Earlier this year, Cornelius & Anthony Premium Cigars made its big debut onto the craft cigar scene. Their first offering was titled Cornelius, being produced at El Titan de Bronze. And it wasn’t long after that the brand followed up with its second release—Daddy Mac—produced by Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua.
The brand may be new (sort of), but it comes from a long line of tobacco heritage. Cornelius & Anthony is owned by Steven Bailey and is a subsidiary under the Bailey family’s S&M Brands. The family amasses over 150 years in the tobacco industry, growing tobacco out of Virginia and producing a variety of tobacco-related products.
Bailey had been tentatively working his way into the premium cigar scene for the past couple years, introducing a cigar at both the 2014 & ’15 IPCPR shows (Avant Garde & Merdian, respectively). While neither product made it to market, Bailey soon attracted the talents of Courtney Smith (La Palina) and Spencer Drake (Cubancan Cigars & A.J. Fernandez Cigars)—Director of Business Development and National Sales Director, respectively. The brand has been reworked and has been catching a fair amount of buzz since its recent re-introduction only a few months ago.
Daddy Mac Breakdown
- Wrapper: Brazil
- Binder: Ecuador
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Release
- Vitola: 5½″ × 46 Corona Gorda
- Price: $8.50 (MSRP)
The first two releases, Cornelius and Daddy Mac, share a common look/feel. The cigars feature 1800’s-inspired artwork, with crosshatched depictions of the family’s patriarchs. And while Cornelius honors Steven Bailey’s great-great grandfather, Cornelius Bailey, Daddy Mac recognizes Bailey’s own father, Mac Bailey. Both products feature the same band artwork, differentiated by a simplistic sub-band with the cigar’s name.
It’s safe to say cigar enthusiasts have taken notice, with both cigars hailing from two of the most popular factories in the boutique market. As you may expect, the ETDB-produced Cornelius represents the higher end of the brand’s pricing structure ($12 – $15), with Daddy Mac coming in at a more affordable $8 – $11 range.
From the moment I saw the marketing material sent by Cornelius & Anthony earlier this year, I have to admit, they had my attention. This of course was solidified by the impressive blending stats, but I digress. It’s a look not unlike Cigar Dojo’s own Sarsaparilla cigars, with 19th century banners, emblems, and crosshatching fit for the next $10 bill (sorry Hamilton…).
Enthusiasts will dig the vitolas here, with all but one coming in at under a 52 ring gauge. This, the Corona Gorda, is on the slender side, at 5.5×46 (a classic size that seems to be gaining popularity once more). The construction looks great, with no blemishes to be found and tight, invisible seams. There appears to be a triple cap, which has a Cubanesque flatness at the head.
On the nose there are notes of sawdust, hay, and coffee on the foot. It feels to be medium-packed, which produces a slightly more firm pre-draw than expected (around medium-firm). This produces a very chocolatey pre-draw, with light, minty qualities (like Andes Chocolate Mints candy).
And with a light, it’s time to see what this attractive little smoke is all about. The flavor hits you right away, it’s pretty full and heavy—not having any one note that stands out—but it’s clear there’s a lot going on here. The draw ends up being around medium-plus, bringing forth a better-than-average smoke output. After a few puffs, the palate begins to develop, showing heavy notes of oak, with a light spice in the retrohale and a cedar sweetness on the back end.
The cigar is very “medium” on all fronts, but if there’s any standout feature, it’s weighted slightly in the flavor-forward category. I’m most impressed with the cigar’s balance at this point, having no strange or unwanted qualities. Flavors don’t change much, but there are added notes of roasted nuts and a pleasant vanilla-mint quality in the retrohale’s finish.
Further into the smoke there are occasional unique qualities, such as a Milk Duds chocolatey sweetness, nut shells, angel food cake, and a slightly “off” perfume quality (no, you won’t find that all at once, just hints here and there throughout the second-half). The body, strength, and flavor output hardly budge from start to finish, but it’s the balance that stands out—mostly oak and cedar-based flavors, giving a consistent experience throughout.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Absolutely. While there wasn’t a ton of flavor shifts or diverse notes, etc., the cigar was very fulfilling, giving enough flavor intensity to work well with a nighttime smoke, but not too overpowering for earlier in the day—although it might be a tad much for a morning ‘gar. I’d recommend a 5-pack purchase and take it from there—potentially a box-splitter if it suits your palate.
If you’re debating on whether to try the Cornelius or Daddy Mac first, I’d definitely go with Daddy Mac. Cornelius is a great smoke too, but Daddy Mac easily wins in the “value” category. At $8.50, this Corona Gorda smoked nearly 1.5 hours and had little-to-no unwanted aspects to be found.
- Superior balance
- Consistent construction
- Better than average smoke output
- Not complex
- Occasional unwanted perfume-like flavor
- Second half is not as exciting as first