Back in 2021, Oliva Cigar Company shocked the cigar world by indicating it was acquiring three Honduran brands from the family of the late Rolando Reyes Sr.: Cuba Aliados, Puros Indios, and Roly. A year later, as the 2022 PCA Trade Show approached, Oliva would deliver another shocker. It announced that it would be turning to two third-party factories to handle production: Julio R. Eiroa’s Fabrica de Puros Aladino S.A. in Honduras to create a regular production cigar line called Cuba Aliados Original Blend; and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic to produce a limited edition cigar line called Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. Today, we turn our attention to the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and take a look at this cigar in the Torpedo format.
While it might seem like Oliva made a radical decision to have the production handled for Cuba Aliados, there was good reason for it. The name “Aliados” is Spanish for “Allies” – and in this case, Oliva aligned themselves with two “captains of industry,” Julio R. Eiroa and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., to produce these cigars. There is a deeper underlying connection as to why these people were chosen. They were a part of the journey of Rolando Reyes Sr., who founded the brand. When Reyes’ Los Aliados Cuban factory was nationalized, he went to New Jersey and then Miami. Down in Miami, he met Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. while rolling cigars there. Eventually, labor costs caused Reyes to move his production to Honduras. There, he met Julio R. Eiroa, from whom he procured tobacco to make his brands.
For now, we will focus on the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
This blend has Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s touch, featuring an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. This is a profile he has used on many blends with many different seed varietals.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalea La Alianza
Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is offered in five sizes. These sizes are the same ones found on the Reyes’ Cuba Aliados line. Each of the five sizes is presented in 20-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Torpedo: 6 x 54
Re-Gordo: 6 x 60
Churchill: 7 x 50
The Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper of the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo had a medium brown color. The surface of this wrapper had a very slight amount of oil, a slight amount of toothiness, and some significant mottling. There also were some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. The torpedo tip had a moderate amount of tapering before converging.
Before lighting up the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo, a straight cut was used to remove about half of the torpedo tip. This allowed for about half of the tapering to remain at the head of this cigar. Once the tip was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered some natural tobacco sweetness, saltiness, and earth. I judged this a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. It was now time to remove the footer band of the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo, toast up the cigar, and move on to the smoking phase.
The Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez Carrillo Torpedo opened up with notes of natural tobacco, earth, wood, date sweetness, and more of the pre-light draw’s saltiness. Early on, the natural tobacco and date sweetness moved into the forefront. The wood and salty notes settled in the background. As the cigar progressed through the first third, the saltiness was replaced by a pepper note. Some hay and creamy nut notes surfaced in the background. The retro-hale had cedar with a touch of date sweetness.
The natural tobacco notes remained primary during the second third of the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez Carrillo Torpedo. Just prior to the midway point, date notes started to recede into the background. The earth notes increased and joined the natural tobacco in the forefront just past the midway point. In the background, the date notes settled with the hay and creamy nut notes. The wood notes in the background became more of a cedar note. The cedar notes increased in intensity, and some white pepper was mixed into the background.
This cigar took a radical turn in the final third. The cedar notes became the primary note. The date sweetness and creamy nut notes that were present for the first two-thirds dissipated. The white pepper notes were now present on the tongue. There still were touches of natural tobacco, earth, and hay. Overall, the cedar was dominant, and the other flavors were muddled. This is how the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Construction-wise, the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo delivered the high quality I expect from a Tabacalera La Alianza cigar. The cigar maintained a straight burn path and relatively straight burn line while not requiring excessive touch-ups. The ash had a light gray color. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it was neither loose nor flaky. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw also performed exceptionally well. This draw had a touch of resistance – which is ideal in my book. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
I would say the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez Carrillo Torpedo delivered a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. As the cigar experience progressed from start to finish, there wasn’t much variance in the intensity levels of the strength and body. At the same time, the strength and body balanced each other, with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
One thing that I found interesting was the Oliva name and Oliva logo do not appear on the bands of the Cuba Aliados. I believe this was deliberate to keep Cuba Aliados as a completely separate brand from Oliva. In fact, at the 2023 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, the Cuba Aliados booth was separate from (but still adjacent to) the Oliva booth. Ultimately, I think it helps Cuba Aliados as a brand stand out.
At the same time, the band incorporates the Oliva brown and gold colors for the Cuba Aliados name – which I found to be a nice touch on the band. Just under the Cuba Aliados name is a red and white colored section with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s name. A dark red and black footer band says “Cabinet Edition,” – referring to the fact these cigars are in cabinet-style boxes.
One underrated thing about the packaging of the cigar is the boxes. They came out really nice – especially the inside vista graphic.
I often mention “a tale of two cigars” – namely, when one portion of a cigar performs quite well, and one part does not. Then there is the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo. For the first two-thirds of this cigar, it delivered excellent flavors and had a nice amount of complexity. When it came to the last third, this cigar fell down and fell down hard. The flavors got muddled and harsh, and the complexity dissipated. The one constant was the excellent construction. We noted this when we smoked this cigar on The Smoking Syndicate Roundtable, and our panel noted the same. While I was inclined to recommend this cigar on the Roundtable, my opinion changed as I wrote this assessment. In this case, the drop-off is so drastic I moved this to a “Try a Sample.” Our philosophy here is to weigh the assessment and score on all portions of the cigar. If the first two-thirds carried into the final third, this cigar would be considered one of the best over the past year. Instead, it became a cigar that didn’t meet expectations. Ultimately, the first two-thirds got this cigar to the 88 points it scored on this assessment.
The Smoking Syndicate Review
The Smoking Syndicate featured the Cuba Aliados by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Torpedo on Roundtable #10 in December 2022.
Note: Due to age restrictions, you may need to click Watch on YouTube below to view.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Date, Earth, Wood, Cedar, White Pepper, Saltiness, Creamy Nuts, Hay
Complexity: Medium to High
Value: Try a Sample
News: Oliva Cigar Company Announces Relaunched Cuba Aliados
Brand Reference: Cuba Aliados
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop