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CA Review Panel: Perla del Mar Corojo Double Toro Cigar Review (Video)
The Perla del Mar Corojo Backstory…
In 2012, J.C. Newman added a new, economically priced line to their portfolio called Perla del Mar. The name means ‘Pearl of the Sea’ and like so many boutique American market cigars these days, it’s the rebirth of a discontinued Cuban brand. Back then, the blends were rolled at Nicaragua’s Tabacos San Rafael factory.
Fast forward to the tail end of 2020, when J.C. Newman overhauls the entire Perla del Mar catalog with re-blends and a fresh image. With those changes came an addition – Perla del Mar Corojo, which along with the rest of the PDM blends, is crafted at J.C. Newman’s PENSA factory in Nicaragua. The first in the PDM series to feature a “Tampa-style” press – their name for a soft box pressing – Perla del Mar Corojo is flat on each side, with a shape that sits somewhere between a rectangle and oval. The corners are rounded instead of sharp, which means the cigar benefits from the coolness of a box-press smoke, while keeping a more traditional feel in your hand and on the draw.
Perla del Mar Corojo cigars are presented in the following sizes:
- Corona Gorda (5 ½” x 46)
- Double Toro (6” x 60) – Our review sample
- Robusto (4 ¾” x 52)
- Toro (6 ¼” x 54)
As always, our mission isn’t to rate the cigar, but rather let you know what we liked – or didn’t – to give you the best info on whether it’s a cigar that’ll be at home in your humidor.
Perla del Mar Corojo Cigar Review – Double Toro
Factory: J.C. Newman PENSA factory, Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Corojo
Presentation: Boxes of 25
Jared’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: Traces of oil and smooth. Mostly well-constructed, but one sample had a small tear that led to unraveling after the band.
Draw: Nice and easy, no difficulty or tightness.
Pre-light flavor: Raisins and pepper on the tip of my tongue.
Toasting & Light: Smooth with notes of lightly sweet wood.
Base flavors: Wood, citrus, fennel, salt, butter, and pepper.
Retrohale: Kind of perfume-y – reminded me of a Cuban in a lot of ways.
Aroma: Nutty and a little floral.
Burn / Ash Quality: Good burn most of the time, firm ash. A few runaways but nothing extreme.
My pros list for the economically-priced Perla del Mar Corojo (under $7 for a 6” x 60 at press time) far outweigh the cons. Aside from a slightly torn wrapper that Pullo and I both experienced on one of our samples, there wasn’t anything else to complain about. Some smokers make a big deal out of things like that – I tend not to.
Up front, it’s peppery. Even on the cold draw if you’re the type to taste your cigar before lighting it. My first lit draw was also peppery, but still quite creamy on the finish. I mostly note wood and citrus, and the sweetness takes a back seat – surprising from a Corojo. After a few more puffs, the pepper takes over the finish, giving some lingering tingle on the back of my throat. Important to note here that even though it’s peppery, it’s not an intense pepper sensation. Perla del Mar Corojo is certainly no bomb.
It takes an inch or so more to introduce all the flavors – most notably among them is fennel, which some of you may identify as anise or black licorice. Additionally, salt, butter and pepper, which has died down significantly until the last third of the cigar. These stay put through the halfway mark and a little beyond, giving this big-ring a wide sweet spot.
Speaking of the last third – it was the most Cuban-esque of the entire smoke. There were some floral elements in the smoke, especially during the retrohale which reminded me of that perfume-y-ness that some Cuban cigars exhibit. All of this complemented the blend’s floral aroma.
Who is Perla del Mar Corojo for? To me, the blend is medium-bodied and geared toward a wide audience, but because of its light pressing, it makes a big-ring smoke feel smaller on the draw. This means you get the smoothness of a 60 gauge with a cigar that – to me – feels more like 54, a noticeable difference. If those heavyweight cigars have seemed a little too intimidating to try, this 6” x 60 is a great stepping stone.
