Backing up for just a moment, Seijas oversaw a huge operation in his previous role. A press release announcing the Matilde launch stated production at approximately 55 million cigars a year. Obviously the man is experienced. But he was also responsible for churning out lots and lots of fairly ordinary, bread and butter type product. Naturally we're always excited when a guy like this goes rogue and gets to focus only on the cigars he's passionate to produce.
We got our hands on the corona, which suits us just fine. It's a chunky 5.5" x 44 and it looks great. The medium brown Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is lush and chocolatey—not too oily, nicely satiny. It looks delicious. As fans of very carefully applied triple caps, the lack of one here was a let down but we realize we are in the minority here.
The corona seemed to have a very slightly tight draw—perhaps intentionally so. This slight resistance will help keep inattentive smokers from puffing too enthusiastically, which might turn a hearty blend like this into something harsh.
The first impression was of an abundance of strong Dominican tobacco in the form of a distinct leather note we've experienced before, most notably in the Mi Dominicana puro he blended during his days with Altadis. We would describe it in very specific terms as shoe leather. Even more specifically, in this case, it reminds us of brand new, very expensive shoes straight out of the box. It's very smooth, somewhat processed, and altogether different from other notably leathery cigars like Fuente's Opus X.
In fact, if you asked us to sum up this cigar in a single phrase, we'd call it Opus X Lite. It's an engaging yet easygoing smoke that's fully aged and ready to smoke right now. Along with that hearty backbone of leather comes a dry, syrupy sweetness offset by faint pepper and gingersnap. Certainly this is not a mild cigar but neither is it a powerhouse.
This is one of those cigars that we think may have a selective appeal. It's too distinctive for a casual golf course smoker, but it's not quite bold enough to get hardcore cigar nerds excited either. At $7.50, it's certainly a good value given the obvious care taken in its blending and manufacture. That said, we would more often tend to reach for the Oliva Serie V No. 4 or La Palina El Diario KB when in search of a corona or petit corona.
Personal preferences aside, it's tough to fault this first release from Matilde. We might wish for a teeny bit more open draw, and a more artfully applied cap that lives up to the cigar's otherwise excellent appearance. Otherwise, we think this is an excellent choice for smokers who want a distinctive and tastefully blended cigar that's interesting but not overwhelming. And it's a long smoke too for a corona—over an hour.
B: Dominican Rep.
F: Dominican, Nicaragua
Refined and chocolatey in appearance, this flavorful cigar has distinct notes of expensive shoe leather and a good sweet-spicy interplay. Not mild, not bold.