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Size: Robusto, 5×50
Wrapper: Panamanian Maduro
Filler: Cuban seed grown in Nicaragua
Price: Box of 25, $59.95
The Corona Nicaraguan Selection was introduced in 1997 and was Corona’s first House Blend. They recently released a 10th Anniversary to commemorate the occasion. The original blend is hand-made in Central America under the care of Gilberto Oliva, Jr., a fifth generation Cuban master blender. The long filler in this blend is aged Cuban-seed grown in Nicaragua and is protected by a Panamanian Maduro wrapper. This stick is also available with a more mild Sumatra seed grown in Indonesia. Corona compares this stick to the Padron line of cigars.
We want to give a special thanks to Jeff over at Corona; he was kind enough to send us a heavy care package full of great smokes to review and great attire to kick around in. This is our first review of a Corona stick and we’ll have several more to come in the next few weeks. Click here to see what else is in store.
Let’s get to it!
This is a gorgeous stick; the Maduro is very oily with no color variation. When I go into a smoke knowing that it costs less than $2.50, I typically have low expectations for the appearance category. Not so on the Corona Nicaraguan; the dark wrapper is complemented wonderfully by a white label with the Corona logo brightly embossed. Back to the wrapper, there are no soft spots and very little veins to speak of.
The pre-light aroma was excellent; a sweet and clean tobacco smell with hints of bitter chocolate and creamy caramel. It definitely had a medium-roast smell to it that seemed to promise a flavorful smoke. The pre-light draw was a little tight with the Cigar Spike but it pulled fine when I cut the head. This stick could have easily received a 2.0, but the simple roll of the Robusto, along with an over-stuffed head, prevented a perfect score; had all these same qualities existed on a Torpedo or Figurado, it would have likely scored perfectly.
The largest deduction in this review came with the burn. Though the draw was excellent and the ash was a beautiful white, there was a bit of flowering in the first couple inches of the ash. The burn also started to “v” toward the second third of the smoke and I was forced to re-light this stick once (though this was toward the beginning and may have been a result of the poor draw from the spike). The strengths were the coloration and hold of the ash and the thick smoke that the draw produced.
The flavor on this stick did not disappoint; it matched nearly perfectly with the notes picked up in the pre-light draw. Notes of bittersweet chocolate and creamy caramel, along with a very clean undertone of tobacco. There were no barnyard flavors to speak of, just a steady medium-roast flavor. There was some fairly heavy spice in the first third, but this eventually passed and was dominated by creaminess. The body of this smoke came on in the second third and it was obvious that this was on the heavier side of medium.
For those that love creamy smokes with a little bit of body, this is the smoke for you. It reminded me a bit of the Sosa Wavell and the 5 Vegas Original. Lots and lots of flavor is packed into this smoke and it was very consistent throughout. It is hard for me to determine shifts by thirds due to this House Blend’s consistency.
Overall, an excellent smoke! This stick is actually under $2.50 on Corona’s website right now. These sticks are usually packaged in boxes of 20 but the manufacturer shipped out a lot of boxes holding 25; Corona has maintained the same price and the sticks are now $2.40 a pop—that’s a deal on this stick. I enjoyed smoking the Corona and would be interested to sample the Natural wrapper, as I prefer more Mild-Medium smokes. My enjoyment with this stick was a bit hampered by the re-light and the little bit of touch up required when the burn began to run.
The verdict: buy a box; if you like Padron, 5 Vegas, RyJ, Sosa, Rocky Patel ‘90s, pick up a box of these and you may not realize the difference.