John’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: The Corojo wrapper has a nice light brown color and a bit of tooth. The Tampa press makes this a big, flat and wide 60 – the top and bottom are flat as a board, while the sides are rounded.
Draw: Some resistance; produces a thinner, more silky smoke.
Pre-light flavor: The smell is cedar and dry spice; the taste is raisin and fermented tobacco.
Toasting & Light: Starts with charred wood and molasses notes, but those die out quick.
Base flavors: Toast, spice, cookie, anise, sweet, toasty.
Retrohale: Citrus sweetness at first, more spice and cedar later.
Aroma: A pleasant dry sweetness, along with cedar.
Burn & Ash Quality: This slow burner stacks a pretty decent grey ash, with only a bit of flake.
I should immediately disclose my soft spot for Perla del Mar, and I consider the Connecticut one of the most underrated out there. Now comes this overhaul, as J.C. Newman has doubled down on Perla del Mar’s Cuban-ness with a Corojo wrapper.
And it’s a good one.
A few minutes in and I thought the Perla already had a lot going for it, like plenty of spice-tingles. Then it finds the sweet spot in the middle: a silky smoke loaded with a wide variety of dry spices (we can include ginger and fennel, along with vanilla spice, espresso, and even an eye-opening pop of wasabi). Think ginger snaps, and maybe those Stella D’oro coffee cookies. By the last third, the spices have calmed and collected themselves. A touch-up near the end stretches my burn time out to well over an hour and 45 minutes.
As I said in the review, 6×60 is kind of rare territory for me. Applying the Tampa style press to this Double Toro actually shapes the cigar into a rectangle; it’s a little more manageable than most Gordos, but it still feels big. That may or may not be a challenge for you.
But flavor-wise, this Perla del Mar Corojo defies plenty of expectations. It’s a far cry from the Connecticut, going through this huge, 2-hour long transition that has plenty of tasting notes making appearances. Very pleasant, not strong, and certainly interesting, the Perla del Mar could easily become your summer cigar.
Gary’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: The Corojo wrapper is stunning. Nice and clean with a buttery smooth, tanned leather appearance, and barely any veins to show. The box pressing is also well done with more of a trunk-like pressing that gives this vitola more of a rectangular shape. The cigar is finished with a four-seam cap, too, something I’ve rarely seen.
Draw (airflow): Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Figgy and nutty.
First Few Puffs: Smoke is smooth and creamy to start with a mix of dried fruit, nuts, and some leather.
Base flavors: Nuts, sweet tobacco, leather, baking spices (nutmeg, cinnamon).
Retrohale: Smooth through the schnoz with a little spiciness.
Burn / Ash Quality: Very impressive burn, even outside on a breezy day. The ash is quite firm. It displays an almost entirely pale grey color with little black spots that reminded me of dominos.
For starters, the box pressing made the Perla del Mar Corojo Double Toro feel a little big in the mouth but it didn’t take long to adjust; actually, I prefer bigger ring gauges in pressed sizes. So, you get used to it fairly quickly. I loved the look and feel of the wrapper, too.
From the get-go, the smoke was smooth, creamy, and nutty with some underlying sweetness. For the most part, the body hung somewhere between medium and full. The smoke was uber-thick, resulting in nice big clouds when expelled with a slightly spicy and fairly long finish. For the most part, I found the flavor profile mostly nutty, sweet, spicy, well-balanced, and highly consistent. By the midsection, the strength is medium-full, which remains so to the nub.
Suffice it to say. . . I think this new Perla del Mar selection is a great addition to the J.C. Newman stable. And since the brand has a Cuban pedigree, it makes sense to do it in a top-grade Corojo wrapper with a box pressed shape. The Corojo Double Toro was a pleasant surprise, and I wouldn’t stop any cigar lover, regardless of their experience, from giving it an hour or more of their time. It checked all the right boxes for me. And, if like me, you don’t usually smoke Gordos or Double Toros, try one of the other sizes. If they’re anything like this Double Toro, you’re in for a satisfying treat that fits the bill day or night.