Sunday, August 8, 2010

Passable Fuente Corona Imperial Natural

I've been rather hard on the Fuente brand when it comes to the Hemingway series, which I find overrated and lacking in flavor. But what about the "everyday" Fuente cameroons? Once again, the folks at Cigars Direct have given me a chance to sample another specimen from this well known and feted brand.

In particular, the Arturo Fuente Corona Imperial natural, a cameroon-wrapped, extra-long lonsdale (46 x 6.5) that looks exactly like a Hemingway minus the tapered ends. Even though this is supposedly the "workingman's" Fuente, the price is not exactly rock bottom - about $100 for a box of 25. Nevertheless it is a bargain compared to the Hemingways, which get bid up beyond comprehension at sites like cigarbid.

The Fuente Corona Imperial Natural looks just as good as a Hemingway and is constructed equally as well. It lights easily and burns perfectly, no touch-up required. And the flavor? Well, that's my sticking point, because I find the flavor nearly identical to the Hemingway cameroons, that is, not particularly splendiferous. At best, it's Hemingway watered down with a little cardboard. Better than your average Connecticut shade cigar, but that isn't saying much. Medium strength (not mild, as some of the websites would indicate) and a "general cigar" flavor of cedar and straightforward tobacco. Once in a while you'll get a doughy sensation of lushness and exuberance - but not often.

I expect more strength and development from a cameroon. Technically, this cigar performs well from beginning to end. If you like the this kind of flavor, you will want to buy this cigar over and over again. I find it rather plain, so in the words of Lyle Lovett: Once is Enough. Thank you Cigars Direct for the opportunity to try.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Camacho SLR Maduro Rothschild Revisited: Not a bad cigar

It's been over a year since I first reviewed the Camacho SLR Maduro Rothschild, after trying one back in April 2009 and having a harsh, unpleasant experience. The long humidor rest did the trick, however, and my remaining 4 sticks have smoked very well.

After a year, these SLR maduros are no longer harsh. They are medium bodied, pleasant short cigars with nuances of red pepper, mineral and spice. These are not fantastic, knock-you-out-of-your-chair Camachos, mind you, and not worth bidding sky high on cigarbid. I won my 5-pack for $13 and wouldn't pay that much again. However if one happens to fall into your lap, you probably won't be disappointed, especially if you let it rest for a few months before lighting.

If you like light bodied maduros you might really enjoy these. They do get enjoyably stronger in the middle. By the last third they turn bitter and you can't smoke them down to the nub. Not a record-breaking cigar and of course I always expect the world from Camacho. Don't let that deter you: Just because I was disappointed doesn't mean you'll be. Even a mediocre Camacho is better than 90 percent of the cigars on the market.