Trinidad La Trova Cuban Cigars: Exceptional In Every Way
by Ken Gargett
The Cuban cigar industry is like nothing else on earth, except perhaps Cuba itself. All a little bit chaotic, but usually gets there in the end.
My advice to friends thinking of visiting Cuba is absolutely, definitely to do it as soon as you can, but only if you can handle a bit of confusion and anarchy. If you like well-ordered holidays with strict itineraries and things happening as and when planned, forget it. You’ll hate the place.
If you are the sort of person who doesn’t mind a touch of turmoil, then you’ll love it. If you can settle back, enjoy a local cerveza (Cristal is very good, but note that this is the beer not the famous champagne), and let things sort themselves out, Cuba is for you.
And so it is with the cigar industry.
Planned releases sometimes disappear. Annual Limited Editions sometimes may not front up until the following year. Discontinuations often seem to make no sense. Popular cigars disappear from the shelves for several years before suddenly reappearing.
One could go on, but in the end Cuba provides the world with the greatest cigars available anywhere.
Trinidad is a brand that reflects so much of this
Trinidad was established back in 1969 (there was a pre-Revolutionary Trinidad y Hermanos but it was unrelated to today’s superstar – nor it is in any way related to a non-Cuban brand of the same name), but only made commercially available in 1997, leading many to think it was brought in to be the next Cohiba.
Hardly surprising as it was also used for diplomatic gifts, though not by Fidel Castro. Basically, back then, if a diplomat was given a box of Trinidad and not Cohiba, it meant they liked them a lot but not that much! It is named after the famous, world-heritage-listed city of the same name.
These days, Trinidad is very much seen as its own brand. Originally, it was only rolled in one size: the long, slim Laguito. Now there are numerous sizes, though two of the more popular, Robusto T and Robusto Extra, were discontinued in 2012.
The superb Fundadores is the benchmark for Trinidad, but the recent release of a new cigar, La Trova, is challenging that. Yet, in typical fashion, it is shrouded in confusion.
Intended as a 2017 release, few saw any before 2018. Is it a one-off or will it be a regular production cigar? Depends who one speaks to, but at the moment, they are not easy to find. So if you do come across a box, grab it.
Who knows if or when you’ll get another chance. Otherwise, speak to the finest retailers (originally, the release was limited to eight of the very top establishments in the Asia-Pacific region, but apparently this was expanded to more than 145 stores around the globe) you can find and implore them to open their vaults.
Price? Not cheap, but with cigars so dependent on national taxes and on supply, there is little point in suggesting a specific amount. It will vary wildly. They come in boxes of 12.
La Trova was released as part of the La Casa del Habano program, and so were originally limited to specifically-designated retailers. The technical details are that the cigar has a 52 mm ring gauge and a length of 166 mm. Handmade, of course, La Trova cigars are described as “Totalmente a Mano con Tripa Larga” (“totally handmade with long filler”).
The tobacco comes from the famous Vuelta Abajo region in Pinar del Río, considered the finest tobacco-growing district on the planet. These are cigars that ideally fit the current demand for large format and especially large ring gauges. They are known as double robusto (Cañonazo Especial) and are rolled at the Francisco Donatién Factory in Pinar del Río.
The Cañonazo Especial vitola has only previously been used for the famous 2011 Limited Edition, Cohiba 1966, now a legendary cigar. Trinidad has gone heavy on the large ring gauges with both the Vigía (54 ring gauge) and Topes Edición Limitada 2016 (56 ring gauge), although the famous Fundadores is anything but.
How Trinidad La Trova smoked
I’m not a great fan of the fat, baseball bat-style smokes, but there are exceptions, and this is exceptional in every way. Unlit, they have alluring heady perfumes. Beautifully constructed and able to take a bit more of a buffeting than one would wish on any good cigar (one of those I sampled had traveled with me around the world and back and then on a fishing trip and back before I got to smoke it, so it was looking a touch worse for wear but you’d never have known it was not in perfect condition, so well did it perform).
Like most Trinis, the wrapper is a lighter shade – Colorado Claro – eschewing the popular dark, chocolatey Maduro wrappers.
The draw on all I have sampled has been exemplary. A Goldilocks draw, if you like – not too loose, not too tight: just right.
The flavors? From the first puff, a cigar that oozed class. A rich, dense, velvety smoke with plenty of complexity, even in these early days. The body for me was well under medium and remained there.
Even toward the finish, it avoided any hotness or lack of balance. Balance is the absolute high point of this cigar. Everything is perfectly in balance. A cigar that should age superbly for a long period.
Flavors included a hint of white chocolate, earth and spices, and even a touch of a creamy coffee. Expect it to develop and become even more complex over the forthcoming years.
What was truly amazing about this stick was that after finishing it, and a good one will take the best part of a couple of hours, I wished I’d had another on hand. I reckon I’d have fired it up immediately. For a score, 96.
These will be hard to find, but they are more than worth the search.
For more information, please visit www.cubancigarwebsite.com/brand/trinidad.
Quick Facts Trinidad La Trova
Ring gauge: 52
Length: 166 mm
Packaging: box of 12 cigars
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Cuba has not produced the best cigars in about 15 years.
Nicaragua makes far more good cigars than Cuba.
hi Kelly. many thanks for your thoughts. not doubting that Nicaragua makes some very fine cigars but i would, respectfully, most strenuously disagree. you can legitimately argue that a number of places outside Cuba make more consistent cigars than Cuba but i think you would struggle to find many, other than those with vested interests, who would dispute that Cuba sits at the pinnacle.
but these things always come down to personal tastes so if you prefer NCs, good luck with them.
Come on Kelly. You gotta try the cc. NC are just (IMO) pepper bombs and have few of any great flavors.
Kelly, I smoking nothing but NC’s, and now smoke nothing but CC’s. The flavor and richness of the Cuban leaf has no comparison. Some of the very best and most expensive NC’s I’ve had compare to a run of the mill, regular production CC.
I disagree. While Cuban tobacco went thru a bit of a “slump” a few years back, but from about 2016 on, it has been back to being awesome again.
I smoke about half CC and half NC. I love both for different reasons. But I CRAVE that Cuban tobacco taste now. Lately I find myself wanting to smoke a Cuban far more often than an NC. And about 70% of the money I’ve spent on sticks in the last couple years has been on CCs. Just personal taste.
completely agree re your comment on personal tastes. not much point smoking/eating/drinking something that does not appeal to you no matter what others say. i’m also in agreement as to Cuban tobacco as well. for me, i thought that if it did have a slump, it was perhaps ten years, give or take, earlier than your thoughts, but no matter. seeing some great cigars these days.
Great article as usual Ken.
I agree with the class and velvety smoothness of this young cigar.
Thanks Bill. The good news is that those in the know seem hopeful we might see more reasonably soon. Fingers crossed.
One mustn’t discredit the flavor unless to try the fruits first! It’s to suspect a taste then confirm the pleasure. Thanks