If one were to undertake the quest of visiting what Cigar Rights of America Executive Director Glynn Loope calls, “The Great American Smoke Shops,” Jeff Borysiewicz’s Corona Cigar Company locations would be among those at the top of the list. Whether it’s choosing a cigar from a vast selection or sipping a glass of single-barrel whiskey at their impressive, full-sized bar, Borysiewicz has cemented his legacy in the retail sector of the premium cigar industry. A fellow retailer once told me that if he had to choose one word to describe Borysiewicz, it would be “relentless.”
So, what does this relentless spirit do after he’s created an empire of havens for cigar smokers in the state of Florida? He begins to grow tobacco at his newly established farm, ultimately lending a hand in making some of the most uniquely blended cigars the industry has seen in quite some time. The proprietary tobacco is grown at Borysiewicz’s Florida Sun Grown Farm in Clermont, Florida. He started the project in 2010 and the first FSG cigars debuted in 2016 at the (now) annual Florida Barn Smoker.
Since the release of FSG with Drew Estate, additional companies have announced projects using Borysiewicz’s prized Clermont tobacco. Davidoff of Geneva, J.C. Newman, and the Fernández family (of Aganorsa Leaf fame) are using Florida tobacco in new blends, most of which are available exclusively from Corona Cigar Co. It seems that Borysiewicz is making a viable play at ushering in that illustrious fifth U.S. state to bring tobacco to the premium cigar market, as Florida hasn’t produced premium tobacco since the late ’70s.
Florida Sun Grown Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
- Binder: Honduran Habano
- Filler: Nicaragua | USA (FSG Corojo ’99)
- Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 54 (Robusto)
- Price: $11.50 (MSRP)
The FSG has A LOT going on in its blend. A Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper holds the cigar together. The next layer in this cigar parfait is a uniquely found Honduran Habano-seed tobacco. And lastly, the filler is comprised of two tobaccos: Nicaraguan and the remarkable Florida tobacco from Clermont (harvested from Corojo ’99 seed).
I often lament with my fellow retailers in this business that one of the most hilarious questions I receive ever so frequently, “I had a GREAT cigar one time, it has a RED label, do you know which one I am talking about?” Thankfully, the FSG stands out in a crowd with a beautiful blue/teal band that contrasts nicely against the dusky brown wrapper from Brazil. The emblazoned “FSG” is in a large, marquis, brass-and-cream typeset. There are also light-brown tobacco leaf illustrations underneath the letters. There are some, but not excessive, oils on the wrapper, with earthy aromas and some faint notes of sweet citrus on the foot. The wrapper is clean with no tooth, and veins that are very faint.
As usual, I cut the cap with a guillotine cut that allows my palate to welcome in a dry draw of citrus mixed with savory and sweet notes of salted prune and pepper.
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I’ve easily smoked over two dozen FSGs and, by far, more robustos than any other vitola. I love my S.T. Dupont miniJet, but I’ve been favoring a more old-school approach with some of these reviews, toasting and lighting the cigar with a match. The aroma coming off the toasted foot is earthy and peppery.
The first few puffs of this cigar take me back to my first experience with FSG. I still contend that the unique nature of this cigar makes it exceptionally difficult to compare to other cigars. It’s also packed with such diverse complexity and tasting notes. A woody mixture of cedar and oak is the first individual tasting note to reveal itself. Accompanied with the peppered aroma from the light, there’s some initial classic flavors that start the cigar.
As the cigar begins to open up, citrus and the salted prune notes return (first seen in the pre-light draw), counterbalanced with pepper—both on the palate and on the retrohale. The spicy and earthy finish is short, but not muddy. The richness of this cigar is surprising to me, given the salty and citrus-like notes that dominate the palate well into the cigar. Prior to smoking this cigar initially (circa 2016), I wanted to make an extra effort to pay attention to the burn and construction. At the time, having never smoked Florida tobacco, I was uncertain on what to expect. For the first time in as far as I could recall, I was able to smoke a cigar blind. And the results were truly unique.
The cigar finished with even more pepper on the mouth and through the nose than from the beginning. The finish doesn’t carry the body to another level, nor is it burning too hot, which I see from time to time with cigars that carry a higher citrus flavor. The burn and construction continue to hold nearly flawless, even to the end.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I would, I have, and I will. This cigar’s reasonable price point makes it ideal to grab a box or bundle for a ski or lake weekend.
- FSG originally debuted in 2016 as a limited production project from Borysiewicz and Drew Estate
- The brand was later made regular production at IPCPR 2017
- Apart from the four regular-production FSG cigars, Drew Estate also offers a limited-production version known as FSG Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro
- While the core FSG cigars use Corojo FSG tobacco, the limited version uses Corojo and Criollo FSG
- Cigars smoked for review were from the 2017 launch, were FSG became a regular offering
- Flavor: Medium-Full / Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Salted prune
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Pilsner, Gin, Anejo tequila, Apples with brie, Bagels & lox
- Purchase Recommendation: Try one, then buy a box in your ideal vitola
- Unique, complex flavor
- Great construction
- Higher price point
- Abrupt finish