What to write? As I mentioned, sometimes the ideas pop, other times it’s like having constipation of the brain. So as I was agonizing over what to write about tonight, the thought occurred to me – “Hey, I’ve never smoked a culebra.” So I did.
Briefly, “culebra is Spanish for “snake” (and are considered by some) . . . to be the most unusual cigar(s) to behold. The culebra is actually (three) individual cigars braided together and then bound with string (or ribbon).
Legend has it that these cigars were developed as daily rations for Cuban torcedores. The “story” states that factories have allowed their rollers a daily ration of cigars; but managers had little control over how much one person could consume. The culebra is an under filled cigar that retains its rustic “snake-like” shape after it has been unbraided. This visible hallmark gave managers an ingenious method to ration and control employee consumption.” (www.tobacconistuniversity.org)
So I happened to have a couple in the humidor and I choose the Brun del Ré. It’s a 100% handmade cigar and medium in body. The binder is Indonesian and its wrapper Ecuadorian or Connecticut, the filler Costa Rican. I had the Connecticut.
This one was tied together with elegant black and gold ribbons and once I untied them, the cigars fell apart into three separate crooked cigars. I was anxious to see how they smoked so I lit one up and drew. Not knowing what to expect, I was taken aback at the excellent draw and copious amount of smoke it produced. It was a bit harsh, but I always give a cigar a chance.
The Costa Rican tobacco was seemingly dry with little oils. But the burn was phenomenal for a cigar in that shape. Too, the ash was tight and strong and held for the first time around to almost two inches. As mentioned in the explanation above, the culebra is under filled on purpose to give it the flexibility it needs to be wrapped around the other two cigars. But even that didn’t harm the lovely ash that formed each time.
It burned rather fast, and the flavors, I found, were somewhat indistinguishable. In short, a pleasant smoke but nothing to write home about.
Would I seek out another culebra? Maybe, just to see how the flavors differ from the one I tried. But for all practical purposes it’s a novelty that isn’t all that novel.