How is it that even when you get your butt kicked up one side and down the other, you can still end up feeling like a hero? Ever hear of a professional boxer named Chuck Wepner? In 1975, a goofy looking white dude named Chuck Wepner fought Mohammed Ali in the midst of Ali’s prime. Mohammed Ali beat the living crap out of that guy. Wepner was like a human punching bag for 15 rounds, punch after punch after punch. But here’s the best part of the story…. Wepner just kept coming at Ali. He refused to give up. While he didn’t win the fight, he became an instant hero in the boxing world for withstanding a complete ass-kicking from the world’s greatest fighter. In fact, Chuck Wepner was the inspiration for the movie Rocky.
I had my own Chuck Wepner moment last night. It was just me and the new La Jugada Habano from Moya Ruiz Cigars. Round after round, this cigar kicked my butt – this thing is strong! The cigar looks innocent enough, but don’t let it fool ya, it’s a little powerhouse.
So… in my best Howard Cosell voice, the battle went a little bit like this…
The pre-light cut and draw reveals a near perfect resistance, not unlike the La Jugada Prieto. Yet that’s where the similarities end. When I lit the Habano, the first thing I noticed was a distinct zing of white pepper that rushed across my tongue and down through my throat, and eventually punched me in the face. The finish is long, REALLY long, and after a quarter of an inch into the cigar, I got that ball in my throat – like a knot, signifying that this cigar wasn’t playing around…. it’s full strength and then some. In fact, this cigar is so strong, rumor has it that it takes two binders to keep all the power restrained, or maybe it’s the double binder that gives it strength. It really doesn’t matter, the important thing is that this cigar packs a heck of a punch!
The flavor profile was of sweet cashews, almonds, with a peppery zing on every finish. What I really enjoyed was the salty/sweet/meaty taste of the tobacco on my tongue. The cigar was pumping out a lot of thick, rich, chewy smoke, and as I worked my way down the stick, I was beginning to pick up a cornmeal taste, maybe like cornbread or even like a spicy tamale. Yet one thing that wasn’t changing was the power of the cigar, which was cranked up all the way to full and beyond.
I have smoked at least a dozen of these La Jugada Habanos – before, during, and after this years IPCPR show in Vegas, and all of them had a razor sharp burn and excellent draw, although this particular robusto had a bit of a wavy burn.
While the La Jugada Habano comes out of Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua and shares the excellent construction of all the other La Zona cigars, this one has a very unique strength character that sets it apart. Nelson Ruiz of Moya Ruiz Cigars blended a strong cigar with this Habano, yet it has tons of thick, rich flavor to go along with it. Similar to the 601 La Bomba Warhead in that it’s not just a strong cigar, but a flavorful one as well. After all… I like to be rewarded for my courage to smoke a strong cigar, and this experience is certainly rewarding. In other words, this isn’t just a one-trick pony. Each draw of the La Jugada Habano provides a neat little journey, first it’s a creamy, meaty, flavorful smoke, then exhale and start counting… 1, 2, 3…. ZING-POW! That power-kick comes rushing right back at you again and again, and if you are not prepared, it will knock you out!
As I wound my way to the finish, I was feeling a sense of accomplishment. Yes, the cigar kicked my butt just like Mohammed Ali kicked Chuck Wepner’s butt, yet I survived all 15 rounds! I’m still standing and I’m fairly certain this cigar and I have a mutual respect for one another.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
These babies are box worthy my friends. Especially for the price point, which is around $7 per stick. However, you gotta pick the right time to smoke a cigar like this; after a big meal and when you need a cigar that’s going to cut through any hardened palette you might have. While I am not sure if this cigar floats like a Butterfly, it certainly stings like a bee.
And now, for those that have severe Attention Deficit Disorder, we present our 6 second cigar review of the La Jugada Habano.
- Full, attention grabbing flavor
- Full strength
- Delicate wrapper