In December of 2019, Rodriguez Cigars of Key West introduced another spectacular cigar to the market. Known as the Primera Clase, the offering was described as a medium to full blend of aged wrapper, binder, and filler tobaccos. In fact, the company noted that all the leaves used in this cigar have gone through a four year aging process before the the cigar was manufactured.
Shortly after the announcement I received some samples of the Primera Clase Box Pressed Corona to review on Stogie Press. I smoked one January just to experience the blend, and then put the rest away. The plan was to do a Stogie Press group review of this cigar but before that could be planned we all went into a COVID-19 lock down mode. I Smoked another in March but it did not look like we would ever get the time to do the group review, so here I am today after smoking the third sample to tell you all about this fine cigar.
To start off, Danny DiFabio, owner of Rodriguez Cigars explained the blend as:
- Wrapper – San Andreas
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan
Like all Rodriguez Cigars, Prima Clase is hand crafted with perfection by Guillermo Pena. The blend is expressed in 4 box-pressed vitolas, each of which comes packaged in 20-count cedar boxes.
- Corona (6.5 x 48) MSRP $185.00/box
- Perfecto (5 x 50) MSRP $160.00/box
- Robusto (5 x 50) MSRP $170.00/box
- Toro (6 x 52) MSRP $180.00/box
For this review, I sampled 3 of the Primera Clase Coronas.
The Rodriguez Cigars Primera Clase has a dark brown oily wrapper with a fine toothy feel. The vitola is neatly box pressed and is finished with a well applied triple cap. It is light on veins and solidly packed from head to foot.
Two bands adorn the cigar. Both use a dark blue and gold motif. The primary has the company’s logo front and center along with “Rodriguez Primera|Clase” printed on the right and “Key West” on the left. The secondary band is placed just below and displays two mirror image letter “R”s with a golden crown above them.
While I am talking about Rodriguez Cigars and Key West, I highly recommend you take a visit there, if you have not been yet. Besides the island itself, Danny’s shop is the best on the island and I am sure you will be treated like royalty, even if you don’t say, “Boston Jimmie sent me”. Because that is just the way Danny is.
With such a fine and inviting visual exam, it was time to do a little sniffing around and see what the Primera Clase had in the aroma department. Oh snap, just smell that toasty bread note off the foot along with a hint of cocoa. It is the scent of cigars like this that have me chomping at the bit to fire them up, but first we have one more check to do.
Reaching for my double blade cutter, I sliced the well applied triple cap right across the shoulder and gave it some cold puffs. Such a fine draw it has and my palate was rewarded with notes of pepper and a touch of hickory. Interesting, and I checked that on three different samples and I got the same sensations.
One thing about Danny and his cigars – he will not let a single cigar be sold until he personally is satisfied with it. I personally can attest to that fact, as he once sent me some samples of a new line and we spent four phone sessions over a period of two and a half months, tasting and smoking them until we both agreed, they were ready to sell to consumers. That’s just the way Danny is – nothing but perfection.
Well, it was time to fire up the Primera Clase. With it being a small ring gauge cigar, I used a single flame torch to slowly warm the foot, so as not to scar the wrapper with the flame. Once the foot had that even orange glow, I took the first puffs that smacked my nose with a peppery retro-hale. Follow along as I take you on another Key West journey and burn the Rodriguez Cigars Primera Clase to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Pepper shot to the nose off the first puff
- Thick creamy smoke quickly flows
- Rich cocoa aroma and pepper notes continue through the first half inch
- Sweet cream joins the mix as the pepper recedes
- Ash fell early, in a nice chunk, revealing a flat and centered burn cone
- A tasty walnut sensation enters, rounding out the introduction
- White ash has been growing on top of a fairly even and medium char line
- A mild spice note enters the profile
- Butter joins the party with the lingering spice deep in the second third
- Strength has been increasing from the first puff
- Slight jag in the burn
- Nectareous sweetness fills in the background in a long finish
- Hickory and fruit notes along with a nut aroma complete the journey
- Strength has ratcheted up to full
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 25 minutes
Overall, the Rodriguez Cigars Primera Clase Corona will not win a long ash contest, but that is no problem as this morsel delivered on bold flavor and growing strength from foot to nub. Complex in flavor, it offered a fine burn, perfect draw, full volume of smoke in every puff, and never required a touch up even when the burn got a tad jagged at times. For a box pressed corona, the barrel never got squishy during the journey. This is certainly worthy of a box buy and I look forward to checking out some of the other vitolas in this line. I rate this a solid 94. You can purchase these and other fine Rodriguez cigars directly from the company’s website here:
Point Deductions: (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) Slight Jag in Burn at Times
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Extremely complex in flavor and aroma