Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

320x240
Country: Honduras
Wrapper: CT Corojo
Binder:  CT Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 ring

I have never been a fan of the Punch Rare Corojo.  It seemed an OK enough cigar but it just never struck my fancy which I thought strange because I generally enjoy Corojo cigars.  I had no idea until very recently that the Punch Rare Corojo doesn’t even have any Corojo tobacco in it.  I thought the wrapper was Corojo but apparently it was a Sumatran leaf of some kind.  Learning that fact kind of annoyed me.  Why the hell do they call it a Corojo if it isn’t?  But ultimately I came to the conclusion that I really don’t care especially since the cigar has largely remained off my radar…

Enter the the Punch Rare Corojo 10th Anniversary Edition.  Wonders never cease, this one actually uses a Corojo wrapper leaf.  What’s more it is a Connecticut grown Corojo wrapper.  I didn’t even know they grew Corojo in Connecticut.  Well there’s lots I don’t know but still, I was surprised by it. General Cigar sent me some samples of the new limited edition of the Rare Corojo and its make-up is intriguing to me so I looked forward to giving this one a try.  I have to say, it is a much better cigar that the previous sticks to carry this name.  It starts off with leather and earth and an undertone of what I would describe as spiced vanilla, giving it a subtle sweetness and creamy characteristic to the flavors.  It builds in body as you progress and it starts to exhibit more spice and gets a little woodsy and tannic at times which may just be a bit of youth shining through, or the Honduran filler dominating the blend (I often get tannic notes from cigars with Honduran tobacco).  Overall the cigar was quite enjoyable and it held my attention nicely with well defined flavors.  It may be a limited edition cigar but it doesn’t carry a limited edition price tag so I would say it is definitely worth trying if you run across them.

Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 Sunday, Jun 6 2010 

320x240

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Ligero
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Torpedo 6.75″ x 48 ring

The Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 is part of the Cojonu extension of the Tatuje Brown Label line.  Also known as Tatuaje Miami, Tatuaje Classics, Tatuaje Cabinet series, and even more formally (and very rarely) as Tatuaje La Seleccion de Cazador.  The Cojonu extension is a series of very strong cigars that are released in a new shape every three years.  It started with the Cojonu 2003 which was a long toro, and that was followed by the Cojonu 2006; a belicoso.  So 2009 predictably brought us the next installment which happens to be a very long torpedo with a very short and rounded taper at the head.  As I have always understood it, each of these cigars is the same blend with the same binder and wrapper,  the difference with each edition being the vitola.  So it is good to note that the year on these cigars does not refer to what most cigar smokers normally associate a year with.  It doesn’t have to do with the crop, or the year it was made.  It is simply the name of the vitola.  Much like the Lonsdale in the classic Brown label line is called a Havana Cazadore, this torpedo is called 2009.  All three vitolas are regular production cigars and all three are still made and available today.

As I mentioned the Cojonu blend is much stronger in body and power than the already quite robust standard Brown Label blends.  The story goes that the name of the line, Cojonu, is a play on a slang Spanish term meaning “ballsy”.  An obvious reference to the strength of the blend.  The Cojonu wrapper is an aged ligero leaf so it had plenty of time in the sun while it was growing and the result is a very dark and very rustic looking wrapper.  The flash in my photo doesn’t do it justice as it sort of bleeds out the color making it appear a much lighter shade of brown than it appears in living color.  It is well filled, and a pre-light  test draw revealed a good but slightly lighter than expected draw.

It is commonly held that if you take what is essentially the same cigar and change the size, it changes the flavors and experience.  I subscribe to this with the following assumption.  When you change the size you are not merely changing the length but also the thickness, or ring gauge.  I think that goes to explain why, in my opinion,  there is virtually no difference at all between the Cojonu 2003 and the 2006.  Both cigars are a 52 ring but the 2003 has about an inch on the ’06 in length.  In that case there were no discernible differences in the two vitolas in my opinion.  To me, they tasted and smoked identically.  The 2009 stepped down a bit on the ring gauge to a 48 ring.  This time I noticed a difference.  A large one actually.

When a cigar gets smaller the blend has to change in some ways.  While the percentages of the different filler types used in the blend may remain consistent, the simple fact is you cannot cram the same amount of tobacco, in the same configuration into a thinner cigar.  So while you are smoking, the percentage of ligero to seco that is burning may be the same, in the thinner cigar there is simply less total ligero and less total seco burning at the same time than there is in the thicker cigar.  So it just goes to figure that there would be a difference in how the cigar tastes and behaves in general.

