Cubanacan, La Corona, Hirochi Robaina, the González family, White Hat Tobacco. La Palina, Spenser Drake – names that are all part of a tangled web of legal proceedings, collaborations, and eventual ownership of and distribution of a cigar called the Soneros. It all started back in 2015 when the González family stated they were stopping the production of cigars for Cubanacan due to a breach of contract and payments of over $800,000. A couple of law suits were filed, one by the González family and a counter suit by Cubanacan which included La Palina as a defendant claiming loss of millions of dollars in future earnings as La Palina stated they were working with Robaina to produce a cigar.
In 2016, the González family issued a statement through their legal counsel, Frank Herrera, stating:
“The parties have amicably resolved all matters between them. Each side has waived any and all claims against each other with no payments being made to either party. The parties wish each other the best of success in their future endeavors. With the uncertainty surrounding the issues related to the FDA regulations, the parties deem settlement to be in their respective best interests.”
Enter Spencer Drake, a former employee of Cubanacan who founded a new cigar distribution company, White Hat Tobacco and partnered with Hirochi Robaina to distribute his cigars which are now being made at the González family’s new La Corona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. White Hat Tobacco also entered into an agreement to distribute the González family’s cigars most notably the Soneros which the family has reintroduced to the market with two blends; a Habano Maduro and a Habano Claro.
The Soneros Habano Claro
Today’s review is on the González family Soneros Habano Claro cigar, which was introduced as this years IPCPR. In the company’s press release for the Soneros, Omar González-Alemán, co-founder of La Corona stated:
“When creating a cigar we aim to achieve a deep richness, balance, aroma, and most importantly, a consistent product; I think that is what we have successfully done with the Soneros blends…The processes we use require a lot of time, but that is what it takes to create blends like these, there are no shortcuts. We grow most of the tobacco, ferment all of the tobacco, then age the tobacco for a minimum of two years before the cigars are rolled.”
The Soneros Habano Claro multi country blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuadorian Habano Claro
- Binder – Nicaragua (Jalapa)
- Filler – Nicaragua (Estelí, Jalapa), Peru
The Soneros Habano Claro being produced at LA Corona S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua is available in 4 vitolas and come packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) MSRP $5.95
- Robusto (5 x 50) MSRP $6.95
- Toro (6 x 52) MSRP $7.95
- Gordo (6 x 60) MSRP $8.95
For this review I sampled the Soneros Habano Claro Toro which I received from White Hat Tobacco at this years IPCPR for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Soneros Habano Claro Toro is a decent looking soft box pressed cigar that is finished with a double cap and closed foot. It has a medium tan wrapper with a light sheen and minimal veins. Looking closer at the wrapper you can see some faint green spots scattered along the barrel. It is smooth to the touch and has a decent weight.
There are two bands that adorn the cigar. The primary band uses a black, silver, and red motif and prominently displays the word “SONEROS” arching over an a olld school microphone. The Second band is just below the primary and declares this as the “CLARO” blend. It should be noted that the word Soneros is a description of an improvising lead singer in salsa music.
Running the Soneros Claro across the nose I picked up a musty aroma along the barrel a spice note off the closed foot.
I used a punch to open this up. Taking a few cold puffs I was greeted with some enticing flavors including white and red pepper along with some fruit notes. The draw was spot on and with the delectable pre-light flavors I rolled it about some more giving it a few more cold puffs and noted a butter note entering while the pepper was warming my palate and lips. Certainly a tasty cigar even before I hit it with the flame.
Well it was time to turn this one to ash, so I warmed the foot with the soft flame of a cedar spill, puffing gently to build a nice orange foot. The closed foot leaf helps with that ignition.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial puffs delivered a white pepper that hits the throat
- Herbal and grassy notes follow
- A flaky, medium grey ash develops resting on a slightly wavy char line
- Coffee enters after an inch or so
- Strength is quickly clocking in at medium early into the burn
- Smoke is nice and creamy see phone photo
- Ash fell after about an inch revealing a flat and fairly centered burn cone
- Light fruit and a mild earth notes enter with a pleasing spice aroma
- Very smooth smoke
- Burn line goes off in moving into the second third
- Grassy notes re-appear
- Full volume of smoke
- Spice moves into the flavor profile
- Burn eventually fixes without touch up
- Aroma moves to a nut in the second third
- Mellow citrus notes enter
- Burn line goes off again and once ash is tapped the burn cone is now off centered
- Cedar notes enter deep in second third as the spice increases
- The barrel gets hot to the touch near the end of the second third
- Clean on the palate with a just a lingering nut
- Flavor tends to fade at the final as the smoke gets hot also
- Started and maintained a medium strength
- Total Smoking time was 1 hour and 15 minutes
Overall, the Soneros Claro Toro was a cigar full of flavor and complexity. The flavor transitions were well-balanced through the journey. It had some burn issues that did eventually fix themselves without a touch up. Even with the fine flavors and full smoke volume, I was a bit disappointed with the hot burn in the final third which shortened the journey. From a price point, this is right in the wheel house of the average cigar smoker which makes it an easy buy.
We rate the Soneros Claro Toro a 87
(-1) Off Burn, (-1) Burns hot to the touch, (-2) Smoke is hot in final, (-1) Flaky ash, (-1) Off centered burn cone, (-2) Flavor fades at end (-1) Buy One Again