When a cigar company introduces a new regular production line, most will choose to introduce it with three vitolas. Sometimes that number might be four or five; but it’s almost never just two.

Given that you just read the above sentence, it should come as no surprise that that is what My Father Cigars, Inc. did when it introduced The Judge in 2016. I’ll admit that it didn’t seem as odd when it happened because at the time cigar companies were scrambling to get ready for the incoming regulations by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

To give you an idea of what kind of scrambling took place, the company introduced the cigar in 2016 without boxes and with bands that it acknowledged weren’t final, a rather odd move for a company that normally has all of its ducks in a row when it comes to new products.

What wasn’t apparent at the time was that The Judge was going to be a strong cigar. The blend uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper over Nicaraguan corojo and criollo binders and Nicaraguan fillers. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s quite strong.

In 2017, the company added a new box-pressed 6 x 52 toro size but for the better part of three years, there was nothing new to report on The Judge.

That changed this February with the announcement that there would be a 5 5/8 x 46 Corona Gorda added to the line and then just weeks later, the company said that its 2020 exclusive release for the Tobacconists’ Association of America would also be from The Judge line

  • My Father The Judge 5 x 60 — July 2016 — $12.40 (Boxes of 23, $285.20)
  • My Father The Judge 6 x 56 — July 2016 —  $12.10 (Boxes of 23, $278.30)
  • My Father The Judge Toro Fino (6 x 52) — March 2017 — $11.70 (Box of 24, $269.10)
  • My Father The Judge Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — March 2020 — $11 (Box of 23, $253)
  • My Father The Judge TAA Exclusive 2020 (5 1/4 x 52) — April 2020 — $11 (Box of 23, $253)

  • Cigar Reviewed: My Father The Judge Corona Gorda
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Corojo & Criollo)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 5/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $11 (Box of 23, $253)
  • Release Date: March 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

I’ve always been underwhelmed by the look of The Judge. I’m a fan of the main My Father band but The Judge uses a lot of browns across both the boxes and secondary bands, much of which feels like it gets lost in the veiny wrapper. Once the cigar is removed from cellophane, there is an aggressive aroma off the cover leaf: chocolate and red pepper, a specific profile that reminds me of certain Nicaraguan cigars. The foot has an even heavier dose of that mixture, sitting on top of some beef jerky and an isolated chocolate flavor. While the red pepper and chocolate combo is dominant, it’s not as if the cigar is the most potent in terms of intensity: medium off the wrapper and maybe getting close to medium-full from the foot. The cold draw is more or less the inverse of the foot. There’s some of the chocolate but the red pepper just attacks the back of the throat. It reminds me a bit of some port, though after a few cold draws it’s much milder and there’s some of that cocoa mixture along with something that reminds me of a kiwi candy.

Normally that red pepper and chocolate combination is a sign that the cigar is going to be strong, and the opening puff of the My Father The Judge Corona Gorda confirms my suspicion that this is going to be a strong cigar. There’s a lot of charred meats, earthiness, a roasted flavor, popcorn and hints of pepper and a mild chocolate sweetness underneath. After about an inch, earthiness remains the largest favor followed black pepper on the sides of the mouth, varying touches of sweetness, acidity. One cigar has a mint chocolate chip ice cream-like flavor, another has a watered down mustard flavor—all three have plenty of earthiness. Retrohales are also dominated by earthiness, somewhat similar to the rich terroir taste you’ve inevitably read about in Patrick Lagreid’s reviews of cigars with Mexican San Andrés wrappers—which this does not use—along with cacao and a bit of irritation, though it’s not pepper. The finish has hay, creaminess, tastiness, cinnamon and black pepper. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is full. None of the cigars are off to a great start in terms of construction: one has a mild amount of tunneling—when the center part of the cigar is burning quicker than the outside parts—another needs a touch-up to help with smoke production and another has an uneven burn.

The second third of The Judge Corona Gorda decides to double down on the earthiness. It seems to have separated itself from the roasty flavors because I’m now picking up the two notes separately. Behind those two is some burnt popcorn and a chocolate flavor that is difficult for me to place. Retrohales have burnt chocolate chip cookies, a classic Hefeweizen-like wheat flavor and a bit of green pepper. The finish is chalky with some earthiness, pepper and a sweet earthiness that reminds me of what my mouth tastes like after drinking a few too many glasses of red wine. The flavor is full, body is close to full and strength is full. Construction isn’t perfect, but it’s better. It seemed like the early corrections of the burn really helped and the cigars are mainly on track. 

There is a lot more of that terroir-like flavor at the start of the final third, as it’s a deep and layered mixture of earthiness. It leads to a drying out of the palate that isn’t exactly ideal but also isn’t unexpected. In addition, I’m tasting some hickory, which is a nice addition, and the pepper recedes enough that there’s room for another flavor to break through, only there doesn’t seem to be a candidate that wants to join the earthiness. Retrohales have hickory, a pork rib flavor and some more earthiness. The flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-full. Fortunately, there’s nothing to complain about regarding the construction in the final third.

Final Notes

  • While none of the bands are individually that large, collectively the three bands take up nearly half the area of the wrapper.
  • Every time I think of this cigar, I think of the iconic 1969 Pontiac GTO by the same name. There were also 1970 and 1971 GTO The Judges but the facelifted model isn’t the one I think about.
  • As has been the case with every other My Father The Judge I’ve smoked, this cigar is quite strong.
  • I think it’s very easy to look at this in comparison to the My Father La Opulencia or Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial and assume that they are both stronger due to the darker wrapper colors, but that’s not the case at all.
  • Speaing of La Opulenica, that line—which was also rather dormant—has a new torpedo size.
  • All three cigars performed nearly identically on the scoresheet, the only difference at which point of the cigar the touch-ups occurred. Otherwise, the points were awarded in exactly the same progression.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased on halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries the My Father The Judge Corona Gorda.
87 Overall Score

If you want a cigar that is strong and earthy, My Father's The Judge Corona Gorda is certainly something you should try. If you aren't into strong cigars or aren't excited about tasting something overly earthy, this seems like something to pass on as that's what you are going to find, and in spades. As is oftentimes the case with strong cigars, the burn wasn't the best. I'd be curious to smoke this cigar in a few months to see if new flavors emerge when the cigar isn't dominated by the earthiness but otherwise I feel pretty confident about what The Judge Corona Gorda is going to be.

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 handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.