Kafie 1901 Culebra: A delightfully twisted cigar
Back at the beginning of the year I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a Kafie 1901 Culebra. If you are unaware of this particular vitola it is actually three cigars plated together. I have heard of people smoking all three of the cigars unbundled, which I can imagine being quite the experience. In reality you should really unravel them and smoke them separately. I’ve smoked some large ring gauge cigars in my time, but the thought of having three cigars in my mouth at the same time seems a little excessive. Then you’ve got the lovely ribbons, and I don’t think it would a good idea to burn them.
Culebra comes from the Spanish for “snake”, which is a very apt given the shape of each cigar once it is unbound from its siblings. The legend behind the vitola was to ensure that the rollers didn’t exceed their three cigars a day allowance from the factory. Any worker seen smoking or taking a straight cigar was therefore known to be stealing. How true this story is we may never know, but regardless this is a very striking cigar to smoke.
The outer cedar “coffin” for the Kafie 1901 Culebra is unassuming yet beautiful in its minimalism. Once I slid the lid open I wasn’t greeted by the sweet aromas of a cigar that I was expecting but yet another layer of protection in the form of a cellophane wrapper – was I ever going to get to smoking to one of these cigars? I enthusiastically took the cigars out of their wrapper, all the time admiring the shape of them. When I finally got my hands on the naked cigar I wasn’t disappointed.
Creamy mocha cocoa tickled my nose as I rotated the cigars in my hands. There was an opulent scarlet ribbon holding each end of the Culebra together. Carefully removing it, I separated the three panatelas and carefully chose which one I was going to enjoy first. Once chosen, the remaining two were returned to my humidor lest I be tempted to smoke them in a single session.
I decided to go with a straight cut for this cigar as the irony seemed appropriate. The cold draw was surprisingly easy and I got a mouthful of sweet chocolate milkshake. This, paired with the curly straw shape of the cigar started me giggling, which I continued to do for most of the smoke.
On first light, the cocoa was still present. It had lost some of the sweetness but none of the creaminess. The dominant flavour was a beautifully rich coffee with brazil nuts playing a supporting role. Whilst the coffee remained for almost the entire duration of the Culebra, the nuttiness started to swing more towards a hazelnut flavour before it faded and well done toast took over.
During the first third of the cigar I managed to get quite an ash going but alas, when I reached the first bend in the Culebra, it inevitably dropped – setting up the pattern for the rest of the cigar. I will say that the ash didn’t shatter when it dropped, except when I released a rather enthusiastic guffaw and ashed all over the edge of the table, into my lap and onto the floor. What can I say, I was having a lot of fun chatting and laughing with the lovely ladies of the Women’s International Cigar Club.
At a more serious moment in the conversation, I took a moment to contemplate the quality of the smoke. Recently I have had a lot of conversations about how your mouth feels after you release the smoke. Rolling it around my mouth it had a rich but light texture and it drifted in gossamer ribbons towards the ceiling. Running my tongue over my teeth I didn’t feel or taste any residue or lingering flavours. The smoke felt really clean which served to enhance my enjoyment.
Speaking of enjoyment, I savoured this cigar right down to the last centimetre with the help of one of my trusty cigar daggers. After a blow through about an inch from the end to remove any harshness that might be tempted to develop, one last flavour tickled the tip of my tongue. It was aniseed: one of my favourite flavours from childhood.
With a few more draws, it took me a fair amount of will power, or is that laziness as my humidors were in a different room, not to light up the next portion of the Culebra. Suffice to say I’m looking forward to the next two parts, although whether I enjoy them solely on my own, or with someone else when we are finally allowed to be within arms reach of another human we don’t live with, remains to be seen.
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Kafie 1901 Culebra Cigar Details
Kafie 1901 Culebra Review Summary
I really enjoyed this cigar, not just because the shape meant that it was fun to smoke, but also because it was flavoursome. And the best part of this cigar is I still have two more panatelas to enjoy!
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