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Stogie Reviews: Frank Llaneza 1961 Cuban Corona

29 Oct 2009

Even though Frank Llaneza was born into the industry, he is undoubtedly a cigar legend in his own right. And now Altadis is honoring his half century of entrepreneurship and innovation with a new blend.

Frank Llaneza 1961 Cuban CoronaLlaneza, who grew up sweeping floors at his father’s modest Ybor City outfit, is best known for expanding Villazon & Co. by establishing factories in Central America in the early 1960s. He was a pioneer in Honduras immediately following the Cuban embargo, which is why many consider Llaneza to be “the godfather of Honduran cigars.” Decades later, in 1996, he sold Villazon to General Cigar Holdings Inc. for millions.

According to press materials circulated at the IPCPR Trade Show in August, “now he has put his name on a cigar that embodies the perfect balance between his genius and passion.” The blend, made at the Altadis USA factory in Nicaragua, recognizes a man who “has been growing superior tobacco and creating cigars of exceptional pedigree since 1961.”

The Frank Llaneza 1961 features a filler blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican leaves, a Nicaraguan binder, and a dark Ecuadorian criollo ’98 wrapper. Notes of milk chocolate and coffee permeate the toothy surface right out of the cellophane.

With a suggested retail price of $7 apiece, the oily, firm Cuban Corona frontmark measures five and five-eighths inches with a ring gauge of 46. The absence of imperfections serves as evidence of an expert torcedor and quality tobacco.

After lighting the narrow foot with a couple wooden matches and studying the first few puffs, I find a balanced, medium-bodied profile of savory meat, nuts, butter, and cereals. A gentle spice on the lips adds depth. The aftertaste is decidedly smooth and leathery.

As the white, sandy ash works its way towards the middle of the cigar, the flavor remains surprisingly consistent. Here, I discover that the quicker I smoke, the meatier the cigar becomes. And since I enjoy the subtler tastes of the Frank Llaneza 1961 more than the charred steak characteristics at the forefront, I decide to slow down.

That strategy works well through the final third, which is a bit bolder than the rest of the cigar. All the while the combustion qualities—including a slow, even burn, a fairly solid ash, and a good draw—are reliable.

On the whole, I wouldn’t be surprised if this young limited release develops nicely over the coming months and years. It would be a good candidate for my regular golf course rotation if it were easier to find and priced a bit lower. Regardless, cigar enthusiasts who enjoy rich, meaty profiles should definitely check out the Frank Llaneza 1961 Cuban Corona. I give it three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

9 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Frank Llaneza 1961 Cuban Corona”

  1. Luke - AspiringGentl Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 6:59 am #

    Interesting observation about smoking fast. I suppose when the cigar is burning faster/hotter you get some flavours that wouldn't be there if smoked slower/cooler.

  2. Patrick A Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    Since I posted this review, I've received some additional information about the Frank Llaneza 1961 blend.

    Janelle Rosenfeld, vice president of premium cigar marketing for Altadis, responded to several of my questions via email. While I’d read/heard rumors that the blend is for B&Ms only, she told me that the blend “will have limited distribution as the production is very limited. It is a contract brand which restricts discounting by internet sellers or anyone for that matter. If it is sold on-line it shouldn’t be discounted.”

    Additionally, regarding Mr. Llaneza’s involvement in the project, she said he “selected the tobaccos and created the blend and supervises the production.”

  3. ROTHNH Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 6:02 am #

    To take this beyond Janelle's marketing spin, the real reason why Frank's namesake cigar is so limited is actually the rarity of the cigar brand's wrapper (well the color of the wrapper). Once color-sorted, wrappers that cannot be used for this brand are relegated to wrap the "new" Troya cigars.

  4. Martin Monday, April 11, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    I finally was able to find this stick and I was very impressed. The burn was great and I got a great stark white ash that held on 1/3 of the cigar. I thought it was better than a 3.5 though. I would say 4 out of 5 easily. I would definitely pick up some more. Great price too. My full review:

    Great review as always!

  5. Pete Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    These cigars are a work of art. They are expensive, but worth every penny.

  6. Dan Friday, August 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    When these first came out I purchased a couple. What a disappointment! I thought I was smoking freshly cut hay. Perhaps I should have put them in the humidor, but these should have never been this bad right out of the box.

  7. Dan Friday, August 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    PS… I notice that there is a huge price drop in the price of these cigars lately. I guess they didn't get the response they were looking for.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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