Don’t have any pictures for this cigar, unfortunately. Was lost in the transfer from the old webhost.

Originating from the Vuelta Arriba region, the Guantanamera brand is the latest addition to stable of brands from Cuba – its a very new brand, so much so that its availability is relatively limited. I bought a box of Guantanamera Compay’s (5 sticks) from Casa del Habano, Mandarin Oriental for RM58.50 to experiment. Its quite rare to find a Cuban brand that is entirely machine-made. I was curious as to how it would fare compared against some of my previous cigars, all of which were hand-made Cubans.

Each cigar was individually wrapped in cellophane – a bit tough to remove and an unsightly mess if left in an ashtray. The scent test was quite revealing. While the wrapper isn’t exactly the best example of a fine Cuban (it was marked with thin veins and it not particularly oily to the touch), the cigar surrendered a solid woody-tobacco scent. As i prefer strong scented cigars, i actually found this quite pleasing.

Lighting it was a simple affair; machine-made cigars tend to have finer fillers that light easier. This isn’t necessarily a good thing – it produces a taste that aficionados may not appreciate, being very different from hand-made cigars. But if you want a steady, even burn, this cigar provides it very well.

The first few draws of this cigar are actually quite strong, comparatively. Normally, cigars build in strength with each draw, some becoming quite spicy towards the last inch or so. But the Guantanamera Compay, it seems that the reverse is true – though it must be observed that the spiciness of the cigar becomes fairly remarkable in the last inch; its just the middle third of the cigar that seems to be very mellow and tame. Taste wise, a frangrant mild woody taste is dominant with a twist of mint upon the lips. Quite pleasant, but ultimately uninspiring.

Verdict: The Guantanamera Compay is a good easy-smoke. Not too complicated, mild and cost effective, it manages to deliver (in small doses) the particular Cuban flavour for which Cubans are famous. Its a good start for beginners – it does a bit of everything without really doing any one thing poignantly well.