Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
Size: 5.5 x 46 Corona Gorda
Today we take a look at the 1936 Elegante by Tabacalera Casa De Zabala.
Thanks to Ricky for the gift.
September 13, 2017: It’s been brought to my attention that Cigarsdirect.com is sold out. You can purchase directly from Zabala Cigars at (407) 340-9154.
I will update you when I hear back from Zabala.
I reviewed the Double Figurado 2 years ago and since size matters I thought I’d review the newest size; the Corona Gorda and see how it holds up against the stellar blend I smoked in May of 2015.
I noted in that review, later, that I had tried the Toro and proved the point that size matters as it was still outstanding but with different nuances and subtleties. I expect the Corona Gorda to be an intense experience.
From the Zabala Cigars web site:
“Once Don Gabriel Zabala arrived at Ellis Island in the 1800s, he brought with him not only a dream to succeed in life but also his passion for fine cigars, instilled in him by the Zabala Family Tradition. Circumstances beyond his control forced him in a different direction. After many years of living in the United States, he finally settled down in a town west of San Juan, Puerto Rico named San Sebastian, where he became what is known in the island as “Alcalde del Pueblo” (Unofficial Town Mayor). The excellent climate and the richness of the soil in the island provided him with the necessary tools to continue and expand the Zabala Family Tradition.
“Today, after five generations, the head of the Zabala Family, Don Joe Zabala, Sr. with great honor to his heritage and tradition decided to release to the public the 1936 Elegante with the hope that you will enjoy this rich aromatic and flavorful cigar as much as our family and friends have enjoyed for years.
“The 1936 Elegante with its carefully balanced blend of Nicaraguan Binder and Filler is wrapped in a rich and oily Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper. It will satisfy the most demanding of aficionados, with delicious flavors of roasted coffee and spices. The rich undertones of almonds and creamy earthiness will please the most discerning smokers.”
SIZES AND PRICING PER SINGLE: (cigarsdirect.com)
5 x 50 Robusto $10.95
6 x 50 Toro $11.95
6.5 x 52 Torpedo $11.95
5.5 x 46 Corona Gorda $8.99
7 x 42 Lancero $8.99
5.5 x 52.5 Double Figurado $9.99
Click “Find Retailer” for B&M’s that sell Zabala cigars.
At this time, the only online store to sell Zabala cigars is cigarsdirect.com. Ricky is setting up an opportunity for fans to buy directly from his web site. Stay tuned.
Indoor light produces an oily, shiny coffee sheen to the chocolate brown wrapper. In sunlight, the wrapper is more of a mottled ginger cinnamon look with extreme glow. The stick is hard but that may mean nothing. I’ve smoked two already and there were no air flow issues.
A couple large veins interrupt the flow of the cigar’s look but it is seamless and beautiful. The triple cap is flawless.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell out of your mind dark chocolate with raisins, baking spices, rich dark espresso, red pepper, cedar, honeyed cream, and a touch of black licorice.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell that same delicious dark cocoa, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, espresso, licorice, cedar, and a touch of citrus.
The cold draw presents flavors of strong malt flavor, milk chocolate, coffee with cream, floral notes, leather, honey, raisins, baking spices, cedar, and a rich tobacco essence.
Naturally, my review cigar is a bit over packed and air flow needs to be remedied. I grab my PerfecDraw cigar poker and with two swipes, I clear that minor plug, near the cap, instantly and I’m good to go. (Don’t forget. Use promo code Katman for 15% off plus free shipping).
Quick off the starting blocks, flavors of chocolate, creamy coffee, red pepper, molasses and honey, butterscotch, licorice, leather, baking spices, citrus, and floral notes assault my palate like the British taking Dunkirk.
This is how a good cigar should start things off. With a bang and then a cigarette afterwards. And then slide over to the dry side of the bed.
The pepper alternates between red, black and white with no premonition of predictability. Totally spontaneous and without prior written notification.
The malt element rises to the top along with a rich homemade tasting whipped cream. The chocolate is so dense that it takes me back to being a kid going to the movies with friends and the first purchase (after popcorn) was a big box of malted milk balls. Made dentists of all ilk’s very happy…especially the sadistic prick that called himself my dentist…right out Steve Martin’s portrayal in “Little Shop of Horrors.” My dentist made me hold the drill’s foot pedal and hold it down while he drilled. So when it hurt, I partially released the foot pedal pressure making the drill slow down. How friggin sick is that?
