The Bauza brand may well be the best kept secret at Casa Fuente. Named after a pre-Embargo Cuban brand no longer produced for export, the cigars are now produced in the Dominican Republic for Mike’s Cigars by none other than the First Family of Cigars, Carlos Sr. and Carlito Fuente.
By combining a deep, dusky brown Ecuadoran sun-grown Sumatra wrapper and an all longfiller blend and binder from the Dominican Republic, the Fuentes have created a truly exceptional cigar at an affordable, every day price.
Four Bauza Jaguar cigars were smoked for this review. All cigars were provided to the reviewer by Mike’s Cigars for the purpose of this review. The author received no financial compensation for and reports no other conflicts of interest related to this review.
The first thing that caught my attention as I removed the cellophane from the first Bauza was the wrapper leaf. The colorado toned wrapper appears very dry to the touch and offers a faint aroma of grass while the foot smells of rich tobacco with a chocolate hint. The wrappers showed only minimal veins and were flawless in appearance. The head on these cigars is nicely constructed and lends to the overall appearance of the cigars. I’m also fond of the band design, which for a long time was the only band in the industry to use an entire tobacco plant in the graphics (although this is no longer the case…)
I made my cut with a Xikar XI2 cutter and was rewarded with an easy, but not overly so, draw which reproduced the aroma of rich tobacco found at the foot. Toasting the foot of the cigar with my Colibri Reload single jet torch yielded a smooth and rich aromatic smoke. These cigars all cut and lit perfectly using these two implements.
The initial hot draw delivered some hefty spice in the nose with a warm cedar aroma that lingers. The initial smoke is medium-full bodied but mellows substantially after about ½ inch. The remainder of the first third reveals spice, cedar and woody aromas with a medium finish that leaves a savory feel on the palate.
Moving into the second portion of the cigars I found that the cedar aromas continue while the spice continues to mellow taking an appropriate place in the background. Woody flavors continue to develop along with a slight cinnamon touch which contributed to an increasingly complex smoke.
As I continued to smoke I noticed the wrapper, which initially appeared dry and dusky, shows substantial oil as the smoke progressed. The only other cigar I’ve noticed this phenomenon in is the Ashton VSG line which is also produced by the Fuentes and utilizes a sun-grown Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper as well. There are definitely some flavors that are shared by both cigars.
At one point, I needed to touch up one of the Jag’s with my torch, however I must mention that the conditions I was smoking in (my garage during a Wisconsin winter) are not the most “cigar-friendly” and I cannot complain one bit about the construction of these cigars. As with most Fuente products, the construction was flawless and I attribute this single flaw to the wind whipping around my head as I smoked. Yes, even with the garage door closed to the outside world, Wisconsin winter wind will find a way in!
As I smoked into the final third of the Bauza Jaguars I noted that the cinnamon was becoming more pronounced yet at the same time, more subdued. The spices rounded out nicely approaching the band and the woody core aromas melded beautifully with a new strength and richness that developed.
Removing the band was not a problem on any of the cigars, a personal pet-peeve. I smoked each Bauza to the nub and was rewarded with a crescendo of deep and rich tobacco flavors, woody aromas and a full bodied smoke.
Burn and Ash
With the exception of the single touch up required to keep one cigar burning straight, the construction of the Bauza Jaguars I smoked was outstanding. The cigars produce a tight, white/gray ash that I first tipped at about 1 ½ inches although I’m certain I could have produced a significantly longer ash.
I would consider the Bauza Jaguar to be a medium/full bodied smoke. The flavors and aromas produced are full and rich yet very well balanced. The smaller ring gauge found on the Jaguar vitola allows more of the rich flavor and aroma from the sun-grown, Sumatra seed wrapper to contribute more to the overall smoking experience than the larger gauged vitola such as the Robusto.
The first time I saw a Bauza cigar was several years ago when I became a subscriber to Mike’s Cigars catalog. I remember that the line caught my eye immediately and I’ve been intrigued by this line ever since. I tend to favor full-bodied cigars like Camacho and I found the Bauza to be smooth, rich and strong. There was never a hint of bitterness, tartness or harshness to any of the cigars I smoked, just a very pleasurable smoking experience delivered by one of the world’s leading tabacaleras, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
Licenciado cigars are made by Manuel Quesada in Manufactures de Tobacos S.A. (MATASA) in the Dominican Republic. First introduced in 1989 as an affordable cigar with all the great qualities of Cuban cigars. It rivaled big name cigars thanks to having a rating of 93 in the summer of 1994 by Cigar Aficionado.
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