The other day as I was sweating my way into the second half of a nice toro-sized cigar I realized it is officially summer, and it’s time to switch to something smaller. Every summer I find new-found appreciation for full-bodied petite coronas, perlas, and minutos. In past years I’ve acquired boxes of Rocky Patel Sun Grown Juniors and Pepin Garcia Black 1952s to bide my time until the earth’s axis tilts more comfortably away from the sun, but so far this year I have no contender for the position.
But just in time, there appears to be a qualified applicant at the door. A new cigar called Perritos was quietly released a few months ago by General Cigar. Made in Santiago in General’s El Credito division (E.P. Carrillo’s old La Gloria Cubana outfit), Perritos are ugly little smokes made without the benefit of molds or presses. They look like slightly larger versions of the Italian cheroots Clint Eastwood smokes in the spaghetti westerns.
In this case, looks are deceptive. Somehow Team La Gloria has packed into this 5.5 x 38-ring gauge cigar a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, two filler leaves from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, and then wrapped it up in a Habano leaf from Ecuador.
And to my great surprise, this little doggie has teeth.
Okay. This is not a cigar you’ll be passing out at your wedding, or handing to the boss on the links. The cigar is rolled entirely freehand and the head is shaped to a point that is left open. Some of them crook a little to the left, others to the right, and they’re as bumpy as a washboard road. Looking at this cigar for the first time, you have to hope that its smoking qualities exceed its aesthetic beauty, because it has very little.
On the other hand, it draws and burns quite well. The ash doesn’t fall off like you’d expect it to, and in every other respect it seems to be constructed like a premium cigar.
Looks aside, very good overall construction.
Some cigars have names a mile long, but Team La Gloria has surpassed that by giving the Perritos a subtitle: “War of Flavors.” I initially took that to be advertising overkill, but after smoking a few of these I think it truly is an apt description.
The Perritos start up with a expressive bang of pepper and sweet cedar. The smoke is aromatic, strong, and full-bodied. After a half-dozen puffs it coats the palate nicely.
The pepper drops off after an inch or so, but at that point other spices pick up the slack and make sure its martial spirit doesn’t flag. Leather enters the fray at the mid-point and the aroma turns from cedar to oak.
Char characterizes the last inch before the band, but I was captivated by a sweet cherry note which kept me interested to the end.
There’s a lot of fight in these mangy looking mutts, and I have to admit that I’m impressed. Despite their diminutive and careworn appearance, they’re remarkably complex. Even better, you won’t pay a purebred price — the MSRP is marked at $2.50 a pup, but boxes of 50 can be found without much effort for around 70 bucks, dropping the single price considerably.
If you’re in the market for a short smoke but don’t want to sacrifice flavor, these Perritos may turn out to be your new best friend.