El Presidente

Casa Magna Video Cigar Review

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Guest rob

Really good review there... pretty much sums up my feelings on all non-cuban cigars (except a few expensive Padrons).

I'm not sure if that kind of statement comes across as elitist or not to our American friends - but it really is the case here that dollar for dollar we will reach for a Cuban every single time. In fact, most Cubans are actually cheaper here than non-cubans!

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Nice shirt Ken, it's 1989 all over again... ;)

Regarding the cigar, could it be said that Cigar Aficionado's methods of tasting/ranking are flawed ? since they don't even complete the entire cigar when concluding their rankings ?

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Guest rob
Regarding the cigar, could it be said that Cigar Aficionado's methods of tasting/ranking are flawed ? since they don't even complete the entire cigar when concluding their rankings ?

That has been a major grievance of mine regarding their review for years.

They typically smoke an inch... and score it.

It's probably because non-cuban cigars (generally) lack complexity in terms of flavour development as the cigar goes on. What they see in the start is what they expect in the finish.

Aficionados? Hardly.

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It's probably because non-cuban cigars (generally) lack complexity in terms of flavour development as the cigar goes on. What they see in the start is what they expect in the finish.

Aficionados? Hardly.

At the same time being a predominantly North American publication I suspect that they may go out of their way to limit the Cuban additions and placements in their top25 rankings. Imagine having the top two in the rankings being Cuban, i'm sure that would ruffle more than a few feathers stateside.

And agreed, Aficionado's ? hardly...

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Nice shirt Ken, it's 1989 all over again... ;)

Regarding the cigar, could it be said that Cigar Aficionado's methods of tasting/ranking are flawed ? since they don't even complete the entire cigar when concluding their rankings ?

they have their way, we have ours. i prefer ours but each to their own. i think what is important is that those reading/viewing the reviews know where the reviewer is coming from and can then weigh up the review for themselves and work out how much value to place on it.

also work out whether the reviewers suit your palate or not. there will be many, especially from the states, whose palates are probably more in tune to CA while others will match us or others still.

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Like you say, they have their way of doing it but scoring a cigar after only smoking an inch or so ? that's inherently flawed.

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Guest rob
they have their way, we have ours. i prefer ours but each to their own.

Well said. I should add - I made my comments above not to denigrate the Cigar Aficionado's method... merely to highlight, in a round about sort of way, that I prefer your/our method of review.

also work out whether the reviewers suit your palate or not.

And that is definitely something I encourage everyone, of all cigar ideologies, to practice.

Kudos boys!

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I thoroughly enjoyed the review guys, and I am pleased to have supplied the cigars for it.

I've smoked one Casa Magna, and I completely share your view that in the big picture, it's a pretty average cigar. I would give it three smoke rings. I've smoked one other of cA's top 25 list -- the Don Pepin Garcia Blue Lancero, and for me it was head and shoulders better than the Casa Magna.

Even among Nicaraguan puros, the Casa Magna is not a stand-out for me. I much prefer Litto Gomez's offerings.

cA's method of reviewing, stopping as it does after 1/2 to one inch of each cigar is, indeed, a flawed one. No real cigar smoker bases his/her judgement of a cigar on anything less than the full experience (unless of course the conclusion is that there's no hope for the cigar and toss it.)

That, however, does not mean that the cA folks are not entitled to call themselves "aficionado." Remember that "aficionado" means nothing about expertise:

a·fi·cio·na·do

n. pl. a·fi·cio·na·dos

An enthusiastic admirer or follower; a fan.

I am a football aficionado, but that doesn't mean I could play the game a lick.

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I have a question for Smithy. What exactly do you think of Colt's intellect? Just wondering.

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A fine review! I feel my curiosity for this cigar waning as I watched. The utter lack of development and progression is far more common in NCs, I'm afraid.

But I've gotta ask...does Ken have to sit there? I mean, come on, he's no Sharon Stone. ;)

Wilkey

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I found the CasaMagna to be a decent cigar...not bad, but not one that I would run back to.

CA gave praise for it's bang for the buck...which by the way shouldnt be factored into it's rating since the taste tests are supposed to be blind with no indication of brand, price, origin :D

So, If you guys didnt know the MSRP of the Casa Magna would it change your opinion further?

