Juan Lopez Petit Corona

Juan Lopez Petit Corona

Juan LopezOrigin : Cuba
Format : Petit Corona
Size : 129 x 18 mm (5.1 x 42)
Ring : 42
Box code : UME ENE14
Price : ~$180 for a box of 25

Sometimes you want to venture from your safety zone and try new things. Sometimes you are rewarded for your curiosity, and sometimes you regret your adventuresome ways. This experience to me was definitely the latter and not the former. To me, this stick had problems from the get-go. Just about anything that could go wrong, did… IN SPADES.

Appearance : Rating: ★★½☆☆
The Juan Lopez Petit Corona had some spines that ran the length of the cigar, which can happen from time to time, but where this product drew my attention was that roughly a third or more of the stick had expanded in the box to the point they assumed an almost hexagonal shape down the length of the stick. I thought it a bit odd, but it wasn’t until I lit one that I think I figured out what was going on with this product. None of the causes I could think of would make the experience with this cigar end well, and it became more and more evident as I delved further into the box. The wrapper and binder both had issues maintaining their integrity.

Construction : Rating: ★½☆☆☆
This product had definite construction problems. Out of 25 cigars, 15 of them had some sort of construction issues, with 6 of them being not usable. Some sticks were rolled so tight that they would not maintain a light, and with almost NO draw I had to sit there and pull much harder than I would have liked to, which only intensified the release of tannins and took the spicy taste experience to excruciating levels. The 9 sticks that had construction issues but were able to be consumed either had heads or feet (and sometimes BOTH) that were so tightly rolled that sometimes BOTH ends had to be clipped to get the smoke to perform AT ALL.

Flavor : Rating: ★½☆☆☆
Upon the initial light, I was greeted with a honey sweet nutty note reminiscent of freshly crushed pecan shells and thought I was going to really enjoy this smoke, but on the exhale I was blasted with an unbearable pepper note that made me want to put the cigar out and try something else. Juan Lopez is known for its spicy notes, but this went beyond the pale. I have enjoyed other JL products and their light/moderate spice/pepper notes, but this was a full-on violent assault to the senses without the courtesy of a reach-around. If I had stuck a spoonful of ground black pepper under my nose and sniffed it, I would have gotten more pleasure from the experience. Were it not for the redeeming factor that there WERE milder notes at the beginning of this smoke, I would be hard pressed to rate it with ANY stars. It was THAT bad. YMMV (your mileage may vary). This scene repeated itself through most, if not all the remainder of the box. See below for comments on the second box I purchased with identical production date code below.

Value : Rating: ★★½☆☆
With a cost of $8US+ each, you better like those peppery spicy notes. A beginner most likely would be turned off to the cigar hobby by this smoke, so I would not recommend it to anyone short of those that truly enjoy those strong, oftentimes overpowering notes. If that is what you are looking for, you will most likely find them with this product, not because that is their nature, but due to inconsistent quality issues. For my money, I would pass and choose a better known petit Montecristo.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★½☆☆
I intentionally held my fire on this review until I had purchased a second box of JL Petit Coronas from my favorite trusted tobacconist to see if what I experienced was an aberration, or if this was the norm for this particular smoke. I received my second box with an identical date code, and there was marked improvement. There were still construction issues, but MUCH less pronounced than Box #1. Granted, I did ask my tobacconist to 100% inspect the sticks before shipping, and that may have a great deal to do with the markedly better results.

Quite frankly, I would recommend the Juan Lopez Don Juan Benelux Limited Edition (review coming soon) hands-down over this feeble attempt at making a petit robusto corona. Yes, you get pepper/spice notes with the LJDJBLE’s, but the flavor profile is MUCH more balanced, and would be much more enjoyable to the novice enthusiast. They are roughly twice the cost of the Petit Corona, but you get a substantially larger cigar (52 ring x 135mm).