Friday, September 19, 2008

G.A.R. by George A. Rico (Corona Gorda)

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G.A.R. is a new cigar by George A. Rico, maker of the Gran Habano line of cigars and 3 Siglos. I really could not get much information about the cigar from the GAR cigars website, except that it is "tailored for the style he is known for today and will be known for in the future". Searching further on retailer websites, I find that this is one of his first box-pressed cigars. It is made in Honduras with an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper, Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and Nicaraguan filler tobacco. There are four sizes available. I happened to smoke the Corona Gorda size which is 46 ring gauge by 6 inches. This size retails for about $7.45 a stick and all sizes are available in boxes of 20.

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At first glance, the thing that stands out the most about this cigar is it's blinding white band at the foot. Being a woman who notices the slightest of details, I could not help but be distracted by this eyesore. Unlike Illusione cigars simple yet elegant black and white band, this one is down right thrifty looking. Either tone down the white, or dress up the black or better yet, just remove the darn thing and sell it naked, it will improve it's look one hundred percent. But enough ranting, I'll get on with the review...

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The cigar itself looks nice. It has an oily sheen covering a reddish brown, practically vein-free wrapper. It feels smooth to the touch and has a pillow-like softness covering a firm core. The cap is triple layered and slightly un-even.

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The cigar has a wonderful aroma. It's like a very pleasant woody scent with a touch of clean earth. By clean, I mean it doesn't smell funky like most cigars with an earthy aroma.

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I chose to barely clip the end of the cigar with a Palio cutter and the resulting draw was free with a nice "tug" to it. The pre-light flavor was sweet, fruity and woody. After lighting the cigar with a torch lighter, I immediately got a smoky hickory taste with dark caramel and pepper on the finish. The spicy heat could be felt on my lips. The flavors were really interesting and should satisfy most experienced smokers. The body of the smoke was nice and creamy. When you exhale out through your lips, you feel like the cloudy stream would never end. It feels wonderful and relaxing to smoke a cigar like this. The Corona Gorda size should also feel extra comfortable in a woman's smaller hand.

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The flavors make one transition in the first third to cedar and floral. I like that the cigar maintains it's caramel sweetness and touch of spice throughout for a balanced and smooth taste. I'm curious as to whether the cigar contains Nicaraguan Criollo, because the floral notes are similar to what I found in other cigars which contain Criollo.

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Overall, the flavors remained consistent most of the time. Sometimes I tasted roasted nuts and cinnamon, but mostly it was sweet cedar, floral notes, caramel and pepper. This cigar is one of those cigars that is perfect right out of the box. My previous two cigars (different brands) were powerful monsters that I would probably let rest for six months to a year before I thought about picking them up again. But don't get me wrong, this isn't a wimpy smoke (as evident by it's large cone of ligero with each ash). It just keeps it's power in the background to allow you to appreciate the terrific blend of tobacco in this cigar. I highly recommend that you try G.A.R. If this is the style that Mr. Rico will be known for in the future, then I am definitely looking forward to it.

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