Revealed alongside the Aerial at the 2017 IPCPR show, the Señor Esugars by Cornelius & Anthony is the young company’s first maduro cigar in their lineup. This is billed as a “passion project” by Steven Baily, the company’s owner, who reportedly spent three years with Héctor Alfonso Sr. (from La Zona/Espinosa Premium Cigars) perfecting the blend. The cigar is named for Bailey’s dachshund, who is named Oscar, but nicknamed Mr. Sugars. The cigar box follows with C&A’s attractive woodcut art style, in this case featuring a photo of the cigar’s namesake wearing a bowler hat with a cigar in his mouth. It’s pretty cute, and a far cry, but a pleasant change from some of the recent cigar packaging trends that are emblazoned with skulls. In my opinion, I don’t need my cigars to look like they share designers with the “Affliction” shirts.
Interestingly, just like the Aerial, Señor Esugars features a binder from the United States, although there is no further information regarding type of varietal for either blend, so it isn’t clear whether or not they share the same leaf. An undisclosed blend of nicaraguan fillers round out the stats. Having read it was to feature a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, and with the invocations of the name (esugar is a phonetic spelling of azúcar, Spanish for sugar) I had hopes for a new “dessert-style” cigar to add to my rotation.
Señor Esugars Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: USA
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Factory: La Zona (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 (Robusto)
- Price: $9.75 (MSRP)
This cigar features the classic and attractive C&A band in black, grey, and cream, with gold embossing and a small secondary band in the same black and cream. The main band may be just slightly too large for my old-fashioned, crotchety tastes, but I like it nonetheless. The cigar looks nearly black in ambient light, but the sunshine shows a very deeply browned, rusted colorado hue. I notice lots of visible tooth on the wrapper, with a hint of oiliness, while the feel of the wrapper is more velvety than the sandpapery appearance would suggest. The seams are perfectly flat, and I wouldn’t be able to spot them at all were it not for some slight color gradation of the leaf. There are a couple small veins, and some bumpiness from the binder pushing through. The cold draw has a near-perfect resistance and, overall, it is a very clean, nice-looking cigar that looks to be well-made.
This cigar was sitting in front of me for a few minutes before I picked it up, and it had filled my kitchen with a lovely, sweet and woody coffee scent. Immediately, I’m thinking of sweet Cuban-style coffee. In the case that this turns out to be a not-so-great smoke, it would certainly make a nice potpourri. Putting the wrapper to the nose, there’s notes of leather that transform into something akin to a horse stable. Imagine having a Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar melt in your pocket with some crushed up pipe tobacco; that’s what the foot smells like. So nice.
From the first draw, I’m impressed by the pepper. It’s pleasantly mild on the tongue, pleasantly prickly on the retrohale, and surprisingly intense on the lips; initially, my lips had the burning sensation akin to biting into a juicy, raw jalapeño. Behind that, there’s a good amount of black pepper flavor, and some creaminess that accentuates a flavor that reminds me of acorns. Interestingly, the flavors are very different depending on if I “chew” the smoke, versus quickly pushing it out of my mouth after the draw. If I let it roll around and dance on the tongue, it is deeper, earthier, and more spicy. Yet, if I quickly puff and blow the smoke out, there’s so much more creaminess, almost an oily feel, and some tobacco sweetness akin to the scent from the foot during my pre-lighting “foreplay.”
There’s a rather quick shift in flavor, as right before the one-inch mark, there’s very little of the pepper from the beginning—now showing big-time craft root beer flavors. The pepper is more like the tingle of highly effervescent soda (we call it “pop” in Chicago) in the retrohale, and the earthiness has morphed into a creamy black pepper and butter pasta dish. I keep smacking my lips as the flavor of sweet root beer seems to concentrate there… vanilla bean, birch bark, cinnamon, nutmeg, spicy peppermint, and licorice root.
Construction-wise, the ash is very flakey and doesn’t hold long. I’d say this is a medium to full-bodied cigar right from the beginning. It is medium-plus in the flavor department and strength is probably already medium to full as well. This can sometimes be a hard factor to judge, even though this is my first cigar of the day, I do typically have one or two cigars per day and what seems medium to me might be very full to an occasional smoker.
Creaminess and licorice root sweetness are dominant in the beginning of the second third. The burn line is one of the waviest, most jagged and uneven burns I’ve ever seen. I notice a cone of ash on one side that is packed tighter, while the other side seems to be packed loosely. The draw is fine, however. The second third is really showcasing some excellent flavors, including a wild cinnamon cream soda note and big flavors of caramelized sugar (like the top of a crème brûlée). The finish on this is everlasting and I’m guessing we’re up in “full strength” range now, as I’m getting pretty giddy at the hallway mark. There is a nostalgic taste like the black Chuckles candy that I loved as a kid. Reassessing, Señor Esugars is medium to full in flavor and medium-full-bodied, showing very creamy mouthful that lingers long after the smoke has gone. While the first third was a pleasant 30 minutes, the second third was a stellar 30 minutes.
The final third begins with a full relight. Again, the finish is so long on this, I feel like I’m not smoking fast enough, just hanging out with the lingering flavors. Not a lot has changed since the second third, which is absolutely okay with me. There is a little return of the spiciness, and the caramelized sugar has transformed to blackstrap molasses. The cinnamon and licorice, along with the molasses and a hint of powdered ginger, make this a rich, chewy gingerbread man with the little cinnamon candy buttons. The ginger note picks up strength in the last inch, giving it a soft punch of pungency. The peppermint gets a little more potency as well. The spice on the lips returns just near the end. This is finishing “full” in all categories. The depth of flavors has decreased somewhat, but there’s an accompanying intensity of the core flavors that doesn’t make the lack of complexity seem like a total loss. The cigar is definitely a mustache burner—I’m smoking this until it hurts, and I sadly let it go after an hour and thirty-seven minutes.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Before smoking Señor Esugars, I had heard some people were a little disappointed with this cigar. Some were overwhelmed by the peppery qualities, some thought it too earthy, some thought it was kind of one-dimensional. I, on the other hand, give an emphatic “Hell yes!” I would smoke this again. I came in wanting to have a chocolate “dessert-style” cigar akin to the Le Carême by Crowned Heads, but was instead greeted with a cigar that featured a host of wonderful, creamy, savory, sweet, spicy flavors that transcended themselves to create an overall spectacular smoking experience.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Full-Minus
- Body: Full
- Burnt Sugar / Molasses
- Black Pepper
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Sweetened espresso, coffee stout, Revolver cocktail
- Purchase Recommendation: Boxes
- Amazing lingering finish
- Standout individual flavors
- Balances deep flavors and hefty body
- Ragged burn
- Slightly uneven bunch
- One to two relights