This smart-looking corona comes dressed in a milk-chocolate wrapper that is a touch on the dry side with slight veins and a bit of tooth. The wrapper gives a faint scent of bay rum, leather and molasses while the foot is far more lively - chocolate-covered raisins and baking spices greet the nose. The cold draw reveals a nearly level of resistance, with a hazelnut note mixing with the chocolate raisins.
Dry cedar from the very start, but only a few puffs in and you are greeted with a spicy, smoky mesquite flavour that fades to a very sweet finish. I can't quite put my finger on what this sweet note reminds me of - I hesitate to describe it as a barbecue sauce flavour because of the distinct woodiness of the very beginning, but sweetness is most definitely present. A retrohale brings forth even more sweetness, with a sharp kick of pepper. Construction is excellent at this point - the burn line is near-perfect, and even though nothing but a tiny wisp of smoke escapes through the foot, an extraordinary volume of smoke comes out the business end. The salt-and-pepper ash looks like a lopsided stack of dimes, and seems to be holding on quite well. The woodsy note all but fades towards the end of the first third, with a thick sweetness and white pepper coming to dominate. Body at this point is verging on full, while the strength is a pleasant medium. Strength and body begin a sharp ascent as I cross into the middle third. The sugar-and-spice first notes of the first third are being slowly joined by dark fruits - raisins, plums and figs make slowly take the place of the rather generic sweet flavour. Construction remains excellent, although a bit of the wrapper has come loose from where I removed the band - I'll chalk that up to my own clumsiness. The finish is just getting longer and darker as the cigar gets on, with barbecue and molasses dominating as soon as the initial sugar and spice note dissipates. A roasted peanut joins in the mix towards the end of the third, as
the narrow smoke warms and gets closer to the nub. Strength is definitely pushing full as we head into the final third. A bit of heat is beginning to creep into the profile, and a touch of bitterness along with it but not enough to spoil anything. Flavourwise, the profile pretty much builds upon that of the middle third, but with a pleasant nutty note that I can't quite nail joining the mix. Smoke production has decreased however, down to about half the copious amount being produced at the very beginning of the cigar, and I’m starting to have trouble keeping the cigar lit. This is my cue that the smoke is nearing its end, and by the time I put the nub down strength has reached what I'd call full, while the body has decreased to a medium-plus.
A very impressive cigar! Even in the smallest format of the line this cigar is impeccably constructed, and packed with lovely flavours that boast clean transitions between thirds. Can't wait to try this in a couple of the larger vitolas! Total smoking time: 45 minutes.
By: Tyler Elaschuk