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05
Dec

CamachoOrigin : Honduras
Format : Petit Panetela
Size : 4″ x 32 ring gauge (102mm x 12,70mm)
Origin : Honduras
Hand-Made
Price : ~ € 3,30 / $ 4.00 each
More info about purchasing Camacho Corojo cigars…

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 3 out of 6 stars
Strength : 3 out of 6 stars

Introduction

The Camacho Corojo Machito is a small, fully long-filler, hand-rolled Honduran cigar, offering rich flavour and great value for the modest price, if not quite the depth of more expensive sticks.

The brand takes its name from Simon Camacho, the company’s 1960s founder. ‘Corojo’ is the name of a legendary Cuban tobacco wrapper leaf, no longer cultivated there in its ‘pure’ form due to disease vulnerability, the Corojo-seed leaves in Honduras being the defining tobacco of this all-Honduran cigar.

‘Machito’ is the term used by Camacho for these petit panetelas, a word often meaning ‘riding high’ or ‘well-placed’. Typically sold in tins of 6 cigars, the Davidoff stores – Camacho is now a part of Oettinger-Davidoff – sometimes also sell these Machitos individually.

Tasting

The cigar as a whole seems slightly thicker than its official 32 ring gauge, comparing more with the 33-34 ring gauge cigars in my humidor. Wrapper is smooth and pleasant to the touch, tho with some quite different colour patches affecting the appearance, especially once that too-wide cigar band is slipped off.

Pre-draw after punching is delightful, with spice & sweet citrus, tho I am surprised afterwards in that there is not so much spice in actually smoking the stick.

With lighting, lots of flavour is immediately on the scene, giving the sense that this cigar is a great bargain. Citrus with nuts and a wood fire in the first few minutes, then just mostly sweet citrus and the woodiness, with an occasional touch of a barbecue flavour. Draw is great, tho the first half burns a bit too quickly, reversing the usual image of Corojos as rather burn-resistant.

The middle third begins with glorious flavour richness and a sense of a full-bodied cigar, belying the slender ring gauge. This is the real sweet spot of the cigar, which alas burns away too quickly. As the mid-point of the cigar begins, the flavour shifts to a somewhat darker tone, bitter tho not unpleasant, as if one is tasting the pits of fruit, or the walnut shell instead of the walnut.

That bitter-but-ok tone fades as the final third begins, and now a pleasant nutty flavour begins to dominate, a little bit of the citrus fruitiness also nudging in now and then.

Remained quite good getting down to the nub, but I couldn’t resist cutting it open to verify this really was a long-filler cigar, and indeed it was, lovely wrapped filler leaves there to be seen.

Ash was a nice grayish white, holding for a half-inch or so, ok for a slender cigar like this.

A very nice short smoke for the price, lots of flavour and interest thru the smoke. But in some ways this small Machito hit me as a bit of a candy-store cigar, lots of flavour there, maybe not the depth I would find in more sophisticated (& expensive) smokes. The Camacho Corojo did not seem particularly strong in this small package, it’s a good way to get introduced to this rich flavour palette.

It’s common for cigar makers now to offer their shortest cigar like this as a panetela, but my thought is somewhat the opposite … do a 4 to 4.5 inch cigar as a short corona, and then do a 5 or 5.5 inch panetela as well as a longer corona … a 34 to 38 ring panetela thickness is a great way to have a longer but lighter smoke, and a very elegant cigar appearance-wise, whilst short sticks satisfy more if a little thicker.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Camacho Corona Machito

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27
Oct

DavidoffOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Coronas
Size : 129 mm (5 1/16″) x 17.06 mm
Ring Gauge : 42
Origin : Dominican Republic
Hand-Made
Price : ~€ 14.90 / $ 17.70 each
More info about purchasing Davidoff Nicaragua cigars…

Draw : 4 out of 6 stars
Burn : 5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 4 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 5 out of 6 stars
strength : 4 out of 6 stars

Tasting
A new cigar from Davidoff, the 702 Series Signature 2000 Corona is a fascinating, richer-flavoured transformation of Davidoff’s best-selling cigar, giving some unique experiences of roasted coffee, nuts & cocoa with its unique trio-Cuban-seed 702 Ecuadorian wrapper. Not without flaws – a touch of leatheriness at beginning & end – but a very rewarding Cuban-style smoking experience with flavouring all its own, an exciting, if pricey, alternative from Davidoff.

