Corona, 5.5 x 46
Wrapper: Mexican Maduro
|Cigar age||1 yr. 5.8 mo.|
DESCRIPTION: This week’s postscript review features the El Original Maduro Corona, which I first featured on the Stogie Fresh 5 podcast back in Episode 277 on Sunday, June 26, 2011. These cigars have been resting a total of 1 year, 5.5 months in my humidor and I pulled out my last two samples this week for this postscript review.
I don’t feature many house brand cigars on my weekly podcast, but the El Original was an exception to that general rule. The El Original cigars are the house brand of the Island Smoke Shop in Key Largo, Florida and are crafted in a small factory in the Little Havana section of Miami.
The Master Blender who oversees the production of the El Original is Santiago Cabana, who worked as a roller and Master Blender in Cuba’s cigar industry before arriving in the U.S. in 1995.
The El Original comes in Natural or Maduro wrappers and the cigar is a complex 5-country blend. The filler contains tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Peru. The binder leaf is from Nicaragua and the rustic maduro wrapper was grown in a small-batch farm in Mexico.
The band sports the usual, “hecho a mano” (hand made) designation, but also has the number 1951 printed on the side of the band, which refers to the year Santiago Cabana started rolling cigars in Cuba.
The cigar I am reviewing today is a 5.5-inch x 46 ring Maduro Corona.
TASTING NOTES: This cigar starts with big, rich, earthly flavors of bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee and vanilla bean on the palate. The retrohale adds a huge dose of black pepper and a bit of espresso.
This is the kind of cigar that reminds me of a cow pasture. Earthy, with manure and dirt undertones. And I mean that in the best possible way. This is a down and dirty maduro with a richness that makes you smack your lips. I could just as easily smoke this with a good cup of coffee in the morning as I could with a glass of aged bourbon in the evening. From that standpoint, this is a very versatile cigar. However, I wouldn't recommend these for an inexperienced palate. The flavor, strength and body is medium-full and may be over the top for those who like mild cigars.
At the one-third mark, this cigar started to develop a slightly uneven burn. It could have been because I sat the cigar in my ashtray for a time while I was snapping photos and it could have started smoldering. But then, I also saw a warped spot in the ash, which may also mean it developed a small tunnel on one side. In either case, I did a touch up with my lighter and that seemed to correct the burn. The draw was nice and smooth and generated copious amounts of smoke with each puff.
The ash seemed a bit flaky to me so I tapped off in 1/2-inch chucks to prevent a lap dance. Basically the performance was excellent and presented no other problems worth mentioning.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I was very impressed that, after another year of aging in my humidor, this cigar was displaying such big flavor and body. At nearly a year and a half of age, this cigar shows no signs of weakening and is a firecracker of a smoke. WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM!
This was not a complex cigar, but the flavor profile was killer all the way through. I haven't tried any other offerings from the Island Smoke Shop portfolio, but this El Original Maduro is simply a great smoke. I don't mean that it is a special occasion smoke or that it is the best smoke I've ever tasted. It may not even be in the top 10, but if you asked me to give you a recommendation for a great maduro and an everyday smoke, this cigar would be on my short list.
This Corona (actually more of a Corona Gorda) is a perfect size for long-term aging. It holds its flavor, body and strength characteristics well over the long term and I would suggest you buy some and set some aside for aging. Overall, this was a fine smoke and, at less than $5 per stick, a great value.
These cigars are resting in their original cellophane sleeves in the singles drawer of my Aristocrat Mini Cabinet humidor. The set-and-forget active humidification system is set at 68%RH and the temperature in the humidor room is between 65-71°F.
This is the second and final podcast review of these cigars, which have been resting in my humidor for a total of 1 year, 5.5 months prior to this review.
Cigar Info Page » for El Original, Maduro
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