So how does all this come into play with the Cojonu 2009.  Well the first thing I noticed was that the 2009 is noticeably milder that it’s brothers.  That is not in any way to suggest it is a mild cigar.  It is still a full bodied smoke, but it doesn’t have the same “kick you in the head” effect that the other two seem to have.  One thing I have always been impressed with when smoking the Cojonu cigars is how smooth they are despite their ample power.  This is still true with the 2009, and the toned down power has another favorable side effect.  I believe it allows some more of the subtitles of the blend to come through.  The flavors are very similar to the previous two versions, they just come to play at different volumes now.  The peppery start is there, just less overwhelming.  The core of earth, hardwoods, and cocoa are there as well and seem to have a creamy texture to them.  The most notable change however is the cherry notes.  In the ’03 and ’06 I’d get fleeting hard to pin down flashes of cherry every once and a while as if it could only muster the strength to push past the other more robust flavors occasionally and only for a brief moment.  With the 2009, the cherry notes are less subtle and easier to detect, balancing out the less sweet core flavors very nicely.  I have smoked a couple of these cigars now and I can safely say the 2009 is my favorite Cojonu.

Showdown: Tatuaje Reserva Noellas – 2006 vs 2009 Wednesday, Sep 9 2009 

320x240

Country: USA
2006 Wrapper: Aged Nicaraguan Corojo Ligero (Cojonu Wrapper)
2009 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Broadleaf
Binder (both): Nicaraguan
Filler (both): Nicaraguan
Size: Corona 51/8” x 42 ring

2009 has seen an exciting expansion to the Tatuaje brand with lots of new cigars including some new additions to the Reserva line of the Brown Label Tatuajes.  Pete Johnson’s seemingly ever broadening use of the sun grown broadleaf wrapper found its way onto two new Tatuaje Reserva cigars.  The Reserva Regios and the Reserva Noellas.  The new Reserva Noellas are particularly intriguing to me because this is not the first time there has been a Reserva Noella.  Back in 2006 Tatuaje offered to a number of its best accounts boxes of  Noellas cigars with a Reserva label on the box.  This label was applied just as it has always been on the boxes other Reserva cigars like the J21 and SW.  There were only about 200 boxes made.  The cigar is the same size as the standard Noellas but it has a different wrapper.  Instead of the standard Corojo wrapper that is used on the regular Noellas, these cigars are wrapped in an aged oscuro ligero wrapper just like what is used on the Cojonu line of Tatuajes and the Reserva J21.  Unlike other Reserva cigars this incarnation of the Reserva Noellas did not sport the second black and gold Reserva band.  They only had the normal brown Tatuaje band on them.  The only way to know it was a Reserva is to have seen the box it came from, or if you put it side by side with one of the regular Noellas you would see that the wrapper is much darker in color (note: I have found this to be truer of older Noellas which seem to have gotten darker in more recent vintages).  The 2006 Reserva Noella was tagged with a nick name, often referred to as a Noella Oscuro in online forums and websites.  After that initial run in 2006, Tatuaje never made this cigar again.  That is still true today even though we once again have a cigar bearing the Reserva Noellas name…

Here we are in 2009 and we once again have the Reserva Noellas available at many Tatuaje retailers.  But this 2009 edition is not the same cigar that was made back in 2006.  It is still the same size and same blend, but the wrapper has changed again.  The 2009 edition sports a sun grown broadleaf wrapper just like the Tatuaje Monster Series released last October.  It also wears the black and gold Reserva band unlike its predecessor and this one, while somewhat limited, is not restricted to just a one time run of 200 boxes.    I believe that this cigar is meant to be a mainstay in the Reserva line.  It along with its cousin the Reserva Regios have been nick named by some as “little monsters” because they share a very similar makeup to “The Frank” with their broadleaf wrappers around the original blends for those vitolas.

I thought it would be fun, since I happen to have a few of those old Reserva Noellas from 2006 in my humidor, to go ahead and do a side by side comparison of the two different cigars which bear this name.  I started with the 2006 edition… (more…)

Redux: Olde World Reserve Corjo Toro by Rocky Patel Thursday, Jul 9 2009 

owrcorojo

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring

My first try with Rocky’s Olde World Reserve Corojo was not the best of experiences.  An insanely loose draw and a hot burn ruined it for me.  Because of that I decided to hold off assigning a rating to the cigar.  I know a lot of people like to make a point of smoking two or three of a particular cigar before writing a review on it. They do this to try and normalize the experience so that they aren’t underrating it because of a fluke with a bad stick, or even overrating it because they happened to get an above average sample.  It is a valid and thorough approach, but one that I don’t use myself.  I take a different tact.  For me first impressions are king.  There are so many cigars out there to choose from and to try.  I give most cigars one shot to sell themselves to me.  Some might think that’s not particularly fair.  After all, cigars are hand made products and there is bound to be an occasional bad stick.  This is true and I try and account for that in a less systematic way than sampling multiple cigars for a review.  The Olde World Reserve Corojo is an example of this.  Normally, I’d have a bad experience, write off the cigar and move on.  But in the case here, I felt I obviously had an unusually bad specimen for my first review.  There were obvious construction issues and I also felt that the cigar showed some promise hidden behind the problems I was having with it.  So for that reason I felt I should give this cigar one more shot.  Another bad sample and I’d write it off as a poorly made line of cigars.  However, that isn’t what happened here.

