Enjoy this fine Cuban brand, legally! OK, OK, so calling this a “Cuban brand” may be a tad misleading, but technically, it’s the truth—and our lawyers will support us on this—we checked it out. Here’s the skinny: Fonseca was originally made in Cuba, and still is (making it a Cuban brand, no?), but for years it has also been hand-rolled by Manolo Quesada in the Dominican Republic. Quesada is a master at his craft with the uncanny ability to create cigars that rival—and outperform—Cubans. Given his legacy, it’s no surprise. His great-great grandfather started brokering tobacco leaf in Cuba in the 1880s and, four generations later, Manufactures de Tobacos S. A. (MATASA) produces some of the finest cigars in the world: Fonseca, Cubita and the #1 ranked cigar of the year in 2008, the Casa Magna, to name a few. From the mid-1880s until 1960, Quesada's great-grandfather, grandfather, father and several generations of uncles brokered tobacco out of Havana and sold it around the world. In the 1930s, one uncle started to buy and resell Dominican tobacco, creating a permanent family foothold on the island of Hispaniola. By the time Castro came to power, Sobrinos de A. Gonzales (the company founded by Quesada's great-great-grandfather) and Constantino Gonzales (founded by a great-uncle) were the largest tobacco brokers in the world. But in April 1960, Quesada's family was forced out of business by the Castro government. So while these cigars are still being made in Cuba, the family that created them has been making them in the Dominican Republic for nearly 50 years now.
Wrapped in a beautiful Connecticut shade wrapper, the heart of the smoke is the well-aged mixture of superlative Dominican long-fillers—a blend of Tercio-Aged Ligero Cuban seed. The result is a smooth, creamy, well balanced smoke. The "F" in Serie F is for "Fuerte" - Spanish for "strong" or "full flavor." Classifying the cigar as medium-bodied, panelists preferred the latter translation. Grab yourself a good port. May we suggest the Portuguese port of choice, coincidentally carrying the same name as our cigar here, Fonseca Port?