Gran Habano Corojo #5 Rothschild
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I remember this purchase fondly. It was December 2004. I had just finished a grueling election cycle and made my annual trek from CT to FL to recover. I had written something like 300 ads in three months. I was fried. I was also pretty sure I was never going to do that to myself again.
So my second day on the ground in FL was all about driving to Ybor City for an impulse buy. I knew nothing of STC or the Ricos. All I knew of Gran Habano was that I’d had a single Corojo #5 a few weeks prior and was blown away. King Corona had them by the box and I bloody well deserved them.
I have since learned all about these, of course, as STC’s Guillermo and George Rico have practically become folk heroes among BOTLs. Their Gran Habano brand is an excellent series of wallet-friendly blends — the Connecticut #1, Habano #3 and Corojo #5. They still sell for a hair over $3.00 per stick. Even Gran Habano’s glamour line, the 3 Siglos, commands less than $6.00.
The 4.5″ x 50 Rothschild is a decent looking fireplug of a stick. The Nicaraguan wrapper is dark and, even after sitting for nearly four years, quite oily. Not exactly pretty, but the look promises flavor.
The Corojo #5 wastes no time delivering. It has the unmistakable flavor of corojo, along with earth and a hint of pepper. Age hasn’t dulled this one a bit. To my palate, this blend is the epitome of corojo — tangy, rich and ever-so-slightly sweet. For new smokers out there wondering what corojo is all about, this is the one to try.
After an inch, I pick up hints of coffee grounds, balanced by a bit of sweetness on the end. At points in the middle, it develops some softer notes — perhaps coffee with cream instead of the darker flavor of coffee grounds. It is on the full side of medium-bodied throughout.
But at this point — and this is the only drawback to an otherwise excellent smoke — it has shown me all its tricks. Aside from picking up more pepper down the stretch, the flavor is relatively static. If you like a plot twist, you won’t find it here.
In my rotation, the GH #5 is the new Punch Rothschild. I’m not implying any flavor similarity, but for years I considered the the Punch Rothschild MM to be the perfect default smoke, guaranteed to satisfy when I couldn’t quite figure out what I was in the mood for. Now I regularly turn to these.
CONCLUSION: I’ve never had a bad stick from Gran Habano, and the Corojo #5 Rothschild is the best of them. They’re remarkably consistent stick-to-stick, box-to-box. It’s just shy of a full body, with nice complexity and balance. I prefer some development of flavors, but that gripe is easy to overlook in light of this smoke’s many virtues. Overall, this is an excellent package of flavor, construction and value.