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Not to intimate a lack of objectivity in any way, I would have liked to have seen this done blind.

Great stuff guys.

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Really good review there... pretty much sums up my feelings on all non-cuban cigars (except a few expensive Padrons).

I'm not sure if that kind of statement comes across as elitist or not to our American friends - but it really is the case here that dollar for dollar we will reach for a Cuban every single time. In fact, most Cubans are actually cheaper here than non-cubans!

Rob,

I don't take your comment as elitist at all. As a matter of fact, the reason I prefer CC's are for all the same results the boys reached during their tasting. Smoking NC's are kind of like kissing your sister.

Ken

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Not to intimate a lack of objectivity in any way, I would have liked to have seen this done blind.

Great stuff guys.

I agree.

However, in fairness, all evidence in the review convinces me that the guys were predisposed to LIKE the cigar, if they were predisposed to anything.

Unfortunately, many of us who enjoy Cuban cigars use them as the benchmark by which to judge other cigars. That would be expecially true of Rob, Ken and Smithy, I think, since they admit to a serious lack of experience with non-Cuban smokes. I cut my cigar smoking teeth on non-Cubans, so I might be a little bit better able to judge one Nicaraguan against another or one Dominican against another than our Aussie reviewers. But I still find myself comparing non-Cubans to Cubans when smoking the former, and on my palate the former generally come up short. Notable exceptions have been Pete Johnson's blends made by Don Pepin Garcia (e.g. Cabaiguan and Tatuaje) and Don Pepin Garcia's own blends (e.g. the Don Pepin Garcia Blue).

For my next experiment with our esteemed Aussie Panel, I will try to get them a six pack of lanceros, at least one of which will be a non-Cuban and ask them to review them "blind". How about it, Rob? Worth a go when you return from Cuba?

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Great stuff. Very funny. I like the way Rob was just DYING to say, "this thing is a load of crap", but held off until the end.

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Far away from justice. Casa Magna... WTF is that? Man, I should have been living under a rock lately. This shocked me all day long. I should have given them a couple of La Gloria Cubana Gloriosos, Regional release for UK or Ramón Allones Estupendos RR for Spain. Has anyone seen the last Cigar Aficionado magazine, the one that reads What should Obama...See how many pages left, see the cut down on advertising by Altadis USA? That is something to capture anyone´s eyes, mates. As a long time reader of CA (have some friends up there) I haven´t seen a more difficult time for the mag like the one they are facing today.

As far as the ratings/scoring cigars is concerned...well they sure purchase CC´s from Switzerland (don´t know who the supplier is) but after whatever flavour a Cuban could deliver, you can only think in Nicaraguans as the closest and second thing that ever happened to cigars out there since we have some similarities regarding the climate, not the soil and because they have a few Cuban varieties that left Cuba in 1979 when Cuban technicians were called up to help our nicaraguan brothers in growing leaves from Cuban seed. Surf Nicaragua!!! Valid Mention to Padron as a serious grower_marketeer_ tobacco man

Litto Gomez, Davidoff, Camacho are evolving to a puro versus a blended cigar. Who´s next? Makes you think why? After seeing the mark by Arturo Fuentes they are trying not to be put behind/aside in the new trend. I don´t know, but always wondering..

Also gus, remember these fellows are Cubans, or maybe some of them not call themselves that way all the time,(I doubt it) but they have the Cuban pride running through their veins (ask the now so famous Pepín García) they can not deny their origin, their method of making great cigars and a sharp nose when selecting the best leaf for new blends and exclusive productions.

Oh boy, one would never know how many Pepíns are in Cuba...!!!

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However, in fairness, all evidence in the review convinces me that the guys were predisposed to LIKE the cigar, if they were predisposed to anything.

Again, I hope I don't sound critical of the process, as that's not my intent. But if they were predisposed or hoping to truly enjoy it, could that

not also affect their thoughts, possibly intensifying the feeling of a let down?

I'm not trying to read minds, and the guys can address it if they wish.

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A fine review! I feel my curiosity for this cigar waning as I watched. The utter lack of development and progression is far more common in NCs, I'm afraid.