I’m getting a touch of caramel stealing the butterscotch’s thunder. It’s creamier and buttery.
The 1936 Elegante is killing me. What a monumental difference between this blend and the Avo Ritmo I reviewed yesterday. Hey Avo…get your ass over to Tabacalera Casa De Zabala and let them show you a thing or two.
Oh right…strength is a solid medium/full. That’s how the blend started. No futzing around…get down to it. I love it. No pussy light mild bodied cigar for this little Katman first thing in the morning before breakfast. I want to hallucinate from a strong cigar first.
The 1936 Elegante is so fully packed that it takes its sweet time burning…hunka, hunka, burnin’ love. But the PerfecDraw cigar poker cleared the pathway yet allows for that bail of tobacco to be smoked leisurely without me cursing. I love Corona Gordas because they tend to be so much more intense in the flavor department and my only criticism of most 5.5 x 46 sizes is that they are over with too quickly. Not here. It’s taken 15 minutes to burn 1”.
The char line is dead nuts perfect.
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Just like the 1936 Elegante I reviewed 2 years ago, there is a plethora of rich English black licorice. I discovered Pontefract Cakes when I lived in London in the 70’s. I had no idea what real licorice tasted like til then. I ate til I realized real licorice is a laxative and pooping like a goose became discomforting.
New flavors to the mix…raisins spread their wings to include other dried fruit such as figs and dates. I like that. The citrus gets into the act and I get a drunken lemon flavor whose tartness works perfectly in tandem with the caramel and dried fruit. Also, there is a touch of salted nuttiness.
OK. A quantum leap occurred as a deep complexity settles in. Transitions go nuts. The finish is a mile long that finds sips of water explode and linger.
Full strength is upon me. I don my crash helmet. I put one on my cat Sammy just in case I pass out and fall on top of him.
Damn. I truly dug the Double Figurado I reviewed 2 years ago but this little firecracker is making my toupee spin. Damn.
The spiciness is perfect. Lots of it but not overwhelming.
This blend is smack dab in the middle of my wheelhouse. This is my kind of blend.
No nicotine yet but definitely a very strong cigar.
The halfway point takes a slow roll of 50 minutes. This is impressive.
Each puff is a new treat. When a cigar tastes like the 1936 Elegante, I have no qualms of spending $9. Worth every dime.
I love creaminess in a strong blend. It evens out the other flavors and enhances them at the same time.
I’ve had zero burn issues. That is rare. Too many manufacturers use lower level rollers and it becomes painfully apparent as you keep bringing the torch up to the burn line to fix it. I’m convinced that constantly burning the excess wrapper away takes its toll on the overall flavor profile. It can create a burnt flavor.
The ash only disengages with me using a ball peen hammer.
Only halfway through and, unless some act of God occurs, this will be a full on rave review.
Flavors are as intense as a sea of swarming simbas. There is no let up. No lulls. Just perfection.
BTW- I learned that Zabala Cigars is working on a new blend. ETA? Not sure. The Zabala folks own a B&M and started this venture as a hobby for their customers. Remarkable for first timers.
A great cigar will start out impressively and then head for the stratosphere from there. The 1936 Elegante fills this criteria to a tee.
Smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
I don’t think it matters what size you choose…this blend will knock your socks off. Cigarsdirect.com doesn’t carry the Corona Gorda or the Lancero yet. But it does carry the other three sizes. Just as good.
Sometime soon, you will be able to buy direct from Zabala Cigars’ web site.
Complexity is perfect. Transitions are perfect. A ton of nuance and subtlety. A finish that will make you plotz.
I cannot recommend highly enough that you try the 1936 Elegante. I don’t find myself in the position of going gaga over a cigar that often. It beats the crap out of dissing some overpriced cigar.
I thank the baby Jesus for making what is usually a short smoke a real adventure that takes its sweet time. It is smoking in the same time frame as a Robusto or even a Toro. Can I get an amen?
I’m ruined for the day…maybe the week.
OK. Nicotine has made its landing on my puny brain. Oy. If I don’t slow down even more, I will have an acid flashback.
Actually, it’s not that bad considering how strong a blend this is.
No doubt. The 1936 Elegante will make my 2017 top cigar list.
