(Size: 5 1/8″ x 42 — Time: Unknown, probaby about 45mins)
Having been looking through the blog recently, I realised that it’s been a little while since a Cuban cigar has gone under the spotlight… Given that my stash of cigars is in Plymouth at the moment, and I am not, I decided that whilst in Cardiff today (for a mini-herf with Dave of the First Load blog) I had better pick up a few Cubans.
One of the selected few was a Rafael Gonzalez Petit Corona. The PC is one of my favourite sizes, just right for an afternoon smoke with a beer. However, whilst the size was a regular for me, the brand was a newcomer. Realising that I had yet to try one of this low-key marque’s offerings, I thought that I had better rectify the situation…
I’ll be entirely frank with you, this little cigar was not going to win any beauty pageants. That’s not to say that it was an ugly stick, just a little ‘ordinary’ (as so many Cubans seem to appear). The PC, which was quite firm in the squeeze test, had a darkish, oily wrapper which was somewhat let down by an abundance of small veins. A slight box-pressing, however, was a nice little touch. 12
Smoking Characteristics /25
What to make of the RG PC… At times this seemed to be a nicely constructed cigar, whilst at others it seemed beyond hope. Pre-light aromas were quite woody, with a slight nod in the direction of Mr chocolate. Upon lighting the cigar, it was immediately clear that half of the foot had decided to take a holiday (despite a toasting of crematorium proportions) – on the second attempt everything synchronized. The burn from then onwards was fairly constant, if not entirely even. The resultant ash was relatively solid and of reasonable appearance. Unfortunately though, at around the half-way stage the horrors began. This cigar didn’t go out once, not even twice, thrice would have been a blessing… no, in the space of about 15 minutes, the cigar which I was toking on with considerable effort went out four times. Eventually, I just gave up on it if I’m honest… I cannot be doing with the number of relights at such regular intervals – purging didn’t work, nor did increasing the tempo of my smoking. There was probably the best part of an inch of cigar to go when I tossed it, and I don’t like leaving anything (lest it pull something out of the bag right at the death, a la the Fonseca KDT Cadete). The draw was quite tight, though not unworkable. It is a shame about the issues with the cigar staying alight because the burn was otherwise quite reasonable and the ash pretty good. Nonetheless, the relighting issues were not acceptable for a small cigar of this price. 16
It’s a tad difficult to assess the flavours fully of this cigar when I missed out on the final portion. However, I shall do my best with what is available… The early draws were quite cedary, just as the pre-light aroma would have suggested. The dry, bitterness of wood developed into the slightly more rounded bitterness of very dark chocolate characteristics. Slowly a slight sweetness developed, which had a slightly floral edge to it, like a quality honey. As the cigar reached just over half-way the flavours became a little more difficult to pin-point. It was something which I think can best be described as straight tobacco flavours with a peppery finish. This had an ever so slightly harsh edge to it – however, this was a relatively young cigar (I am not sure of the exact age). Eventually, the cigar started playing up, and after a number of relights I gave up on it after two-thirds had passed. The flavours of the early portion of this cigar worked very nicely together, balancing well with the others. For this reason, I can see that it is a cigar which could, as many people advocate, definitely have the potential for aging very well. 20
Overall Impression /35
The Rafael Gonzalez Petit Corona is a Jeckyll and Hyde cigar. There is definitely the foundations for a good cigar, indeed I can see why some people rate these quite highly for setting aside for a few years. At a young age (as I’m sure this one was) they are reasonable smokes – provided it stays lit! For my the smoking experience was quite poor given the issue with staying alight, indeed, I’d probably consider giving it about 18/35… However, I’ve tried to take a more balanced approach, considering the cigars potential. As such, I’ve bumped it up a little. 25
Grand total… 73/100
PS. The burn issues really let this cigar down, costing it a score of around 80. At some point in the future I will return to this cigar and add to the review with thoughts of a good burner. If you’ve smoked them yourself, then please do add your thoughts below, I’m interested to know how they finish off with a better construction.