This month is all about smaller ring gauge cigars as I received two Corona Gordas along with a little writeup discussing this topic. Corona Gordas were my vitola of choice for quite a while, and are still in my top 3 behind the Short Robusto/Rothschild and a classic Robusto.
Cigar No. 135
Appearance: Number 135 appears to be 6 x 46-48 box pressed Corona Gorda. The wrapper is very satiny in feel and milk chocolate in color with a prominent vein structure. It looks like a Habano or maybe Sumatran leaf. The cigar has a very light feeling pack.
Smoking Experience: The cold draw is light earth and a touch of raisin and pepper. It smells faintly of cocoa and cedar. The cigar opens with full body and flavor. Flavors are gritty leather and earth with some nutty cocoa and a bit of pepper. At a 1/2” in there's a burnt bread like toasty bitterness. This isn’t a bad kind of bitterness by any means. The cocoa has subsided at this point. Halfway into the first third the retrohale has some punchy pepper followed by leather and some earthiness. Into the second third I am saying it’s got Nicaraguan innards. I am going with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper mainly because there isn’t a distinctive characteristic in the appearance or flavor profile. There’s nothing super unique about it that is giving me an indication of the factory or brand. The performance has been flawless so far by the way. Hitting halfway it’s still rolling along with earth, pepper, some leather, and a slight reemergence of nuttiness. The cigar is quite consistent throughout the second third. Going into the final third it went out. I relit it and it’s still holding the same profile. Maybe with a slight drying spice component. Nearing the end it went out again and I relit it again. Ending at an hour and 54 minutes there was really nothing different to report.
Predictions: I am saying it is a darker Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. I am confident in the binder and fillers, but the wrapper could be a Nicaraguan Habano maybe. There was nothing in the profile that really indicated the wrapper to me so I could be way off.
Reveal Page: Standard & Twain No. 135
Parting Thoughts: I have never had this cigar, though it has been on my “to try” list. Overall this cigar was good, but along the lines of average for something with these blend characteristics. I enjoy the classic Nicaraguan earth, leather, and pepper profile so I think this cigar is worth trying if you enjoy that style of cigar as well. I would smoke this again, but it falls in that category of something I probably wouldn't buy more of. This is because I am the kind of cigar smoker that would rather buy and try a “new to me” cigar with a similar blend as this cigar, as opposed to buying another one of these since it didn’t necessarily stand out to me.
Cigar No. 136
Appearance: This appears to be a 6 x 46ish Corona Gorda with a pigtail cap. The cap is pretty interesting as it looks like a single cap. The wrapper is light, kind of splotchy, and has a veiny structure. Based on looks I’d say it’s some Dominican Leaf, or maybe a more rustic looking Ecuadorian Habano.
Smoking Experience: The cold draw is straight cardboard and dust. It’s not great. The cigar barely has a smell but I describe it as musky. First light opens with medium-full bodied smoke with medium flavors of a musty earth, slight bread crust, a bit of hay, and some nuts. It’s quite complex actually, and initially mimics some Dominican characteristics. The retrohale is a nice creamy citrus with a touch of hay to balance. This is off to a great start. The cigar takes a double puff to get good smoke output but that’s not a big deal. At 3/4” in it’s up to full in body and flavor. Midway into the first third both the draw and retrohale are showing a bit of tannic wood. Into the second third this is seeming very recognizable. The profile is still some tannic wood, musty earth, hay, and bread. There’s a little pepper coming in now. Approaching halfway there’s some oakiness coming in replacing any musty earth. I’m starting to think this is a multinational blend with some Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos. Crossing halfway there’s still some tannins, oak, and pepper. There’s a bit of citrus as well and maybe a vanilla? For whatever reason I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see some PA Broadleaf as a filler. The fullness of the smoke and the tannins and pepper are giving me that impression. The performance has been flawless, but it is burning a bit faster than I prefer so far. The retrohale is starting to show some musty earth and a little cardboard-like notes. Coming to the end of the second third it got hot and quite peppery, then spontaneously went out. It relit fine and picked up right where it left off. This is quite the peppery stick right now. The retrohale is still surprisingly easy going with some nice cream and citrus. I’m having trouble pegging this blend. Going into the final third it went out on me again. Another easy relight and it picked back up fine again. Midway into this final third it’s getting a bit bitter and the pepper spice is wearing down the palate. There’s a bit of a metallic note coming in as well. It started to tunnel and try to go out again so I touched it up. This last third has me thinking this is Ecuadorian or Nicaraguan Habano with Nicaraguan binder and fillers from a specific factory I have in mind. I won’t say the factory because this isn’t a positive experience right now, and I don't want to soil their name because they make great stuff, just sometimes I have similar final third experiences as this. Ending at an hour and 14 minutes with nothing mentionable occurring, the cigar maintained full body and flavor throughout. It’s hard to say if the strength hit medium or the relights and hot burn made it seem this way.
Predictions: Based on the second half of this cigar I am saying a Nicaraguan Habano with Nicaraguan Binder and fillers from a Nicaraguan factory. The first half tasted multinational with Dominican and Nicaraguan binder and filler components over an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
Reveal Page: Standard & Twain 136
Parting Thoughts: Wowza. I haven’t had one of these in a few years. In fact I smoked quite a few of these back then. I thought the first half was recognizable. As for the second half, this was nothing like the ones I used to smoke. I am going to assume (and hope) this was an anomaly and not some kind of blend change through the years. Anyway, I thought the cigar started off super good. There was a lot of flavor that was presented in an interesting and nuanced manner. From about halfway to the final third was even pretty enjoyable with the pepper and tannic wood taking center stage. However, the final third was a mess. My blend predictions in the first half were near perfect (just the wrong country for the wrapper leaf). I am definitely going to revisit this cigar to see how the final third acts in another sample or two. If the final third of those samples is more like the first or second thirds, then I would smoke more of these and recommend them for sure.