But I've gotta ask...does Ken have to sit there? I mean, come on, he's no Sharon Stone. :D

Wilkey

wilkey, no offence, but i suspect you are no michael douglas either.

the rocking chair - a very comfortable present from mates almost 30 years ago, does provide a slightly different perspective. you'll get used to it.

and anything else is merely an optical illusion.

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I agree.

However, in fairness, all evidence in the review convinces me that the guys were predisposed to LIKE the cigar, if they were predisposed to anything.

Unfortunately, many of us who enjoy Cuban cigars use them as the benchmark by which to judge other cigars. That would be expecially true of Rob, Ken and Smithy, I think, since they admit to a serious lack of experience with non-Cuban smokes. I cut my cigar smoking teeth on non-Cubans, so I might be a little bit better able to judge one Nicaraguan against another or one Dominican against another than our Aussie reviewers. But I still find myself comparing non-Cubans to Cubans when smoking the former, and on my palate the former generally come up short. Notable exceptions have been Pete Johnson's blends made by Don Pepin Garcia (e.g. Cabaiguan and Tatuaje) and Don Pepin Garcia's own blends (e.g. the Don Pepin Garcia Blue).

For my next experiment with our esteemed Aussie Panel, I will try to get them a six pack of lanceros, at least one of which will be a non-Cuban and ask them to review them "blind". How about it, Rob? Worth a go when you return from Cuba?

van, first, many thanks for the casa. made for a very interesting day.

2nd, love to do the lanceros though i think if we were to review 6, it would take a full day and not sure how the palate would be at the finish (and that is, rightly or wongly, presumably why CA only smoke a small % of each cigar - it isn't like wine where you can move through quite a lot of wines in a relatively short time. if you had to review 30 DC's, for example, it would take forever).

as for the predisposition, i can't speak for the others but i feel i was probably the other way. might not be fair but, and as you say, i have very little NC experience, and i just have an assumption that cubans, good cubans, will blow the rest away. i think in days gone by, winedrinkers automatically assumed that france was the be all and end all of wine. obviously not any longer. may be in time, i'll tink that with cigars but it will take a lot more experience.

for me, it started very badly. smithy never got excited but both rob and myself were very encouraged when it settled but sadly that didn't last.

and one of the bits that didn't make the final cut, thankfully as i think i expressed it very badly at the time, was exactly the point above about CA having to cater to the regional market. it is inevitable. if i was to spend all my time reviewing, say, vintage ports from portugal, and never mentioning aussie wines, i'd soon find myself looking for a new job.

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Gentlemen, don't try to overcomplicate it :D

A good smoke is simpy that. A good smoke. A good smoke can be Nic/Dom/Cuban. A good smoke is enjoyable. A good smoke is balanced, complex and makes a statement.

A blind tasting would have made no difference here because we judge the "smoke" not the brand. Each of us would have picked this as different to Cuban tobacco if not the Marque of Cuban cigar. Our mindset for the Magna was "Hopeful and "Neutral" with if anything bias for it to succeed.

Could our review have been affected by expectation? Possibly. Did the expectation affect how we assessed its "taste" "body" "complexity?" .....No.

Van, I am always happy to do a blind tasting but hold off until I return in March and we can review then. What we can do is get in some NC Lancero's but address it to Lisa. Lisa can deband them and similar Cubans and put paper rings on them 1-5 for the tasting. She will be the only one with the code.

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I have a question for Smithy. What exactly do you think of Colt's intellect? Just wondering.

Just getting back at Colt for years of abuse. I feel that I can add those little bits in the outtakes for years, and it is dead easy for me to press copy, after copy after copy. :D

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Again, I hope I don't sound critical of the process, as that's not my intent. But if they were predisposed or hoping to truly enjoy it, could that

not also affect their thoughts, possibly intensifying the feeling of a let down?

I agree, (please note this as it may be the only time I agree with Colt) that expectation of finding a NC to taste as good and as powerful as a Cuban is always going to lead to possibly being let down. The next review of the Monte Edmundo (when I get around to editing it up) shares that exact problem.

I also felt seeing my palette is so used to Cubans that it may miss some of the softer delicate notes that come with NCs. But when I mentioned that to El Presidente he just laughed and told me, 'Shut up Wookie Boy'

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