Sabor Cubano Corona Gorda
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This sample comes from a “fiver” I snagged on special more than a year ago. Though there was nothing to suggest they needed more age, I’ve gone to them sparingly on the assumption that they’d only get better.
The Miami-built 6″ x 52 Corona Gorda features a five year-old Mexican San Andres wrapper, Nicaraguan and Dominican filler and an Ecuadorian binder. It’s good looking and impressively packaged. It is wrapped in a cedar sheath, then cellophaned. Stripped of its packaging, it is hefty and firmly packed. The wrapper is a dry, chocolate brown.
Blindfolded, I can’t swear I’d peg this for a maduro at all, let alone a Mexican-wrapped one.
Perhaps it’s an antiquated mindset, but when I hear “Mexican,” I think of an earthy, funky flavor profile. Not the case here, proving that in the hands of a superior blender, not all smokes with Mexican content must taste like a Te-Amo.
The Sabor Cubano does exhibit some earth from the start, but in proper balance. Mostly it tastes of basic, rich tobacco with hints of pepper and wood, the latter almost certainly being a product of the cedar aging. The burn and draw are outstanding. It picks up faintly sweet notes on occasion, but nothing on the scale of the average maduro.
It takes on more complexity in the middle third, first with the addition of cocoa, then with coffee and cream. Still, I would only characterize this as medium bodied, as the finish is soft, short and clean. It is flavorful, but polite enough to smoke early in the day. (I’m smoking this one at about 10:00am, and finding it to be a soothing counterbalance to the chaos unfolding on Wall Street.)
It gets a little more forceful on the final third. Earth and pepper move to the forefront on an increasingly woody base. I lay it down with an inch and a half remaining. It’s still performing well, but a touch of char has signaled the beginning of the end.
CONCLUSION: With the Sabor Cubano, Luis Sanchez once again provides superior value. The build and appearance suggest quality well beyond the $4.00 asking price. The flavor, however, falls short of Luis’ other offerings like the LTC and JML 1902. It doesn’t break any new ground, though it may cause you to rethink Mexican wrappers. All in all, it’s a solid anytime maduro — easygoing, almost creamy and without the overt sweetness that turns off some smokers.