cameroon
- Binder – Honduran Corojo
- Filler – Dominican, Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania broadleaf
Alec estimated that he needed include a high percentage of Pennsylvania broadleaf in the filler. This gave the cigar extra strength while balancing out the cigar’s flavors. Alec also noted that blend incorporates a very small percentage (2%) of Kentucky fire-cured tobacco. A tricky blend between the often times difficult Cameroon and the robust Fire Cure – to get right – but that is what we have.
The Casa Cuevas Sangre Nueva is expressed in 3 vitolas, each packaged in 10-count boxes with an MSRP set between $13.00 and $14,75 per cigar.
- Robusto (4 3/4 x 52) – MSRP $13.00
- Toro (6 x 52) – MSRP $13.50
- Double Perfecto (6 x 58) – MSRP $14.75
Though this review is based on the toro vitola, I did sample each on the three vitolas and feel the blend to be best expressed in the toro. I received samples from the company for this review.
To start things off, the Casa Cuevas Sangre Nueva is wrapped in a dark brown and oily wrapper that has a light grit to it and exhibits some noticeable veins. The barrel of the cigar has fairly solid with just a little give when gently pressed between the fingers. It is finished with a simple cap.
Two bands adorn the cigar using a black, copper, and pale whiteish pink motif. The primary band proudly displays the company’s logo in the center and also embellished with copper coins on both the left and right sides that signify the company’s lineage from Spain to Cuba to the Dominican Republic. A secondary band is neatly placed under the primary. The die cuts of both bands allow for a seamless presentation of the two bands. That secondary band declares the cigar as the Sangre Nueva.
The first sense you have when running the cigar along the nose, is the aroma of the fire cure leaf. Though only about 2% of the leaf used is fire cured, it is still quite noticeable on the nose along the barrel and the foot. I would describe it as roasted hickory wood. This is quite unique for Casa Cuevas as they have been known for more traditional cigars in the past.
I opened the cap using my CigarMedics Baller cutter and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs. I certainly got more introduction to the fire cure but also a fine black pepper tingle on my tongue. The draw was excellent and the more I cold puffed, the pepper grew across the cheeks, lips, and eventually the back of the throat.
Not knowing what was in store for the experience, I warmed the foot gently with my double flame torch and drew in the first introductory puffs of smoke which a hint of natural sweetness and nut along with a lingering hickory BBQ note. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- A tad harsh especially on the perfecto but less so on the toro and robusto
- Natural sweetness and nut along with a lingering hickory BBQ note develops after a few puffs
- You can definitively feel the pepper on the retro hale
- Smoke volume is full, from the get go
- Light grey ash has formed nicely on a fairly even thin char line (it was wavier in the other vitolas)
- Cedar notes evolve near the end of the first third toning down the hickory
- Ash fell in a decent chunk revealing a well-formed burn cone
- Interesting, buttered popcorn aroma starts wafting off the foot
- Cinnamon fruit replaces the heavy pepper
- Strength ratchets up midway
- Citrus notes slowly fill in the profile
- Mild cream wraps the citrus in a complementary blended flavor
- Dark Espresso with a touch of coffee bitterness takes it to the finish (lesser in the toro)
- Medium Plus in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 45 minutes for the toro.
I will be the first to admit, it took me a few samples of each vitola of the Casa Cuevas Sangre Nueva to get my head wrapped around the blend. It was quite unique and may not be for everyone at least try one and you judge the experience. I think Alec has done something quite unique here, and perhaps even more when you consider this is a Dominican Cigar. It does start a tad harsh on the palate but eventually the blend finds its way leaving me to say – I have grown to enjoy this cigar. The blend actually takes you on an interesting journey that one could describe as two major profiles. The first 1/3 plus is a medium to bold fire cured smoke but the future nuances are in the background. Eventually those nuances rise to the top as the fire cure fades. Then you have a new cigar, your taste buds have been fired up and teased and now a pleasant fruit, cream, and coffee blend sooths the palate with an ever-present but gentle cinnamon note. How do I rate this? I rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave in second half; (-1) Harsh Start; (-1) Bitter Notes in Final
Bonus Points: (+1) Extremely Complex