Amidst Davidoff’s revamping of its cigar lines, a bold new range in their core offerings, is via re-making a number of their existing cigars with Davidoff’s proprietary 702 wrapper from a hybrid of three Cuban seeds grown in Ecuador. It’s said that the wrapper can be 40% of a cigar’s flavour, so these are really new cigars.

The 702 wrapper has been used to good acclaim in some previous Davidoff cigars, most notably in their 2009 Selección 702 series. The current 702 line is not a re-issue of the 2009 blend, but rather a re-vamp of 7 existing cigars, 5 from the medium-strong Aniversario Line, and 2 milder sticks from what Davidoff now calls the Signature line, the 2000 Corona (formerly the Mille 2000), Davidoff’s best-selling cigar globally, and the Signature No 2 (formerly the Classic No 2). With their dark tobacco wrappers accented by Davidoff’s gold-and-white bands, the 702 Series substitutes nicely for Davidoff’s now-cancelled Maduro line.

The 702 Series 2000 here, is a bold foray into making Davidoff’s much-loved mild subtle Corona, into a stick with a sharper flavour profile as well as the currently-fashionable dark-cigar appearance. Shades of the 2000 can vary a bit, this was one of the darker ones from the box.

Indeed what strikes you immediately about the 702 Corona, is its dark-to-chocolate-black wrapper, quite the opposite of the lovely yellow-golden wrappers one sometimes finds, e.g., on a Davidoff Grand Cru. For someone like myself partial to dark-shade Bahia Brazil cigar wrappers, it was irresistible to pick up this dramatic dark cigar. The wrapper here is not ‘perfect’, a bit of vein, and a bit more 3-D texture than usual in a Davidoff, plus a little colour at the foot at the factory cut. But it’s good-looking nonetheless.

A bit oily to the touch, with just-right texture, the 702 Series 2000 has an inviting aroma. It is catalogued as 1/16th of an inch longer than the 2000, same length as the Cuban Mareva, tho in Davidoff’s 43 ring gauge. The stick here was completely precise in length, not a bit short as Cubans tend to be.

The oiliness is apparent upon putting the cigar to the lips and throughout much of the smoke, not unpleasant but a bit different. Pre-draw is mostly appealing, with coffee, cocoa & a bit of spice that I didn’t sense so strongly after lighting, along with a bit of leather. Directly after lighting, the first few minutes were a bit of a let-down, as the dominant sense was one of leather which I don’t care for, rather like a Cuban Rafael González. But in a few minutes that faded, and the glories of this cigar began.

Most of the end of the 1st third, and the middle part of the cigar, were given to a wonderful sense of roasted coffee, roasted nuts, and some cocoa. At moments the ‘roasted’ sense was on the verge of being harsh but never quite got there. The middle third was particularly terrific as the cigar settled down, with the roasted – toasted sense continuing, there being some wonderful super bursts of flavour, plus a few of those moments that led me to smile involuntarily, with the thought, ‘This is pure Cuban!’ – The 702 wrapper clearly is something very special that Davidoff has developed.

At times I did have a sense of the ‘hybrid’ nature of the cigar, the feeling of an exotic wrapper grafted onto the Dominican tobaccos inside the stick. I wondered what the 702 Series 2000 might taste like after a year or so of humidor time, after the tobaccos had a little more time to mellow & blend.

In the final third of the cigar, the ‘roasted’ aspect of the flavours faded, leaving more of a basic nuts, coffee & cocoa flavour, but unfortunately alternating along with some return of the leatheriness I had tasted in the first few minutes.

Draw was not the usually super-easy Davidoff draw, but certainly made no problems. Cigar burn was nice and leisurely, if slightly uneven. Ash held well, about 2.5cm – an inch or so, before dropping off, the largely white ash a striking contrast to this dark cigar. Davidoff rates this cigar as having the same mildness as the Signature 2000 on which it is based, but I think the wrapper transforms this into something stronger, more in the medium-strength range.