Still, no need to touch up the char line. Perfect burn and construction.
Every listed flavor is in play. Just exponentially more intense.
I near the end of my Zabala journey and I am saddened.
Now here is the real kicker. I’ve only had my 1936 Elegante cigars in my humidor for 2 weeks! This is unheard of. I tried my first one the day after receipt and it was great.
If you go to cigarsdirect.com to buy some…and you should…tell them the Katman sent you. They are nice people. I even worked as a reviewer for them in 2010.
You can also call Zabala Cigars and order direct. You will be able to purchase the Corona Gorda and the Lancero.
The 1936 Elegante finishes with a giant flourish without a hint of harshness or bitterness.
Writing this review was like finding a golden ticket.
And now for the absolutely superfluous story that took place a long time ago in a place far, far away…and has nothing to do with the review.
This is a repeat story so my apologies to long time readers. I chose this story specifically because my lifelong friend is in the story: Allen Skipper Howlett.
Dr. O. L. Jaggers (Universal World Church)
(The first church on the planet CERES)
The story of an insane preacher.
We were the triumvirate. The Musketeers. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It was just me, Skip, and Travis. And we were roommates during our college days. We lived in a nice, 3 bedroom house in Santa Ana. On summer nights, we regularly went up to the hip and valley roof and watched the stars and passed the doobie. Marvelous times even though we were as poor as church mice.
We had a few indulgences on TV. Star Trek, of course. Saturday Night Live, absolutely. (Which is where I got my nickname of Kohnhead). And Dr. O.L. Jaggers.
Jaggers was an odd creature and his wife, Miss Velma, were a pair of evangelical preachers that scared the bejeezus out of us.
Jaggers was based out of South Central L.A.(The hood) He had a huge church cluttered with massive photos/paintings of himself and his wife…they seemed god like in their poses. But the stage was the real show.
Jaggers had built an 80’-0 long golden altar on that stage. The altar had to have been over 10’-0 high.
It was painted white with gold trim. It had gargoyles and angels and weird outcroppings of artistic impressions of Jesus and Mary. Above the altar were disco balls that were lit and spinning so that the golden altar sparkled like something that had dropped from heaven.
This thing was so big it could fit 15 black Gospel singers on it. Directly in front of the altar, was a dazzling white grand piano with gold trim. Jaggers would play it by playing arpeggios and sang his songs of “I’m Nuts, How Are You?”
Back to the essentials of the Jaggers: They were insane. While Jaggers preached, there would be 8th grade science and biology movie clips shown behind him. They had the scratches and stutter of old films. And had nothing to do with what he preached. Of course, no one had any idea what he preached because he was nuts. We would smoke a doob hoping we would understand. That didn’t help. He also wore white garb that looked like it was made for The Commodores.
Our favorite part was near the end of the show when he grabbed his all white Fender Stratocaster and began playing Pete Townshend style, with windmill strokes. Mind you, this man was in his 60’s at the time and was very, very conservative.
He told us TV viewers the only way our prayers could be heard by God was to send him money…and in return, he would send us a golden prayer cloth with the outline of his hand on it. So being the suckers we were, we sent the money and got a ratty, thread torn, golden cloth about 6” x 6” with a stamped hand print on it.
We decided to visit on a Sunday. Because of the location, we were the only white boys in his church. But we were welcomed with warmth and generosity.
We marveled at the golden altar in person.
The crowd loved Jaggers and Miss Velma. They cheered and repeated words he prompted them to repeat like lemmings.
And then the anointing of the oil. We got in line while the gospel singers tore the place up. I had a huge, monster afro. Skip had hair past his shoulders. And Travis looked like the Gorton Fisherman. Real Hippies.
Women were flailing on the floors upon anointing. Convulsions. They got dragged away and out of the view of the TV camera.
I wish I had a camera at the moment he looked at this hippie. I almost gave him a heart attack. But he still took the ketchup bottle with vegetable oil and squeezed it just a little extra for me on my forehead. There was pure hatred in his eyes.
He announced that Sunday morning that Jesus Christ would appear at his church for the Easter services in a few weeks. Travis went by himself only to report that Jesus was a no show.
You can read about what Frank Zappa’s experience was like when he visited the Universal World Church.
Jaggers is such a nut, that there are several of his sermons on YouTube. This will give you an idea of what we were dealing with.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS