Por Larranaga was created in 1834 by Ignacio Larranaga; with such a long history of existence, it is very likely the oldest cigar Cuban brand in current production. Its generally very difficult to find these cigars in the market. Most of its remaining vitolas have been discontinued, and those that remain are machine made. The Petit Corona is the exception — it is fully hand made.
Officially discontinued in 2002 after many years of increasingly smaller production runs, it was a very pleasant surprise that Habanos SA decided to revive the Petit Corona in 2004. Very limited amounts have since been released into the market, and i was very pleasantly surprised to obtain a cabinet of 50 sticks recently. With so little known about this cigar (i’ve personally not had any from this brand), this was certainly a cigar of discovery.
(Image lost) Notice the unusually dark rosado wrapper
I waited for a week for this package to arrive with great anticipation. When it did arrive, finally, i opened it up an was greeted with an incredible sight: dark natural cigars, tightly bound together with a yellow silk ribbon with the most impressive gold band that i’ve ever seen. Besides the new Cohiba band, i would say that this band is certainly the most beautiful Cuban cigar band. It was interesting to note, that even for a fresh ’04 box (KMM JUL 04), there was almost no discernible ammonia arona from the full wheel. These cigars have been carefully fermented and aged before they reached my eager hands.
(Image lost) Look at the shiny, oily wrapper! Wow!
I allowed the box to rest from its long journey for a few days before my curiousity got the better of me; i had to try one!
The wrapper on each stick was immaculate — dark natural with a tinge of reddish hue. Minimal veining, no soft or hard spots along its length. The quality of the leaf was top-class, the construction just as good. Silky smooth, with a thin coating of oils, and even a touch of whitish plume, this cigar was going to be a treat, i knew.
The scent of the cigar was decidedly woody: pine chips and cedar come to mind; very fresh and pleasing to the senses. I found the scent quite unique in many ways; its been a while since the last time i’ve encountered something so woody-fresh.
Cutting it with a new Davidoff cutter i have, i sampled the pre-light draw and was rewarded by a chalky wood flavour, with a pinch of light floral-ness. Again, i found this unique — i don’t think any other Cuban cigar i’ve sampled in recent memory is similar. I might speculate that the leaf used, and the blend of tobacco is quite different from most other Cuban cigars that tend to offer a peppery-sweet pre-light flavour.
(Image lost) Perfect burn, perfect draw
It took a minute to light properly but once this was done, the first draw was worth the patient touch of the torch: in a word, it was simply incredible. Full, lush draw, with a ton of meaty, billowing smoke — my initial suspicions were correct, this cigar has been rolled perfectly in the hands of a well trained torcedor.
The early draws hit me with a very creamy, mild flavour. There were very pronounced toasted caramel notes, wrapped with a coat of sweet wood. Outstanding! Each draw was a delight and the aroma — God, the aroma was to die for: floral as if i had buried my head in a bouquet of Amsterdam tulips! The room was soon filled with a cloud of thick, milky smoke that has to be seen to be believed; very unusual for a cigar this small to so quickly produce so much aromatic smoke.
The final third was incredible
The second half of flavours took a complex turn of singed vanilla; take some Haagen Daaz ice cream, mix it with a dose of bitter rich Belgium chocolate, translate that into tobacco and you’ll have an idea of what this cigar tastes like at this point. In recent times, i’ve preferred longer, larger vitolas because i’ve found them to be far more complex in flavours to their shorter petit corona cousins, but the Por Larranage Petit Corona throws this convention to the wind with its ever-changing nature.
The last third offered a dose of spiciness and peppered my tongue and lips; full rich flavours that literally made me smack my lips again and again in delight. Even under heavy puffin’ (i couldn’t help myself, this cigar was just so tasty!), it never once got harsh or burned hot. Wow. I was almost in tears when i had to put this cigar to rest as i reached the end.
It was sad to have to put down
Verdict: Let me say this loud and clear — the Por Larranaga Petit Corona is the ABSOLUTE best cigar i’ve smoked in this size and length. The very, very best petit corona currently available in the market. Any true aficionado would be remiss not to have at least a few of these cigars in the humidor — it is that good. My only complaint is that supplies of this cigar is extremely limited (although this may change in the future) and finding a full cabinet will be difficult, i believe. There is no hesitation to award this cigar My Cigar Blog’s Highest Possible Recommendation.