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Cigar Review: Sobremesa Corona Grande

6 Sep 2016


Instead of fizzling after its hyped-up launch, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s visibility on social media has only snowballed into a boutique juggernaut. I can scarcely scroll through my Facebook feed for a few minutes without seeing one of the company’s cigars triumphantly photographed by a Dunbarton devotee, or perhaps even Steve Saka himself.

20160905_035425054_iOSThese days, I’m starting to see more pictures of Mi Querida than Sobremesa. That’s not entirely surprising, I think, because the Broadleaf-wrapped Mi Querida is new to the market, whereas Sobremesa was introduced last summer. Personally, I haven’t had a chance to try Mi Querida yet (rest assured it’s on my short list). To tide myself over, today I thought I’d review the only Sobremesa vitola I haven’t yet sampled: the Corona Grande.

As you surely know by now, Dunbarton was launched by Saka, former CEO of Drew Estate, where he played a critical role in growing the company into a Nicaraguan powerhouse that makes some of the most sought-after cigars in the world. Several lines have been announced in advance of the August 8 deadline imposed by the FDA regulations, including Mi Querida, Umbagog, and Muestra de Saka. But Sobremesa was the first. It sports an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper, a Mexican binder, and a filler blend of Pennsylvania Broadleaf Ligero with four different Nicaraguan tobaccos (Gk Condega C-SG Seco, Pueblo Nuevo Criollo Viso, La Joya Estelí C-98 Viso, and ASP Estelí Hybrid Ligero). It is handmade at Joya de Nicaragua.

The Corona Grande ($9.95 per single, $248.50 per box of 25) is the smallest Sobremesa vitola at 5.25 inches long with a narrow ring gauge of 44. Velvety and oily to the touch, its surface is moderately veined and dark with a slightly reddish hue. The pre-light notes remind me of cocoa powder, earth, and caramel, and the perfectly constructed cap clips easily to reveal a smooth cold draw.

Once lit, I find the familiar—and wonderful—Sobremesa core of cocoa, dark cherry, pepper, café au lait, baking spices, and creamy caramel. This time, though, a dry, cedar-like sensation is more pronounced, especially on the finish. The texture is syrupy and thick, and the black pepper spice coupled with the rich, spicy mouthfeel renders the Corona Grande the strongest of the Sobremesa formats.

The complexity is palpable and highly enjoyable, and the sweetness of the resting smoke is mouth-wateringly intoxicating. Fortunately, the combustion qualities do not detract from the experience; rather, they enhance it. The burn line is straight, the smoke production above average, the draw easy, and the ash holds well off the foot.

Saka says over 40 varieties of black tobacco were sampled during production, with the 27th blend ultimately being selected as the final Sobremesa recipe. I count myself lucky he went to the trouble to compose a cigar that’s truly “sin compromiso.” While not quite my favorite vitola—that honor belongs to the Cervantes Fino—the Corona Grande is a finely balanced treat that’s worthy of the excellent rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

–Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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