Just prior to the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, Cornelius & Anthony Cigars unveiled two new offerings that would round out the company’s portfolio. One of the offerings was the company’s first maduro offering known as Señor Esugars and the second was an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper offering known as Aerial. To produce these cigars, Cornelius & Anthony once again teamed up with Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory. Today we take a closer look at the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial in the Robusto size. When it comes to Connecticut Shade cigars, many companies will try to make their blend stand out by saying “this is a different type of Connecticut Shade”. Well, the Aerial Robusto not only fits the bill, it also delivers an excellent all-around smoking experience.
Cornelius & Anthony is the premium cigar division of Virginia-based tobacco company, S & M Brands. S & M Brands is owned by Steven Bailey. The Bailey family has been growing tobacco for over 150 years. The Cornelius & Anthony name is derived from Cornelius Bailey, Steven Bailey’s great-great-grandfather and the first member of the Bailey family to farm tobacco. It is also derived from Steven Bailey’s middle name which is Anthony. Five of the six of the company’s lines come out of the La Zona factory. The one exception is the Cornelius line – which is being produced in the United States at the El Titan de Bronze factory in Little Havana.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In addition to the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, the Aerial features a binder from the United States and an all-Nicaraguan filler. Details of the U.S. binder have not been disclosed. The Aerial and the Señor Esugars both incorporate U.S. tobacco for the binder – something La Zona is not known to use on its blends.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: United States
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Zona)
The Cornelius & Anthony Aerial is available in four sizes. Each size is available in 20-count boxes.
Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
Gordo: 6 x 60
The Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper of the Aerial Robusto was quite elegant. The wrapper itself had a golden-brown color. I didn’t find much in the way of oil on the surface. This was quite a smooth wrapper with only some thin visible veins present. Any of the wrapper seams were only noticeable upon closer examination.
There are two bands to the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial. The primary band is the same one found across other Cornelius & Anthony lines. The band is gray in color with white trim. Prominently displayed on the front of the band is the large white and gold interlocking “CA” logo. Above the logo are two gray ribbon designs trimmed in gold. One ribbon has the text “CORNELIUS” and the other has the text “& ANTHONY” – both in gold font. Below the “CA” logo is the text “EST 1866” in small, gold font. There are also some gold adornments on the front of the band. On both the left and right side of the band are a series of white, gold, and gray stripe patterns.
The secondary band sits just below the primary one. It is orange with white pinstripes near the top and bottom. In between the pinstripes is the text “AERIAL” in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. After the cap was detached, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw delivered a combination of cream, citrus, and cedar. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. I was now ready to light up my Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto began with notes of citrus and cedar. In the background, there also were some notes of cream as well as a subtle black pepper note. There was definitely more of sweeter component to this retro-hale as I picked up an additional layer of citrus and cedar.
Midway through the first third, some natural tobacco flavors entered the equation as part of the primary flavors. These natural tobacco notes fused very nicely with the citrus notes creating what I considered to be a unique flavor combination. This note produced a sweetness which reached its apex prior to the start of the second third.
As the Aerial moved through the second third, the fused citrus/natural tobacco combination remained in the forefront, but some of the sweetness diminished. The creamy notes somewhat increased and in the more distant background remained the cedar and pepper notes.
Just past the halfway point, the citrus/natural tobacco combination changed up. The natural tobacco remained in the forefront and now some earthy notes emerged. The citrus receded into the background, joining the cream, pepper, and cedar. By this point, I found the retro-hale lost some of the sweetness and had more of a peppery quality.
The last third saw the natural tobacco and earth notes remain in the forefront. In the background the citrus and cedar notes still had a significant contribution. The pepper notes were a little more distant, and most of the creaminess had dissipated. This is the way the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
When it came to the burn of the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto, I found that while this cigar had a slightly jagged burn line, it still maintained a straight burn path from start to finish. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper complexion to it. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it was far from loose or flaky. Meanwhile, the Aerial Robusto maintained an ideal burn rate and burn temperature.
Overall I found the draw of the Aerial Robusto to have a touch of resistance to it. This is something that I like when it comes to a draw.
Strength and Body
Whenever I assess a Connecticut Shade cigar and look at the strength and body, I look at two categories – classic and contemporary. When it comes to classic Connecticut Shade cigars, these tend to be on the milder side for strength and body. In terms of the contemporary Connecticut Shade Cigars, these tend to try to push the envelope going medium or beyond. I found the Aerial Robusto to lean toward the contemporary side.
The Aerial Robusto started out with medium strength. While there was an increase in strength along the way, I still found by the end of the cigar experience it still was in the medium range. As for the body, it also started out medium. The strength gradually progressed and by the last third, the flavors of the Aerial Robusto were in medium to full territory.
In terms of strength versus body, I found both attributes started out even, but toward the second half, the body had the edge.
When it came to the dry draw of the Cornelius & Anthony Aerial Robusto, I was wondering if this was going to be another cookie cutter Connecticut Shade blend. Once lit up, that thought quickly left my mind. What I discovered was a cigar where the flavors complemented and fused very nicely. I also found this was a cigar with plenty of complexity and flavor nuances. The fact that this cigar was a little bolder than your average Connecticut Shade also worked quite well with the blend.
While this isn’t the mildest of Connecticut Shade cigars, it’s still one I’d encourage a novice to try. It’s also a great Connecticut Shade for the seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again and it’s one that earns box purchase consideration.
Key Flavors: Cedar, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Natural Tobacco, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Body: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last Third)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: Cornelius & Anthony to Launch Aerial at 2017 IPCPR Trade Show
Source: Cornelius & Anthony
Brand Reference: Cornelius & Anthony
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop