Vitola Battle: Rojas Street Tacos Barbacoa

It is not uncommon to hear about a vitola that stands out in a cigar line. It’s also not uncommon to hear many industry people say that you should not give up on a cigar line until you’ve tried other sizes. I personally believe this is true and I enjoy experimenting with the varying sizes of a particular brand. This spawned the idea to do Vitola Battles. The concept is to take multiple vitolas of a brand, smoke them, give a comparative review, and assign a score to each vitola as a quantitative manner of comparison. 

To kick this concept off, I am smoking 2 of the 3 available vitolas in Rojas Cigars Street Tacos Barbacoa line. The line is available in a 6 x 50 Toro, a 5 x 50 Robusto, and a 5 ½ x 46 Short Corona. For this comparison, I will be smoking the Robusto and Short Corona. I smoked the Short Corona on Wednesday 9/22 and the Robusto on Thursday 9/23 in the same location. 

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Factory: Tabacalera Flor de San Luis

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Vitola: 5 ½ x 46 Short Corona; 5 x 50 Robusto

Price: $7.50 MSRP; $8.00 MSRP

Release Date: March 2021

Company Website:


I have smoked the robusto prior to this comparison review. So I won’t comment on what flavors I expect from the blend, but I will comment on what differences I anticipate. I expect the short corona to be a fuller smoking experience with a spicier, earthier profile. I anticipate a sweeter profile from the robusto. 

Preligh Characteristics

Short Corona - The wrapper has a satin feel to it. The pack is firm overall with some spongy areas. There is a closed foot. I really like the band design and colors. The cigar smells of damp cedar and a touch of ammonia. The cold draw is a rye whiskey like spice and a little bit of cardboard.

Robusto - The wrapper has the same appearance and feel. The pack does not have the spongy areas. The cigar smells sweet and floral with no ammonia. The cold draw is distinctly like strawberry ice cream, that’s a new one.  

First Third

Short Corona - The body and flavors are full through the first third with the baking spice and woodiness as primary notes. The secondary flavors shift back and forth between creamy chocolate and a vegetal sweetness like bell peppers. There is some pepper in and out on the retrohale. There is also a little sting through the nose, that combined with the prelight ammonia smell makes me think there is some younger tobacco in this blend. The draw is perfect, the burn is good; there is a slight run but no touch up is necessary.

Flavor - 3/4

Performance - 2.5/3

Experience - 2/3

Overall - 7.5/10

Robusto - First light is primarily pepper with some charred wood and baking spice. Very full in body and flavor. Halfway into the first third and there is some baking spice, but mainly its charred wood and some earth. It is a bit harsh on the palate. The burn is running a bit. The body has come down to medium, the flavor is still full, and the strength is medium-full. I had to touch up the cigar at the end of this third, as it started running worse. The draw was a touch loose throughout.

Flavor - 2/4

Performance - 1.5/3

Experience - 1/3

Overall - 4.5/10

Second Third

Short Corona - The body and flavors come down to medium to start, while maintaining the same flavor profile. By halfway this cigar is like eating a milk chocolate candy bar. As the second third comes to an end, it begins shifting in profile towards pepper, baking spice, a general sweetness and wood. The burn and draw were perfect throughout this third.

Flavor - 3.5/4

Performance - 3/3

Experience -  3/3

Overall - 9.5/10

Robusto - Moving into the second third the pepper and wood are still primary, but there is a touch of sweetness coming in. I had to do another touch up and the cigar is burning quickly. This time I looked closer at the filler when I dropped the ash to relight it and there is a void in the side of the bunch that is running. At halfway, the baking spices are becoming the predominant flavor. The sweetness and wood are subtle. Coming to the end of the second third and the sweetness is becoming more prevalent. Throughout the third, the flavor and body were medium.

Flavor - 3/4

Performance - 1.5/3

Experience - 1.5/3

Overall - 6/10

Final Third

Short Corona - The flavor and body are back up to full in this third and the strength begins creeping towards medium-full throughout. The flavors start similar to the first third flavors of baking spice, general woodiness, and creamy chocolate. As it progresses towards the end, the pepper becomes dominant with charred wood on the finish. The performance and draw were perfect in this third as well. 

Flavor - 2/4

Performance - 3/3

Experience -  1.5/3

Overall - 6.5/10

Robusto - Starting the final third and the burn has straightened out and the flavor and body are becoming fuller again. The sweetness died down again and the leading note is baking spice. There is still some wood on the finish and a bit of pepper. Nearing the end of the final third the pepper is becoming more prominent with charred wood taking over the finish. The performance in this third has been great. 

Flavor - 2.5/4

Performance - 3/3

Experience - 2/3

Overall - 7.5/10

Overall Experience

Short Corona - This cigar had a perfect draw and great performance throughout. There were a lot of great flavors in this cigar and a lot of complexity and depth, with each third presenting something a little different. The overall experience can be summed up as medium-full in flavor and body, and medium in strength. The smoking time was 1 hour and 25 minutes.

Final Score: 7.83/10

Robusto - The final third in this cigar saw great improvement in flavor and performance over the first two thirds. The performance definitely impacted the flavors in the first two thirds. The first third was a bit harsh, the second third showed a little better complexity. The cigar lacked the sweetness I anticipated (and had in the first robusto I smoked). The last third brought on better flavors and performance, and was more indicative of the cigar I smoked a few weeks ago. The smoke time on this cigar was 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Final Score: 5.83/10

Final Comparison

In this battle of Rojas Cigars Street Tacos Barbacoa, the short corona was the clear winner. It performed better, showed more pleasant flavors, and a better depth of flavors. I considered smoking another robusto because this one was not as good as the previous one I had smoked, however, the previous one was not as good as the short corona. So I felt confident in the way this battle turned out. What really won me over in the short corona was the creamy chocolate flavors it presented. This was a pleasant surprise and not present in either of the robusto I have smoked. It is important to note from this that these are handmade products and things happen. For whatever reason, there was a void in the bunch for the first two thirds of this robusto that I believe caused an uneven burn, which impacted the flavors. Once the burn line passed the void, the cigar performed and tasted comparable to the first robusto I smoked. Don’t be afraid to give a cigar a second chance if it shows promise. 

Try the cigars for yourself at Small Batch Cigars and let me know what you think! Use code “Whiskey” to get 10% off your entire order. Plus, sign up and begin earning 5% back in rewards points with each purchase.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or via email.

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