It's fairly common to have multi-generational cigar companies. The Padrón family and the Fuente family are a couple that come to mind immediately. One lesser known family that has been in the business for a long time are the Cuevas. When Spanish immigrant Juan Cuevas moved to the Pinar del Rio province of Cuba in the 19th century to grow a tobacco business, he likely couldn't imagine how many generations would help keep the company growing strong. Juan's son, Juan Jr., assisted in expanding the company until events in Cuba required a change in plans. Luis Cuevas Sr., son of Juan Jr., created Tabacalera Las Lavas in the Dominican Republic and continued with the family operation. Today Luis Sr. and Luis Jr. run the company as the 3rd & 4th generation. Impressive! This was my first time with a Casa Cuevas, but given the long history of making cigars I had somewhat higher expectations than normal. I wasn't disappointed!
Cigar: Casa Cuevas Reserva Natural
Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera Las Lavas
Size: 5 x 52 Robusto
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and U.S.A.
At first glance it seems pretty nice. The wrapper has a wonderful soft leather feel and the cap was flat & smooth. Upon closer inspection though some minor issues were revealed. A few seam spots were lifted up a smidge and the wrapper had a handful of small green blots. I've seen worse looking smokes, but I've also seen better.
The single cap, while it was cleanly applied, didn't extend down the shoulder much at all. Giving it the feel-test I wanted something larger than a punch, but also didn't want to use a straight cut and create an unravel problem. So I pulled out the knife and surgically cut a large hole. This proved to be the best course of action as it didn't unravel and provided a 10 on the draw. Perfect!
The burn line was just shy of razor and remained that way the entire session. No touch ups were required. What was left of the miniature cap after I shanked it fell off almost right away. Luckily the wrapper held and there was no unraveling.
1/3 - Ignition begins and produces very mild flavors. Fresh hay and dry cedar dominate the profile with a soft touch. In the background I kept getting a sensation that was much like freeze dried strawberries. Not really in a sweet way, more on the tart side, but the background note persisted throughout the first third.
2/3 - Moving into the second third there is a spiciness that approaches and a noticeable creaminess. We're still in Mild territory, just with slightly more robust flavors. Once in a while I get hints of floral. Soft, mild white pepper fights to be noticed in the retro.
3/3 - Much of the flavors from the second third make their way into the final third. The dry cedar has moved into smoky cedar. Body has beefed up some, yet I hesitate to say it reaches medium. I figured at this point I had already experienced the flavor notes that were going to show themselves, but a subtle caramel arrives to held send me off.
I'd say my first session with Casa Cuevas was a pleasant one. The minor issues that I threw stones at did not impact the overall experience and the flavors were inviting. I'm more of a medium to full kind of smoker, but I can still appreciate a solid mild cigar and the Reserva Natural is just that.
**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 1