It was a lovely day this past Sunday, so my gentlemen and I decided it would be a great time to go for a drive to do a little sightseeing. As I am inclined to do while driving, I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to continue to enjoy that Big Brand Showstopper Full-Bodied Sampler from Pipes and Cigars.com. My next victim was the Cu-avana Intensus Toro.
Originally called the “Intenso,” Cigars International tells us that the Intensus was the answer to Cu-avana fans who wanted a full-bodied smoke instead of the more mild sticks that the company typically produces (and produces well). They begin with a Habano-seed Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper, and they fill it with “an extensively aged, all-ligero mixture of tobaccos from Peru and Nicaragua.” Well, for those who know tobacco, you know that ligeros are the leaves from the top of the tobacco plant, and they pack the most punch in terms of nicotine content. So I expected to be a little wowed! Or maybe bowled over.
The leaf wrapper was a Colorado maduro and the label was pleasantly appealing, as it reminded me of velvet art with its gold and red on black theme. The stick itself was veiny with tight seams, and it had a distinctive little fold in the leaf, probably a curled leaf when it was initially rolled that just cured that way.
The wrapper note smelled like a dark Nicaraguan, with a lingering trance of coffee. I punched it eagerly and its tight cap punched well. The pre-light draw tasted of coffee with hint of cocoa in it somewhere, thought not strongly.
Toasting the foot with my torch revealed an espresso room note and an uneven first light. The first draw was buttery and oily with strong coffee notes; just what I’d hoped for! I puffed away contently as I drove down the highway 97A and shared a smoke with my men, the spicy and earthy flavours tickling my senses. I noticed before long that it burned rather hot; this was almost driven home to me forcibly when I reached to the seat behind to grab for the smoke in the rotation, and it was so hot, even at the center of the stick, that I thought it was going to burn me! I twisted it around in my hand by reflex; and it almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy! So just a word to the wise.
However, it ashed well; a beautiful straight white ash soon developed and it fell off twenty-four minutes in, marking the first third. It was a pleasant oily and rich smoke. Not very complicated though; just the dark Nicaraguans with a strong note of coffee and espresso in the earth, with just possibly the ghost of cocoa. I didn’t initially find it to be as strong as I was expecting, but it picked up noticeably after the first third. Or maybe I started smoking it harder.
By the second third, which took us another twenty minutes, we had been required to relight it twice and it had started burning wryly instead of its initial evenness. It lost any subtlety it once had and became a simple dark cigar; still strong coffee and earth elements, but no cocoa. It possibly developed a little of the oaken aspect that other reviewers have mentioned by this point, but I found it difficult to detect. After purging, it regained some of that initial pleasant oiliness also, but it also became a little gooshy from the heat. It continued to express as very full-bodied; by this time I was buzzing nicely as I drove, and remember that I was sharing! Still nothing compared to Rocky Patel’s “the Edge.”
In the final third, which took a final twenty-two minutes, the Intensus recovered from its wonky burn, It finished strong and pleasant, for a total smoke time of an hour and eleven minutes. You can’t say anything bad about this cigar. It was smooth, rich, uncomplicated and simple, but you can’t really say anything spectacular about it either. It didn’t scream “individual character” to any of us. We found it completely unobjectionable, and quite enjoyable: but not intense. A good smoke for a pleasant Sunday drive to spice things up just a little.
I give the Intensus: