Corona Gorda, 6.25” x 46 ring gauge / $16.95, Burns Tobacconist
$15+ seems a little pricey to pay for a Corona Gorda...but then you realize that this Corona Gorda is the larger version of the $13+ Dirty Rat, a cigar that pulled no punches in the flavor department...and you just bite the bullet and pay the man the money. This first made the rounds as a prototype in the first half of 2011, then again (as a prototype) at and immediately after last year’s IPCPR show...and finally showed up as a legitimate release, however briefly, in late June of this year, though many retailers didn’t get their’s until late July. No wonder people question whether these cigar really exist! Matt at Burns took a waiting list...who wants how many and such. I said to put me down for 2, but only 2 bundles showed up so pretty much no one on the list got all they asked for. I got 1...and who knows when I’ll see another. Of course, I mean to evaluate it to see if I even want to spend this much again if and when the time comes...if I could get them at MSRP, I’d pay $15, but as it is I paid $17 for this one...and that’s just a lot of the coin of the realm for any cigar.
This is another in the Único Series, a close relative to the Liga Privada lines from Drew Estate, and most likely uses the same basic blend as the smaller Dirty Rat, although that is difficult to say since there is basically no “official” information online that I could find. What I did find was that it uses Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers, a Brazilian binder, and that wonderfully oily Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano wrapper. I remember someone saying that one reason the Dirty Rat was so expensive was the amount of labor that went into it...that some leaves had to be scissor-cut by hand in order to fit the proper proportions into the blend. I wonder if this vitola is less labor-intensive; and if it is, I wonder why it’s so much more expensive...yes, I know, it has more tobacco, but I’m just curious. I may find someone to ask these questions of in a week or two.
I already made reference to the fact that this cigar's wrapper is wonderfully oily...really there are very few things as oily as one of these LP stalk-cut and cured wrappers...KFC perhaps...but not much else. It's a beautiful sheen to look at and feel. The short, little twisted tail gives an obvious visual cue that this is related to the Dirty Rat if you didn't already know. The band is the same as pretty much all other Liga Privadas and Unicos...you either like it or you don't...I like it. The wrapper had an aroma of cedar, leather and rich tobacco. The filler mix gave the foot a rich earthiness along with more of that rich tobacco scent. The cold draw was easy and had notes of tobacco along with a sweet, fruity note...almost like a muted blueberry.
At light-up the Ratzilla was rich and earthy, with notes of dark coffee and dried fruit on the palate, natural tobacco and a bit of pepper spice on the retrohale, and cocoa powder on the finish, leaving the mouth feeling a bit dry and chalky. The cigar produced a thick and constant plume of smoke as it rested in my ashtray, reminding me that just about anything in the Liga Privada line would be a perfect cigar for those occasions when you meet a crabby non-smoker in a smoking section and he insists on giving you the evil eye or coughing profusely...give him something to cough about! :-) As I neared the end of the first third the dried fruit note resolved to a more certain "raisin" flavor...sweet, but with a touch of sour, too.
The smoke from the Ratzilla was oily and full-bodied, although there was no indication so far that the strength would be all that high on the scale. The construction as I burned my way into the second third was proving to be as great as you would expect from a super-premium priced cigar: very straight burn line, excellent draw and strong ash. I noticed on the original Dirty Rat that although it is small and produces an out-sized amount of smoke, it burns slowly....for a long, long time. The increased size of Ratzilla makes this even more apparent as almost an hour of smoking had barely consumed two-thirds of the stick...and I'm normally a fast smoker!
In the last third, Ratzilla turned smoky and meaty, with almost a barbecue intensity to the flavors of spice. The oily smoke was still full-bodied, but now some strength started to come on as well. The finish was still dry, as it had been throughout, making me reach for my water frequently, but overall I really enjoyed this cigar. Would I buy a box? Probably...if they were not so cost-prohibitive (and so difficult to find, for that matter). I would have trouble smoking them every day because of the body and strength elements, but they would make a great special occasion cigar. Did I find it as enjoyable as the original Dirty Rat? Hard to say for sure, but if not just as enjoyable, it was very, very close.