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2020 CA Report: Corojo Revival – The 9 Best Corojo Cigars
The Corojo Revival: 9 Top Corojo Wrapper Cigars
What is Corojo?
Corojo was first developed in the 1930s on Cuba’s El Corojo plantation, just outside of San Juan y Martinez. The leaves often cure to a darker brown hue with an oily and sometimes toothy disposition. They’re also naturally sweet and often creamy. These attributes made it popular on some the island’s most premier blends like the Cohiba Esplendido, among many others. But like so many great things from our past, Corojo rose to the top before falling victim to technology.
The Graceful Death of Corojo
The once crown jewel of Cuban wrapper tobaccos, Corojo is now considered too susceptible to diseases like black shank and blue mold which can easily decimate entire crops. The varietal was phased out in favor of disease resistant Corojo hybrids like Habano 2000, Criollo ’98, and Corojo ’99. By the late 90s, Cuba wasn’t growing non-hybridized varietals at all. True Corojo – it seemed – had passed on.
Corojo growing in Honduras (pic via Asylum/CLE Cigars)
Hybrids made their way into Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and other popular tobacco countries, and paved the way for American market Corojo classics like Camacho Corojo, Rocky Patel The Edge Corojo, Joya de Nicaragua’s Antano Dark Corojo, and others.
Corojo tobacco being prepared for curing at the Eiroa farm.
Editor’s note: You can still find authentic Corojo – sort of – if you look for it. Christian Eiroa of C.L.E. Cigars was able to “resurrect” Corojo just ahead of the cigar boom with the Camacho brand. The story goes that Christian’s father brought authentic Cuban Corojo seeds to Honduras in the late ‘80s, and their flavor catapulted blends like Camacho Corojo into instant fame. Christian maintains that he is the sole proprietor of authentic Corojo and to this day has an arsenal of crop science tricks up his sleeve to prevent disease without needing to hybridize his seeds.
The Corojo Revival
Over the past few years, a slew of boutique manufacturers has begun to top their cigars with those oft forgotten leaves. Like every fad, there comes a point when the craze comes full circle. Remember when flared jeans made a comeback in the 90s? Or how some fashion elements from the 90s are becoming in-vogue among the younger crowds today? The new generation of cigar enthusiasts are yearning to connect with their roots, and these small batch blenders are making it happen.
9 of the Best Corojo Cigars
Though Habano 2000 and Criollo ’98 varietals are hybrids of Corojo, we’ve chosen to simplify this list by only selecting cigars with “Corojo” listed as their wrapper. These cigars come from a host of popular boutique manufacturers and represent, in my opinion, the best of their modern-day representations. If you’ve smoked any of these, or even have a recommended addition, please sound off in the comments below!
Asylum Lobotomy Corojo
Asylum Lobotomy Corojo brings Christian Eiroa, Tom Lazuka, and Famous Smoke Shop together for an unrivaled cigar experience. If you love the gusto of Nicaraguan tobaccos – it’s got it! Plus, an authentic Honduran-grown Corojo-seed wrapper. Flavors are full-bodied and peg the needle toward the zesty and spicier sides. Additionally, these cigars boast a sweet and smooth layer of smoke on the finish. It’s like smoking an old-school Camacho Corojo with a little more panache…pure music to our taste buds. If that’s not enough, it’s quite budget-friendly, too!
Who is this cigar for? Even though Lobotomy Corojo is full-bodied, it’s certainly not overbearing. Think fuller flavors, not high strength. Even newer smokers will likely enjoy one after dinner.
HVC Serie A
Reinier Lorenzo is currently one of our favorite blenders, dare I even say he’s something of an alchemist. HVC Serie A earned a feature in our Top 25 Cigars of the Year for 2019. With ‘set your watch to it’ consistency, the cigar burns with a savory sweetness among peppers, spices, and woody undertones. The blend is a potent medley of Aganorsa-grown tobaccos from Nicaragua under a creamy, reddish-hued Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper. Gary and I gave the cigar a spin on his #nowsmoking series, so check that out for a more in-depth look at this humidor-worthy stick!
Who is this cigar for? HVC Serie A has some fire in its heart, so I would recommend this to any smoker who has some time and experience. Just make sure you’ve eaten first!
“What would you do if you were able to do it all over again?” This was the question that inspired Christian Eiroa’s 2012 return to the cigar industry with C.L.E. And he didn’t merely Xerox his Camacho Corojo. This cigar is its own animal with notes of salt, earthiness, brown sugar, cedar and spices. This C.L.E. offers a decadent profile that comes from Christian’s signature authentic Corojo harvests, and a full-bodied cast of Honduran tobaccos in the core. To put it simply: lightning in a bottle…again!
Who is this cigar for? This middle-of-the-road smoke gets a little punchy at times, but it’s still even-tempered enough for the newbs. Great anytime, but perfect for after lunch.