At the Davidoff shop, the 702 Series 2000 is over 20% higher in price than its sister Signature 2000, and indeed it’s not a cheap stick. For me, tho, it’s a bit thrilling as it offers some of those Brazil-wrapper-type rich flavours, with a truly Cuban quality of smoke experience, a combination distinctive enough I don’t wish to argue the price. The displeasing leather notes at the beginning and tail end, are my bit of complaint here, but I credit Davidoff a good deal for creating a special smoking experience with this great-looking cigar.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – New Davidoff 702 Series 2000 Corona

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26
Oct

Origin : Cuba
Format : Minutos Bolivar
Size : 110 x 16,67 mm (4 1/3″ x 42)
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7.9 each
More info about purchasing Bolivar cigars…

Draw : 5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 4 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 3 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 4 out of 6 stars
Strength : 5 out of 6 stars

Tasting

The Bolivar Corona Junior Minuto is a modest-mid-price, short-smoke, somewhat heady Cuban, offering unique Bolivar flavours including a kind of ‘barbecue’ & roasted chestnut, tho at times with some dull spots, so perhaps not the equal of the similar size & price Cuban Ramón Allones Small Club Corona.

This short Bolivar is one of three in the same Minutos vitola in what Habanos describes as its ‘full flavour strength’ category, along with the Ramón Allones Small Club & the Partagás Shorts. The Bolivar is, however, noticeably milder than the take-no-prisoners Partagás, and perhaps slightly less strong than the Ramón Allones.

Amongst Cubans I have a soft spot for Bolivar, given they uniquely make cigars in two of my favourite sizes, the short corona as here, plus a nowadays-rare hand-rolled medium-long panetela, the Bolivar No 3 (125mm x 34).

Bolivars have a distinctive flavour palette, and amidst the Bolivar expierience is not only a very pleasing roasted chestnut sort of flavour and aroma, but a very striking ‘barbecue’ kind of meaty flavour that is particularly Bolivar. Those unique flavours are why I can’t resist picking up these small-format Bolivars every now & then.

The Bolivar Corona Junior seems to have particularly good construction in the exemplars I’ve tried over time, without the tight draw so common in small-format Cubans, never needing my cigar-piercing tool. Burn is usually quite nice. The one pictured here had a brief ‘canoe’ hollow during the burn but nothing serious. The wrapper is often nicely oily, if not always super-pretty.

Smoking experience is sometimes a bit uneven, with flat patches mixed with flavour bursts. At moments a Bolivar can have a beautiful aroma that is just not reflected in the taste. The one here in the photo started out pleasingly nutty, then grew quite flat to the degree I began to think ‘What am I smoking here?’ The middle third, however, opened with majestic flavour explosions, some of the roasted chestnut along with woody and earthy notes, and the famous ‘Bolivar barbecue’ was not missing, I almost opened a bag of paprika crisps.

The final third got a bit flat again, where you have the sense of smoking a slightly heady cigar but just not enough flavour to match the strength. This led me to recall my opinion that the also-heady Ramón Allones Small Club is the preferred cigar in this vitola, with its chocolate-like evocations and more consistent flavour interest.

For a slow puffer like myself, the methodically-burning Bolivar Junior short corona is about a 35 minute smoke, maybe around 25 minutes for the average stogie person, or a bit less than 20 minutes for heavier puffers.

One might say a word here about the names of these cigars and vitolas in Spanish & English, which can be confusing due to the singular / plural forms. Is this vitola ‘Minutos’ or ‘Minuto’?

On the Habanos website, they tend to list both cigar names and the vitola category in plural form – ‘Coronas’, ‘Robustos’ – whereas in English we would tend to use the singular. The Bolivar cigar in this review is listed by Habanos as the ‘Coronas Junior’, and the vitola as well is listed as ‘Minutos’, though if your shop has the machine-made Guantánamera Minutos tubos from Cuba, you might see the tube with ‘Minuto’ in the singular printed on it.

In English we tend to copy the Cuban plural form when citing the cigars, except in cases like ‘corona’ or ‘robusto’ where we already generally use the singular. A less-common Cuban cigar word such as ‘Minutos’ might more often appear in plural. In short, both forms are ok, hence the apparent confusion.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – Bolivar Corona Junior

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23
Jun

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Format : Half Corona
Size : 3 1/2″ (90 mm) X 44
Hand-Made
Hand-Made : Light to Medium
Price : ~$6 each
More info about purchasing H. Upmann cigars…

H. Upmann cigars are classified by Habanos S.A. as light to medium strength and as a global brand in their portfolio.
The brand was first introduced in 1844.

