There was a time when an American cigar smoker didn’t experiment with new brands and blends. He chose a brand that he liked and he pretty much stuck with that for as long as he chose to smoke cigars. This was a time when the cigar factories of Ybor City flourished and produced thousands of “clear havana” cigars made with tobacco imported from Cuba. The “premium” market of that day was for authentic Havana rolled cigars, but the average American working stiff was quite content with “two for a nickel” King Edward cigars or the like.
Today, most cigar enthusiasts cast a wary eye on King Edward and his drugstore brethren, but it’s worth remembering that Swisher International, the maker of King Edward, La Primadora, and of course Swisher Sweets, is the world’s second largest cigar company by revenue (trailing only Altadis.)
A Swisher executive once said, “There are two kinds of cigars in the world: those that sell and those that don’t.” While that explains Swisher’s business philosophy (and perhaps the secret to their success) it doesn’t explain why they entered the premium cigar market with Bering, a long filler hand-rolled that sells for around 2 dollars. A blue-collar two-dollar cigar.
Bering cigars were at first a long-filler machine-made cigar manufactured by Corral, Wodiska y Ca., starting in 1905. Their Ybor City factory no longer produces cigars (in fact this historic building has been converted to an office complex) but the Bering brand lives on, having been purchased by Swisher in 1985. Swisher eventually moved Bering production to Honduras and made it a 100% handmade cigar, a turning point for Swisher and the Bering line.
The Bering Corona Royale is a tubo, as pictured above. On the other side of the tube it reads “Very Mild Exquisite Cigar.” This is a long corona at 6 inches with a 41 ring gauge and comes equipped with a Connecticut seed wrapper shade grown in Honduras, a binder from Honduras, and filler from Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
This particular specimen has been lounging in my cheapodor for about four months, which I think is probably longer than necessary. I fired it up in the garage and roasted some coffee just to give the cigar some competition in the aroma arena. It starts up with a nice even burn and a straightforward tobacco flavor. I wouldn’t say it was either exquisite or excessively mild at this point, but it certainly wasn’t objectionable.
The aroma is probably the nicest thing about this cigar — a mildly sweet, slightly woody fragrance that blended very well with the Sumatra smoking in the I-Roast. The flavor is simple, everyday cigar tobacco. By the midway point the flavor intensifies somewhat and becomes a little tart. It’s still fairly mild in body, but stronger in flavor.
As it continues the flavor takes on a little cardboard, and then takes a shortcut to bitter paper bag. I wasn’t sure if this was an accurate description, so I cut up some Trader Joe’s paper bags and had a chew… I’m a professional, kids. Do not try this at home.
A cigar that reduces me to chewing on grocery sacks might not have much to recommend itself, but to be honest the cigar was actually better than the bags. Faint praise, I know. If you’re into that astringent flavor that Mexican and some Indonesian cigars have, this one might float your boat. Mine sank.
Bottom Line: This isn’t a half bad yard gar, but I can think of half a dozen yard gars for around the same price that I’d rather smoke.