My second try with Rocky’s Corojo version of the OWR was much better than the first.  The draw was 100% better this time around with just the right amount of resistance and the cigar had a very good even burn.  It burned a lot cooler this time as a result and I could now actually taste the flavors of the tobacco instead of just tasting the harsh heat of an overly hot burn.  The OWR Corojo started off smooth and mild with notes of nuts and coffee.  About a third of the way into it, the cigar developed more body and a slight edge.  The flavors were a bit muddled, mostly leather and earth and a peppery finish.  It never really changed again after that.  I found it to be a decent smoke but not really all that engaging.  It is a lot like the OWR Maduro in that respect.  I feel comfortable giving the Corojo a “B” now that I have smoked one sans construction issues.

Rating – B

Olde World Reserve Corojo Toro by Rocky Patel Wednesday, Jun 3 2009 

Country:  Honduras
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Olde World Reserve Corojo is a handsome looking cigar.  It’s smooth wrapper is milk chocolate in color.  The foot is wrapped in a dark brown paper adorned with the Rocky Patel “RP” logo and the head is decorated with a dark brown band trimmed in gold.  The sport a pretty severe box press, and you can get them in a box of 20 or a cedar chest of 50 cigars.  They are also available with a very dark Maduro wrapper which I will review next week and they come in three basic sizes.  Unfortunately (to me anyway) they are sizes that have become cliche in the US:

  • Robusto 5.5″ x 54 ring
  • Toro 6.5″ x 52 ring
  • Torpedo 5.0″ x 54 ring

This corojo has a nice rich tobacco aroma which got my hopes up.  Then after clipping the head, my test draw revealed an extremely loose draw that tempered those hopes quite a bit.  I lit the cigar and drawing on it was like sucking air through a giant straw.  It provided no resistance at all which made me worry it would burn way to hot so I made a point to go slow and sip at this cigar.  Despite my diligence the draw was a little problematic.  I occasionaly got very bitter and harsh blasts to my palatte that I attributed to the cigar heating up too much.  In between there were some very pleasant notes of nuts and coffee but they were sometimes occompanied by a sour finish.  If there was any complexity to this cigar at all it was lost with problems I had in keeping it from overheating.  I have one more of these in my humidor so I’ll give it one more shot even though I didn’t see much promise in this cigar even when I was able to taste anything other than the bitter harshness.  If my next go with this cigar proves to be better I’ll post a Redux Review.  If I were to rate it now I’d give it a D and first impressions are hard to overcome, but I’ll refrain from officially rating for now to try and be fair.  With a better draw I think the cigar could score a little better than that.

Rating Deferred

Update: I revisited the OWR Corojo. Read about it here.

The Edge Corojo Toro Wednesday, Mar 11 2009 

320x240

Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, and a “Secret Country”
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 52 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

This review of The Edge by Rocky Patel is part of a mini series of reviews on three varieties of The Edge line of cigars. This series of reviews is made possible by CigarsDirect.com. Cast your vote for your favorite version of The Edge in our poll.

The Corojo has a toothy leather wrapper.  It has an oily sheen and plenty of small veins crawling across its surface.  It is firm and well filled.  I don’t know why but it looms large.  It is a toro just like the maduro I smoked, but for some reason, maybe it is its ample heft, this cigar just looks like a monster smoke.  It starts off with spice and pepper and it is a little tannic.  It has a short finish with a hint of sweetness.  It has a very full feel on the palate letting me know right off that this is going to be a robust smoke.  That is what I was thinking at the start.  it mellowed out a bit once I got about two inches into the smoke.  The spice and pepper faded, replaced by a strong woody core complimented by leather and black coffee.  I picked up flashes of clove every now and then.  It didn’t really change until I neared the end where it started to pickup again.  It got very spicy and full like it was at the start.  The sweetness in the finish remained consistent for the duration of the smoke.

I agree that this cigar is not for beginners but once again, like with the maduro, I found the “For Professional Smokers” label to be more hype than anything else.  It isn’t any more powerful and robust that a Camacho Corojo.  It is a full bodied and robust cigar but i didn’t find it to be over the top in power.  I thought it was a decent smoke but not something I feel compelled to smoke again.  I enjoyed the maduro and the Lite much more than the Corojo.  Still, I can can feel good about giving this cigar a “B”.

