Casa Fernandez Copacabana (plus giveaway)

When most people hear the name “Copacabana,” they think of Barry Manilow. As the King of Adult Contemporary would tell you, the Copacabana nightclub was “the hottest spot north of Havana.” That’s a lot to live up to, especially for a cigar. As I found out from Paul Palmer on Twitter, the Copacabana brand was obtained by Casa Fernandez back with their acquisition of Tropical Tobacco, and is actually named after the famous Cuban hotel (not the nightclub or eponymous song). So how does the cigar stack up? Read on to find out… and see how you can enter to win a 5-pack.

This Nicaraguan puro is made from 100% Aganorsa tobacco and features a Cuban Seed Corojo 1999 wrapper. As you know from Stogie Review’s interview with Paul Palmer at IPCPR 2011, “Aganorsa” is short for Agricola Norteña S.A., the tobacco-growing conglomerate affiliated with Tabacalera Tropical, makers of Casa Fernandez cigars. Packaged in cabinet boxes of 15, the Copacabana offers a medium-bodied cigar made entirely from Aganorsa leaf for less than $6 each.

Casa Fernandez Copacabana by the numbers:
Vitola: Toro Gordo
Size: 6×56
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed Corojo 1999 (Aganorsa)
Binder: Nicaragua (Aganorsa)
Filler: Nicaragua (Aganorsa)
Strength: Medium
Factory: Aganorsa in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 3
Duration: 2 hours
Source: raffle prize at 5th Annual Delaware Cigar Festival
MSRP: $5.60 ($84.00 per box of 15)
Twitter: CasaFernandez

The milk chocolate-colored Copacabana is firm and well-packed, but doesn’t feel heavy. From the wrapper, I picked up aromas of sawdust and earth, while the foot gave off a lot of dark chocolate along with a whiff of spicy earth. The cold draw offered some more of the dark chocolate and spice.

The first third started with a quick burst of red pepper spice, followed by a bit of roasted coffee and natural tobacco. The flavor profile was complex and well-balanced, but nothing really stood out. A good draw produced lots of thick, rich smoke, but the stick gave off a fair amount of standing smoke as well. The cigar had a good-looking white ash streaked with gray, which held on quite well and fell off into the ashtray in nice big chunks.

In the second third, I detected a hint of raisin along with a sour note. The red pepper made a return, accompanied by wood, but nothing bold on the palate. Although the cigar started out on the milder side of medium, it transitioned nicely into a solid medium strength-wise. The burn tended to be wavy (quite a bit at some points), but usually self-corrected without any help. On one of the samples I smoked, the wrapper cracked in two spots with an audible “pop-pop,” requiring a couple of touch-ups to keep things going smoothly.

At the end, the Copacabana remained complex, with bits of spice, natural tobacco, and the aforementioned sour note, but still didn’t bring any big flavors to the table. I put it down when it went out during the final third, as the cigar couldn’t keep me interested enough to re-light and smoke it to the nub.

The Copacabana is a decent, well-made cigar that offered an enjoyable smoke… but it just didn’t have that “wow” factor for me. Although I didn’t quite fall in love with (or at) the Copacabana, if you’re looking to try some Aganorsa tobacco in a medium-bodied format at a great price, you can’t go wrong.

As a special “thank you” for reading my first guest post at the Stogie Review, I’m giving away a 5-pack of these Casa Fernandez Copacabana cigars to one lucky person. All you have to do to enter is leave a meaningful comment below (i.e., something more substantial than “hello” or “pick me”). I’ll select one winner using a random number generator on October 10, 2011. Residents of the US & Canada only; must be 19 or older. Good luck!

About Charlie:
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker