Forget everything you may have known about Cusano's Cuvée Rouge and Cuvée 151 cigars. Since their introduction at last year's tobacco retailers trade show, production was halted and the original blends were scrapped.
Now, the new versions of the cigar brands are shipping to retailers with different components and, according to Mike Chiusano, co-owner of Cusano Cigars, better performance.
The Cuvée line was first introduced in November 2006 with the Cuvée Grand, which is a lancero. At the 2007 Retail Tobacco Dealers of America trade show, Cusano unveiled the Cuvée Blanc, Cuvée Rouge and Cuvée 151 lines.
The Blanc, which is a very light and fairly mild cigar, has remained on the market unchanged since its inception, retaining its Ecuadoran-shade-grown wrapper. The Rouge, however, was a much darker Dominican puro that had a short release to a few retail shops in the Northeast but was quickly pulled due to performance and flavor issues.
The new Cuvée Rouge is now available and has gone through some reblending. For starters, it is no longer a Dominican puro. The wrapper is now from Ecuador and, according to Cusano, there is Ecuadoran wrapper leaf in the filler as well.
Much darker than the Rouge, the Cuvée 151 promised to be the strongest of the Cuvée line with its near black Costa Rican wrapper, but the cigar never really made a retail debut. It was handed out on a sample basis, and was subsequently canceled because Chiusano was not satisfied with the quality.
The wrapper is now an equally dark Brazilian leaf.
For more on this story, see the current issue of Cigar Insider.
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