Fonseca KDT Cadetes - Cuban Cigar Review

Fonseca are one of Cuba's unique brands where they are the only range that come wrapped in Japanese tissue paper. I sat outside a drab and rainy Saturday afternoon in Cardiff to smoke and review this little smoke.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Presentation
  3. Cut & Lighting
  4. First Third
  5. Second & Final Third
  6. Conclusion & Scoring

1. Introduction

The Fonseca brand fit in the low to middle price range of the Cuban Cigar market. Unique in that they come wrapped in a white, Japanese Tissue Paper, they are light bodied and are aimed more for the novice or someone who maybe wants an aperitif Cigar.

It's a drab Saturday afternoon. I'm sitting at the Ely Jenkins pub down Cardiff Bay. The rain has stopped and the temperature is mild, so we have enough going for us to have a smoke outside.

To compliment the Fonseca, I will be drinking Brains SA Bitter. Probably the most popular and manufactured beer that the Brains Brewery in Cardiff have on general release, it has very pronounced malty, hoppy notes and a bitter aftertaste. Weighing in at only 3.7% ABV, it's not going to blow my head off after one pint. I'm not sure whether this Cigar will match the profile of the beer, but hopefully there's enough body with the Fonseca just to hold up against the pint.

This is my first Fonseca, and to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm going to expect. I paid £5.40 for the Cigar, which is quite reasonable for the UK market. But as they say, you get what you pay for. So am I going to find a cheap blockbuster of a Cigar? We shall find out.

2. Presentation

The first thing you notice with any Fonseca Cigar is the white tissue sheet that is wrapped around the Cigar. I have no idea why this was introduced, as I wouldn't expect it to help keep in the flavour, help speed up aging, or any other improvement. Maybe it's just one of those marketing gimmicks.

The Fonseca in it's tissue paper wrapper

Once I take of the band and the cover, the Cigar itself can be exposed. The wrapper itself is very average with no signs of any oiliness or age. The light brown wrapper isn't very attractive to look at, but for the price I shouldn't be expecting much. There are a few meager veins, but overall the Cigar is nothing exciting to look at. There are also a few blotches in some areas that also takes away from the presentation. I would go as far as saying that I'm a little disappointed. I would speculate that the Cigar hasn't got that much age on it. The Bear Shop where I brought the Cigar from get a decent amount of business and many of their stock sell out reasonably fast. Therefore I'm going to take a shot at an 08 or maybe an early 2009.

The Fonseca unwrapped

3. Cut & Lighting

The cut itself for a small Cigar was quick and sharp. Thankfully, there was no problems with the cut; no loose pieces of cap or filler. The draw itself was too tight, and not comforting. Now good. Lighting the Cigar was easy enough - after a few seconds I was away. However, after a few puffs it became obvious that the aroma of the Cigar wasn't good. To be blunt, I was told it "stunk". Luckily I was smoking outside so the odour was quick to dissipate.

4. First Third

The first few draws greeted me with a light taste of straw and white bread. I wasn't expecting anything much over a light flavour profile and I was right. After a few more puffs hints of light leather came to the fore. The light brown wrapper somewhat gave the game away in regards of the light flavour profile. The ash itself is very murky and untidy. Some parts seems to want to fall of instantly. The experience ain't getting much better.

Picture of the Fonseca KDT Cadettes into the first third

5. Second & Final Third

As with the first third, the second third keeps the same tone as the first with a light flavour of straw and maybe a very faint hint of honey. At this point, I'm getting bored with the Fonseca. I'm starting to get more occupied with what's happening around me than with the Cigar. I get a small amount of sweetness, but am I just imagining this? I'm pretty certain there's no development; just some kind of wispy taste that I cannot really get to grips with.

Progressing from the second to final third, there's not much going on at all that doesn't make any of the Cigar a pleasure to smoke. What a waste of time. Time to end this review.

Coming to the end of the Fonseca KDT Cadettes. Thankfully.

6. Conclusion & Scoring

Disappointing. I was hoping that there was going to be a little more complexity and flavours from this Cigar but they never came. It's true to say you get what you pay for - for £7 it's going to be a bare bones smoke all the way. At least it was better than the crock of a Cigar that the Guantanamera that I smoked a few months back or so back was. Now that was a terrible Cigar.

My choice of beverage probably did not help matters either. The Brains SA was probably a little too overpowering for the Fonseca. But I think even water would have been overpowering for this disappointment of a Cigar.

It's a shame that all of these cheaper, introductory Cigars are just so bad compared to their mid price ranged counterparts. There must be a way for Habanos SA to create a cheaper, yet good quality Cigar. Either the blends are intentionally made so that they are light I don't know, but a new smoker must at least like some kick with what they're smoking.

For exploring any more of the Fonseca brand, I do not know. I very much doubt any of the other vitolas in the Fonseca range come with a stronger blend. I'm reluctant to pay for a brand with such a bad quality Cigar with no kick to it. The great thing about a Cigar brand like the Jose L Piedra for instance, is that you're constantly wrestling with it. The Cigar wants to get you into a choke hold and get you interacting with the smoke. Whether anything in the Fonseca brand range have that kind of Cigar I very much doubt.

Overall the Fonseca took around 45 minutes to smoke. I usually tend to herf at a slow pace and therefore I managed to get as much as I could out of the stogie. Somehow I wished I actually smoked this a little faster to get it over with.

  • Appearance: 07/15
  • Draw & Burn: 15/20
  • Flavour & Complexity: 12/30
  • Overall: 17/35
  • Total: 51/100
Final Score:
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

KDT Cadetes

Cigar Name: KDT Cadetes
Size: Short Panetela
Factory Vitola: Cadetes
Ring Gauge: 36
Length (mm): 115mm

Status: Currently Available.
Information last updated on Saturday, 5th July 2014.
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