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Stogie Reviews: Partagas Petit Corona Especial (Cuban)

29 Apr 2008

If you ask me, smoking a machine-made Cuban is sort of like ordering a filet mignon well done. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but you know where I’m going with this: Why muck up potentially wonderful tobacco by having it assembled by the less-than-precise hands of automation?

That’s the question I asked myself before diving into a Partagas Petit Corona Especial. I was surprised to learn Habanos SA makes ten machine-made, hand-finished Partagas vitolas, perhaps an attempt to bring the premium brand to a more economical segment of the cigar market.

Still, Petit Corona Especiales aren’t cheap. Singles cost $5.60-7 apiece, and boxes of 25 sell for $104-113.

I expect a better-looking stick for that price. With a blotchy wrapper, some large veins, and unrefined seams, this five and ¼ inch by 44 ring gauge Cuban puro has a rough look. It’s neater than Guantanamera – the other machine-made Cuban I reviewed last July – but that isn’t much of a standard. Unlike the modern-looking handmade Serie D, it sports the classic Partagas band.

As always, I read some “reviews” (I guess they were more like sales pitches) before lighting up. The Internet consensus is this is a small but powerful stick that beginners should stay away from due to its “Havana harshness.”

I don’t think the Petit Corona Especial is full-bodied, strong, or harsh. The flavor is of cinnamon, toast, and leather, and it becomes more creamy and mellow as it progresses. The ash is quite unstable, the draw is surprisingly tight, and the burn is straight. Although some spicy clove notes creep in towards the end, the overall experience is actually fairly mild.

Still, judged on its own merits, I’m not terribly pleased. The smoke tasted fine and the construction is better than most machine-mades, but you won’t get much bang for your buck. You can do much, much better at the same price level by sticking with a non-Cuban handmade. That’s why I give the Partagas Petit Corona Especial only two and ½ out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

4 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Partagas Petit Corona Especial (Cuban)”

  1. Cigar Inspector Monday, April 28, 2008 at 9:38 pm #

    Hm, I never heard about this model before and the price seems quite high for a machine-made cigar. Have you tried the Partagas Mille Fleurs which is in the same price range?

  2. Patrick A Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 3:38 am #

    I have not tried any Mille Fleurs to date, but I'm finding a lot of conflicting information about that stick. Many sites also list Mille Fleurs as "machine-made, hand-finished." I wish the Habanos SA website were more helpful.

  3. jabba Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    Patrick,

    I'm pretty sure these now all totalement a Mano, not machine made, the only Partagas I have as MM is the Chico. The ones that came in cello from 5-7 years ago were machine made, that's why the price is now inline with other petit coronas. Are these new smokes, typically Cuban Partagas need quite a bit of age before they 'come around'

  4. Jon N. Tuesday, April 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm #

    I find that most Cubans these days need some time, actually. Cohibas are the only Cubans I find that are consistently old enough to smoke fresh out of the box.

    Many Cuban sticks are rushed out of the door to meet production quotas, and will need to settle down for 6 months or so before they're smokeable. Preferably longer.

    Not sure which Partagas are totalmente a mano and which are machine rolled, however. I'll defer to Jabba's (and others') expertise on this matter. I do know that, traditionally speaking, a lot of Cubans have been machine made — particularly the smaller vitolas. I think this is changing, though.