My Father Le Bijou Special Edition Corona Gorda

My initial experience with the My Father Le Bijou 1922 line was one of indifference. The cigars were pretty good, but not something I thought was worth the price. But then on a recent visit to Puff ‘N’ Stuff, a shop here in Georgia, Al, the owner, renewed my interest in the Le Bijou. Apparently a recent shipment of Petite Robustos had noticeably darker wrappers and much richer flavors. So I tried one, and he was right, they were fantastic.

Weeks later, Al once again brought up the Le Bijou 1922. Only this time it was to tell me about a special edition Corona Gorda Don Pepin Garcia made exclusively for Puff ‘N’ Stuff. Not only was it a new size, but it featured a different, more powerful blend that the rest of the line. Trusting Al and his well-tuned palate, and was happy to take the samples he offered for this review.

300 23 cigar boxes of the Corona Gorda were produced, and as of the time of this writing, there are still some available. Each box has been numbered and signed by Jamie Garcia, and as a bonus, the attractive packaging functions pretty well as a humidor. A box will cost you $190 and a five pack is going for $47, both available via the Puff ‘N’ Stuff website.

Speaking of the website, in a description that could have been taken from an erotic food fetish scene in a romance novel, it says this about the Special Edition Corona Gorda:

“Slight peppers tickle the tongue as delightfully deep espresso flavors quickly permeate the palate. Whispers of decadent European dark chocolates peek through the plentiful smoke. Lavish licks of Cuban coffees crown the cigar. Tempting me to torch yet another.”

After that, I think I need to go have a snack. Which is a pretty good idea actually, because the word is that this significantly amped up version of the Le Bijou 1922 is not for the faint of heart or empty of belly. That probably won’t stop me from burning one with my morning coffee, but then, I am doing this for science. I just hope the nicotine backhand I expect to receive is delicious. Let’s find out.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Samples from Al at Puff ‘N’ Stuff
Price: MSRP $8.26

The Pre-Smoke
The Le Bijou Special Edition Corona Gorda is a good looking stick with the same pair of bands you’ll find on the other Le Bijou vitolas. The wrapper is oily and dark brown in color. The sticks do have some medium-sized veins, but they don’t really stand out when you look over the cigar. The only imperfection I found was a tiny hole on one stick, just below the bands.

There is a surprisingly pungent and unusual aroma to the wrapper. Fresh out of the cellophane, it’s a very pronounced compost, but if left to rest a while an equally pronounced blueberry aroma emerges. I also noticed this strong and distinct blueberry flavor, as well as chocolate in the cold taste.

The Burn
I’m happy to have nothing to report in the burn department. The cigars I smoked for this review burned evenly, produced lengthy, sturdy white ashes, and the draw was perfect. The minor inconsistencies in the feel of the sticks in the pre-light inspection appeared to have no affect on combustion.

The Flavor
The Le Bijou Corona Gorda doesn’t mess around. The first couple puffs are very spicy and leathery, but even more interesting is the sweetness that accompanies it. It’s like raspberry sauce. Sweet and tart with a viscous richness. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything like it in a cigar before. And it isn’t long before pepper, espresso and dark chocolate begin making appearances, though the pepper definitely lingers.

Before the second third begins, the cigar mellows a little, rolls back the in-your-face pepper and spice and reveals creamy coffee, cedar and slight mushroom flavor. The raspberry-like tart sweetness continues into the second third with a reappearance later of a less aggressive, does-well-with-others sort of pepper. Charry wood, rich chocolate and a little creamy coffee come into play as it burns deeper in. The sweetness fades a little, and becomes more of a tart zing.

Espresso, chocolate, pepper and a fading raspberry sweetness begin the final third as the body begins to build. Spice returns with a vengeance, making the whole mouth tingle as the real potency of the cigar starts to kick in. There is a touch of tar in the flavor at the very end of the cigar, which is a pretty good signal that the smoking portion of the ride is coming to a close.

The Price
The Corona Gorda is around a dollar more expensive than the popular petite robusto, but when you consider it is a much different blend, composed of more potent tobacco, it seems reasonable.

The Verdict
I’m not ordinarily one that chases after limited editions, but I think the My Father Le Bijou Corona Gorda is something special, and worth the pursuit. It’s delivers a satisfying combination rich flavor, power and complexity in a comfortable format and at a reasonable price. And if that weren’t enough to make it box-worthy, the aging prospects for the Corona Gorda seem very good. They’re already noticeably better in the three weeks since I first sampled them.

When it comes to recommendations, I’ll tell you what my plans are. I’m going to buy a box. I’ll probably smoke a few and then set the rest aside for some quality humidor time. I can’t wait to see how they improve with age. If you’re interested in trying them on for size, you can order them from the Puff ‘N’ Stuff website (or give them a call at 770-908-9388).

Liked It: Box-worthy
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.