Of course, one of the primary destinations for me at this IPCPR was the Cornelius and Anthony booth, where I was welcomed by Steven Bailey, Courtney Smith and Todd Vance. The first video I shot with Steven I was to find out, much to my dismay, had no audio, a problem that would rear it’s ugly head again (the great video I did with Matt Booth was sans audio, which didn’t come to light until I was home, nobody commented that it was silent, and a video interview with anyone with no audio sucks, especially with someone as entertaining as Mr. Booth). Steven was gracious enough to grant me a do-over, which is presented below. Naturally, as my luck would have it, YouTube Live wasn’t cooperating that day either, but I usually have options. As is apparent to the casual CigarCraig reader, I’m a big fan of the Cornelius and Anthony line, and was anxious to sample the newest offerings. Debuting at the show were two new lines and a new size in the Cornelius line, which is made at Al Titan de Bronze in Miami. This new size is a Lonsdale, a 6½” x 42 cigar with the same Ecuador wrapper and binder and Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers. I couldn’t help but smoke one this week. I’ll make no bones about the fact that the Toro is my favorite in the Cornelius line, but I think the Lonsdale, due to it’s narrow ring gauge, has a little more bite, and might be perceived as stronger than the smooth and creamy Toro. It still smokes very well, like a high-end cigar should, and has the same rich, complex flavors that the larger rings have. Smaller ring cigars burn hotter and seem stronger because the flavors are sharper, so I smoked this slowly like I would a lancero. I very much enjoyed this cigar.
The new offerings are the Aerial and Señor Esugars, adding a Ecuador Connecticut and Mexican San Andres to the line. The Aerial is an Ecuador Connecticut wrapped cigar with a USA binder and Nicaraguan fillers. Not a mild cigar at all, solidly medium to my palate, but an absolutely beautiful cigar. I smoked the Robusto, and it comes in Gordo, Toro and Corona Gorda, which are consistent sizes across the brand. I like the fact that they stick to the four classic sizes. The USA binder intrigues me as I know that the Bailey family has been growing tobacco for 150 years, one can’t help but wonder if this is something grown on their farms in Virginia or a PA or Connecticut leaf. Whatever it is, it works, as the smooth, velvety smoke has a sweetness and a hint of spice that is very pleasurable. The Aerial is a great addition to the Cornelius and Anthony line.
The Señor Esugars has the dark Mexican wrapper, with the USA binder (same as the Aerial?) and Nicaraguan fillers. This, along with the Aerial (Daddy Mac, Venganza and Meridian) is made in the La Zona factory in Esteli. The box has a great likeness of Steven Bailey’s dog Oscar, who Steven calls Mr. Sugars, sporting a derby, very cool imagery, another consistent theme. I just want to scratch that dog’s big, fluffy ears! Besides the cigars being great, the color and design of the bands and boxes appeal to me. Sorry, I don’t care how great a cigar is, if it has a crappy looking band it’s going to color my perception. Back to the Señor Esugars. Trade show samples and the fact that I’ve only let them rest for a couple weeks besides the point, this is destined to be a fantastic cigar. I would have like it to be a little drier, my fault, but it had some strength, and some rich, sweet flavors that are on the dark side that I enjoy. I want to smoke this with a Cuban coffee, I just rarely get the chance to make it. It’s another great addition to the line. I really have a hard time picking a favorite of the La Zona blends, Mr. Bailey and co. are really making some great cigars, they have the right people on board to present them and sell them. Super stuff, I’m glad they are on the shelves of some of the stores in my area, and I recommend them highly.
Until the next time,