Next up in this series of cigars from Tabacalera Tropical (aka Casa Fernandez, aka Aganorsa) is the Condega Corojo 1999 (2006 Series.) For more information about Tabacalera Tropical and Aganorsa, see last week’s review of the Lempira Fuerte.
Since Condega is the least well known region of Nicaragua’s three primary growing regions, it’s nice to see it get some name recognition. The Condega Corojo is not only a Nicaraguan puro, it’s a Nicaraguan Corojo puro — a cigar composed entirely of corojo leaf from Condega, Jalapa, and Esteli, Nicaragua.
From what I hear, Condega has appeared in more than one formulation, but the Corojo 1999 was unveiled sometime in 2004. The version that I smoked for this review was the 2006 series.
For a long time I associated the term “corojo” with power — maybe that came from smoking Camacho’s Corojo blend — but the Condega cigar sets the record straight once and for all. Corojo is after all just a black tobacco varietal; a cigar primarily composed of corojo ligero is going to be a powerhouse. A more balanced blend of corojo volado and seco leaves will be a lighter cigar, which is actually what Condega is — a medium bodied cigar with fairly mild strength.
Condega “Cuban Seed Corojo 1999″ is available in four sizes:
- Robusto – 5 x 52
- Toro – 6 x 52
- Torpedo – 6 1/2 x 54
- Churchill – 7 x 50
The Condega Corojo Toro is a nice looking stick, but I have to join the growing chorus of complaint about foot bands. If a company wants to use them, fine, but make sure they are applied in such a way that they can be easily removed or slipped off. These cigars have delicate wrappers, and both samples cracked when I removed the foot band. Once I got over that initial irritation, I really liked the look of this cigar. The wrapper is smooth and attractive, similar to Connecticut shade but darker and thinner. The triple cap is attractive, though it also cracked slightly when I cut the stick prior to smoking. Fortunately the crack didn’t grow beyond that, but there’s no doubt that this is a very finicky wrapper leaf. The draw was fine on both samples; the burn was even and the ash was solid.
Overall excellent construction. (Incidentally, reviews of this cigar have in the past zeroed in on faulty construction. Evidently the factory is employing better quality control these days.)
I think this might be the lightest Nicaraguan puro I’ve ever smoked — the smoke texture is medium-bodied, or becomes that way eventually, but this cigar has only the slightest kick to it. It starts out mild and smooth with an acidic twang typical of Nicaraguan cigars. There is caramel on the nose and a touch of cocoa on the palate.
The middle section of the cigar showcases a stellar aroma — soft woody spices that remind me of Pepin Garcia’s El Centurion cigar. The underlying flavor is toasty with a hint of leather, but the aroma is where the action is. This is a sweetheart of a cigar.
The last third gets a little more serious, but not by much. The acidic accent becomes more pronounced, accompanied by a hint of black pepper and some sweetness on the front palate. The body of the cigar peaks at about a medium, but this cigar never really flexes much muscle at all. This toro is all about finesse, not power.
The Condega Corojo 1999 shares many of the nuances of Don Pepin Garcia’s cigars, but none of the strength. This could be a good or a bad thing, depending on your preferences. While the overall experience is pretty mellow, the aroma is quite dramatic: mild to medium bodied smokers will enjoy this cigar a lot and others may find it a pleasant morning or mid-day smoke. Five to six dollars is a reasonable hit for this stick, but it is a little hard to find. If your local tobacconist carries Tropical products, definitely give it a shot.
Final Score: 89