Draw : 4.5 out of 6 stars
Burn : 3.5 out of 6 stars
Flavour : 3 out of 6 stars
Aroma : 3.5 out of 6 stars
Strength : 3 out of 6 stars

Overall : 3.5 out of 6 stars

As you may have seen on our Instagram account, we have bought a lovely box of H Upmann Half Corona. The Box is from 2016 and since we are all running around with very little time, the half Corona was chosen for our 20minutes break.

Tasting

1st Part
The H. Upmann half corona develops from the very beginning a soft blend. The strength is light at this stage. A slight bitterness stays on the palate. What really surprised me was this very fresh and cool smoke for such a short cigar. I was expecting more heat from that format.
Not too long to wait until the blend develops its typical sweetness and creaminess. The acidity is very low, therefore it is has short lasting flavour profile.

2nd Part
I am not so sure if such a short cigar can really be divided in 3 parts. the flavours remain easy. The draw and construction are good, developing a nice solid ash.
I enjoy more the aroma than the flavours sometimes and the H Upmann half corona is one of these cigars. The aroma is incredibly sweet and smooth.
There is not much development, only the bitterness level going down and hints of roasted coffee beans take slowly over the creaminess.

3rd Part
The intensity gets higher and the smoke richer. A lovely touch of cashew is taking the main flavour element. Still a short finish but no more bitterness at all.
The burn is impeccable and the aroma remains very sweet and gentle.

Overall Rating
If you are looking for a first full filler account or a 20minute morning smoke to go with your coffee the H Upmann Half corona is always a safe choice.
I also took a box with me a year ago to a wedding as it allows people to celebrate without feeling unwell and be unsociable by being outside in the smoking area for 1h30. It was a great wedding cigar knowing very few people were aficionados.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Cigar Review – H. Upmann Half Corona

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29
Apr

MontecristoOrigin : Cuba
Size : 44 x 90 mm (3.5″ in)
Brand Strength : Medium to Full
Box Year : 2016
Hand-Made
Price : ~ € 6,60 / $ 7.05
More info about purchasing Montecristo cigars…

Thank you Beneluxor for providing us once again with your feedback on the Media Coronas.

The Montecristo Media Corona is an impressive, flavour-rich short stick introduced only recently by Cuba’s most popular cigar marque, giving a much more fulfilling cigar experience than one might guess from its rather nub-like length.

Readers will quickly notice that the vitola here, is the same as the Herman Upmann Half Corona, though for the Montecristo, Habanos chose to use the Spanish word for ‘half’ (‘media’) instead.

The Montecristo Media Corona is a bit under the radar, given that, although Habanos announced this cigar as a standard catalogue item when introduced in 2015, the Media Corona still does not show amidst the regular Montecristo listing on the Habanos official website (which has a few other glitches on Habanos current output as well).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Buying the tail end of a 2015 box of Media Coronas that had been open & mellowing in the small humidor room of a cigar shop, I discovered a short smoke here that was even more joyous than I anticipated.

Part of the thought behind the thicker 44 ring gauge for the Half Coronas, may be a wish to avoid the tight draw issue often found in small-format Cubans, & the Montecristos quite shine here, drawing easily with more consistency than the 40 ring gauge Montecristo No. 5.

But where the Montecristo Media Coronas really wowed me, was in the flavour experience. They tend to have some prominent spice notes just at the very beginning, & then not too long after, some really superb waves of flavour start to build – nuts, honey, chocolate – coming in un-predictable surges, & sometimes so pleasingly intense I could not help but grin & chuckle a bit. These little sticks have been giving me some really perfect cigar moments, where you are reminded why you like cigars so much & why some Cubans are really worth the money.

Toward the end of the middle third, there tend to be some moments where the flavour recedes or the stick gets slightly harsh, but then you can have all the flavour rushing back in again too. Ash has tended to be uneven, but with the great flavour palette that’s not something I would complain about.

There’s a striking amount of evolution & fun in this short stogie, which also seems to burn slowly. Despite puffing the Media Coronas a bit more rapidly than my usual leisurely pace, because they taste so good, I typically get more than 30 minutes out of these baby-length Montecristos. And at the end, you’ve travelled so much flavour-wise & had such a good experience, it doesn’t really feel like a super-short cigar to me.

