|El Cedro Corona Gorda|
El Cedro is the first release by boutique cigar company El Cedro Cigars. The company was founded by Anwar Elboustani. The company and cigar are a tribute to the men and women who serve in America’s Armed Forces. Elboustani served as a translator for the U.S. Navy in Iraq and got hooked on cigars when he experienced “love at first smoke”. To help create this cigar, Elboustani teamed up with Hendrik Kelner Jr’s Kelner Boutique Factory (K.B.F.). Up until smoking the El Cedro, I had not smoked anything from K.B.F., so I was curious to get a feel for what was coming out of this factory. After smoking the El Cedro, I was extremely pleased as this turned out to be an outstanding debut cigar by Elboustani’s company.
In terms of the company and cigar name, the name El Cedro translates to “the cedar”. It refers to the ancient Mediterranean cedar trees which dot the mountains of Lebanon, some of which date back nearly 2000 years. In a press release announcing the company and cigar Elboustani said, “I chose the cedar tree because to me it embodies eternity. I want ‘The Cedar’ to memorialize those who have fallen for the freedom that every American enjoys… For my initial offering, I wanted to offer a cigar that would be enjoyable to the novice and veteran smoker alike.”
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the El Cedro Cigar and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The El Cedro cigar is mostly a Dominican blend, but contains Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler.
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan
The El Cedro is currently available in two sizes.
Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 46
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
The Robusto is being offered in boxes of 18 while the Corona Gorda is being offered in boxes of 20.
For this cigar experience, I went with the Corona Gorda size. The El Cedro Corona Gorda has a medium brown color to it. There are some subtle dark spots that can be seen upon closer examination. The surface of the wrapper has a light oily sheen to it. There are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins. True to the name, I detected a cedar aroma from the wrapper.
The band is white in color with gold font on it. At the center of the band is a gold colored cedar tree. Above the tree is a gold ribbon with the text “CEDRO” in white font. Below the tree are three Phoenician characters. Reading the characters from right to left, they translate to A, R, and Z – meaning “the cedar”. The remainder of the band has gold adornments and gold trim.
|El Cedro logo – note the Phoenician letters below the
cedar tree (Photo Credit El Cedro Cigars – Facebook page)
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my El Cedro Corona Gorda, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. From that point I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced a nice combination of cedar (no surprise given the cigar’s name), floral, and mixed fruit notes. Overall I considered the pre-light of the El Cedro to be excellent. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and await what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.
The El Cedro was a cigar that didn’t undergo a lot of radical flavor transitions, but it was a great cigar in terms of the flavor nuances and how those flavors balance together.
The cigar started out with a mix of cedar sweetness, black pepper, and some mixed fruit flavors. The pepper could definitely be detected on the after-draw. There also was a smooth cream note on the finish. I found the El Cedro to be the kind of cigar you definitely want to retro-hale. The retro-hale also had some pepper spice, but it was layered by the fruit-like sweetness.
The cedar, pepper, and mixed fruit notes varied in different degrees throughout the smoking experience. In the second third, the pepper spice seemed to play a more prominent role while some of the cream diminished on the finish. The El Cedro remained flavorful right until the end. The resulting nub was slighty soft and slightly on the warm side.
Burn and Draw
From a construction standpoint, I found the El Cedro to be excellent. This was reflected in both the burn and draw attributes. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was tight and mostly white in color. The burn rate was ideal. Oveall except for a little warmness on the final puffs, the burn temperature remained ideal as well.
|Burn of the El Cedro Corona Gorda|
As for the draw, I also considered this excellent. The draw was not too tight and not too loose. It was a low maintenance cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find the El Cedro to be a nicotine bomb. The El Cedro starts off with medium strength. I did find the strength increased as the cigar experience progressed. By the second half the El Cedro was smoking at medium to full strength – where it remained until the end of the smoke. As for the flavors, I found them to be robust and weigh nicely on the pallet. I assessed the El Cedro Corona Gorda to be a full-bodied smoke. On a side note, it is worth noting that I found the other vitola, the El Cedro Robusto was a little more dialed back in terms of body as I assessed that cigar to be medium to full-bodied.
As for strength versus body, I found with the case of the El Cedro Corona Gorda that the body had the edge here.
Overall, the El Cedro is a nice launch for this new company. I found this cigar to have a ton of flavor and the flavors were balanced. The Corona Gorda format worked real well for this blend. The construction was excellent as well. As I mentioned at the start, I had been wanting to smoke something out of K.B.F. and if this cigar is an indication of what is coming out of this factory, K.B.F. will be in the cigar business for the long haul. This is a cigar that I would recommend to either an experienced or novice cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one worthy of a box split.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Source: Samples provided by Manufacturer (*)
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* Cigars for this assessment was provided by El Cedro Cigars. The samples were received in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.