Cornelius & Anthony Premium Cigars, owned by the esteemed Bailey family from Virginia, released the Venganza to the world at this year’s IPCPR show. The cigars are being rolled at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, and are the third cigar released this year by the company (Cornelius earlier this year, followed by Daddy Mac, and a re-launching of their Meridian line to follow).
The Bailey’s have been in the business for over 150 years and certainly know their stuff. Steven Bailey’s (brand owner) previous releases have been well received by both fans and critics alike. It’s clear they intend to finish out the year as strong as it begun:
The Venganza delivers an unmatched experience […] Venganza starts with a blast of bold flavor. This spice forward blend has a lingering sweetness and a long smooth finish that highlight its bold complexity. It is the pinnacle of balanced perfection.
Pretty bold claims… but is that just a bunch of PR or do we have a potential cigar-of-the-year contender on our hands?
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 52 “Judge” (robusto)
- Price: $9.25
The Venganza was inspired by the 1876 Bailey Machine Gun (similar to the Gatling gun). The imagery gives a nice touch to what are usually plain color schemes, adding an aesthetic piece of artwork of the 1876 patent for the Bailey Machine Gun to every box. The bands also follow the theme, with a classic Cornelius and Anthony feel: the primary band is gold, gray, white and black (the same band used on all C&A cigars thus far); the secondary band is a red and gold name plate for Venganza.
Before lighting up, let’s take a look at the cigar’s tobacco. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper looks dry and musty, with tight seams and no veins. The construction looks good, with a well-established triple cap and what looks to be a solid bunch. Barnyard hay and a silky leather aroma emit immensely from both the wrapper and foot of the cigar. After a gentle punch cut, the expertly rolled tobacco leaves let off an effortlessly smooth draw. Cold notes of leather, cedar, and rich tobacco reach my tongue first.
Once lit, a huge blast of pepper and spice start things off. The cigar is at full body and full flavor right from the start, and even the strength is pretty significant from the beginning. The draw from the start is near-perfect, only a tad too loose, and the smoke output is very pleasurable. Once the cherry has a chance to cool down little, the cigar takes a few steps back in body and lets off an extremely smooth, medium-to-full-bodied smoke. Cedar, pepper, espresso, and a rich leather make up the palate, with a very satisfying finish.
Getting into the first third, this cigar only gets better. The draw remains great, the ash holds on nice and tight, and the smoke is rich and heavy. From this point on in my review, I almost completely forgot to take notes or pictures—the cigar completely captured me in a shadowy fog of relaxation and delight. When I came to, I noticed the profile shifted noticeably when entering the halfway point; pepper and cedar had almost completely disappeared, replaced by an oh-so-smooth cream, increased leather, and a sweeter wood/coffee mixture.
Those sweeter notes didn’t last long, however, when the last third drew near. Again, a powerhouse of full body flavor overwhelms my senses with a deep pepper, a touch of spice, cedar, coffee, leather, and an oily, smooth tobacco finish. The retrohale has also been fantastic, a definite must. A sweeter coffee and cream come with it, as well as a spice bomb and some added strength. Down to the nub, the construction remains flawless, all except a small tunneling problem, which I will admit was most likely due to neglect and not the cigar’s fault.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
100% yes. This truly is one of the greats for 2016. It’s affordable, it’s quality, and it packs a ton of flavor. There’s nothing I can honestly complain about here, minus a few minor gripes that aren’t worth mentioning. I recommend this cigar to anyone and everyone.
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- Purchase Recommendation: Box split
- Big flavor
- Long smoke time
- Great value
- Minor burn problems