Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Criollo ’98, Dominican Corojo, Dominican HVA Ligero (Habana Vuelta Abajo)
Size: 5.75 x 43 “Corona”
Today we take a look at the new Rodrigo Cigars Corona Project Vol. 1 Limitada.
The cigars were produced at the Tabacalera William Ventura Factory.
The release was in the fall of 2014. And only 7375 cigars were produced for sale.
Corona Project Vol .1 is available in only one size: 5.75 x 43.
From the Rodrigo Cigars web site:
“The Corona Project Vol. 1 has been in the works for over 2 years. It started as an idea between Rodrigo Cigars owner George Rodriguez and cigar broker Brett Bowersox to bring back traditional cigar making while educating smokers about the virtues of smaller, more concentrated vitolas, namely the “corona”. Many aficionados are already aware of the characteristics of smaller vitolas – distinct flavors, strength and noticeable wrapper influence.
“Blended as collaboration between the father and son team of William and Henderson Ventura and Rodrigo owner George Rodriguez, The Corona Project Vol. 1 delivers an all ligero blend of Dominican Criollo 98, Corojo, HVA, with a Sumatra Ecuador binder, finished in a maduro Broadleaf US Connecticut wrapper.
“Pigtail cap and closed foot.”
“Limited to 295 twenty five count boxes.
“Aged 1 full year prior to release.”
I read two reviews. One big guy really liked this cigar. The other big guy gave it a low rating. I smoked one last night which prompted me to review it. I agree with the first guy. It is a good cigar.
The stick has a nice rustic quality to it. The cigar is a bit bumpy and lumpy. Seams are tight. Lots of small veins. The dark, dark coffee bean wrapper is mottled and oily with a toothy finish. There is a definite reddish hue to the dark brown. And the dark red cigar band adds to that. The pig tails vary from cigar to cigar. Some very prominent and others barely there. The closed foot is nicely done although I usually induce a fireworks show when I light up.
I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, cinnamon, coffee, cedar, blueberry, floral notes, a generic sweetness, and leather.
A blast of red pepper begins the journey. My eyes water and my sinuses clear. There is an oiliness on the lips. The blend is very earthy and creamy. I get my first dose of strong espresso. There are herbal notes of cardamom, cumin, caraway, and thyme. Strange combo.
The construction starts off nicely. A nice even char line. No wrapper issues.
Over the last year, I’ve changed from a robusto man to a corona man. For the mere reason that flavors are more intense. The only downside is that if the cigar is not jam packed, it is a short smoke. In the case of the Rodrigo Cigars Corona Project Vol. 1 Limitada, it is packed to the hilt and a slow smoker. Nice. This should be a 45 minute experience.
The cigar is pumping smoke into the room and the cat decides to move on.
A new vegetal element shows itself.
I received the cigars, a 5 pack from the Rodrigo Cigars web site, a bit on the wet side. 24 hours of dry boxing cured that. I much prefer they come a little over humidified than a Cigar-Sicle. I’m impressed with George’s integrity about the humidification thing. Every time I’ve ordered from him, the cigars come fresh as a daisy.
The strength is very close to medium/full at only 1” burned.
The spiciness has not gone away and keeps my sinuses wide open.
I went to my first rehearsal with the classic rock geriatric band yesterday. I will tell you all about it at the end of the review. If nothing else, it showed me nothing changes regardless of age.
The Rodrigo Cigars Corona Project Vol. 1 Limitada has entered a new stage of interesting flavors.
Here they are: Spice, espresso, creaminess, wood, fruit, sweetness, nutty, herbal notes, floral notes, leather, vegetal notes, olive oil, and a very rich earthiness.
I am digging this cigar big time. But I’ve found that I have never been disappointed by anything George Rodrigo dreams up.
The spice and creaminess play off each other like athletes fencing. A parry here and a balestra there.
The woodiness increases.
The second third begins. It’s been approximately 25 minutes.
And right here, right now, complexity digs its heels in.
A whole new arena. Flavors intermingle and intertwine in the most sophisticated manner. Most of the flavor profile morphs into one. At first, there seems to be an act of entropy but on closer examination, it is merely the flavors twirling around and around spitting out something interesting like a camel spits at a stupid tourist.
Holy shit. I love this stick. I don’t know if the balance of my 5 pack will last the rest of the week. A box is in order.
