I’ve been working my way through a couple of Fonseca samplers that I snagged on C-bid, and though I’m wary of cigars that have been repackaged in this way I’ve been quite satisfied this time around. Certainly there have been more hits than misses. One of the better finds is this Anniversary blend, dubbed “Rarissimus”.
The CXX Anniversary blend was released in 2011 to commemorate the founding of the Fonseca label in 1891. Francisco Fonseca established his Havana factory that year (or thereabouts) and eventually introduced two innovations still observed by some manufacturers today: he wrapped his cigars in fine Japanese tissue paper (which is still the case with the Cuban Fonseca) and he was the first to release cigars in tubes (tin, at the time). He immigrated to America in 1903 and registered the Fonseca brand name in 1907.
The 120th Anniversary line was issued by Quesada’s SAG Imports in a limited release of 120,000 cigars. The blend is composed of a Dominican and Nicaraguan filler surrounded by a Dominican binder and finished with a sungrown Dominican wrapper called Habano Vuelta Arriba, a tobacco that is presumably descended from that region in Cuba.
The Rarissimus was created in three sizes:
- Corona – 6 3/8 x 46
- Robusto – 5 7/8 x 52
- Gordo- 4 7/8 x 60
I can only imagine what Francisco Fonseca would have thought of a gordo sized cigar.
The CXX Anniversary Corona is a rough looking customer with its mottled colorado maduro wrapper and pig-tail cap. The roll is solid, though on the surface it feels a little bumpy and lumpy. The head of the cigar is not particularly elegant, despite its pig-tail, but the cigar draws smoothly and burns beautifully. The ash is firm and a pleasantly dirty gray.
This rough looking parejo is not conventionally handsome, but it has character.
The Fonseca 120th Anni opens up with a moderate dash of black pepper, but this is quickly overtaken by the complex aroma of the cigar. It reminds me of something like graham cracker, but with more cinnamon. This is a medium-bodied cigar of equally moderate potency. At times the smoke seems a bit thin, but its flavor never wanes.
A caramel sweetness appears an inch or two into the cigar, supplanting the cinnamon and balancing out the mildly peppery sensation on the palate. The aroma continues to impress even without a dramatic transition.
The cigar settles into earthier territory at the conclusion but otherwise stays the course to its final destination.
The Rarissimus is a fitting tribute to the lasting legacy of Francisco Fonseca. True to the Fonseca tradition, it is a fairly mild cigar, but one with sophistication and finesse. Also true to the tradition is the price of this limited edition: around $5 US for the corona. That’s a remarkable price given the quality of the cigar, but that has always been the hallmark of Fonseca.
If you appreciate a quality medium-bodied cigar, don’t hesitate. I doubt these will be around for much longer.
Final Score: 89