Naresh Mohan is an interminable source of information – he knows more about cigars in Malaysia that probably any other single person. Its always an experience to talk to him. Because of his central position in the industry, its natural that any brand of cigars trying to break into the Malaysian market would come to his immediate attention. As such, he receives many requests to taste test and review new cigars for the Malaysian market, presumably for his opinion about those cigars and an estimation of how those cigars will do with the Malaysian palate.
I was fortunate to be present when he was asked to taste test the La Cumanesa No. 3, a Venezuelan hand-made brand – he casually handed me one and said to me, “Try it and tell me what you think.”
The scent test was distinctively strange. Not displeasing, just unusual. I detected strong hints of “grassy” smells – pulling the cigar close under my nose and taking a deep breath, i was reminded of the scent of freshly cut grass. Not sure whether tobacco is supposed to smell that way – perhaps, the cigar hasn’t properly aged, perhaps a bit more time in a humidor will do it a world of good. Or perhaps, that’s the way its meant to smell.
The La Cumanesa No. 3 is a corona sized cigar, natural wrapper, not very oily at all.
It took a bit of effort to light properly; the tobacco resisted the torch, and it required quite a few rotations of flame in order to light the tobacco while paying special care not to overly singe the wrapper. Once it lit, the first few draws were quite firm, but it got easier after an inch or so.
Initial tasting indicates a very young cigar – almost certainly, the cigar has not been aged as long or as carefully as a premium Cuban. The taste was very light, quite bland even, and though a lot of smoke was produced with each draw, the cigar was not very flavourful. The grassy scent detected earlier manifested itself in the cigar’s taste as well – mixed into the light woody tobacco taste, a distinct “grassy” influence was detected. It was certainly a strange tasting experience, and perhaps, some may not appreciate the “tainted” taste of the La Cumanesa.
An important note: the cap of the La Cumanesa is quite fragile – even with the small cut i made, the cap began disintegrating while i was smoking the cigar. This allowed the wrapper at the top of the cigar to unravel slightly. As i smoked it, i had to struggle to keep the wrapper in place; i found that quite distracting.
Verdict: Not very well built or aged – these are ts main flaws. The cap is too fragile, thus leaving the wrapper without sufficient protection. A strong hint of “grassy” scents and tastes is evident in this cigar. While some may appreciate the “freshness” this brings, most will probably find the experience quite strange and unpleasing. This cigar is not recommended.