Brand: TESA Cigars
Line: Cabinet 312
Vitola: Torpedo; 6 x 54
Wrapper: Criollo ’98 Maduro
Price: About $10-$13
After only a few visits, it’s already one of my new favorite shops.
When I first went to TESA, I knew the place carried its own boutique line of cigars. Little did I know how good they were. All of TESA’s cigars are blended by store owner Chris Kelly, and the sticks are made at TESA’s factory in Nicaragua.
The TESA Cabinet 312, which is named after the original 312 Chicago area code, has an oily, slightly veiny wrapper. It has a pre-light scent that’s cedary and woody, but also a touch spicy and sweet, and with a good draw.
Once lit, a couple of the sticks I tried, including one at the shop, started to canoe up the side for about 1/2 an inch, but the burn corrected itself quickly. The burn line on the 312 was very dark, and for the most part, it was quite even.
The draw on the cigar, which was quite firm and with no soft spots, tightened up a bit, and as a result, the 312 produced very stringy smoke. (Note: This didn’t happen with all of the Cabinet 312 cigars I tried.)
The 312’s woodiness continued as I smoked the cigar down, and it picked up a bit more spice and tanginess, with a hint of mocha, along the way.
Verdict: The TESA Cabinet 312 is an enjoyable, not overly complex stick. There were a couple of small issues I didn’t experience with TESA’s other cigar lines, and I experienced them with a few of the 312s. Of the TESA cigars I’ve tried so far, this is my least favorite, not because I dislike the 312, but because I like the others so much more.
TESA makes good cigars, and seems to be well on its way to single-handedly restoring Chicago to its proper place as the cigar capital of the midwest, smoking ban and all.
I’ll get some of the other TESA cigars reviewed soon. Promise.