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Staff Reviews

Bella Cuba Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

Four score and seven years ago, I was in search of the Holy Grail and I found it at Holt’s. Before I made a career in the cigar biz, I would routinely hassle the Holt's retail staff in my quest for new cigars with an emphasis on cheap cigars. I thirsted for knowledge and hungered for a good deal that only Holt’s could provide. I circled the palatial and expansive closeout offerings like a value vulture about to feast on a buffet of fresh roadkill. Those were the good old days. Or were they? Glad you asked. Read on for another episode of, Grant’s Rant.

You see friends, during my lifelong quest for an everyday cigar that wouldn’t exceed my cigar allowance, my hopes and dreams had been crushed flatter than a 3-day old glass of seltzer water too many times to count. More often than not, I was disappointed in my own selection-making process which was solely based on classic cigar packaging with a bias towards vintage, old-time bands that looked well-established. It was a rookie mistake that I repeated often in the early years until I finally learned you don’t smoke the packaging.

When Bella Cuba arrived on the loading dock here at Holt’s, I paced the warehouse like an expectant father. A much-needed return to my cigar-smoking roots and the hunt for the perfect economical everyday cigar was officially afoot. This time was a bit different, however. I fondly recall the pre-production, un-banded samples that graced my desk for a very short time. Keep in mind friends, at this step of the monumental task of bringing a cigar brand successfully to market, the only information I had about this particular cigar was gleaned from my eyes and my well-seasoned olfactory nerves. The Bella Cuba Toro beckoned to be smoked and I hastily released it from its Ziploc incarceration without delay. I was awestruck by its palomino-brown wrapper that was nearly upstaged by a seamless, carefully-applied cap.  As I progressed through my normal pre-light ritual, I deduced that the cigar had the perfect level of suppleness and elasticity in the wrapper. It also exhibited a firm, yet yielding, resiliency under slight pressure applied by my fingers as I sheared off the cap with my battle-scarred guillotine cutter. The cold draw didn’t disappoint and delivered a macchiato-like sweetness with just a tad bit of spice.

I toasted the foot of the cigar and immediately detected a cedar room note which increased in volume and flavor as I smoked the cigar. Twenty minutes in, and about the halfway-point of the cigar, an earthy sweetness took center stage with undertones of espresso and pepper making a cameo appearance. Flavors remained consistent and I was rewarded with a cool smoke over the cigar's 50-minute lifespan.

Sounds good, right?  What if I told ya, you could re-home this beautiful, silky-smooth Cuban-heritage brand hailing from the Dominican Republic’s premier micro-boutique cigar factory for as little as 87-cents per cigar? Well friends, I didn’t bang my head and you’re not in concussion protocol, so order with confidence and quickness and bask in the resplendent beauty of this 91-rated gem!

Until next time, long ashes to you! 


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