The price point. $9.50. Ouch. That’s a lot of dough. Especially for a corona. Granted, this is an excellent blend. I believe I found a coupon code in my email from Rodrigo Cigars. I have no idea how long it is good for. It is the word: CAKE. It got me 15% off. So I paid $8.08 per stick. That’s more like it. If you are interested in this baby, move fast before the coupon code expires. And in the “Notes” section, tell George the Katman sent you. Thanks.
I reach the halfway point.
This is one slow smoking puppy. I understand the price point now. George has managed to put a Toro’s smoking time into a Corona.
The flavors are wonderful. Nice balance. Long finish. And very complex. I don’t understand the reviewer that rates cigars giving it such a terribly low score. He even said he smoked 3 cigars for the review. Different strokes I guess.
The Rodrigo Cigars Corona Project Vol. 1 Limitada is a fine, fine cigar.
Construction is first class. Flavor profile is interesting, diverse, and complex.
The sun is out now and I’ve gotten some nice photos showing you how oily the wrapper is.
I go to bed early. Habit. Habit from working in the construction field most of my life. Project managers were expected to be at work as the field was readying itself to hit the job site. So, for years, I was at work at 5am. By 9pm, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. And now that I just sit around smoking cigars and watching TV, by 9pm, I’m bushed. So I end up getting up around 7am. And I boogie downstairs and get the review machine into motion. So I usually have to wait for the sun to hit the back of the house; if there is any sun.
The last third begins. An hour+ of pure enjoyment so far. I figure an hour and 15 minutes will be the total smoke time. Maybe a bit more.
The only change is that some of the flavors begin to really stand out…like the creaminess, espresso, and now some chocolate, spice, wood, and floral notes. It is a nice combination of flavors to end on.
The strength goes out on medium/full.
And now for something completely different:
I wrote this last night after returning home from my first rehearsal with the geriatric classic rock band. I blew it. But how I blew it is the story.
I had to write it while it was fresh in my mind.
No. I didn’t pass the audition. My new bass was to blame. I was to blame.
The good news was that my new case showed up an hour before I left.
It is a 5 piece band; with a bassist. The singer is the leader of the group. And a raging tyrant. Turned out to be a real prick. So what’s new?
And the usual lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist and drums. All lovely fellas. Really.
I stood for 3 hours as songs were screamed out at me. No one asked if I knew the tunes, or gave me the key, or any stops and starts. I had to stop them countless times after they started to fill me in a little. It was assumed that I would know their repertoire they’ve been playing for years. I’ve seen this so many times. You find a band that has been playing the same song list since Jesus was a little boy and they figure you just happen to know their play list through osmosis. I’ve always wanted to throw Chick Corea’s “Spain” at them and ask if they know it? Put the shoe on the other foot.
Of course, at one time or another, I’ve played the songs; but who remembers a million songs over a lifetime of playing?
Every one that has auditioned for a classic rock cover band knows that they‘ve all played the songs at one time; or at least heard them. But remember how they went; note for note? C’mon.
Here was the real problem: I had the bass for less than 24 hours when I did the rehearsal. It is a new bass to me. And fretless. Any real musician knows how hard it is to play a fretless.
So these guys are slinging song titles at me in machine gun fashion. We played for 3 hours straight without a single break.
I used an amp rig that was in the basement. It was a real piece of shit and didn’t help give me any low end.
Here is the magic of playing a fretless. I play with my eyes closed… most of the time. I don’t need to stare at the neck because it doesn’t matter. You are playing be ear. Literally rocking your finger on the fret board, in one place, can alter the pitch of the note.
But I couldn’t do that.
I’m busy watching the guitarist’s hands to learn the songs. I play guitar so I recognize guitar chords. Plus I have to watch them all for starts and stops in the right place. No one band does it the same on any given song.
Then they put some chord charts in front of me with writing so small that I had to bend over to see it.
Meanwhile, I am trying to learn my bass neck. Every fretless is different. And this neck is very different than my beloved Schecter. A bit wider. Sort of a cross between a Fender P and a Fender Jazz. Weird. That’s what you get when you buy a bass online before playing it.
So I felt like a juggling monkey trying to pay attention to the musicians, read the charts, hit the accents, and play my fretless in pitch 24 hours after I got it.