Rating – B

Tatuaje Reserva J21 Friday, Feb 27 2009 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo (Aged Ligero)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

By now most avid cigar fans are very aware of Pete Johnson, Pepin Garcia, and the Tatuaje brand of cigars.  The Tatuaje brand is the marca responsible for Pepin Garcia’s big breakout to fame in the cigar industry.  Now the man makes an impressive number of cigar lines for an array of different cigar marcas.  Most every cigar he puts out is received with praise and excitement, but the original Brown Label Tatuajes and their premium extension the Reservas are still the best cigars Pepin makes in my opinion.  I have talked before about the meaning behind the names that Pete Johnson gives to his cigars.  The meaning behind the J21 on this cigar seems to be a bit more cryptic.  I have seen a number of explanations for this moniker, from 21 being Pete’s favorite number or 21 being the number of people in his family.  Whatever the 21 stands for it seem that most agree the “J” is for Johnson.

The Tatuaje Reserva J21 looks very different in comparison to the other cigars in the Reserva line of Tatuajes.  The wrapper on the J21 is much darker and rougher in appearance than the wrapper on the Reserva SW or the “A” Uno.  The wrapper is much lighter, smoother looking on those other Tatuaje Reservas.  This is because the other two Reservas use a lower priming (visio)for the wrapper where the J21 uses the highest priming (ligero).  The extra exposure to sun and elements makes for a darker rougher leaf.  It also produces a more robusto and potent leaf.  Pete uses a ligero wrapper on the Tatuaje Cojonu cigars too which are the strongest and most robust cigars in the Tatuaje line.  This is intriguing because the Cojonu is blended to be a very strong cigar where the Reserva line, in the case of the SW and the “A” Uno, tend to be the mildest (but by no means mild) of the Tatuaje lines.  So here with the J21 you have what I am assuming is the refined and elegant blend of the Reservas with the wrapper of the brash, robust Cojonus.  I imagine the two must meld together for a very unique experience for a Tatuaje.  I can hardly wait, so it’s time to spark this robusto up.  I’m using the “Three Match Method” on this one.

The first third smoked just like a Cojonu.  Lots of black pepper and strong wood.  It was very robust and brash.  The second third was a bit more dynamic changing as the smoke progressed.  It mellowed out a bit like the cigar was trying to let me know it was a Reserva.  It was still much more full bodied that the other two sizes in the Reserva line.  The flavors were still predominately woody with a slight sweetness that was unlike anything I’ve tasted in a Tatuaje.  As I passed the halfway mark the flavors became more dry with notes of leather and toasted tobacco and a slightly earthy finish.  In the last third it began to pick up again and the black pepper returned.

The J21 is an excellent smoke that to me resembled a Cojonu more than it did a Reserva only it didn’t have as strong a nicotine buzz as the Cojonus tend to have.  It is a full bodied and robust smoke with decent complexity and excellent flavors.  The burn was a bit odd on this smoke.  It meandered a lot never really burning straight but always managing to even itself out before requiring a flame to touch it up.  As thin and delicate as the corojo wrapper leaf is, you’d think it wouldn’t have a problem burning straight, but odd burns seem to be fairly common with corojo wrapped cigars in my experience.  I’d recommend this cigar to any Tatuaje fan.  You won’t be disappointed.  If you like the bold in your face flavor of a Cojonu but would like it in a smaller format, the Reserva J21 will satisfy your craving.

Rating – A

Cuba Libre Epicure Wednesday, Feb 11 2009 

320x240

Country:  Honduras
Wrapper: Corojo
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Not Sure
Size: Toro 6.0″ x 50 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Cuba Libre is blended by Nestor Plasencia.  I am not very familiar with his blends.  I am not sure but this might be my first experience with one of his cigars.  I had a hard time finding any details on this cigar and it’s blend.  What I was able to find was inconsistent and vague.  I was able to discern that this is a Honduran made cigar and it may be a Honduran Puro, but like I said I couldn’t find much detail on the blend so I am not sure of that.

The Epicure has a severe box press.  The wrapper is leathery and rough looking and has a rumpled look near the head.  I can see a couple small stems in the filler at the head and foot.  The draw is good and a little on the loose side.  It produces lots of thick white smoke and has a basic tobacco aroma, nondescript.  The best I can describe it is that it smells like a cigar.  I know, that sounds kind of silly but it’s accurate.  The flavors are a bit plain as well.  It has a basic core of leather and earth complimented by a toasty tobacco.  It was all a bit muddled and one dimensional.  It has decent strength and body.   The finish is OK but can be a bit bitter at times, and the burn is a bit problematic going askew several times.  At about $4 a stick it is a decent value smoke.  The flavors are pleasant enough and with an attractive price point I would say this is a good cigar for out on the golf course or when working in the yard.

Rating – C

%d bloggers like this: