While it’s been a while since I’ve given the speech, one of the more counterproductive things I see cigar companies do is name cigars—specifically the sizes of cigars—something other than standard cigar names. While it seems fine on paper, and is probably is fine for a single line, it’s not really reasonable that a consumer is going to remember that the belicoso size is known as crown and the robusto size is known as royal.

Though I’ve also argued that if you are going to make up a complicated story about your cigar’s name, go for it.

No one has done it as much as ADV & McKay Cigars Co. S.R.L., a partnership between Marcel Knobel–a Swiss sommelier, coffee producer and retailer—and Henderson Ventura, who runs Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic alongside his father.

The whole brand, from the company name to the individual lines, traces back to a fictional story about two explorers: ADVENTURA and McKay. They leave Europe in 1490 in search of the new world, and as you might expect, they find tobacco in their search of the new world.

As the company has grown, it has added chapters to the story, the fourth of which is called The Royal Return, a part about the explorers bringing back treasures to the royal family. As part of this chapter, there were two new cigars introduced last year: King’s Gold and Queen’s Pearls.

King’s Gold uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper over a Mexican San Andrés binder and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and the U.S. The company says that the tobacco used for both blends has been aged for a minimum of five years and the cigars were aged for at least four months after they were rolled.

It launched in two sizes, with the company adding a 6 x 44 corona size to the line in the summer of 2021.

Of note, the company’s five largest accounts were given access to the new size in June, as a prerelease before its formal unveiling at the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show.

  • Cigar Reviewed: ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Corona
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
  • Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
  • Binder: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & U.S.A.
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 44
  • Vitola: Corona
  • MSRP: $13 (Box of 20, $260)
  • Release Date: June 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

This is a dark and, if I’m being generous, rustic-looking wrapper. Another way of describing the appearance of the wrapper is rough, and I think it’s certainly the gnarliest-looking wrapper I’ve seen for a review in a while. There are some red hues and some discoloration, but it’s mainly just dark. Once I get a bit closer, the wrapper seems to get a bit lighter, perhaps due to the band. Two of the three cigars have feet that look box-pressed, while the heads are round. I’m guessing this isn’t an intentional feature of the ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Corona, but it’s here nonetheless. The aroma from the wrapper is a medium-plus mixture of raisins, cocoa powder and barnyard. The foot’s aroma is medium-full with a sweet cocoa, some paint aromas and nuttiness. Cold draws have lots of milk chocolate over woodiness, red pepper and green grapes. While it’s medium-plus in intensity, everything seems a bit muted.

The tightness of the draws differs from cigar to cigar. The first sample I smoke is too open, the second sample is about average and the third sample is a bit tight. While there are some differences, the three ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Coronas more or less start the same. There’s a lot of burning wood tastes, charcoal and leather. It begs for some sweetness, which fortunately shows up pretty quickly. That being said, it’s not that much sweetness. There’s a mixture of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, burning leaves, oak and earthiness. The finish has a mixture of oak, toastiness and barbecue sauce. Retrohales are fruitier—on one sample my notes say orange—along with Lay’s BBQ potato chips, white pepper and Ritz crackers. They finish with more of the barbecue potato chip flavor, earthiness, oak and citrus. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Construction-wise, my largest complaint is that the ash is a bit messy, though that’s not something we evaluate on our scoresheet. Practically speaking, the larger issue is the draw on the first and third cigars, both of which could be better.

It takes me a few puffs—and some misguided observations—to figure out what the profile was shifting to. After thinking it might be fire-cured tobacco, I realized that The Royal Return King’s Gold Corona is now tasting like a Scotch whisky-based cocktail. There’s still a fair amount of earthiness and toastiness, but’s what’s emerging more and more is a sweet Scotch whisky-like flavor. Each puff, the profile gets a bit brighter, and whether by association or otherwise, I get more convinced that’s the closest thing to describe what I am tasting. The finish has bread, earthiness, nuttiness, leather and sweetness. Retrohales have even more of the sweet Scotch flavors, though still with lots of oak and toastiness. The finish has earthiness, herbal flavors, toastiness and some of the Scotch notes. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Touch-ups are needed on two cigars, though once again, my larger issue is with the draw.

I find the flavors in the final third of the ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Corona to be much more challenging to detect. While the second third felt like the bouquet of flavors was expanding and allowing the individual notes to breathe a bit more from one another, the final third seems the space in between the flavors shrink. That being said, a roux-like creaminess means that things are also smoother, as there’s now something other than toastiness that seems to weave the flavors together. As far as other flavors, upfront there’s a sweet fruity flavor that reminds me of blackberry jam, a bit of the Scotch sensation from before, and a bit of white pepper. The roux-like creaminess takes over the finish, though I also find more of the blackberry flavor and some familiar oak. Retrohales have a noticeable ketchup sweetness, blackberries, oak and some herbal flavors. They finish quite similar, though there is some building red pepper. Flavor is medium-full—though reduced from before—body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Touch-ups continue, though like before, if I could only fix one thing it would be the draws, which are slightly off on two cigars.

Final Notes

  • There was a moment while reviewing the second cigar that I wasn’t sure I had the correct vitola. At 6 x 44, this is a bit larger than most coronas.
  • I’ve smoked King’s Cold in a couple of sizes now, I’m still not sure what to think of the blend. This cigar has other issues than the flavor, but I felt like, at times, the toastiness was overwhelming.
  • I mentioned this in my review of The Royal Return Queen’s Pearl Corona, but the bands for this cigar are very interesting as they are more metal than paper. It’s not a solid metal band like some companies have used, instead, it’s flexible with the consistency a bit less firm than a paper clip. It’s similar to the band used for the Chinnock Cellars Terroir.
  • As far as comparing the two cigars, the Queen’s Pearl is a much better cigar in my opinion. That’s not terribly descriptive in regards to this King’s Gold as I thought Queen’s Pearl was the best tasting new cigar of 2020.
  • There’s a Queen’s Pearl Lancero that could make its way to the U.S. in the future, and I am looking forward to tasting that.
  • ADV & McKay Cigars Co. advertises on halfwheel.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Depending on the draw, final smoking time varied from two hours and five minutes to close to two hours and 45 minutes.
86 Overall Score

If you like cigars with very distinct transitions, the ADVentura The Royal Return King’s Gold Corona will provide that in spades. There are some connecting notes that are present in each third—oak and toastiness—but it very much tasted like three different experiences. The issue was that while the cigars tasted fine, the construction left a lot to be desired. Beyond the ash making a mess, the draw on the first sample was too open, while the draw on the final sample was too tight. Even that second cigar—the Goldilocks sample—the flavor wasn’t in the top half of experiences I’ve had from Tabacalera William Ventura.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.