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Punch Rare Corojo 2014 Rothschild robusto

Today, the Nubbit Brothers revisit one of their first review cigars, which you’ve never seen. The review, that is. Punch Rare Corojo Rothschild cigar

Draw: Way back in February of 2013, brother Punch and I sat down and reviewed a Punch Rare Corojo. From our notes, I think we liked it, but from our lack of notes, we’ve been unable to construct a useful review. Thus, ta-da.

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan

Punch: This review is based on smoking three sticks, each, which we purchased ourselves. For this 4.5″ x 50 vitola a small punch seems to be appropriate, yielding a medium-tight draw. The aroma is mild tobacco with very faint menthol, and on the cold draw there is a slight nuttiness.

According to Wikipedia “The Punch brand was first registered in 1840 by German named Stockmann and named for the European puppet show character, Mr. Punch.” That makes me wonder what it might have been like if Stockmann had chosen Mr. Punch’s wife, Judy, as the company”s namesake, instead. We might have such product names as “The Judy Uppercut” and the “Judy Bareknuckle”. I’m just sayin’…

D: I’m using the smaller punch this evening, too. The draw is on the moderate-tight side. Cold-draw reveals mild chocolate and brandy, or something similarly rich, but in small quantity. The Punch Rare Corojo is colorado-maduro in color, box-pressed, and well constructed.

P: Starting off there is a medium harshness on the draw, giving way to a mild-medium pepper on the finish. The dominant flavor is smooth leather, with pepper on the finish. But after ½” the overall attack has mellowed and the pepper finish has diminished to be less in-the-face, letting me focus on the nice, earthy leather middle.

D: I get a healthy mouthful of smoke. Initially, it has a woody, sharp – almost jalapeno – attack; a woody, yeasty middle, with a nutty finish and green pepper clinging to the back of my throat. The pepper in the attack fades after the initial phase to let more wood through, and the middle does take on more leather, if you prefer. In any case, it is quite smooth. Fairly strong flavor. I’d also note, from both this evening and previous burns, that it does idle well.

P: “Rare Corojo” as the name could seem misleading as it is neither rare, nor does it contain any corojo tobacco. What if other products used the same misleading naming convention? Good and Plenty, could be “Bad and Sparse”. “Top Shelf” could actually be “Bottom Cabinet”. And “Ground Chuck” could actually be “Chopped David”…  Nothing?… Really?… Work with me here…

D: Umm… Right.

P: I spoke with Paul Buza of Big Sticks Fine Cigars in Mesa, Arizona – who has been in the cigar business for over 30 years – and he explained it to me. The Rare Corojo is a fairly old line of Punch’s which originally did have a Corojo wrapper. It was discontinued for a while, then back in the cigar boom – in the late 90s, Punch revived the name, but with the current Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. As of this writing I have still not heard back from the company with an official explanation for why this release has “corojo” in the name. As for “Rare”, Paul explains that this part of the name represents that it is a seasonal release which is only available as long as the stock lasts. Paul concedes that the naming could be confusing, but points out that, in the boom, in addition to new smokers coming into the marketplace, there were also old (previous) smokers coming back, and Punch was trying to revive some of the older, more popular lines which they had offered in their past to capture some of those previous customers who were coming back, and it didn’t hurt that it had “rare” in the name since that could attract some of the new customers to it.

Second third: The harshness on the attack is gone and the body has fallen off to medium and straight-forward woody tobacco with a slight black cherry, and the pepper finish has tapered off to… nothing.

D: In the middle third, there’s more hot wood on the attack and middle, as the other flavors fade. Some leather in the middle, replacing most of the yeastiness, still some nuttiness…maybe cashew? There’s also some motor oil in the aftertaste, now; fresh oil. During my second review stick, I was outside with a thunderstorm approaching. Even in those winds, the ash held on for more than an inch, without any special protection on my part.

P: Starting the final third some cedar is showing up to accompany the wood, and the body is elevating slightly.

D: And for me the strength of flavor remains at least medium. The burn has become fairly irregular as it progresses, and does not idle as well. I’ve been able to keep from touching up a few peninsulas in the last third of all three review sticks by purging. The purging does clear the flavor-register, and brings in some unexpected ones: a bread toasty-sweetness, with subtle caramel (or cocoa) on the finish and aftertaste at the sides of my tongue. The flavor is not particularly deep. Hardwood and leather are still primary flavor tones.

P: Finishing out, the flavor stayed consistent without turning into a non-distinct amalgam, and I only put it down because it was burning my fingers.

D: With three fingers to go, my lips are tingly. The flavors continue to mutate slightly for me; at one point, I tasted roasted red peppers and cilantro. Subtle, nice. Cedar has never quite developed for me, instead I am getting more motor oil overall. I don’t know why I think that’s a nice flavor, but I do continue smoking it down to the nubbins.

Burn it or Spurn it?

P: This is a nice little burner. At the beginning I found it a bit harsh and off-putting, but as it progressed it developed into a pleasant, full flavored, medium bodied, smoke. It has enough changes from start to finish to keep it interesting. I had no burn issues at all – a solid performer. At $5 this is a good value stick that is well worth trying, that is unless one is a novice cigar smoker who might not want so much intensity in flavor. Purportedly these age well, something which most likely would take the edge off the earily harshness. You may want to get a box to let sit for a year or so. These can be had for just over $4/stick in double corona, via mail order.

Draw: Burn it. Full-flavored start, mellowing slightly in the middle, with the flavor profile evolving and finishing somewhat different. Strength? Medium; I’m not dizzy, but I do feel it. The burn wandered further the more I smoked it; some may find this annoying. Great volume of smoke produced, and long-clinging ash affirms the quality of components and construction. The Punch Rare Corojo is a popular cigar at my local retailers, and it usually sells out. I understand why.

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