Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 50 “Toro”
Body: Medium
Price: $15.00 MSRP
Humidor Time: 3 weeks

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Cigar band photo courtesy of Cigar Aficionado:
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Today we take a look at the new Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony.
Many thanks to Courtney Smith, Director of Brand Development for C & A Premium Cigars, for the samples.

BACKGROUND:
Regular Production.
From the Cornelius & Anthony press release:
“Cornelius & Anthony Premium Cigars is the new cigar division of the Bailey family’s 150-year-old tobacco company. Our passion for the finest grown tobacco coupled with the foremost aspects of craftsmanship allows us to introduce the most exquisite cigars on the market.

“Our premiere release is Cornelius. This line is a tribute to Cornelius Bailey, Steven Bailey’s great, great, grandfather. Cornelius was the first of 5 generations of Bailey family to run the family tobacco company that was established in 1866.

“Produced at the El Titan de Bronze factory in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Cornelius is made under the supervision of owner Sandra Cobas. Cornelius will be initially released in 3 sizes and presented in boxes of 20.

“The Cornelius blend has a layered complexity with notes of both sweetness and spice. The blend has a refined balance that culminates with a buttery smooth finish.
The Bailey family has passionately cared for the land they cultivate for 5 generations. We are proud to have Cornelius as our premiere release, to introduce our company and our dedication, to you.”

From the Cigar Aficionado web site (2-3-16):
“A Virginia family company known for cigarettes and tobacco plantations now has a premium cigar. Cornelius & Anthony, the premium cigar subsidiary of S&M Brands Inc., will be debuting its new Miami-made Cornelius brand this month. Cornelius is the first brand to be commercially launched by Cornelius & Anthony, and is owned by Stephen Bailey, a fifth-generation progeny of the Bailey family which has grown tobacco in Virginia for the last 150 years.

“If Cornelius & Anthony sounds familiar, it’s because the company had a display booth at last year’s IPCPR trade show in New Orleans, showcasing its Meridian brand, which was made in the Dominican Republic. Those Meridians, however, never made it to market. The brand has been reblended and will be released this summer with new art and new packaging.

“A longtime premium cigar smoker, Stephen Bailey is president of S&M Brands, best known for its Bailey, Tahoe and Riverside brands of cigarettes as well as its portfolio of other machine-made tobacco products, which includes little cigars. The family grows and brokers its tobacco under the company name Golden Leaf Tobacco, also located in Virginia, however none of its tobacco is used for the Cornelius cigar line.”

Photo courtesy of Cigar Aficionado:
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C & A are already preparing for their next cigar. From CA web site (3-28-16):
“When Steven Bailey, tobacco scion and owner of Cornelius & Anthony, launched the Cornelius cigar, the brand paid homage to his family’s 150-year history of growing tobacco in Virginia. Bailey named it after his great-great grandfather. He will again pay tribute to his family’s legacy with his next cigar, Daddy Mac, named after his father, Mac Bailey, which is set to ship early next week.

“The premium cigar company’s sophomore smoke consists of Nicaraguan filler and an Ecuadoran binder draped in a Brazilian wrapper. The cigars are being produced at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, differing from Cornelius & Anthony’s Cornelius cigars, which are produced at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Miami’s Little Havana section.

“Shipping in boxes of 20, Daddy Mac will come in four sizes: Gordo, measuring 6 inches by 60 ring gauge; Toro, 6 by 50; Robusto, 5 by 50; and Corona Gorda, 5 1/2 by 46. The cigars are slated to carry retail prices ranging from $8.50 to $11 per cigar.

“Cornelius & Anthony is a subsidiary of the Bailey family’s S&M Brands Inc., which produces Bailey, Tahoe and Riverside cigarettes, as well as smaller machine-made cigars. The family also grows and brokers tobacco under the company name Golden Leaf Tobacco.”

DESCRIPTION:
Very nice looking stick. Tight seams. Few veins. An impeccable triple cap.
The oily, brown, tortilla/gingerbread wrapper is smooth as silk.
The sticks are solid without much give.
And the cigar bands are attractive and classy.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Toro 6 x 50 $15.00
Robusto: 5 x 50 $13.50
Corona Gorda: 5.5 x 46 $12.00

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell very sweet floral notes; like honeysuckle. There is a milk chocolate element, nutty, caramel, unusually sweet generic notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell barnyard, chocolate, floral notes, nutty, espresso, and sweetness.
The cold draw presents flavors of sweet tobacco, cinnamon, raisins, chocolate, marshmallows, sweetness, nuttiness, and coffee.

FIRST THIRD:
The start is an unmistakable, powerful pepper bomb.
There are notes of sweet black cherries, cinnamon, baking spices, cedar, caramel, and creaminess.
Smoke is plentiful as it wraps my head like a wet towel.
Strength is mild/medium body.
The spice bomb begins to fade.
At the moment, ¾” in, the flavors aren’t vibrant. But the nuttiness takes over the list and makes this blend very pleasurable.

4

I only found two other reviews which gives me pause. Could the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony be an Old School blend? I was given two sticks. When I receive just two, I don’t smoke one to see if it is ready. Why? Because I’ve had more than one occasion when writing a review something catastrophic happens to the cigar and I have a backup cigar to take its place. With only two to play with, I have to guess as to its readiness.

