Friday, November 20, 2009

Disappointing Box of CAO Italia Novella

About a year ago I won a box of 25 CAO Italia Novellas (i.e. petite corona size) in a cigarbid auction. I had smoked 5 of these before and found them to be incredibly full, rich and flavorful and thus unusual for their small size.

My excitement about this blend has dulled since then. Out of the 25 cigars in the box, 10 were prohibitively tight in draw. Out of those 10, five were wrapped so tight as to be completely unsmokable. The other 15 were excellent, as I expected.

To my mind, 15 out of 25 is a poor batting average for a box of expensive cigars. Luckily I won them for only $55.00, because their list price has skyrocketed since then - a whopping $116.00 at Famous!

I am wary of ever buying these again - even though when correctly rolled, they are one of my favorite cigars.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Carlos Torano 1916 Corona

It's been more than two years since I smoked a Carlos Torano 1916 Cameroon Corona. I gave it a good review the first time, and now after a second try I can simply say that it is one of the best coronas you will currently find at ANY price on the market.

Slightly reminiscent of an H. Upmann cameroon corona - but infinitely better. Better-performing than the Rocky Patel Vintage 90 or 92 petite coronas (sorry Rocky!). As zesty as a Tatuaje Havana IV Angeles- but more refined and half the price. As full-flavored as an Indian Tabac maduro tepee - but better tasting and well worth the extra buck. As tasty as an Alec Bradley Maxx Nano - but cooler and more complex. And certainly, hands-down better-drawing and tasting than the two underwhelming Cuban coronas smoked by my friend Hank in Germany a year ago.

Although small in ring size, this cigar delivers a wallop of flavor. Medium in strength, it tastes great from first light and continues to billow you through realms of ecstasy until the last inch. The profile is nutty with hints of caramel, fruit and hard wood.

In narrow-ring cigars you are right to expect a bit of fiery zing. In the 1916 corona, the zing is in evidence but not overpowering. It gives you the initial rush of a small cigar and then eases back and builds in character over time. Folks, this smokes like a big cigar. Or very darned close. And, since it is 5.5 inches long, it lasts for an hour, or just about as long as a fat robusto.

You are a fool not to try this cigar. At $69 for a box of 25, this is likely one of the best 3 dollar smokes you will ever encounter. Give 'er a try and see if you agree.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nice! RP Edge Corojo toro

Wow, what a pleasantly strong and sweet surprise! Rocky Patel The Edge corojo (toro) is nothing fancy to look at, but boy is it an excellent smoke. Great, powerful flavor and cool easy draw. If you close your eyes, you could swear you were smoking a maduro - there's a tell-tale tinge of sweetness, not cloying at all, but just right - that takes this cigar over the top.

I'm putting this very close to the Olde World corojo robusto in terms of quality. The Edge sells at a much lower price point - incredible bang for the buck.

On a side note - I must say that I first tried an Edge corojo toro a few months ago, and that stick was simply awful. A dry and bitter flavor, not enjoyable at all. So there may be consistency issues, or just poor humidification at the CI warehouse. Or my taste buds might have been off that day. It happens occasionally - you try 2 or 3 cigars and none of them tastes right. A week later, a cigar from the same pack tastes wonderful.

In sumary: One excellent Edge corojo toro, one horrible Edjge corojo toro. I would hope that the positive experience described in this review is the definitive one.