Rafael Gonzalez Coronas Extra

(Size: 5 5/8″ x 46  —  Time: 1hr 15mins)

Box Code: Exact code unknown (Year: 2005)

I was in London a couple of weeks ago to visit a consultant about my dodgy knee.  Whilst there, I felt it was about time that I tried out Boisdale of Canary Wharf.  I could write quite a monologue on the joys of that establishment, and I shall, but this is a review of the cigar I smoked on their terrace after my lunch there.  Along with the reasonably aged cigar, I picked a whisky from their extensive (and I mean extensive) whisky list…  In doing so I was righting a wrong – that as a single-malt lover I had not properly sampled Highland Park’s 12 year old expression.

This is only the second Rafael Gonzalez I have reviewed on the Cigar Monologues.  The last was the Petit Corona – a cigar which I have tried a few times now, but never seems to perform.  However, I needed to give this brand another go.  There is lots of positive talk to be found about the Panatelas Extra, so it’s only natural that I would try out the Coronas Extra!  That’s just me though – and you need a slightly larger proportioned cigar to follow a meal.  Oh yes, and as it wouldn’t be one of my reviews without a at least one piece of rather pointless trivia, so here you go: Rafael Gonzalez was the first brand to refer to a Cervantes sized cigar as a Lonsdale, named after Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale.

Appearance /15

This cigar was slightly box-pressed after about six years in a dress box – that is no bad thing in my book.  The wrapper was a light, milk chocolate shade, with a small number of minor, but visible, veins.  The cap was applied with skill.  13

Smoking Characteristics /25

The pre-light aroma of the RG Coronas Extra was milk-chocolate – matching the wrapper tone beautifully.  The cigar lit quite easily and the draw was good from the off.  The smoke produced was of good quantity and had that wonderful ‘thick’ quality to it.  Both the draw and the smoke were positives throughout the whole duration of this cigar.  The ash was mid-grey, with just a few darker fleks, and was reassuringly solid.  Unfortunately, the burn was not always especially even – despite starting well the burn required all too frequent touch-ups as the cigar progressed .  Despite the occasionally uneven nature of the burn, it stayed lit effortlessly, even when I had to leave it untended for a few minutes on a couple of occasions.  Not a perfectly constructed cigar, but no issues of any real concern.  22

Flavour /25

The initial dry draw was slightly sweet and floral on the RG Coronas Extra; the sweetness came through during the early draws after lighting, along with a creamy smoothness.  The flavour gradually became less sweet, with a drier, cedar flavour beginning to predominate after an inch or so.  In time, this cedar receded, to be replaced by the initial sweetness; this time there were also floral and grassy notes – more akin to the pre-light draw than anything since lighting.  Slowly some hints of cedar returned, along with just a suggestion of some aniseed-based notes.  Sadly, the final progression of this stage was a straight-up wood flavour, which, unlike the rest of the cigar, was not having any hints of sweetness highlighted by the Highland Park 12yo I was drinking.  Thankfully that section was short lived; it was replaced with something from left-field – some ‘meaty’ flavours.  What I was getting was in some way reminscent of wonderful sticky ribs on a charcoal barbeque – giving a really nice, rich smokeyness.  As the cigar reached the nub this changed again, bookending the cigar with some sweet, floral notes – this time with some balance from roast almond nuances.  23

Overall Impression /35

Overall, I have to say that the Rafael Gonzalez Coronas Extra was quite a pleasant surprise for me.  It doesn’t come from a marque that I’ve particularly enjoyed in the past, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.  What I got was a beautiful light-to-medium bodied cigar with some lovely, medium flavours.  Whilst there were perhaps a couple of issues with the construction, these were merely minor annoyances (nothing really important) and are overshadowed by a relatively complex and enjoyable cigar.  As such, this is definitely a cigar I would recommend as worth trying – I would suggest that it is an ideal stick to pick from the humidor for some time in the garden on a summer’s afternoon.  33

Grand total… 91/100

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