Rocky Patel Edge – Corojo
Corojo vs. Criollo: What do they mean?
If you want to experience a cigar that models the taste profile of a Cuban cigar, but you do not have a connection or the bucks to get the real thing, consider a cigar with a Corojo (pronounced Co-ro-ho) or Criollo (pronounced creee-yo-yo) wrapper or blend.
Though these tobaccos may seem like newer trends in the cigar industry, they are actually somewhat of a retro movement to the past. These two tobacco types are legacies and a part of the genesis of the quality and legend of the Cuban cigar. Most of the Corojo and Criollo tobaccos in use today are newer, hybrid strains of the old original strains of popular Cuban tobacco. The original tobaccos proved to be too susceptible to various diseases. Ironically, as popular as it is today among cigar smokers, the original Cuban Corojo is no longer used as the basis for most of today’s Cuban cigars. The hybrid forms have taken its place.
These hybrid strains are often identified by new names like Criollo 98/99 and Habana 2000. However, there has been some debate in the industry regarding the authenticity of the “Corojo” / “Criollo” branding on a given cigar. The majority of the cigars that are legally sold today in the United States will not be Corojo or Criollo in its purest form. For starters, even if a hybrid form is not being used and pure Corojo or Criollo seed was the basis of the tobacco in a given cigar, it would still not have been grown and cultivated in Cuba. Secondly, a number of cigars have had Corojo in the name, but they may not actually use Corojo tobacco, hybrid or not. Like anything else that begins to work in the market, the marketing departments at some cigar companies have jumped on the bandwagon to exploit it. The Corojo naming has sometimes simply been adopted as part of the brand because its look, aroma or taste may mimic that of Corojo tobacco.
A good Corojo-based cigar, hybrid or not, will provide a rich and flavorful smoke. Criollo will do the same, but tends to be even spicier/more peppery than Corojo. If you prefer a light, mild smoke, you may want to avoid these types of cigars. If you want to experiment or prefer a heartier flavor in your cigar, your best bet is to rely on or develop a relationship with a professional – your local tobacconist. He (or she) should be able to inform you properly of what exactly you are getting for your money and guide you to some good Corojo and Criollo sticks.
So, let’s get smokin’ – some Corojo tobacco!
Rocky Patel Edge – Corojo
Made in: Honduras
Price: $6 - $7
Let it be known that the Rocky Patel brand of cigars is one that I hold in high respect. The Edge Maduro and Corojo can almost always be found in my humidor. I have to confess that I have been traditionally partial to the Edge Maduro, but the Corojo is a close second and in this case I wanted something rich in flavor, but lacking the sweeter undertones of a maduro.
With the summer of 2009 now gone, I had to get out to the hammock as it won’t be long before the weather will make this favorite pastime of mine something that gets mothballed until the spring. I had been carrying this cigar with me for a few days, intending to smoke it while up in Ohio, but never got the opportunity. Getting settled back at home, I had to put the flame to it and I was glad I did.
Look and feel
This Rocky Patel Edge line of cigars surprised the industry when they came out a few years ago. They were a reasonably priced cigar with a minimalist approach to their retail presentment. They were offered as singles or in simple rustic looking boxes of 100, with no bands or individual wrappers. Upon inspection, the cigar was easy to assess in this somewhat naked state. The cigar was wrapped and filled in a quality manner, but still looked a bit on the rustic side with the dark Corojo wrapper leaf. Prominent veins ran through the leaf and the head of the cigar had the missile shaped tapered end. The burn was slow, sometimes uneven but it usually corrected itself on its own.
Aroma and Taste
Upon flaming it up, there was some slight level of pepper, but mostly a rich woody and leathery flavor that lasted consistently throughout the smoke. A slight sweet and occasional fresh baked bread taste appeared occasionally. The aroma was one of a strong, traditional cigar, nothing too unique about it. I usually am surprised at the smoothness of the smoke and finish for such a flavorful and aromatic cigar. I would say that it is properly classified as a medium to full bodied smoke. However, after smoking a number of these over time, I will say that the strength of the nicotine level can vary significantly across individual cigars in this blend.
RATING: 9.0 (on a scale of 1 to 10) – I like this cigar and it is a good value. I would highly recommend it for a day where you have the time to sit, relax and enjoy it. It is an excellent smoke to pair with smoky bourbon or an earthy scotch. This cigar is not one that I would recommend for a newer cigar smoker, but it could work for someone looking to begin expanding his palate towards a fuller bodied cigar.
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"There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation." –William James, American Philosopher