In 2008, sprinkled in between a long line of Padróns, Fuentes, and Cubans, Casa Magna became the first cigar that one might consider boutique or craft to win Cigar Aficionado’s highly sought-after Cigar of the Year award. More specifically, it was the Casa Magna Colorado, which was unique in that it was a brand made by the Plasencias at their Nicaraguan factory for the Quesadas—who are another prominent cigar family, though being known for more nuanced smoking profiles and a focus on Dominican tobaccos. Looking to add a bit more of an edge to their portfolio, the Quesadas partnered with the Plasencias, showcasing the highly flavorful (and surprisingly affordable) Casa Magna Colorado, which went on to guide Quesada’s direction over the following decade, including multiple additions such as Casa Magna Domus Magnus Limitada, Casa Magna Jalapa Claro, and Casa Magna Oscuro, among many others.
This trend of Nicaraguan-contracted cigars for the DR has seemingly changed, however, as the last two Casa Magna releases have instead been rolled by the Quesadas themselves. This includes the Casa Magna Liga F cigar of 2021 and the Casa Magna Connecticut cigar of 2022. Interestingly, these two releases are something of opposing blend profiles, as the former focused on strength (Liga F stands for Liga Fuerte or Strong Blend), while the latter leaned towards the softer, creamier tendencies that Connecticut wrappers are known for. This isn’t to say that the Casa Magna Connecticut is mild, per se, as the cigar sticks to its Nicaraguan roots, using an all-Nicaraguan binder/filler so as to offer a fuller-bodied Connecticut experience.
Casa Magna Connecticut Robusto Breakdown
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Factory: Tabacos de Exportación (Dominican Republic)
Production: Regular Production
Vitola: 5? × 50 (Robusto)
Price: $9.40 (MSRP)
Despite being rolled in the DR, Casa Magna Connecticut is primarily built from Nicaraguan tobaccos, which make up the binder and filler. These leaves are finalized with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, being offered in a range of three sizes.
Robusto: 5? x 50 | $9.40 | 20-ct boxes ($188)
Toro: 6½” x 52 | $9.70 | 20-ct boxes ($194)
Toro Gordo: 6? x 56 | $9.90 | 20-ct boxes ($198)
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The Casa Magna Connecticut follows Occam’s razor, keeping it simple and featuring the original Casa Magna band and logo. The only real changes are a tweaked color scheme (gold boxes, white/cream bands) and the word “CONNECTICUT” on the band, replacing “COLORADO” from the original Casa Magna.
The cigar itself is small and sturdy, feeling well rolled and dense with tobacco (perhaps a double binder?). The wrapper is more rich in color and texture than many Connecticuts, having a bronze look to it. There are visible seams and an assortment of medium and fine veins, as well as a vein or two making their imprint from the binder. On the nose, the wrapper has expected aromas of barnyard, cedar, and citrus rind bitterness. The foot is not quite as interesting, with fresh-cut alfalfa and mineral being most noticeable. A pre-light draw reveals an ideal resistance (close to perfect), with clean flavors that center primarily around cedar.
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Not sweet. Not spicy. The Casa Magna Connecticut opens up with popcorn. It’s not buttered or salted, hovering close to toasty, almost burnt kernels. It’s a brief moment, holding for only a few puffs before the lagging flavors join the fold; but it serves its purpose well, grabbing your attention from the start with such vivid imagery. Soon enough, there is white pepper in the retrohale (which is pretty gripping, actually), being joined by subtle floral notes and clean, bright cedar. The robusto has a slightly wavy burn line and a great draw, being ever so slightly firm, if anything. Each draw pulls gobs of velvet-like smoke—a satisfying sight that helps to reaffirm your other senses’ perception of the smoke. Even small draws bring out surprising levels of smoke, which take on soft flavors (sans white pepper) of popcorn, cedar, and bitter-sweet cantaloupe (where the meat borders up against the rind). The cigar is medium-full in flavor, mild-medium in strength, and medium in body.
With loads of white pepper, the Casa Magna Connecticut can be somewhat intense through the retrohale. However, it’s not sharp or overbearing; it’s a satisfying zest that is actually enjoyable to hold onto through the nostrils, allowing the smoke to drift away on its own rather than through forced exhales. Passing an inch and a half, the smoke takes on a newfound creaminess, thickening up in texture a bit and bringing a nice buttermilk twang to the experience. The pepper seems to tame down during this section, allowing bitter-leaning notes of wet cedar and mineral to come closer to the forefront. With a high amount of flavor, it’s interesting that the cigar offers a somewhat dry texture (many such modern Connecticuts turn away from the bitter tendencies Connecticuts are known for, often replacing the sensation with citrus or mouthwatering flavors), hitting the mid-palate (bitterness) first and being followed by the tip (sweetness) and sides (saltiness) of the tongue.
Bitterness changes from mineral to a more interesting floral aspect as the cigar moves through the halfway point. It is heating up some, bringing out char and grainy Triscuit cracker flavors. There is not much saltiness or sweetness in this portion of the smoke, dampening complexity to a degree. The profile has remained without its white pepper element for some time as well, turning to a core of wheat, bitterness, and mineral-rich hay and vegetation. The cigar seems to require a touchup or two through this second half, though the streaming smoke output continues. This portion tones down flavor and amps up strength, ranking somewhere around medium-light flavor, medium strength, and an overall medium-light body.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
No doubt, I’ve smoked through my fair share of this little robusto. The cigar isn’t the most complex thing in the world, but it’s got the flavor and body to get the blood flowing. The Connecticut has a way of grabbing your attention from the get-go, and keeping you coming back for unique attributes of popcorn, custard (or that buttermilk twang, depending on the sample), and well-rounded white pepper. I haven’t smoked the other sizes in the lineup, but they’re on my shortlist.
The Casa Magna Connecticut was awarded Cigar Dojo’s No. 8 Cigar of the Year for 2022.
At the time of this writing, the Casa Magna Connecticut is ranked in the top 40 percent of cigars on Dojoverse, rated with a “100% Smokable” score.
Smoke Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Pairing Recommendation: Juicy IPA | Wheated bourbon | Whiskey sour | Cream soda
Purchase Recommendation: 10-pack to box (to start)
Great drawVoluminous smoke outputGripping white pepper zestiness
Dry texture may require proper pairing for balanceSecond half not as engaging as first
Originally posted on April 21, 2023 @ 6:18 am