Have you ever wrestled with a Chihuahua? I have not but if I did, I might compare this smoking experience to that. Don’t let size fool you on this corona. It is small but it has a lot of fight in it. The cigar I smoked for review today is the yet to be released Rodrigo Fortaleza corona. I typically enjoy a nice corona as a relaxing relatively quick cigar, but I should know better when smoking a cigar called Fortaleza. The word translates literally into strong or powerful, so I assumed the ride would be wild; I had no idea what I was getting into.
The cigar has a classy appearance to it, no cello and a pigtail cap. Something about the pigtail just draws me to a cigar as a quality stick. The band is also elegant, black and platinum to me is as alluring as a lady in a black dress wearing diamonds. The quality of a cigar, however (just like everything in life) cannot be judged solely on outward appearance, so let’s fire this thing up and see what it can do.
The wrapper has a smooth chocolate color and has a velvety feel to it. The feel of the cigar itself is even although a bit softer than I expected. Not spongy, just soft. There are no real noticeable veins on the cigar either. The foot has a smell of hay and spice. The cold draw was more firm than I originally thought based on the feel of the cigar, which could be an indication of why the feel was softer. If it was more firm, I imagine the draw would be tight. There is a sweet quality with a tongue/lip spice.
After firing this lovely stick up, there is a ton of smoke being produced with very little effort being put forth. An early retrohale is showing signs of spice and rich coffee. It did not bring tears as I had thought it might. The cigar is smoking nice and slowly, which is probably in my best interest.
As I reach the 1st third point, there is lots of body and flavor, and tons of smoke. The body is still building and has not reached its full potential yet (I assume). At this point the burn is on point. The flavors are primarily coffee and pepper. It seems that this cigar has attracted a small crowd. One of our guys recognized the band and a bunch of people came over with him to talk about the cigar with me. A few have tried it and more have heard about it. We do offer the larger size, the Cinco 5, but the corona seems intriguing to folks here. This cigar seems to have so much presence, it attracts a crowd. Sometime at this point the ash did fall off the cigar, in my opinion a bit prematurely. It did not actually fall off as it was knocked off.
Further down the road, the flavor is maintaining consistency with not a lot of ups and downs. The ash is looking fantastic as well as the burn being very even. I am getting a nice nic buzz off of this stick. Unfortunately for me, I got caught being overly social with the group that has gathered and the cigar went out (more than once) and I had to do a relight. That is in no fault to the cigar, but more to my own neglect. But let’s face it; shouldn’t cigar smoking be a social event if you have the opportunity? Despite my noob folly, the cigar has remained cool and produced lots of smoke.
After looking back, it makes sense that this seemed to take longer than I expected it to considering there was a healthy amount of BSing that went on today. Ultimately, this cigar was great. It packed a toro sized punch into a corona, but was elegant enough to keep you off guard and sneak up on you. The flavors were great and blended well, and there were no overwhelming aspects.
After smoking this cigar, I had the opportunity to speak to George Rodriguez about this cigar during HabanaPalooza. I gave it praise, and for that he thanked me and told me that it was a project he was proud of. He did not give me a firm date, but suggested that these little beauties should be on the market towards the summer. I can’t wait to get them in so I can try another one. Maybe this time I will try to keep it more on the DL so I can give it more attention.