I was trying to find a weirder candidate for today’s redux review, so I went digging deep into a cooler of mine and opened up a box holding a bunch of random cigars. Inside was one that fit the bill: the Gran Habano STK Miami Barracuda.
As Patrick Lagreid pointed out while editing, nothing about the cigar makes it weird. Rather, there’s a group of brands we review a lot of cigars from and a group of brands we redux lots of cigars from, neither category of which I would say Gran Habano falls in. For context, this is just the second Gran Habano review we’ve published since the start of 2020.
The Barracuda is a cigar that I had completely forgotten about, but I checked the review list and saw that I reviewed this cigar in 2012 and figured this would make for a good candidate.
As for the cigar, it was released in the spring of 2012 in very limited quantities. Gran Habano made just 1,000 cigars in a single 5 x 50 robusto size. The most unique part is that these cigars were rolled in Miami, not at the company’s main factory in Honduras.
Here’s what I said when I reviewed the cigar in May 2012:
Einstein has that quote regarding the definition of insanity. The first Barracuda smelled like something that wasn’t a Gran Habano and tasted very Gran Habano-like. The second seemed like something not Gran Habano at first, but then was totally Gran Habano. And the third? It’s not that the flavor profile is at all bad, but for those that want more complexity from the Ricos, this is not the answer. The easiest way to describe the STK. Miami Barracuda is a more mature Gran Habano and unfortunately, I can’t say that makes a great $9 Robusto.
- Cigar Reviewed: Gran Habano STK Miami Barracuda
- Country of Origin: U.S.A.
- Factory: G.R. Tabacaleras Co.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $9 (Box of 10, $90)
- Release Date: April 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 20
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
Before deciding to redux this cigar I needed to make sure that there wasn’t any damage to it, as anytime a cigar sits in a humidor for this long—particularly a humidor that has probably been moved four times during that period—that can happen. In this case, things look pretty good. There’s one loose seam on the back of the cigar, but otherwise, the cigar passes the visual test. The wrapper has a deep mud color that is very consistent except for some lighter veins on the back of the cigar. This cigar wasn’t stored in cellophane, so I’m not surprised when I cannot detect any aroma from the wrapper. The foot is medium with floral flavors over cedar and a touch of creaminess. The cold draw continues the floral trend, this time sitting on top of cola flavors and a mild amount of allspice.
The Gran Habano STK Miami Barracuda starts with an herbal-infused earthiness over some nuttiness, peanuts, floral flavors and white pepper. As the cigar burns down, the flavors shift to walnuts over wet leaves, the herbal earthiness and an artificial creaminess that reminds me of one of an artificial cookies and cream duo. After an inch, the floral flavor flavors begin to enter the fray, though as a definitive secondary note. The finish is a mixture of nuttiness, some unsalted French fries and metallic flavors. All of the finish is noticeably milder than the main flavor. This is a cigar where retrohales just seem to intensify the main flavors. Given that seems to increase the metallic flavors, I avoid retrohaling for most of the first third. The flavor is medium-plus, body is mild-medium and strength is mild-medium. Construction is excellent with the only thing of note being a darker than normal ash, not that that is a bad thing.
Unfortunately, the metallic flavors increase quite a bit in the mid-portions of the cigars, eventually getting to be as strong as just about everything else. Behind that, there’s some creaminess, fruitiness and the herbal earthiness. Fortunately, the metallic flavors seem to peak shortly after the halfway mark and eventually, the other flavors begin to overwhelm them. The finish has more of the nuttiness and herbal earthiness, but the metallic flavors are still accenting every part of the Gran Habano. Retrohales are much better now with a unique cranberry juice flavor over nuttiness and some black licorice, which helps clean the palate. The finish has more black licorice, an herbal earthiness and a weird tingling sensation that seems to only affect my tongue. Flavor picks up to full, body is medium-plus and strength is medium. After a touch-up, the final third gets toastier, though the real upside is that the metallic flavor is declining. While the second third was a battle between a not great main flavor and a very good retrohale, the final third is more about the positive. The nuttiness is much more integrated into the profile and towards the end I find some coffee flavors. The finish has nuttiness and creaminess along with some saltiness and a return of the French fry flavor. Retrohales have a familiar cranberry flavor along with some cola and some harshness, though it’s not the metallic flavor from before and it’s much milder. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus.
Anytime I smoke a cigar this old there are zero expectations. So much can happen to the tobacco—both good and bad—including things that aren’t the fault of a cigar, like improper storage. In this particular case, it’s a reminder that just because the cigar has aged for a while doesn’t mean it’s going to be mild. While there’s no scientific way of knowing—though if you have a time machine, please comment below—it’s quite possible the Gran Habano STK Miami Barracuda is bolder than it was before. Unfortunately, the metallic harshness that emerged in the second third was hard to shake. It’s particularly unfortunate here because my favorite part of the cigar was the retrohale during the second third. That said, the Gran Habano made a turn in the right direction in the final third. What all this means for the few of you that might still have some of these cigars should be good news, there’s still plenty more life left.
Original Score (May 2012)
Redux Score (October 2021)