La Tradicion Cubana Deluxe Anniversary Corona
Luis Sanchez of Real Tabacalera Sanchez-Romay (formerly La Tradicion Cubana) produces one stellar smoke after another. His blends are diverse in style, his prices never make me cringe, and his consistency and quality control are outstanding. Further, my artsy side likes that Sanchez created his own artwork for LTC’s bands and boxes.
La Tradicion Cubana originally operated out of a Little Havana storefront, a classic “boutique” producing a relatively small number smokes. With the exception of a few private labels, Sanchez’ portfolio consisted of only three brands — La Tradicion Cubana, Sabor Cubano, and the full-bodied, large format Las Memorias Cubana. Only after the company moved production to the Dominican Republic in 2006 did they add new brands, including the JML 1902, El Botin Dominicano, and Palmas Puro.
Introduced at the 2004 R.T.D.A. show, the Deluxe Anniversary was created to commemorate LTC’s 10th Anniversary. It used a Nicaraguan-Dominican filler blend, Honduran binder and a robust Ecuador colorado wrapper, a distinct switch from the EC-CT shade wrapper used in the regular LTC line. All tobaccos for this limited release were from the 1996 crop.
The 6″ x 44 Corona is dry looking with a thinly veined, chocolate-brown wrapper. Its presentation is impressive nonetheless, with the aforementioned throwback artwork and a cedar sleeve. It is spicy and strong from the start. The texture of the smoke is dry, with hints of nuts and white pepper. On the first third, it stops just short of delivering a bite, so you’ll want to keep a drink handy (in my case, a Colombian coffee).
The sharpness fades by halftime, even as the smoke develops more strength. It remains predominantly peppery with a rich nuttiness and a little dark chocolate on the final third. As I approach the nub I realize this thing is kicking my can. Still, I’m reluctant to let it go.
The LTC Deluxe Ann’y can best be characterized as “sneaky strong.” Why its power surprises me I can’t be sure. Maybe it’s the slender proportions or the relatively dull looking wrapper, but there’s nothing about its exterior that would lead you to believe it’s the powerhouse it is.
As is typical of an LTC-made smoke, construction is first rate. A draw with just the right resistance yields full clouds of smoke.
CONCLUSION: If you can hunt down a box of the LTC Deluxe Anniversary, your efforts will be rewarded. After a thin, sharp beginning, it rounds out nicely into a peppery, nutty, full-bodied smoke. My only noteworthy criticism is that the Deluxe Ann’y shows more pure power than depth. But there’s more than enough flavor to satisfy. Best of all, you’re getting top shelf Miami craftsmanship for a fair (if not ridiculously low) price of under $4.00 per stick.