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Stogie Reviews: Bering Hallmark Corona

4 Nov 2009

Bering Hallmark CoronaSince my return from the IPCPR Trade Show in August, many of my reviews have focused on fairly expensive cigars that debuted at that New Orleans event. But, in these lean times, I thought it appropriate to take a step back and check out something more affordable.

The Bering Hallmark fits the bill. This six-vitola Altadis lineup sells in the $2.50 to $5 price range. At five and three-quarters inches with a 44 ring gauge, the Corona frontmark runs only $65 for a box of 25 at JR Cigars.

Sadly, as evidenced by the two samples I smoked for this review, it has the appearance of a cigar that’s easy on the wallet. The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper is dry and wrinkly. The barely noticeable pre-light aroma of hay is less than mouthwatering. And the feel is firm in some areas and soft in others—a warning sign of combustion problems.

Perhaps most alarming are the large lumps and veins that cover the Corona’s surface. Some of these imperfections aren’t on the thin exterior leaf itself, but rather protrude from the Indonesian binder underneath.

Moving past first impressions, the cap clips well and the cold taste reveals a moderate draw and a taste of paper through the Nicaraguan and Dominican filler tobaccos. The foot toasts and lights easily with a single wooden match.

Each easy puff produces large tufts of smoke and a light, airy taste. While picking out individual flavors is a difficult task given the Bering Hallmark’s frail profile, I found subtle notes of pine, butter, and toast. Cigar enthusiasts who are accustomed to full-bodied sticks, however, will likely have a hard time tasting anything other than hollow smoke.

Surprisingly, the Corona actually performs well in the construction department. The burn may meander a bit and the gray ash may flake off from time to time, but the physical properties are relatively impressive at this price level.

If you’re looking for a value stick with interesting flavors, though, I’m afraid this cigar isn’t likely to satisfy. Perhaps the new Bering Puro Nicaraguan line, introduced by Altadis with suggested retail prices from $6.75 to $7.25, will fare better. A reminder that, when it comes to cigars, you often get what you pay for, the Bering Hallmark Corona earns only two stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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