Connoisseur's Corner: Corojo-Seed Classics
(From the October 2011 issue of Cigar Aficionado) In our tastings of cigars bought at retail we often award scores of 90 points or more, but rarely do we award classic ratings (95 points or more). However, fine cigars improve with age, which is why we also run this Connoisseur’s Corner in each issue of the magazine. In this installment, we found a quartet of classic smokes, cigars that have clearly benefited from careful aging in a humidor. The two top-scorers were made in 1989 and 1991, blessed years for Cuban cigars. This was when the Cuban cigar industry still worked with the immensely flavorful (if hard to grow) seed known as Corojo, and the country’s cigar factories worked at the unhurried pace of the pre-cigar-boom days. The Cohiba Esplendido (note the pre-1992 cigar band) and the Davidoff No. 1 each scored 97 points.
Cohiba Esplendido (1991)
A beautiful, dark brown wrapper covers this cigar. It has a perfect draw. The smoke is rich and chocolaty, with hints of raisins on the palate. The finish goes on forever.
— Marvin R. Shanken
Davidoff No. 1 (1989)
A near perfect cigar, and always one of my favorites. This wrapper looks like it’s five years old, not 22 years old. The draw is slightly firm, but there are notes of caramel, with a cocoa bean backbone and a touch of earthiness. A truly great cigar. — Gordon Mott
H. Upmann Non Plus Ultra (1958)
Hard to believe this cigar is more than 50 years old. The wrapper is a gorgeous dark brown with heavy oils, and it delivers nutmeg and chocolate notes as it burns. The cigar has a smooth, nearly effortless draw.
— Marvin R. Shanken
Ramón Allones Dunhill Selección No. 82 (1961)
This 50 year old cigar has soft pepper flavors on the attack, and hints of old leather with a light floral taste on the palate. It has perfect balance and draw. A wonderful old cigar that is just beyond its peak. — Gordon Mott
Romeo y Julieta No. 1 Tubo (1992)
This cigar starts out quite slow, which suggests it still has a lot of life before it completely mellows out. There are hints of dried orange peel and coffee beans. There is a solid core of earthy ligero flavors that linger on the finish.
— Gordon Mott
La Corona Petit Corona (1989)
Machine-made Cuban cigars can be very tasty smokes. This one has a dark, somewhat streaky wrapper, and the pinched head typical of cigars not made by human hands. It’s very earthy, with hints of coffee bean, some sweetness, and a mineral element to the finish. Not outstanding, but far from bad.
— David Savona