Still, I wish it was a bit longer, partly for appearance sake. To my eye, a cigar should be at least slightly longer, 3 7/8″ or 98mm, to start looking like a cigar & not like a nub.

Maybe I lucked out with the box I bought, but my impression is that the Media Corona can make you believe again in the glories of Montecristo if you’ve been doubting it. This may be a candidate for the best entreacto-length Cuban short smoke. In shops near me, the same-size Upmann Half Corona is 2/3 the price, but the Montecristo in this vitola is a much more exalted cigar to my view.

The rival to the Media Corona is the often quite excellent No 5 Perla also from Montecristo, another shortie at about the same price. The Perla is a vitola I’ve always liked … but the flavour richness of the Media Corona will draw me to it despite my own preference for 34-43 ring gauges.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Review – Montecristo Media Corona

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11
Aug

Punch Double Corona

Origin : CubaPunch
Format : Double Corona
Size : 194 x 20 mm (7.6 x 49)
Box code : AOL OCT 13
Hand-Made
Price : ~$14-16 each
More info about purchasing Punch cigars…

Want a huge honkin’ stick for not a lot of money?? Buy a 50 Cab of Punch Double Coronas. Punch is a more well-known name in the market that I am in, but most of their non-Cuban offerings leave a bit to be desired.

Appearance : 3.5 out of 5 stars
Although these smokes came well packed in a 50-cigar cabinet, I do not think I found a single stick that was actually straight. All of them had varying degrees of “bowing” along the length. I give it high marks for consistency in density and color, as well as a nice earthy aroma the cabinet emits upon opening. From appearances, the cigar looked as if it was going to be a nice selection—minus the bowing.

Punch Double Corona

Construction : 3.75 out of 5 stars (3.75)
Stick was better than average with few construction issues. No blooming, with few if any spines. There was proper amount of oiling throughout, and despite the lack of straightness, the burn WAS technically better than most. I have not run across a single cigar in the box that needed corrections to the burn. No wrapper separation of any sort. Construction-wise – a nice assembled cigar.

Flavor : 3.75 out of 5 stars (3.75)
Last fall, I reviewed a Juan Lopez Petit Corona where I absolutely took it to the woodshed where taste was concerned. I mention this cigar, because Punch actually delivered what I THOUGHT I was going to get with that other dismal failure. With the light, you are greeted with hints of honey and chocolate, along with fruity notes such as cherry, and with the exhale you get a nice “pop” of peppery spice—all delivered with complex moderation, unlike the Lopez—which performed as if it were going to rip your lungs out on the exhale with an unbearably harsh pepper note that overpowered the entire smoking experience. Punch got it right with this cigar. The taste profile held throughout all thirds of the smoke, providing a delightfully complex flavor profile and a truly enjoyable smoking experience.

Value : 4.25 out of 5 stars (4.25)
Punch gives you a huge cigar for your money with this selection, with the price equating to about $14US/cigar for a 194MM long Cuban stick. The taste profile is what makes this stick a winner in my book. Great complex flavor notes, paired with a technical performance that is above average makes this cigar a nice change of pace from what I normally consume.

Overall Rating : 3.75 out of 5 stars (3.75)
Do I think this is a top-tier cigar?? No. Does it earn my respect and admiration as a better than average Cuban stick?? Absolutely. Though not a cigar I would gravitate to as a normal occupant of my humidor, I must give credit to Punch for delivering a well-made stick that outperforms many of its competitors within the genre. They succeeded where others have utterly failed, so I do tip my cap to Punch. Well done!!

Enjoy!!!

You might be interested in these articles too:

Punch Double Corona

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24
May

Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados

Origin : CubaPartagas
Format : Corona Gorda
Size : 143 x 20 mm (5.625 x 46)
Released in : 2015
Box Date : OBE – June ’07
Hand-Made
Price : I paid $450 for an early box and subsequently seen them priced as low as $340 (under $14/cigar)
More info about purchasing Partagas cigars…

This is the 4th in the new Añejados line. As Inspector noted in his review of the HdM Añejados, the Añejados program have all been aged for five to eight years in their original packaging. At that point the packaging is opened and the cigars are checked for quality. Then the original band is placed back on the stogies and a second Añejados band is attached to each. The boxes are stamped with the word “revisado,” which means “checked.” Each Añejados offering is a unique vitola for the particular brand; so, this is the only Partagas currently offered in a coronas gordas vitola.