Leaf by Oscar Corojo
Not cellophaned, nor cedar-sleeved, nor encased in a tubo, Leaf by Oscar Corojo – and all of the Leaf series for that matter – are wrapped in a dried tobacco. Some smokers make the mistake of setting the cigar alight before removing it, and that never ends well. So, remove the outer band, unwrap that dry layer of tobacco, and inside you’ll find an oily, all-Honduran blend. Oscar Valladares made sure that this Leaf has flavors of cedar, mild peppers, cocoa, and earth. In short, delicious complexity with a medium-bodied character. They’re easy to pick up and hard to put down.
Who is this cigar for? Leaf by Oscar suits just about anyone, but new smokers looking to step up their game a bit will love that it offers some excellent flavor without turning on the heat.
You could buy a $30 super premium and have bragging rights for about 15 minutes. Or…you could take that $30 and get a 5-pack of JFR Corojo (based on press date prices) and still have enough change leftover for coffee. And no, these aren’t cheap. They’re a value. Here’s the difference: Dried fruit, leather, earth, citrus, and a tangy finish. You don’t get flavor like that on a yard gar. JFR Corojo are daily drivers. Great flavor, quality construction, and most importantly, consistency. Give it a go and see if you agree!
Who is this cigar for? Intermediate-level smokers will love that it’s full-flavored, but medium in strength, and even the rookies will find a lot to love if they smoke it after dinner – especially at its price.
Warped Guardian of the Farm
Savory sweetness by the truckload. That’s what you can expect from Warped’s Guardian of the Farm. These smokes were forged out of a partnership between Kyle Gellis of Warped and Max Fernandez of Aganorsa and their love of dogs. Fittingly so, each size is named after bulldogs that keep vigil over the tobacco farms. The blend is all Nicaraguan, and each are rolled right here in the good ol’ US of A. We found notes of salt, cream, caramel, and a lingering earthy spice. Given that they’re this tasty while well below the $10 mark, you’ll likely find many reasons to keep them handy.
Who is this cigar for? Guardian of the Farm is geared mostly toward veteran smokers. Both the flavor and strength ping high on the register, but don’t think that means it’s a pepper bomb.
Everyone goes nuts over El Gueguense Maduro. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great cigar (and earned #3 Cigar of the Year in 2018)…but I just prefer the “natural” El Gueguense (sounds like el whey-when-say) for its cast of sweet espresso notes over fresh earth, cream and spices. That prodigy Nick Melillo sure knows how to blend ‘em. And he should since he once oversaw tobacco at Drew Estate. But with his company, Foundation Cigar Co., he’s found his true voice. Light one of these up, and maybe you’ll find your palate – all over again.
Who is this cigar for? A fantastic all-rounder, El Gueguense will find a happy home among every taste bud. Seriously, unless the only cigars you like give most of us the spins, you’re walking away with a smile.
Caldwell Long Live The King
This King’s got a knack for dark flavors and rare tobaccos – Robert Caldwell made sure of that. First, he chose a circa 2008 Corojo Dominicano wrapper. Next, Robert stuffed it with vintage Corojo Ligero Dominicano leaves, among choice Peruvian and Nicaraguan selections. Long Live the King begins with a bang of sweet, earthy spices and rounds out fast with dark tobacco nuances and a hint of gingerbread. It’s a “sippin cigar” cigar for sure, so smoke it slow and steady as to not miss out on its subtleties.
Who is this cigar for? Long Live The King is full-bodied, but it’s strongest up front and settles down pretty quick. I think even newer smokers could jump on board if they take it slow.
Rocky Patel Number 6
Rocky Patel Number 6 hits the ground running with sweet cream, earth, caramel, and spices. But don’t worry, it’s still got that Rocky boldness, via red pepper notes, too. It took him six tries to get the blend where he wanted it, a testament to the diligence of blenders within his ilk, even when they have upwards of 30 years of experience. And the tobaccos he crowned the winners, a mix of hand-picked Honduran and Nicaraguan leaves. As John said in his recent video review of Rocky Patel Number 6, “Don’t be surprised if 6 becomes your number 1.”
Who is this cigar for? With an even temperament, Number 6 bridges the gap between beginner and aficionado with an emphasis on flavor and smoking experience – not strength.
Camacho Corojo (the Classic)
Okay, so I fibbed. There are 10 cigars here, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to feature this Corojo classic. Plus, 10 is a nice, even number, and looks way better to my OCD-ridden brain. And what a classic to choose…Camacho Corojo, and made entirely of it, too. Some have billed the cigar as one of the strongest cigars of all time. I’ll raise the pot and say it’s easily one of the most flavorful, but strongest – I don’t believe that’s true. I noted some floral elements to the smoke, along with cedar, leather, peppers, and a silky sweetness that sits in the background. Toss in a more-than-fair price, and you’ve got one of the greatest post-embargo smokes one can find. Not a bad deal at all.
Who is this cigar for? I said it’s not the strongest by any means, but it still is strong, so smokers who’ve been around the block a few times will appreciate the blend most. If you are new, right here is a cigar to work toward.