Bite Size Review: Cornelius & Anthony Venganza

 

I have yet to find anything negative to say about anything I’ve tried from Erik Espinosa. When I first learned that Cornelius and Anthony was contracting production to Espinosa’s La Zona factory, I thought, ‘these are going to be good.’ We reviewed C&A’s sophomore release, the Daddy Mac, last year and I wasn’t wrong. That cigar was a winner in almost every category and we looked forward to reviewing more of C&A’s lines. We wanted to try something with a little more meat and by all accounts their third entry, the Venganza, fit the bill.

 

The first three of C&A’s lines were launched in 2016 and the Venganza made its first appearance at the IPCPR show. It’s interesting that C&A titled their third release with a Spanish word for ‘vengeance.’ For what or whom are they avenging? This theme continues with a picture of an old patent print of the 1870’s Bailey Machine Gun (similar to a Gatling gun) on the inside of the box lid. Is there a Bailey relation here?

 

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Our Venganza sports a luscious, bourbon-colored Habano wrapper. After 13 months of aging, most of the oil is gone leaving a matte finish. Evenly firm throughout, there’s some veins and the seams are invisible. The triple seam cap is a bit sloppy, but doesn’t diminish the overall aesthetics. Aromas are an interesting mix of grass, cocoa powder and an underlying metallic accent. The cold draw is effortless leaving a generous helping of raisin essence on the palate.

 

Initial tasting impressions are highlighted by toasted almonds on the draw and a rich, complex amalgam of cream, black pepper and nougat followed by a delicious baked bread finish. Intonations of leather and maplewood foretell of more bold, savory profiles to come. Thereafter is an underlying current of charred meat and wood. Transitions feature more woody and earthy profiles punctuated by well-balanced notes of graham cracker, chocolate and oats. Strength and spice rise with each transition, but it never feels one-dimensional. Complexity fades, but Venganza keeps things interesting…and tasty.

 

Combustion is stellar early on but dips past midway resulting in a continuous irregular burn requiring some touch ups. It struggles to hold a 1” ash and the ash is flaky. Sadly, the ride ends with about a third to go as it becomes bitter and stale. Like the Daddy Mac, the Venganza capitalizes on the flavor palette, but ups the ante in strength, spice and a smoky essence that is equally enjoyable. The construction and burn issues are a bit annoying, but keep a few around when you need a little Monday motivation – Vengeance is mine! – In Fumo Pax!

 

Did you Know:  The Venganza is reportedly blended with the help of Espinosa alum, Hector Alfonso.

 

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  • Profile: Full
  • Vitola: Judge [Robusto]
  • Length / Ring Gauge: 5.0″x52
  • Purchased: B&M
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Cutter: Colibri ‘V’
  • Lighter: Colibri Firebird
  • Price: $9.41
  • Humidor Age: 13 mo.
  • Box: 20
  • Other Vitolas: Corona Gorda [5.5″x46]. Toro [6″x50]. Gordo [6″x60]

 

Cornelius & Anthony

 

 

 

Highlights

Smoke Time: 1:16
Draw: Superb
Build: Uniformly firm with some give; matte appearance; semi veiny; seamless; bourbon-colored wrapper; triple cap wonky; ash flaky.
Aromas

  • WrapperMetallic, grassy
  • Foot – Cocoa powder
  • Cold Draw – Raisins

Flavors:

  • Initial: Rich melange of cream, black pepper and nougat; light spice; baked bread on long finish; leather and maplewood on retro; savory on palate with notes of charred meat; toasted almonds on draw.
  • Transition: Woodier profile with nougat and leather; hints of anise; finishes with espresso and wood; palette of graham cracker and chocolate on retro; heavier spice on palate/tongue.
  • Transition: Earthy profile with notes of pine; toasted almonds on draw; hardy retro of oats and nougat; becomes bitter and stale with 1.5″ to go.

Complexity: Excellent
Balance: Excellent
Touch ups: 2
Combustion: Good
Weaknesses: Burn becomes irregular late
Recommendation: 2. 5-packer

Recommendation scale:

  1. Go-to (boxworthy)
  2. 5-packer
  3. Yard ‘gar
  4. Smoke a banana instead

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