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Staff Reviews

Cuba Aliados Vintage Robusto Staff Review

Grant T. Thompson's picture

Grant T.

Hallelujah! Today I’m smoking Cuba Aliados Vintage, the second cigar in a two-part tasting from a pair of old-time Honduran handmades that recently arrived on the warehouse dock of the Holt’s Closeout Annex: Cuba Aliados and Puros Indios. I’m smoking the Aliados in a classic 5 by 50 Robusto. Read my previous review of Puros Indios Vintage where I extol the virtues of legendary, late cigar-maker Rolando Reyes Sr., aka Roly, who established the Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados brands as the biggest value cigars to hail from Honduras decades ago.

According to Roly’s grandson, Carlos Diez, these cigars comprise the official last batches of Cuba Aliados and Puros Indios cigars blended and handcrafted to the exacting recipes in Roly’s secret cookbook of blends. Both brands were acquired by the parent company of Oliva cigars, and plans are in the mix to re-blend and re-release them down the road. But if you’re a bona fide value fanatic like yours truly, you won’t waste second stuffing as many boxes of the originals as you can possibly fit into your coolerdor before they become a distant memory, friends.

Based on the basic-looking bands and boxes of Cuba Aliados cigars, you might not suspect they were blended by a guy who mastered his skill set beginning at age nine in Cuba and spent forty years there before he departed for the States, eventually settling in Honduras, where he could make cigars that satisfied his stringent standards. Roly was a stickler for quality, inspecting the work of his cigar rollers at all hours of the night well after they had departed the factory. He left his feedback in cryptic notes he posted on their rolling benches, but his tactics elevated the taste and consistency of the cigars they made.

Most of the smokes in my paltry budget fall somewhere in the spectrum of yard ‘gars or utility bundles, so imagine my delight to procure authentic Cuba Aliados Vintage cigars, which start under $4 apiece for the Robusto, despite being crafted according to the meticulous protocols Roly called for. When I crack open a fresh box, toasty aromas of wet wheat and pepper arouse my nose hairs. A deep-brown Honduran wrapper leaf is fitted over an orderly core of premium Dominican and Nicaraguan long-fillers. The cigar possesses an oily mahogany sheen when I spin it over in my hand.

After I clip the tip of the cigar’s cap and pull in a few cold draws of coffee bean and cocoa notes, I get the foot going with an abundant blast from trusty triple-flame Jetline Grenade Lighter. Cuba Aliados Vintage fires up like a dream. Creamy and cool clouds of smoke disperse into the ceiling tiles before the ventilation fan can catch them, and my coworkers turn in amazement to ask what I’m puffing on.

As I take a few extended and effortless draws, tasting notes of mesquite, nutmeg, and hickory weave an earthy profile over my palate with chewy hints of pepper on the finish. After twenty minutes, I’ve tapped a moderately flaky ash off a handful times, but the Robusto burns straight as an arrow. Notes of smoked brisket and leather meld while hints of paprika and cracked black pepper perpetuate the cigar’s spicy foundation. There’s a tanginess to Cuba Aliados Vintage, but it isn’t as bright as barbecue sauce. Wood is the dominate flavor, and traces of chestnut and molasses provide balance.  

The malty texture of the blend hides a touch of bitterness that briefly emerges as I prepare to peel off the band and puff the Robusto into extinction. A smoky finish of oak, hickory, and Jamaican jerk chicken seasoning reverberates with a hint of sweetness in the last few puffs. I smoked my first Cuba Aliados cigars way back in the 1990s when I possessed the taste buds of a neophyte and couldn’t tell the difference between baked ham and chewing gum. But look at me know. I get paid to tell the public whether a cigar is worth the price you’re paying, and, I promise, Cuba Aliados Vintage is worth every penny!     

Why pound the pavement for a halfway-decent deal on some random unknown brand when you can add authentic Cuba Aliados boxes to your coolerdor today? They won’t last forever, though, so I suggest swiping a box or two of your favorite size through the checkout before the last pallets of Cuba Aliados in existence sail over the horizon like singing swans, son. I’ve already got four or five singles tucked in the front pocket of my bib overalls, so I’m ready to cruise around on my Cub Cadet like it’s a magic carpet ride.

Until next time, long ashes to you! 

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