A lesser-known addition variation of the Cain line by Oliva cigars, the Habano promises a more complex experience. Consisting of the same filler blend of Estelí, Condega, and Jalapa filler albeit at different percentages, it also features a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper.
In this review, I’ll be taking you through the Cain Habano where we focus on the following points:
Seeking to create a more complex experience than the previous two Cain releases, Studio Tobac developed the Habano. Consisting of more Jalapa Ligero as well as a different wrapper, the blend endeavours to be only slightly milder without losing on flavour.
The Habano’s wrapper is a very similar shade of brown to the original Cain F Straight Ligero. However, it’s slightly toothier with a few dumps as well as mottled hints of reddened hues.
In terms of construction, it’s more of the same with a firm resistance when squeeze and consistent rolling all the way down.
The Habano’s aromas are much more subtle than its Cain cousins with the body featuring a slight hint of horse manure. Meanwhile, the foot released a touch of star anise with the mildly sweaty odour of cumin.
Cain Habano Straight Ligero Review
In each of our cigar reviews, we smoke at least three of the cigars in order to provide a full picture of its potential as well as detect any anomalies. For instance, as cigars are handmade, a minority may be tightly rolled or have burn issues.
Draw: Mild Resistance
Aromas: Copper, Leather, Cinnamon
I would go as far to say that the Habano offers the most pleasant and fragrant pre-light experience of the entire Cain range. The draw offers a mild resistance while a sweet metallic note of copper tingles the teeth. Meanwhile, hints of leather and cinnamon tease the palate of what’s to come.
1st Third Smoking Experience
Notes: Cocoa, Coffee, Labdanum
The opening third is subtle but not without complexity. In terms of tongue stimulation, there is little effect on the palate aside from a little pressure on the front within the first inch.
Once some ground has been gained, you can begin to sense the ligero stimulating the lateral sections of the tongue. However, it still remains rather subtle.
As for flavour, cocoa is the dominating note followed by only a whiff of filtered coffee. Otherwise, a spicy and leathery note of labdanum bubbles at the rear but isn’t overly present.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
Notes: Oak, Leather, Catechu
Once into the second third and you’ll begin to see the Habano’s character truly develop. On the retrohale is a distinctive liquorice note that is strongly reminiscent of Catechu, an astringent pastille popular in France that’s know locally as “Cachou”.
Accompanying the liquorice is a heavy oak aroma that creates a mealy smoke. Meanwhile, the labdanum has developed into a more animalic leather.
As for the tongue stimulation, I can’t help but feel that the palate is a little confused by some fluctuating changes. The lateral sides are still stimulated, which is causing salivation, while the front and pack feel a light presence.
Final Third Smoking Experience
Notes: Charred Oak, Leather, Roasted Pistachio
At the final third, retrohaling becomes somewhat uncomfortable as the thick tobacco shocks the nasal passage. Doing so, however, rewards you with notes of roasted pistachio and walnut.
Charred flavours dominate the final third with persistant notes of oak and leather. The resulting crescendo of aromas is considerably less subtle than the cigar’s first two thirds and makes for a powerful finale.
Finally, the tongue stimulation has now settled to the front and sides of the tongue. This has been overall surprising as ligero tends to hit the back. However, I haven’t noticed as much stimulation here as I usually would.
Ash Backbone: Strong
Burn Angle: Slightly Wavy
Draw: Mild Resistance
Final Smoking Time: 80 Minutes
The Habano starts with a somewhat thick and wavy burn that eventually settles into straight yet angled combustion as it thins. As for the ash, its backbone is quite strong as we’ve come to expect from both Nub and Cain by now. Meanwhile, the ash itself is mostly white with a few dark specks.
The smoking temperature is relatively cool and contrasts nicely with the warm and spicy flavours. With regards to the draw, it remains somewhat mild throughout but does give some resistance.
Finally, the smoking time came to about 75 to 80 minutes with each cigar. Although much shorter than expected, it was still a pleasant experience.
Ideal Pairings With A Cain Habano
As Paul Anthony mentions in his Nub Habano review, he has a certain fondness for Diet Coke with a cigar. Indeed, if this is a beverage that you enjoy, Coke would be an excellent pairing thanks to the cocoa and coffee notes.
However, I’m not a huge fan of Coca-Cola and would instead favour a craft Root Beer where you can really taste the sarsaparilla and vanilla. With the Cain Habano’s spicy character, this would make for an excellent pairing.
Otherwise, a well-roasted double espresso would be an ideal if short-lived alternative.
Despite being a 100% Ligero cigar, it’s not particularly overwhelming in body. In fact, I found it to be relatively mild compared to the Cain F and Maduro. Therefore, I would be hesitant to pair it with a particularly strong libation.
Instead, I would prefer to pair this with a dark and mature rum that isn’t too coarse. For instance, a Brugal Leyenda would be a little too overwhelming for the cigar. Instead, I’d opt for something like a Diplomatico Réserva.
The Cain Habano is delivered in the same packaging as the Cain F and Maduro. An untreated wooden box, the brand is present thanks to a large sticker that takes half of its surface.
Inside, the cigars are bundled together by black ribbons with the blend and range name on them.
While the Cain F and Maduro went for red and white colours respectively, the Habano has opted for black. If you’re familiar with the Nub Maduro, this is a little confusing as this is actually the black one of that range.
Like the other Cain cigars, the band is on the foot. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this as while it does protect the foot, it’s a shame to remove it before smoking. A second band would have been quite welcome, especially when organising the photos of each blend on my phone!
With regards of when to smoke a Cain Habano, I would say that this is a great cigar for the mid-afternoon with a pleasant drink. Whether you enjoy it alone or with friends, that is your choice. However, I wouldn’t have it after a hearty meal or during a special occasion as you risk losing out on the subtle flavours.
Finally, the value for money is quite reasonable for the Cain Habano. At $170 MSRP for a box of 24, this comes to just over $7 per cigar. While not overly cheap, it’s not an expensive cigar either. Furthermore, many online retailers tend to offer generous discounts.
Although the previous Cain reviews were written by Paul Anthony, I have had quite a few of them myself. Personally, I enjoy the Habano considerably more than the Cain F and Maduro. Nevertheless, I’m not a huge fan of the Ligero craze as I believe that balance is more important than strength.
Still, I do find the Habano a pleasant exception to this rule and its full flavours are indeed a positive smoking experience. If you’re interested in trying out a cigar made solely with Ligero tobacco, then I would recommend this one to be the best place to start.
Cain Habano Straight Ligero
Reviewed by Charles-Philippe, on
"A surprisingly complex smoke. For a straight Ligero cigar, the Habano does pack as much flavour as it does fullness. In fact, the Habano isn't quite as overwhelming as I initially expected."
Rating: 4.0 ★★★★
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Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.