The Habanos, S.A. press release noted, “Through the aging process, the cigar has developed, becoming rounder and mellower to the palate with touches of delicate and sweetish taste and, above all, obtaining shades of woody taste because of being placed for all those years near the cedar from which the boxes were made.” I’m not sure what boxes the copywriter was looking at, because the Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados comes in a cardboard dress box.

Appearance : 4.5 out of 5 stars
Natural (Colorado Claro), very uniform brown color, speckles of crystalline plume. Very attractive wrapper. I typically don’t like secondary bands, but the additional “Añejados” band actually enhances the presentation. Black and white ash.

Partagas Corona Gorda (Anejado)

Construction : 4.5 out of 5 stars
Feels well-constructed, consistent throughout, although perhaps a little loose or underfilled. Once clipped, I realized the draw was snug and perfect. Excellent volume of smoke. Burn was sharp, and just a little uneven. No touch-ups required. Lasted over two hours, but I think would typically burn for closer to 1 hour, forty-five minutes.

Flavor : 4.25 out of 5 stars (4.25)
Opens medium strength, very smooth and pleasant. Lots of flavors come through, but none dominate. A little earth, a little salt, some leather, light black pepper, a little oak char, a hint of milk chocolate… Really a lot going on. Very nice. Smooth and flavorful, no bite on the retrohale. Unfortunately, not much of a finish. About halfway, some of the softer flavors fall to the spice and astringency.

Overall Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars
The question many people are asking: Are these really specially rolled Partagas coronas gordas that Habanos planned to put in an añejados program back in 2007 or are they simply rebanded cigars from another marca? Well, in a blind test, I don’t think I would have said Partagas. I’d have guessed these were a much better Punch than I’m used to (I don’t smoke Punch very often). This question bothered me so much, I cracked open a box of discontinued Partagas Coronas (GSO – Oct ’06) and smoked them side-by-side to compare. The Partagas Coronas was a little more peppery and a little more raw, but similar enough. The Partagas band on the Añejados is the newer type, but I can’t say that they weren’t available in October 2007; however, the band seems new. In my opinion, the cigars may have been rolled in 2007, but they were banded and packaged this year. Does any of this matter? Probably not. For those curious, the Añejados was better than the Coronas: more flavorful, better draw, nicer smoke; although less of the classic Partagas flavor profile.

Partagas Añejado Corona Gorda vs Partagas 2006 Corona

The cigar is a delight, but the Añejados price point seems slightly high. The unique vitola ensures that it doesn’t directly compete against cigars personally aged, but how much of a premium is five to eight years worth? In this case, is eight full years of aging worth double the price one would expect for a Partagas coronas gordas? That partially depends on how many boxes are available for release and if the releases are limited to just one year. Habanos S.A. needs to clarify this if they want to create demand for the Añejados program.
Overall, while I’m not convinced that the Partagas Corona Gorda Añejados is exactly what Habanos represents, the cigar scores a very good 4.5 of 5.

You might be interested in these articles too:

Partagas Añejado Corona Gorda

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10
Sep

Juan Lopez Petit Corona

Juan LopezOrigin : Cuba
Format : Petit Corona
Size : 129 x 18 mm (5.1 x 42)
Ring : 42
Box code : UME ENE14
Hand-Made
Price : ~$180 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Juan Lopez cigars…

Sometimes you want to venture from your safety zone and try new things. Sometimes you are rewarded for your curiosity, and sometimes you regret your adventuresome ways. This experience to me was definitely the latter and not the former. To me, this stick had problems from the get-go. Just about anything that could go wrong, did… IN SPADES.

Appearance : 2.5 out of 5 stars
The Juan Lopez Petit Corona had some spines that ran the length of the cigar, which can happen from time to time, but where this product drew my attention was that roughly a third or more of the stick had expanded in the box to the point they assumed an almost hexagonal shape down the length of the stick. I thought it a bit odd, but it wasn’t until I lit one that I think I figured out what was going on with this product. None of the causes I could think of would make the experience with this cigar end well, and it became more and more evident as I delved further into the box. The wrapper and binder both had issues maintaining their integrity.

