At the 2023 PCA Convention & Trade Show, Freud Cigar Co. unveiled a new line, but one that wouldn’t have any Freud branding on it. Instead of an image of the famous neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, the cigar featured an illustration of a fictional couple named Carlos and Maria.

The first release in the line is called Amorío, and it was blended by Wiber Ventura of Tabacalera William Ventura, and produced at the El Maestro factory, a smaller factory in the company’s operations that produces cigars for other brands as well as what are described as more boutique projects. The blend features a habano-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador, a Sumatra-seed binder grown in Indonesia, and a filler that contains Nicaraguan seco, Ecuadorian habano visos, Dominican San Vicente ligero, and criollo 98 visos of undisclosed origin.

Carlos & Maria Amorío is offered in four sizes:

  • Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) — $17 (Box of 10, $170)
  • Carlos & Maria Amorío Robusto (5 x 50) — $19 (Box of 10, $190)
  • Carlos & Maria Amorío Churchill (7 x 48) — $21 (Box of 10, $210)
  • Carlos & Maria Amorío Toro (6 x 54) — $23 (Box of 10, $230)

The Carlos & Maria brand added a second line at the 2024 PCA Convention & Trade Show, named Orgasmo. The name represents “the passion” of the storyline and serves as a follow-up to Amorio, a line named for “everlasting love,” Gerald Tritt, director of operations for Freud Cigar Co. told halfwheel. Unlike the regular production Amorio line, Orgasmo is a limited edition release of just 500 boxes of 10 cigars, and is offered in a single 6 x 60 gordo vitola. A third line is slated to be released in 2025, potentially at the PCA Convention & Trade Show.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: El Maestro
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Indonesia (Sumatra)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (San Vicente Ligero), Ecuador (Habano Visos), Nicaragua (Seco) and Undisclosed (Criollo 98 Visos)
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $17 (Box of 10, $170)
  • Release Date: September 2023
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda has a pleasant visual appearance, as the gold in the bands plays well off the color of the wrapper leaf, which is darker than a graham cracker but has some of those shades in it. There are a decent number of small veins that catch my eye, as does just a bit of mottling in spots. None of the wrappers are particularly oily, but two are still smooth to the fingers, with the veins and texture of the binder both providing some feelings of contour. That third cigar is outright dry with a bit of fine texture. All three cigars have a bit of give, though none concern me, and that third cigar with the dry wrapper, is by far the firmest of the three. The foot has an aroma that reminds me of opening a bag of cereal: light and bright but also grainy. There’s also some honey graham cracker to go along with the color of the wrapper, though the foot isn’t particularly sweet. The first cigar’s cold draw is good in terms of airflow, a touch firm in the second cigar and outright firm in the third. The flavor is a bit mellower, softer, and denser than the aroma, There’s a touch of damp toast and peanut, while some pepper slowly emerges on the finish after several draws. Creaminess is present at times but not consistent across the three cigars, as is some barrel wood.

The first puffs of the first cigar have a bit of a funky potato chip flavor, a bit oily on my palate, but not a consistent experience across the three samples. Then, dry earth and black pepper begin to emerge to mitigate that initial sensation and bring the profile into a more familiar place, with some white toast leading the finish and drying out my mouth a bit. The third cigar continues to differentiate itself from the other two, offering a fuller, earthier profile out of the gate that has just enough pepper to elicit a bit of a whoa reaction. There’s just a touch of gruffness in the profile, a sensation seemingly coming from the dryness of the smoke as the black pepper isn’t terribly prominent, and earth is almost non-existent in some puffs. Some creaminess emerges in spots, and the profile is enhanced by it, giving the smoke both body and fullness, while it helps smooth the edges of the flavor profile. Construction is very good thus far, as normally-paced puffs are all that is needed to keep the cigar burning well. Flavor in the first third is medium-plus, the body of the smoke ranges from thin to full and strength is fairly mild but has moments where it gets closer to medium.

The second third of the Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda starts off with crisper flavors, particularly the pepper in the profile, which gives it a more prominent role in the profile as well as a more pointed sensation when it hits my taste buds. Until a few puffs into this section, retrohales had just provided a mild accent to the profile, largely mirroring the flavor. But they now have a bit of cedar, which seems to call out a more generic dry wood from the flavor, another flavor that has gained some definition in this section and combines well with the pepper. There’s less creaminess in the profile now, not completely gone but certainly diminished both in quantity and contribution, replaced by a light touch of earth as the third most prominent flavor. Around the midpoint, the individual flavors come together for a few puffs of real harmony, balance and complexity, with a touch of creaminess returning to tie things together without overpowering any of them. Some sharpness from the pepper disrupts that balance, swinging the profile in and out of this sweet spot through the rest of this section. The profile is medium-full, body is generally medium-plus and strength is medium-minus, rarely offering much of a punch in this section. Construction is very good in terms of draw, burn line evenness and smoke production, but combustion hits a few bumps and needs the occasional relight.

The Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda starts its final third with a combination of dry toast and black pepper, a familiar leading pair that has guided much of the cigar. As the intensity settles down, the flavor takes on a slightly oily flavor, reminding me of well-buttered popcorn for a few puffs. The black pepper reintensifies and becomes the lead in the profile, backed by some earthiness that has a thickness to it but not much gravitas on the palate. The bread flavor returns, not as toast but as a warm, chewy dough flavor that gives the smoke a very enjoyable texture. It’s not as complex of a profile as the second third offered, but it is still a solid and very enjoyable combination. The final puffs of this section put a thin spread of peanut butter on the bread note that has been a consistent part of the profile, shifting that oily sensation a bit. Flavor is medium-plus, body is medium-full and strength is medium-minus at best, as I don’t feel much nicotine in my system. Combustion still remains spotty, as the cigar doesn’t like being left un-puffed for too long, but it still puts off a good amount of smoke and maintains an even burn line, while the draw is a tick firm if anything.

Final Notes

  • When it was launched, the plan was for the Carlos & Maria brand to expand beyond cigars, notably into the spirits category. Gerald Tritt, director of operations for Freud Cigar Co., told halfwheel that is still the plan, as Freud Cigar Co. is part of Agape Lifestyle Inc., which is described as “an emerging luxury brand with a growing portfolio of cigars and spirits crafted for discerning patrons” on the Freud Cigar Co. website.
  • The Carlos & Maria line isn’t mentioned on Freud Cigar Co.’s website; instead, it has its own website but no content other than a note that something is “coming soon.”
  • I haven’t smoked the other sizes in the lineup, and I’d be curious to see how the profile performs in the toro vitola, since it is the thickest ring gauge of the bunch and might offer a bit more softness and roundness in the places where I found the corona gorda to be a touch sharp.
  • While there were a few brief moments when it felt like there is some nicotine strength, the cigar never delivered the punch of nicotine strength.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was 2 hours and ten minutes on average.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda.
86 Overall Score

To borrow from a line that Charlie Minato once used in a review, there are some cigars where certain spots really make the experience, sometimes just a handful of puffs amidst a few hours of otherwise good but not quite memorable puffs. For me, that was the story of the Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda; the profile is good and enjoyable on its own, but the spots in the second and final third where the flavors harmonize with each other are where the cigars shines. The dominant and consistent notes of bread, pepper, and wood that mark the main notes of the profile are all fine on their own, as is the creaminess that makes occasional appearances, but when they all intertwine together is when the cigar realizes and delivers its full potential. If there’s one detractor from the profile, it’s the sharpness that the mouth-drying components of the profile create, as it shifts attention away from the flavor and onto the physical reaction. But from start to finish, the Carlos & Maria Amorío Corona Gorda is an enjoyable smoke.

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.