1-1/2” in, things take off. The flavors go from being a bit bland to standing up and yelling, “Hey! I’m over here!” I have no idea what that means.

All the earlier flavors explode like a pie in the face. Now we’re talking.
Strength hits a solid medium body.

Malts show up in different forms. Spicy cinnamon is right up front with the creaminess and nuttiness just behind them. The black cherries become maraschino cherries along with golden raisins and figs. Almost like fruit cocktail. The caramel and malts work in tandem creating a delicious component.
The chocolate is the platform that all the flavors rest upon. The cedar is sweet. And there is another type of sweetness I can’t yet identify.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Strength remains at medium body.
Complexity settles in. Nice balance and a long finish.

I am beginning to taste the “blender’s intent” now. A touch of black licorice shows itself.
I believe that the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony would be better served with 2-3 months of humidor time. Now I know why I only found a couple of reviews.

But I pride my palate in being able to detect possibilities and probabilities of a blend.
The Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony needs a few minor touch ups to the burn line. Nothing serious.

5third

I am very conflicted at this point. I’ve smoked 2-1/2” and I have to admit I expected more. Obviously, the last third will tell me what the entire blend will taste like in a couple months. That’s OK. It’s just that this ain’t no cheap every day cigar. It’s $15.00 a pop.

I must eat my words. While typing the above paragraph, the flavor profile explodes. Big, delicious, fat, wonderful flavors burst upon my palate. It only took the first third for the blend to kick in. This will happen with more aging. And I will return to this review in a couple months and report.

Man, I just have to dileneate the flavors: Malts, spicy cinnamon, fruity sweetness, creaminess, nuttiness, chocolate, caramel, coffee, cedar, marshmallow, and graham cracker.
Makes me long for a s’more.
smore

I reach the halfway point at 45 minutes.
There is a gorgeous complexity now. Like being wrapped in a warm blanket.
This is the $15 part of the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony. Let it rest for 2-3 months and the entire blend; from the start, will taste like this.

6half

In the past, I railed about cigars in this price range. It is the new norm for high end boutique cigars. I took a gander at some reviews several years old and read how I complained about the expensive $9 stick. Things have changed my brothers and sisters.

I gave the Bespoke blends absolutely rave reviews with high scores. This part of the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony matches those blends.
I mean, c’mon, at $15, the blend has to be stupendous or it will die the death of a thousand razors. I stole that from the movie, “Lincoln Lawyer.”

7

The Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony is the perfect cigar for any time of day. Morning or evening, it works perfectly. Its medium body keeps it seamless for a full stomach or an empty one.
I did find a couple of reviews. I have to assume that they received their sticks from C & A the same time I did and they reviewed the blend even sooner than me. And I can agree with them on the flavors and character of the cigar.

I believe all three of us would have had more to say had we waited for the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony to age a bit longer.
On the other hand, the last half is looming large with solid character and flavors.

I’ve slowed down my puffing to make the cigar last longer. Each puff, accompanied by a sip of water does wonderful things to my palate.

I reviewed the Meridian Sopadre by Cornelius & Anthony back in November of last year and loved it. Rated it a 93. And it was half the price of the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony. Is this blend twice as good? No. Is this blend a spectacular package? Yes. I’m a firm believer in manufacturers telling reviewers how long they should wait before reviewing the cigar. The trouble with that is everyone has a different palate. So that’s a no go.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
Strength is a touch above medium body now.

As the great prognosticator, I say this cigar will be worth every shekel in a few months. Flavors I taste in the second half will be batting first at the start of the cigar.

The graham cracker, caramel, malts, chocolate, coffee, marshmallow, sweet cedar, fruitiness, and a touch of spiciness have a perfect balance.

Now you loyal readers know that I don’t B.S. if I think a cigar isn’t up to par. I say it like it is. That’s why you read me. You get the lowdown even if a cigar has been supplied to me by a manufacturer.

8third

Time has flown by. What a spectacular blend! The big difference between the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony and the Bespoke blends is that the Cornelius has big time graham cracker, caramel, and malts.
Cornelius & Anthony hit this one out of the park. I wish now that I had waited a few weeks longer to more accurately report the blend’s character correctly. But I know a great cigar when I smoke it.

Out of nowhere, I get some berry preserves on the palate. Either raspberry or black berry. What a nice surprise.
Construction has been spot on. Yes, the char line needed a couple touch ups but besides that, it is a perfectly rolled cigar.

If $12-$15 for these three sizes is in your wallet’s wheelhouse, I definitely recommend you trying a few. Then you make your own mind up about purchasing more.
I love the Corona Gorda size and I bet it’s a killer.

There is no heat as I prepare for the last rites of the Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony. Flavors are intense. No bitterness. It makes me want to take out a roach clip and smoke it til there is nothing left. But as we are moving this month, all my cigar stuff is packed away.

This has been a wonderful experience. A big sloppy kiss goes out to Courtney Smith for sending me the samples.
I check the press release and can’t find a release date. Maybe Courtney will comment below and let us know.
Good cigar. The Cornelius by Cornelius & Anthony is worth your hard earned dough.

RATING: 94

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