Construction : 1.5 out of 5 stars
This product had definite construction problems. Out of 25 cigars, 15 of them had some sort of construction issues, with 6 of them being not usable. Some sticks were rolled so tight that they would not maintain a light, and with almost NO draw I had to sit there and pull much harder than I would have liked to, which only intensified the release of tannins and took the spicy taste experience to excruciating levels. The 9 sticks that had construction issues but were able to be consumed either had heads or feet (and sometimes BOTH) that were so tightly rolled that sometimes BOTH ends had to be clipped to get the smoke to perform AT ALL.

Flavor : 1.5 out of 5 stars
Upon the initial light, I was greeted with a honey sweet nutty note reminiscent of freshly crushed pecan shells and thought I was going to really enjoy this smoke, but on the exhale I was blasted with an unbearable pepper note that made me want to put the cigar out and try something else. Juan Lopez is known for its spicy notes, but this went beyond the pale. I have enjoyed other JL products and their light/moderate spice/pepper notes, but this was a full-on violent assault to the senses without the courtesy of a reach-around. If I had stuck a spoonful of ground black pepper under my nose and sniffed it, I would have gotten more pleasure from the experience. Were it not for the redeeming factor that there WERE milder notes at the beginning of this smoke, I would be hard pressed to rate it with ANY stars. It was THAT bad. YMMV (your mileage may vary). This scene repeated itself through most, if not all the remainder of the box. See below for comments on the second box I purchased with identical production date code below.

Value : 2.5 out of 5 stars
With a cost of $8US+ each, you better like those peppery spicy notes. A beginner most likely would be turned off to the cigar hobby by this smoke, so I would not recommend it to anyone short of those that truly enjoy those strong, oftentimes overpowering notes. If that is what you are looking for, you will most likely find them with this product, not because that is their nature, but due to inconsistent quality issues. For my money, I would pass and choose a better known petit Montecristo.

Overall Rating : 2.5 out of 5 stars
I intentionally held my fire on this review until I had purchased a second box of JL Petit Coronas from my favorite trusted tobacconist to see if what I experienced was an aberration, or if this was the norm for this particular smoke. I received my second box with an identical date code, and there was marked improvement. There were still construction issues, but MUCH less pronounced than Box #1. Granted, I did ask my tobacconist to 100% inspect the sticks before shipping, and that may have a great deal to do with the markedly better results.

Quite frankly, I would recommend the Juan Lopez Don Juan Benelux Limited Edition (review coming soon) hands-down over this feeble attempt at making a petit robusto corona. Yes, you get pepper/spice notes with the LJDJBLE’s, but the flavor profile is MUCH more balanced, and would be much more enjoyable to the novice enthusiast. They are roughly twice the cost of the Petit Corona, but you get a substantially larger cigar (52 ring x 135mm).

Juan Lopez Petit Corona

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28
Jul

Casa Magna Dominican Corona

Origin : Dominican Republic?Casa Magna
Format : Corona
Size : 6 x 46
Wrapper : Dominican Corojo
Filler : Dominican Cuban Seed
Binder : Dominican
Hand-Made
Price : ~$7 each
More info about purchasing Casa Magna cigars…

The Casa Magna line has been very popular for years now, and has won quite a few accolades. In fact, previously we’ve reviewed the Casa Magna Colorado Corona, a very enjoyable stogie. The Casa Magna Dominican is a Dominican puro very recently added to the line. According to Terence Reilly of Quesada Cigars, the goal was to create a new taste profile to appeal to a broader international market. It’s available in five sizes: a 6 3/10 x 52 belicoso, 7 x 49 churchill, 6 x 46 corona, 6 x 60 gran toro (gordo) and a 5 1/2 x 52 robusto. I tried the corona.

As far as I can see, this is a house blend for Cigars International, as it’s available on their site and affiliates.

Appearance : 4 out of 5 stars
The Casa Magna Dominican Corona has a medium reddish-brown rustic wrapper with some very prominent veins on it and plenty of oil. There is some obvious tooth in spots, but most of the wrapper is smooth to the touch. Whether you like the cigar’s appearance or not will depend on your feelings about rustic cigars.

Construction : 3 out of 5 stars
The burn is pretty even, which is good, but I did have some problems with the draw on the Casa Magna Dominican Corona. It was a bit tight, and around the middle third I discovered the problem was that the tobacco was plugged up. I managed to clear that out, and after that the draw was back to normal. It was quite inconvenient.

