El Viejo Continente Half Corona Double Bill: Small but mighty
As winter gets ever closer, the nights start drawing in, and the days get cooler. Consequently many a cigar smoker has to alter their smoking habits to suit the season. Whilst I am fortunate enough to be able to smoke indoors, others don’t have this option. Only the hardiest smoker is likely to want to sit out on a cold winter’s evening for two or more hours to enjoy a Toro, Lancero or other larger vitolas. A satisfying smaller smoke is what’s called for, and this was a gap that Boutique Smokes found in their portfolio. Luckily Daniel Guerrero, the man behind El Viejo Continente, has produced not one, but two half corona cigars that fill this hole perfectly.
The cigars in question are The Circus Petit and Piccolo Maduro, and to celebrate their arrival to the UK market, Mike Choi from Boutique Smokes organised a pre-launch tasting of these two new cigars. I knew that they were going to be small cigars from their measurements but I was surprised just how petit they actually were. On the evening I settled down with my cigars and rum miniature to listen to Daniel talk about these new vitolas.
Our first cigar for sampling was The Circus Petit. This half corona had a bright and eye-catching band that featured a circus Big Top and had a lovely oily wrapper. As I straight cut and lit the cigar, we listened to Daniel talk about how he crafts everything from the cigars, to the boxes that they are packed in at the American Caribbean Cigars Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. All of the leaves used in the El Viejo Continente cigars are aged for at least two years before they are rolled into cigars meaning that they are ready to smoke as soon as they arrive on your doorstep.
Once cut, the cold draw was very easy with notes of hay and cocoa. My first draws were filled with generous amounts of smoke that tasted of celery and pepper. Upon release, I was left with a rich, earthy taste in my mouth with no tannins or particulates to sully the flavour of the next draw. By the time I was reaching the middle third of the cigar, a medium spice was starting to come into the mix. This developed into an earthy cardamom with a creamy and subtly sweet arrowroot undertone.
As I reached the final third, the pepperiness started to return with a rich creaminess but no heat. The cigar remained smooth, creamy and cool right to the nub where, in my last couple of draws, I got a mouthful of savoury prune stuffing.
Almost as soon as I had laid this soldier to rest we were lighting up our second El Viejo Continente of the night. This time it was the turn of the Piccolo Maduro. This is the shorter cousin of the fantastic Maduro Lancero and you could definitely taste the similarities. The cold draw was easy with very subtle notes of pilau rice. The dark maduro wrapper left a delicate sweetness on the lips.
I was greeted with a silky smooth smoke that had notes of caraway seed, ginger and cinnamon. These sweet baking spices were further enhanced by the Flor de Cana 7yo rum. So much so that the middle third of the cigar tasted like a steamed Christmas pudding with the sweetness somewhat tempered.
Burn wise, both cigars were perfect. The long filler gave a perfectly formed ash stack that loosened when you wanted it to. The final third of the El Viejo Continente Piccolo Maduro gave me rich toffee notes in the deliciously silky and clean smoke with hints of spring flowers and rich tea biscuits.
Personally I would have chosen to smoke the cigars the other way round, starting with the sweeter Maduro Piccolo before enjoying the more peppery The Circus Petit. I would also have left a bit more than a couple of breaths between the cigars, but then again I’m a far slower smoker than most people on the tasting. Alas they were itching to move on to the next cigar 10 minutes before I was finished with the first!
Overall I would definitely recommend these two dainty cigars if you are looking for a quick smoke when you are short of time, or don’t want to be standing out in the cold for too long. They both provide a satisfying and hearty smoke that defies their price point and size.
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El Viejo Continente The Circus Petit Cigar Details
El Viejo Continente The Circus Petit Review Summary
Petit it may be, but don’t think that this petit corona is short on taste. It’s long flavour packs quite a punch, but it’s still only medium bodied. A great little smoke that somehow doesn’t feel like a small cigar and is perfect when you want a full on flavour party but are short of time.
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El Viejo Continente Piccolo Maduro Cigar Details
Continente Piccolo Maduro Review Summary
Delicate in the hand and with a subtle taste that warms you from the inside, this is a beautiful little cigar that displays its familial relationship to the Maduro Lancero, packing most of those flavours into a perfectly formed short smoke.
ℹ Click here to read how I calculate my review scores