Continuing on with my reviews of smokes below $5 a stick, I've got the Maduro variant of the Cuban Rounds lined up for tonight. I went through my gripes regarding Cuban Rounds' deceptive marketing in my review of the Natural, so I'll keep it brief tonight and just review the stick. I will say, though, I'm looking forward to this one more after being so pleasantly surprised by the Natural last night.
Cigar: Cuban Rounds Maduro
Vitola: Torpedo (6” x 52)
Filler: Nicaraguan (short filler)
Rating (out of 10): 9.2
There's less discoloration on the Maduro than the Natural, but some very minor damage to the wrapper. Only a couple of very small cracks, and I don't expect them to seriously hurt the cigar, but they are a bit unfortunate.
Otherwise, construction looks pretty good. Pretty consistently rolled, with a nice, neat pointed cap. Cuts perfectly with my scissor cutter.
Real barnyard smell to the barrel, scents of hay and compost; there's some fruity notes coming from the foot.
The cold draw is airy and open, and tastes strongly of leather and molasses, with a faint suggestion of some red-hot cinnamon spice waiting to show itself in the smoke.
On lighting, the flavor is definitely rich chocolate and a bit of coffee, with that cinnamon coming through on the finish. It's mostly sweet, with a slightly spicy kick. I'm definitely enjoying it.
The burn is off to a mostly even start, though not quite as perfect as the Natural smoked last evening. The ash is solid, but greyer than its counterpart.
The smoke is a rich medium body, smooth and creamy. I'd call it distinctly chocolatey, though there are definite notes of coffee, leather, and cedar, along with a cinnamon finish.
A bit more spice in the second third, but otherwise the flavor is pretty consistent, with the addition of some very faint citrus notes coming through.
We're about halfway through, and still burning nice and evenly.
The coffee starts to pick up a little just after the half.
This is where the burn becomes a bit less even, but a quick touchup fixes everything.
There's much more cedar in the last third, and the cinnamon spice on the finish continues to build.
The burn is less and less even as we continue. It's a little disappointing, after how spot-on last night's Natural was. But, the cigar is still quite enjoyable, regardless.
That cedar is taking the primary spot in the flavor profile back here. The Chocolate and coffee are fading to secondary notes.
I have clearly been in the wrong on these cigars for far too long; I'd been knocking them because of their marketing language and their cheap, tacky bands, but they're actually quite good, and as far as price goes, they're basically impossible to beat. Once you start getting cheaper than these, you've pretty much left the realm of premium, hand-made cigars, and moved into the machine-made junk. But Cuban Rounds have surprised me, even though they demonstrate exactly the point I wanted to make; that great cigars can be found even at spectacularly low prices. And they're easy to find, too; you don't even need to hit a true cigar shop. You can find these at the Exchange (if you're military), at many convenience stores, really, just about anywhere.