When the JRE Tobacco Company debuted in the summer of 2015, the company trotted out a straightforward portfolio of three brands: Aladino, Rancho Luna, and Tatascan. Taking on an old-school approach, the company did little more than add sizes to its premiere offering (Aladino) in the years following; veering from the modern style of releasing new brands and limited edition cigars on a regular basis. It wasn’t until late 2017 that the cigar received its first followup with the Aladino Maduro. Finally, Aladino Corojo Reserva was introduced in 2018, boasting a more hearty, concentrated expression of the original Aladino.
Aladino Corojo Reserva Breakdown
- Wrapper: Corojo (Honduras)
- Binder: Corojo (Honduras)
- Filler: Corojo (Honduras)
- Factory: Las Lomas Factory (Honduras)
- Production: Small Batch / Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 (Robusto)
- Price: $12.00 (MSRP)
Aladino Corojo Reserva was on center display at the JRE booth during the 2018 IPCPR trade show. The cigars—like nearly all rolled by the famed Eiroa family—boast a Honduran-centered experience. In fact, the blend could be described not only as a Honduran puro, not only a Corojo-seed puro, but as an Eiroa puro—being completely harvested from company founder Julio R. Eiroa’s own Eiroa Tobacco Farm (located in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras). On paper, this is an identical makeup to the original Aladino cigar; this is what makes the Aladino Corojo Reserva special, simply altering tobacco primings to showcase a new, high-octane experience.
Differing from the original Aladino, which is offered in upwards of 12 sizes, the Corojo Reserva arrives in a singular robusto format. The cigars are said to be made in ongoing, small batches—rumored to be around 400 boxes (8,000 cigars) per month.
Aladino Corojo Reserva is packaged in wooden, hexagon-shaped boxes, feeling properly vintage. On the box’s interior is the same Cuban artwork that was introduced to the Aladino line in 2017. The cigars themselves are tissue-wrapped along the bottom half and banded in a new “Aladino” primary band and an accompanying “Corojo Reserva” sub-band. It’s a very authentic look that screams “OLD SCHOOL,” masterfully conveying the smoking experiences that JRE intends to bring to the nostalgic enthusiast.
The cigar itself shows a very dark wrapper—about as dark as you’ll come across from a Corojo seed. Having the look of a dark chocolate bar, the leaf also displays a few medium-thick veins, some darker color mottling, and a pleasing velvety feel. Looking at the foot, it’s clear where the high-priming tobaccos reside, with contrastingly dark leaves spiraling towards the blend’s center. The robusto is neatly triple capped and feels solid (perhaps a medium-firm bunch) in the hand.
Notes of barnyard hay and classic leather are the primary aromas from the wrapper (but nutmeg, smoky hickory, and natural tobacco can also be found). The foot emits added nuances of maple, ginger, and black tea—each ending with a clean finish. Prior to lighting, the cut cigar shows a medium draw and flavors of must, cinnamon, and natural tobacco.
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As hinted by the noticeably thick/dark tobaccos seen from the cigar’s foot, the Aladino Corojo Reserva takes an especially long time to toast/light (high-priming tobaccos being known for their flavor but not their combustibility). The initial flavors are dark and sharp, seeming to hit all sides of the palate simultaneously (though the bitter receptors are at the forefront). It’s an explosion of sensations—not all of which are positive—with fiery notes of black peppercorns, burning brush, charred wood, and hickory rushing across the palate and out through the nostrils. The profile is a bit overwhelming, like breathing in too much smoke while sitting around a bonfire. But there are welcomed flavors in the mixture too, such as bitter dark cocoa, anise, and even chicory.
The cigar’s draw differs from the pre-light experience (a hair too firm), bringing in a medium-plus amount of smoke on every puff (which is more than I’d expect, using the draw as an indicator). Leading into the midsection, the profile is predictably strong in nicotine, with a medium flavor and body taking a backseat. In terms of construction, the cigar is about all the layman could ask for, showing a straight burn and holding roughly two-inch sections of ash.
There’s a two-inch portion of the robusto—near the middle but leaning towards the first third—where the smoke truly shines. This chunk of cigar is dark, sweet, strong, concentrated, and complex, all in perfect unison—bringing flavors of heavy root beer (backed by rich vanilla), dark and nutty fruit, earth, Dr Pepper soda, and Hershey’s syrup.
Despite the stellar construction, the cigar does require a re-light at the halfway marker (about one re-light per review sample, on average). It’s a very strong smoking experience, with the flavor notes doing their best to provide balance. The final non-heavy flavor component—a leftover from the aforementioned exquisite “passage of excellence”—is a sweet, custard-like creaminess throughout the finish. But heading into the final stretch, it’s nothing but darkness. Be prepared to encounter notes of black pepper, clove, earth, and more of it. There is also a hint of mocha that resembles 30-minute chocolate fudge cake made with leftover coffee added in the chocolate frosting (this is a dessert I had a lot growing up, hence the overly precise flavor description that almost certainly no one else will share). Rounding out the experience, I’d peg the profile at full in strength, near-full in body, and medium-plus in flavor.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Not every day, but I’ll have them on hand for certain occasions—acting like smelling salts for the palate.
- Interestingly, while the Corojo Reserva takes on the role of the more limited, upgraded Aladino, its packaging is much less flashy than the standard Aladino.
- Sometimes I wonder if the look is intentionally nostalgic or if it’s simply the natural choice from Julio Eiroa—an old-school cigar maker that continues to provide knowledge and insight from a bygone era.
- I praised the original Aladino for its retrofied color scheme, embracing yellows and browns in a fashion that would make ’60s diners proud. The Corojo Reserva is even more in tune with this feel, lacking metallic inks and boasting a matte, subdued look/feel. It’s a style heading in the exact opposite direction of today’s boutiques, which continuously strive to break new ground in the notoriously stale cigar scene. Then again, when everything is new, it’s suddenly refreshing to find a brand that embraces a more romantic era without feeling disingenuous.
- Aladino Corojo Reserva was Cigar Dojo’s No. 6 Cigar of the Year for 2018.
- Flavor: Medium-Plus
- Strength: Full
- Body: Medium / Full
- Black pepper
- Charred wood
- Dark bitter cocoa
- Root beer
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: French press | Root beer | Barrel-aged stout | Barrel-proof Kentucky straight rye
- Purchase Recommendation: Box
- Good smoke output
- Full strength supported by surprising level of flavor
- Two-inch stretch of incredible "it factor" flavor development
- Slightly snug draw
- Can veer into dark/harsh territory on occasion