The Cabaiguan line is Pete Johnson's "mild" Tatuaje extension. It features a Connecticut shade wrapper grown in Ecuador, around a Nicaraguan filler and binder. I am fairly certain it was the first additional line Johnson created with Pepin Garcia after the Tatuaje cigars that started it all. This particular Cabaiguan, the Imperiales, is a gorgeous Churchill sized cigar, with a smooth, light caramel brown colored wrapper, no veins, and an impressive oiliness to it. Most Connecticut wrappers tend to have a slick silky feel, but not oily. This particular example is even a little toothy! The aroma from the foot is of mild tobacco, slight cedar, and a little nuttiness, like pecans. The cold draw is wonderful, a slightly sweet cedar, mellow smooth tobacco, and a tangy floral note that is delicate, but interesting. The pack is even. Unfortunately there is a slight tear in the wrapper from the foot upwards, about once inch. Hopefully this will burn through without issue.
Lit at 4:55pm.
Right away there is significantly more presence than I expected. This is most certainly a solid medium right out of the gate. There is a heavy oaky wood flavor, a smooth medium tobacco, a toasty nut flavor, and a significant white pepper finish. Not at all what I expected, but certainly a nice surprise!
Getting a little way into the first third, the split portion of the wrapper is not causing any problems, a sign of a good binder no doubt. The flavor has settled into a nice charred oak, a slight leather, and a creamy sweetness. The finish is smooth and mild, with none of the pepper that was initially present. The ash is a beautiful, evenly ringed white and gray color. It holds firmly for a bit over an inch before falling in a big ol' clump into the ash tray.
In the second third a slight way, the performance of this cigar continues much the same. Smooth, and mellow, woody especially. The pepper continues to hide, while the is a continued leathery character. The floral element present on the cold draw has reared it's sweet head here through the nose especially. The progression of flavor currently is something like this... Oak on the draw, creamy tobacco, floral through the nose, and a sweet cedar and leather finish that lasts a very long time. Smoke production is wonderful, and the draw is easy. The burn line has been slightly crooked for a while now, leaning to one side slightly. Not a problem however.
In the final third things are starting to get heavier, richer, creamier on the palette. The second third was fairly mild, in strength at least. The pepper has now made a reappearance in a smooth way on the finish. The draw is still woody. the floral note has disappeared. The cedar flavor is stronger, and sweeter now, lingering from about the mid point through the finish. This is certainly a very characterful "mild" cigar, and does not have any of the bite or grassy flavors so common in mild sticks. The burn line has straightened out perfectly, and is now razor sharp. The only negative thing I have encountered with this cigar is that is is starting to get hot a little early. The cigar itself is cool up to the burn line, but the smoke it getting warm with 2 inches left, rather than at the nub. Continued smoking to about the one inch, maybe one and one quarter inch mark.
Ended at 7pm, for a total smoke time of two hours and five minutes. This was a surprisingly robust, and full flavored cigar, despite being billed as a milder entry in the Tatuaje catalog. Strength wise, it never really gets above medium, but the flavors present are certainly more in the medium-full realm, which was a nice surprise. There are several transitions that are nice, especially in this large size. Great cigar to sit back and spend an afternoon enjoying.