Flavor : 3 out of 5 stars
Hopefully you like spicy cigars, because you get a hard explosion of red pepper right off the top here. Those hot flavors continue through the rest of the smoke, though they do fade to the back. Following the red pepper blast, you pick up a combination of oak and coffee with an earthy backdrop. The hot flavors are softened up a bit by hints of creamy sweetness. Meanwhile, the earth and oak anchor the flavor profile and give it a solid core. The red pepper makes a strong comeback in the middle third, joined by creamy honey and caramel. Add a dash of cocoa and cinnamon and hay as you go along. I did find the changeup of flavors somewhat random as these notes came and went, but the backdrop continued to give the cigar some sense of consistency. Still, it could have used more of that.

Value : 3 out of 5 stars
While I enjoyed this cigar, the plug issue as well as the seeming randomness of the flavor profile at moments impacted my feelings about its value. I would have preferred it sold for $5-$6.

Overall Rating : 3 out of 5 stars
The Casa Magna Dominican Corona is undeniably an interesting blend, and there were aspects of it that I readily enjoyed. But it could use some work in the construction department, and a more logical progression of flavors would have made the profile even more interesting. There is room for improvement, but it is still worth a try if you can find it at lower prices (CigarBid deals perhaps?).

Casa Magna Dominican Corona

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03
Apr

H. Upmann Super Coronas

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Format : Corona Gorda
Size : 5 5/8 x 46 (143 x 18 mm)
Box date : SCO – August ’00
Discontinued in 2002
Hand-Made
Price : Roughly $6/cigar in 2000, now approximately $20-25/cigar
More info about purchasing H. Upmann cigars…

With the 2014 Bolivar Editión Limitada resurrecting the “Super Corona” name, I decided to try the long discontinued H. Upmann Super Corona (“HUSC”). I really like the H. Upmann line and I always enjoy an aged H. Upmann. I had one remaining single HUSC from a fiver as well as an unbroken box (same box code). I reviewed the single but have included photographs from the unbroken box. As these are smoked and become very hard to find, I think we could see market values rise to $700/box in the next few years.

Appearance : 3.5 out of 5 stars
Natural (Colorado Claro), fairly flat sheen, no prominent veins. Wrapper seems thinner and more delicate than I would expect from its color. Slightly box pressed. Ash is mottled gray.

H. Upmann Super Coronas

Construction : 4 out of 5 stars
A little tight, as one would expect from a tightly packed dress box of 15 years. Most of the HUSCs I have smoked have been quite firm; however, this Super Corona has just the correct amount of resistance. Light-to-normal volume of smoke. Nice and even burn. Terrific construction, but the lightness of flavor and smoke necessitates occasional double-puffing. Towards the end, the fragile wrapper began to unravel, but was easily held together by careful handling. Lasted over an hour and a half.

H. Upmann Super Coronas

Flavor : 4 out of 5 stars
Nice pre-light nose; smells almost fresh and young. Opens about as smooth as it gets. Initial taste of tea, leather, earth, cedar and lead – all well-balanced against each other. Overall, a little mild to begin and I have to fight the urge to double-puff for a stronger experience. About an inch in it becomes difficult to identify the components of flavor as they blend so well together. The absence of spice and pepper is notable.

I paired it with a very dry gin martini which is almost too strong for the cigar (though it paired perfectly with a H. Upmann Royal Robusto last night), but it does emphasize the earth, wood and leather tastes. A scotch or bourbon would overwhelm this cigar. I’ve given in to the need to double-puff and am rewarded for it with an appropriate level of flavor. The tea and lead tastes have diminished and it tastes remarkably similar to an aged H. Upmann Monarch or Lonsdale.

Halfway through, the flavor has built a bit but remains basically unchanged. The flavor continues to build into the last third, becoming a bit harsh. Nicotine strength was much stronger than expected. I guess these have quite a bit of time until they peak.

Overall Rating : 4 out of 5 stars
This HUSC was a very good cigar. I think the Super Coronas were likely just ordinary H. Upmanns when produced, but it became a sought after rarity once it was discontinued. In reality, it’s just an older H. Upmann – which is terrific in itself – but it’s not a smoke that I’d sell my soul for. I’m going to be honest and say that I’m going to keep my intact box so that I can sell it when the value gets high enough because I have plenty of Monarchs and Londsales of roughly the same vintage that will give me a remarkably similar experience.

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H. Upmann Super Corona

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