Origin : Cuba
Format : Corona Extra
Size : 46 x 143 mm (5.6)
Box code : May 2007
Discontinued in : 2010
Price : ~$16 each at the B&M
This is a pre-1960 release and it was, unfortunately, discontinued in 2010. This particular sample is from a May 2007 box. My local B&M somehow got a bunch of ‘07 boxes and they are smoking great. Rafael Gonzalez is a brand that is often overlooked in the Habanos S.A. catalogue. It is a shame and also a blessing. It allows my local store to keep a great stock of aged boxes. I can’t complain about that. Here is how my date with this one went.
Appearance : Rating:
This Corona Extra has a smooth colorado claro wrapper and a few large veins. There are a couple llightly green spots on this cigar. Usually, these are from water satin on the plant when it is near maturity, so that isn’t a big problem for me. I do prefer an even and smooth wrapper but Cuba is Cuba.
Construction : Rating:
This is a well constructed cigar. The head and the foot are clean and well made. There are a few cracks on the foot but I think this might be from when I brought this home. The triple cap is laid down skillfully. It feels nice and full between the fingers. This is one of my favourite vitolas. The cut is clean but a little dusty. The cigar is giving me a good draw.
Flavor : Rating:
The aroma at cold is sweet tobacco all the way. There is nothing else just good sweet tobacco.
This cigar has a clean razor sharp burn. It doesn’t need me to babysit it. It starts at light to medium body. The main flavours are fruity sweet, still undefined I am leaning toward red fruits, rhubarb, dark cherries… well, actually this is more like veggie sweetness: rhubarb is the closest I can think of. I think this is just the initial flavour blast. The smoke is coating my mouth lightly and the finish is pretty crisp and short. There are some undertones of chocolate milk when I close my eyes and focus. It is faint but well defined. Fruits are gone; it must be from the initial burning and blending of the tobacco leaves. The chocolate milk is taking more space in the back but the sweetness has matured to some hazelnut. This is some of the silkiest smooth smoke I had in a long time. Notes of vanilla are sneaking in, slowly. It was an excellent first third.
The ash is white and tight.
The head of the cigar is starting to crack and slowly open. This is nothing terrible and it is nothing a band can’t fix. For those that are new to this problem, you can just slowly slide down the band over the crack to prevent it from expanding more.
Creamy milk chocolate flavours are all over this stick. It leaves a sweet taste on the lips, very nice. We are still at light medium body and it is steady. This smoke keeps providing the same flavours with some slight changes like vanilla, hazelnut notes coming in and out. This is a cigar to smoke slowly, you will gain so much from doing that. If I were to smoke it fast, I am pretty sure the flavours would heat and mix up. I would be missing how well defined they are. Hints of white bread are sneaking in and I now have a nutella toast. The Rafael Gonzalez has my complete attention. Its sweetness just stepped up and it is staring to taste like white chocolate.
The last third is picking up to medium body. Some light spices are showing up. The cocoa is gone but the milky feeling is still present. It still produces a silky smooth smoke. The burn isn’t giving me any problems at all, which is great. I get some toasted bread. Body is slightly picking up, the finish is building up greatly, I love a strong finish. The vegetal flavour is back mixed with some dry leaves, very much like tea, with a cloud of milk. A great finish for a great cigar.
Value : Rating:
Rafael Gonzalez Corona Extra is absolutely worth picking up. It is a shame they put an axe through these. I am definitely trying to acquire a box or two. One to smoke now and one to lay down for more aging.
Overall Rating : Rating:
I would suggest you buy one of these if you see them at your local store, smoke it and decide for yourself. I know they rocked my socks. It’s a cigar that stayed in my head for a few days afterward. That is always a good sign my friends.