The Cornelius & Anthony brand made its debut at last year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show with a line named Meridian, and while it is not a well known brand at the moment, it is part of a larger company that has a long history in the tobacco business that started in Virginia in 1866.

The second release is the aptly named Cornelius, an homage to Cornelius Bailey, who was the great-great-grandfather of Steven Bailey and the first of the five generations of the Bailey family to run the aforementioned tobacco company. The new brand is part of S&M Brands, which includes Bailey’s cigarettes and several other lines of both smaller machine made cigars and cigarette brands.

Blend-wise, the Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius incorporates an Ecuadorian habano wrapper covering an Ecuadorian habano binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. The cigars are rolled at El Titan de Bronze in Miami and shipped to retailers in March.

There were three vitolas of the Cornelius & Anthony Cornelius at launch, all packaged in boxes of 20:

  • Cornelius Corona Gorda (5 1/2 x 46) — $12 (Boxes of 20, $240)
  • Cornelius Robusto (5 x 50) — $13.50 (Boxes of 20, $270)
  • Cornelius Toro (6 x 50) — $15 (Boxes of 20, $300)

Cornelius Toro 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Cornelius Toro
  • Country of Origin: U.S.A.
  • Factory: El Titan de Bronze
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $15 (Boxes of 20, $300)
  • Release Date: March 28, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: Two

Covered in a dark mocha brown wrapper, the Cornelius is fairly smooth to the touch and lacking any major distracting veins. There is a small soft spot that I can feel right below the band, and very little oil present. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of faint barnyard, leather, earth, cedar and coconut sweetness while the cold draw brings flavors of cedar, earth, leather, dark chocolate and slight citrus.

Starting out the first third, the Cornelius Toro features a strong leather note along with lesser notes of gritty earth, barnyard, leather and generic nuts. There is a distinct citrus note along with some black pepper on the retrohale from the start that continue into the first third, but very little sweetness on either the retrohale or finish so far. Construction-wise, the burn is a bit wavy, forcing me to touch it up a couple of times, and although the draw is a bit loose for my tastes, it is still well within normal limits. The smoke production is both copious and dense, while the overall strength hits a point close to medium by the time the first third ends.

Cornelius Toro 2

The dominant flavor shifts during the second third, changing from a leather note to a much more complex oatmeal with cinnamon combination that is very appealing. The leather from the first third is still very much present, along with other flavors of dark chocolate, earth, hay, wheat, almonds and buttery popcorn along with some faint molasses sweetness that replaces the citrus on the retrohale. Thankfully, both the burn and draw are significantly improved, with the burn evening up and the draw tightening up nicely. The strength easily hits the medium mark by the halfway point and seems to be still increasing, albeit a very slow pace.

Cornelius Toro 3

The final third of the Cornelius is much like the second third, and that is not a bad thing at all. The dominant flavor is still an interesting oatmeal with cinnamon combination, but the molasses sweetness has been stepped up a notch, but the citrus from the first third is long gone. Other notes of earth, cocoa, leather, grass, espresso beans and cedar flit in and out, and there is still a nice amount of black pepper on the retrohale. Both the burn and the draw continue to impress, and the smoke production remains quite high. The strength did get a touch higher, but really stalled out after reaching a point just above the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

Cornelius Toro 4

Final Notes

  • I have to be honest, the first time I saw the marketing for these cigars, I thought they were a new release from Robert Caldwell.
  • Earlier this week, Cornelius & Anthony shipped its second release named Daddy Mac, a line made up of a Brazilian wrapper, Ecuadorian binder and Nicaraguan fillers offered in four sizes.
  • Don’t bother going to Cornelius & Anthony’s website, as it is a one page site that apparently has not been updated in a while.
  • Although not overly flaky per se, the ash does not stay on long and comes off at inopportune times, thus the first third photograph sans ash.
  • The final smoking time for both samples averaged one hour and 40 minutes.
  • Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Cornelius & Anthony.
  • Site sponsor STOGIES World Class Cigars carries the Cornelius line.
87 Overall Score

On each of the two samples of the Cornelius I smoked for this review, the profile started out a both flat and boring, but really ramped up in the second third and final thirds. Interestingly, the burn was also a bit off in the first third of both samples, but got quite a bit better after that, and the smoke production never wavered. This is a very nice first effort for a new brand, and while it does take a while to get going, if you are willing to wade through a somewhat average first third, you will be rewarded in the end.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.