Casa Cuba took the cigar world by surprise when the brand tentatively debuted in 2013, blended by the late Carlos Fuente Sr. At the time of the cigar’s release, Carlos had long-since been watching from the sidelines, turning over the active blending responsibilities to his son, Carlos “Carlito” P. Fuente, Jr., whom is best known for launching his revolutionary OpusX blend in 1995 (Arturo Fuente’s last truly new brand before Casa Cuba debuted 18 years later).
But Fuente Sr. came out of retirement for Casa Cuba, attempting to relive “the glory days,” when Arturo Fuente cigars were made using Cuban tobaccos at his childhood home in Tampa. The cigars used an Ecuadorian Havana wrapper over Cuban-seed Dominican fillers/binder, seemingly offering a glimpse at the smoking profiles of the 1940s/’50s. Despite being soft-released in 2013, Casa Cuba was intended to mark the company’s historic 100th anniversary in 2012. Even still, the cigars debuted with added sub-bands that read “Pre Release 2013,” which remained until the cigar’s shipments began arriving on a more regular basis in 2014.
In 2016, Casa Cuba saw its first addition with Casa Cuba Divine Inspiration. While the Fuentes are typically closed-lipped about the many exclusive variations of their large portfolio, Divine Inspiration arrived with a compelling narrative. Allegedly, Carlos Sr. awoke one night in his home in Tampa, Florida, where he had dreamt of a new variation to his Casa Cuba blend. Being in poor health, he was unable to make the trip to his factory in the DR and resorted to phoning-in the recipe instead. The resulting cigar was fittingly dubbed Divine Inspiration, marking the last cigar by Carlos Fuente Sr.—one of the most notable figures in the history of cigars—before his eventual death in August of that year.
Casa Cuba Divine Inspiration Breakdown
- Wrapper: Undisclosed
- Binder: Undisclosed
- Filler: Undisclosed
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular / Seasonal
- Vitola: 6⅛″ × 47 (Corona Gorda)
- Price: $8.99 (MSRP)
Casa Cuba Divine Inspiration is considered a part of the core-line Casa Cuba lineup, albeit being made in smaller batches than the original lineup of four sizes. The blend is assumed to use an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and Dominican fillers (only tweaking tobacco primings and/or using wrapper leaves of a different shade), but no part of the blend has ever been divulged. The cigars are rolled in a singular, 6⅛″ × 47 corona gorda vitola and arrive in boxes of 30 cigars.
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The cigars sport the same nostalgic bands as the original Casa Cuba cigars, making it somewhat difficult to differentiate. Without owning a full box (where “Divine Inspiration” is inscribed on the lid), the best way to identify the cigar is by its measurements—being five-eighths of an inch longer than the Doble Tres size (previously the longest in the collection). As with the standard Casa Cuba cigars, this is an excellent and very fitting presentation that compliments the cigar’s backstory nicely.
Of the samples smoked for review, the outward construction was lacking, showing nicks, cracks, and glue across the wrapper. This leaf is noticeably lighter than standard Casa Cuba cigars, being pale and having a subtle greenish undertone—almost as if the sun had bleached-out the rich hue of the regular blend. The inner construction feels to be on the light side and a soft squeeze hints at a light to medium filler bunch.
On the wrapper there are dusty aromas, musk, and a signature cinnamon note found on OpusX cigars. The foot is less impactful, with freshly cut grass and white pepper. The pre-light draw is equally airy, showing light, papery, grassy notes and nutmeg.
The theme of light, airy, and mellow continues into the actual smoking experience, with Ritz Crackers being the first tangible flavor component. Soon there is an added note of un-cracked peppercorn on the tongue; this is eventually joined by butter (with a nice, oily texture), zesty cabinet spices, citrus, and a touch of sweetness on the finish.
The smoke activates the middle (between umami and bitter) and back-sides (acidic) of the tastebuds, finishing with a touch on the tip (sweetness) of the tongue. The cigar shows a slightly wavy burn, accumulating ash in two-and-a-half-inch chunks. Unfortunately, the cigar’s draw is certainly on the firm side, requiring double or even triple puffs to bring out a low volume of smoke. Luckily, this is somewhat alleviated as the cigar passes through its first third. In this portion, the profile can be summed up as mild in strength, mild/medium in flavor, and mild/medium in body.
As the draw and smoke output improve, the flavors also seem to liven up. Citrus moves o the forefront of the profile, with caramel latte, butter, and sweet cream providing the backing notes. The flavors become increasingly bright/lively throughout the cigar’s midsection, offering notes of orange Fun Dip candy, toffee, and raw rock candy on a long-lasting finish. These sweeter notes are often balanced by a zest sage and anise in the retrohale.
Further progression sees the smoking texture become dull, dusty, and airy, becoming easily overheated on puffs through the nostrils. This adds a red pepper component, joining an assortment of light spices, caramel, dry crackers, and a touch of cream cheese on the finish. The profile could be pegged at roughly medium in strength, medium-light in flavor, and medium in body at the cigar’s finale.
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Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Sure, but I’m not going out of my way to do so. The cigars are surprisingly priced pretty fair, so long as your retailer stays close to the SRP, but I didn’t find any added complexity or “wow factor” to justify going out of the way to track the Divine Inspiration down. The cigars seem to be a notch more mild than the already-delicate Casa Cuba original, and don’t really make up for this in any noticeable areas. Add to this a sub-par draw/smoke output, and it becomes a pretty tough sell.
- Flavor: Medium-Light
- Strength: Mild
- Body: Medium-Light
- Sweet Candy
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Pour-over (light-roast) coffee, saison ale, aged rum, cream soda
- Purchase Recommendation: Try one
- Good construction
- Great flavors in second third
- Surprisingly cost-friendly
- Tight draw for most of the experience
- Low smoke output
- Light, airy, papery, and borderline bland flavors and texture at certain sections