On top of that, I was playing new strings that haven’t really stretched out yet. So I had to constantly tune the bass after each song. New strings make it very difficult to hit the note, right on the money, if the string is out of tune by a 10th of a tone.
They have a pretty hip song list. I truly liked the songs. But they threw tunes at me I didn’t even know. I got no warning of the tempo, who started, what riffs I had to play with the guitarists, nothing. Just 1-2-3-4. And we’re in.
I gave it my all. I did my best under difficult conditions.
Now the kicker. The band leader/singer is a raging prick! He screamed and yelled at the band several times like a crazed dictator. I was shocked that the other guys put up with his shenanigans. He had a nice voice but not a great one. If I went to a club and found out they were playing and had to pay a fee of $2 to get into the club, I’d pass.
I can’t believe how this guy Marty behaved. I was embarrassed for the guys. I made my mind up halfway through the 3 hours there was no way.
I’m too old for shit like that.
I was shocked when he attempted to sing some Roy Orbison songs. What a travesty! You have to have the best vocals in the world to do that. That’s the level of ego I was dealing with.
So we shut down. I sat and put my gear together and just said out loud, “So, you’re seeing other players?”
In the time it takes a mosquito to jerk off, the leader said, “Yep!”
He never mentioned my playing other than, “So Phil. How do you feel about your new bass?”
I shook their hands and left.
I can’t imagine any bassist putting up with this shit.
I asked what happened to the bassist that was no longer with the band.
Get this. He had to quit because of bleeding colitis caused by stress. LMAO!
Now this leader Marty ain’t paying nobody for rehearsals. The musicians are volunteering their time. Yeah they got one gig on April 11. $300 for the band. Woo Hoo!
So the only bassists that are going to show up are old guys. Old guys won’t work with this leader unless they have zero integrity and lack self-esteem. You are there for fun and who wants to be yelled at all the time for playing the wrong note? For free.
I don’t regret going. It was part of the learning curve.
My amp rig is shot. Fucking thing. So now I need to find a good used rig on craigslist. Locally.
I will spend my time diligently learning my bass. First thing I will do this weekend is change out the strings from round wound to flat wound. I want that upright bass growl.
I have a little 30 watt Peavey practice amp. I can use that in front of my laptop. I plan to start studying Jaco, Stanley, Ron Carter, and the rest. And I can do my recording with Rick Tunstall long distance.
The nice thing about a lull in your playing is that you usually come back stronger than ever. The break brings something to your playing. A new vitality. A new strength.
So I’m sure that Marty told the boys in the band what a disappointment I was. If he had any patience, he would have known that since I am retired, I have nothing to do but practice my bass. In a couple weeks, I will be 1000% better than I was.
But Marty is too stupid to understand that. I have the credentials. I’m just not some slob off the street. I’m the Katman!
I betcha a dollar that they have to cancel the gig on April 11 or do it without a bassist. No young player is going to know the ancient Ricky Nelson, Everly Bros, Roy Orbison shit they play. So they have to find a really good old guy that knows every single song they play. And since they only rehearse once a week, he has 4 practices to learn the tunes. An entire night of music. God bless him. I hope he isn’t carrying because one of these days, a pissed off musician is going to shoot Marty in the crotch.
I feel no angst. I feel no shame. I feel no esteem issues. I feel fine. That first time out had to be done. Thank God not all four of them were like Marty, or should I say: Il Duce.
He even looked and dressed like a made guy. In fact, it looked like he was trying to channel Frankie Valli. He told me he was Italian.
The bottom line is that I was naïve, and a bit arrogant, to think that I could play for a band with a brand new instrument that is incredibly difficult to play.
If I had my Schecter, I would have blown them all away and they would have begged for me to join.
After all, I was a rock star, session player, and producer while they are run of the mill cover band players. My bad. Lesson learned.
After reading this, my musical partner and hero, Rick Tunstall, wrote this to me in an email:
“Just read the “Blog.” You deserve credit for doing the whole 3 hrs. A lot of people, myself included, would have taken about an hour of that ridiculous shit and excused themselves saying: “Forgive me I thought I would be auditioning for professionals but I really don’t have time for this juvenile amateur shit.”
But hey it was a valuable lesson in remembering what the musical world is made up of: Imbeciles.
You did good bro.”
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS