October 18, 2012

Cigar Review: Pinolero Corona by A.J. Fernandez

Pinolero
So the first time I typed in Pinolero into Google, I should have been more specific, but as it turned out, it was very helpful as well. Pinolero is a colloquial word for Nicaraguans. I found the name to be appropriate in many ways as his factory is in Nicaragua, and this cigar is a Nicaraguan puro. A.J. Fernandez tends to make cigars with unique tobacco, and because of that we do not often see puros, but in this case we do. It is his newest release, and was showcased at the 2012 IPCPR. I have heard some great things about the cigar so far, and I have been very eager to try it. When a close friend Cigar Coop tells me I am going to love something, he tends to be right, so I am ashamed that it took me this long to get the review up.

I should really begin by saying that I love smokes made by A.J. Fernandez, and I think cigar smokers need to begin making shirts that say I (heart) A.J. Fernandez. He has really brought some great cigars to the industry, and with that made them with unique tobacco that many smokers have never been accustomed to smoking before. I believe he has resurrected the leaf Habano 2000, and brought Pennsylvania Broadleaf to the attention of many smokers as well. He has made incredible lines for other manufacturers, and has even developed house brands for cigar shops that have received nothing but praise from all smokers. I remember when I sent some Man O War Ruination smokes without bands to international friends who only smoke Cuban cigars, and they were blown away. It is because of all of this that I was excited for Pinolero.  
Nicaraguan Sun-grown Wrapper
The cigar begins with a beautiful wrapper, and it is a sun-grown wrapper from Nicaragua. I would love to tell you the seed and region of growth, but that is not disclosed. Underneath that is a Nicaraguan binder, and the fillers are Nicaraguan Cuban-seed as well. They do state that the fillers include some ligero that is called Fernandez's Family Ligero, which probably means it is a certain unique tobacco seed from his private farm. He spends time in Cuba, and I have smoked cigars he has made with Cuban tobacco, so I imagine they are seeds from the island. Possibly even from the farm of the late Alejandro Robaina. The corona is finished with a great tail, and measures 5" with a 42 ring gauge. It has a solid light Colorado wrapper with few veins, and there is a nice oily texture to it. There is a lovely aroma at the foot of barnyard, spices, floral notes, nuts and hints of cocoa, and I am eager to light it up.  
First
I am going to divide this cigar up in halves because of the size, and I often do this with coronas or petit lanceros. The cigar begins excellently, and it is providing a very open draw for a small cigar. There is a great amount of smoke coming off of each draw, and it is not as concentrated as I would have thought. There is a nice bit of pepper on the forefront to the cigar, and it is showing some hay, wood and floral notes with that. There is a bit of nutty characteristics and cocoa as well showing up towards the finish, and it is really balancing off those dry flavors with some sweet notes. It is really Cubanesque in a lot of ways, and in some ways not your standard Nicaraguan puro. So far this is a great example of the amazing blending skills by A.J. Fernandez, when he is a manufacturer who spends tons of time in the fermentation process. I would say the strength of the cigar is at a solid medium body level, and being the first cigar of the day it is a great start.   
Second
Throughout the second half of cigar construction is still not an issue in anyway, and it is leaving that solid light gray ash that is holding on to the cigar well. Because it is a corona in vitola I am not trying to hold on to the ash to much, but I am sure it could hold on very well with a robusto smoke. The strength of the cigar is still at that medium body level, and it is anytime of day cigar to me. The best part of the cigar is the flavors, and they are encompassing so much. I am getting some soft black pepper notes, and it is balanced by some cocoa sweetness as well. There is a bit of nuts present with that, and it is showing a floral finish with this dry wood and hay flavor. The cigar is smoking very cool throughout, and on the last draw it is very flavorful and very tasty. The finish remains for sometime, and is very enjoyable. 
Final
I really enjoyed this cigar, and found it to be a cigar I could smoke anytime of day, and it is a cigar that I would come back to after smoking one. It really did capture that Cubanesque flavor profile, and reminded me in a lot of ways of a Cuban Trinidad. It had some definite uniqueness to it, but that is what came to mind when smoking it. There was great construction from beginning to end, and I loved that it came in a Corona vitola. I am not a fan of the large ring gauge cigars, so if I have the chance to pick something up under a 48, I am going to take it. I think that a lot of smokers will enjoy this cigar, and the reason for that is because the flavors are solid flavors, nothing overly complex, and the strength level is perfect for anyone. Of course the price point is just amazing, and it is made by A.J. Fernandez so you really can't go wrong. I give this smoke a solid 91, and will be interested to see how the robusto and other vitolas are.
Pinolero Corona