Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Robusto

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It takes a lot for a cigar to stick in my brain; sometimes it’s remarkable flavor, other times its the place I smoked it and the company I was with. But for one cigar, its rather distinctive name has been lodged in my mind since I first heard it: Señor Esugars by Cornelius & Anthony.

As someone who does a fair amount of speaking for a living, I have developed a particular obsession with getting names pronounced correctly, and that obsession extends to this cigar. To get it out of the way, Stephen Bailey, the founder and owner of Cornelius & Anthony, pronounces it ee-shoog-urs. An interesting name for sure, one that comes from his pet Dachshund, or as Bailey explains, “my sidekick.” Señor Esugars himself is prominently featured on the boxes’ artwork, sporting a bowler hat and a cigar in his mouth.

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Bailey calls Señor Esugars a “passion project” that he has been developing for roughly three years, with the cigar finally being announced in June and shown off at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July. It uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over an American binder and fillers from Nicaragua. The cigar is being made in Estelí, Nicaragua at Erik Espinosa’s La Zona Cigar Factory.

Señor Esugars is offered in four sizes.

  • Señor Esugars Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) — $9.15 (Boxes of 20, $183)
  • Señor Esugars Robusto (5 x 50) — $9.75 (Boxes of 20, $195)
  • Señor Esugars Toro (6 x 50) — $10.50 (Boxes of 20, $210)
  • Señor Esugars Gordo (6 x 60) — $11.55 (Boxes of 20, $231)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Zona Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: U.S.A.
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $9.75 (Boxes of 20, $195)
  • Release Date: August 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Señor Esugars Robusto is quite a firm cigar, showing almost no give save for a few spots scattered amongst the samples. The wrapper is a dark, earthy brown with a good number of small veins, a fine and dry texture on the fingers and a generally uniform color that plays well off the scheme of the two bands. Each sample is rolled well, with flat seams and only the most minimal of bumps. The foot is cool and with thick sweetness, reminiscent of a fresh bag of brown sugar, with complementary notes of berries, bagels, and black pepper. The cold draw is smooth and neither too tight nor too loose with a bit of damp bark and pepper the most noticeable of flavors, while a bit of simple sweetness glazes the flavors.

There’s a good bit of pepper in the first few puffs of the Señor Esugars Robusto, but it’s not the pepper that’s most notable, rather it’s a potent earthiness that is almost liquid on the tongue, coating the sides and packing a hot sauce bite that lingers long after each puff. It flirts with getting sour in the first half-an-inch though stops just short, yet that’s not to say it avoids flavors that are less than endearing. This is mostly found in the first sample, which was markedly stronger than the other two, though each sample showed a bit of the same experience. Where the cigar most notably stands out is via the retrohale, as the pepper is much brighter and already teetering on being too powerful to enjoy in anything other than the smallest of amounts. Even incidental smoke that happens to enter the nose without an attempt at a retrohale shows the punch this blend is offering, which while I’d peg the flavor at medium or a tick above that, is almost too full to process. The fringe flavors that do the most coloring of the profile slowly begin to fade away by the time the burn line hits the one inch mark, though the pepper remains in almost full control of the profile. Earthiness begins to manifest now that there is some landscape to work with, and some subtle sweetness emerges as well, though it is far from being a defining characteristic. At its best moments, the Señor Esugars squarely hits the mark on being a very pepper-forward, medium-full cigar that has the guts to keep up with peaty Scotch whiskies, though I feel like that pairing might simply overwhelm me. The cigar burns quite well through the first third with a sharp burn line and plenty of smoke, with the cigar staying at medium-plus in flavor and body, though feeling like it’s beginning to move up the scale a bit.

After it’s flavorful start, the Señor Esugars Robusto is much tamer, familiar, and thus palatable at the start of the second third, now offering a medium-full bodied yet neutral smoke, with a bit of lumber and chalk keeping the flavor progressing, and lingering pepper on the palate to provide some tingle. The wood note is by far the most complex, segueing into some light barnyard ahead of the midpoint and the aroma picking up a light campfire smokiness. By the midpoint, the flavor has settled down even more, now sitting at medium or even medium-minus, though there is still an absolute ton of potent pepper to be found through the nose, and for someone who likes to retrohale as much as possible, I’m a bit disheartened to find that I can still only take one or two per third as it is so strong. The cigar begins to ramp back up in flavor and strength prior to the end of this section, adding earth back into the mix while a bit of vanilla sweetness emerges in the aroma. The technical performance has been near flawless; other than a slightly uneven burn line in spots, there are no issues with the draw or smoke production.

The build up of flavor and strength that the Señor Esugars Robusto alluded to earlier is steadily coming to fruition in the final third, though the profile has more natural sweetness than it did earlier, and as such more in the way of complexity. I still struggle with finding great balance in the cigar, as the pepper and rocky earth come in and bluntly punch the center of my tongue, throwing off what the cigar seemed to be trying to accomplish, while also imparting a good chest punch of nicotine strength. By the time the burn line is through where the primary band would be, I can really feel the nicotine from the cigar kicking in, and standing up shortly thereafter only amplifies the affect of this medium-full cigar, most interestingly in my legs as the nicotine circulates. The profile stays fairly approachable, assuming strong cigars are in your wheelhouse, and while this one may be a bit out of mine I don’t find the strength to be overdone. A final attempt at a big retrohale does not end well, as it sends me reeling from the now burning hot smoke that is saturated with red chili pepper flakes and feels more like a hot sauce challenge at a restaurant instead of a cigar.

Final Notes

  • You can watch Stephen Bailey introduce the Señor Esugars line in a video from the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
  • I’m most certainly a dog person, and I love seeing dogs incorporated into the names of cigars such as this, as well as Warped’s Guardian of the Farm line.
  • I wish the band featured the illustration of Señor Esugars, as I think that would make a great touch in place of the main band.
  • This is a prime example of why our policy of smoking three cigars for a review is in place; after the first cigar I was more or less ready to write this off and I can’t say I was looking forward to smoking the next two, but thankfully they redeemed things and changed my opinion of the blend.
  • The nicotine strength of the cigar doesn’t get felt until the final third and when I stood up after each cigar. The first cigar was almost overpoweringly strong, leaving me feeling a bit cigar drunk for a good while after I’d finished it. Be prepared for this to stick with you for a bit after smoking it; you might even want to have some white sugar around to put under your tongue as part of neutralizing the nicotine effect.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors JR Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars carry the Cornelius & Anthony Señor Esugars Robusto.
85 Overall Score

For a cigar accompanied by an illustration of a cute little dog, the Señor Esugars Robusto certainly packs a punch, much more than I was expecting going into it. Other than the first sample, the flavor never gets overly strong save for a handful of moments where the pepper gets quite dominant. It shines its best when the complexity is allowed to show, offering strength, sweetness, and aroma, though unfortunately it feels like those moments are not only too few and far between, but often interrupted by the strong pepper and earth butting their way back into the profile. Similarly, the unwillingness of the cigar to allow for more frequent retrohaling wasn't a plus, but overall I can't say I'm displeased by this cigar. When the mood calls for something fuller and stronger, and you're willing to try out a new blend that will more than challenge your taste buds, olfactory nerves, and often your intestinal fortitude, the Señor Esugars is one worth considering.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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 the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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