It’s been a busy year for La Familia Robaina, the company formerly known as White Hat Tobacco.

The company changed its name to better connect it with the Robaina family name, which is one of the brands the company produces. It also launched two new series of cigars, one named Ilegal and the other, Pelones.

Pelones is offered in three different wrapper combinations—Connecticut, Habano and Maduro—each in three sizes. The cigars are sold in bundles and without bands, though a leaf of tobacco covers the bottom half of the bundle.

  • Pelones Maduro Robusto (5 x 50) — $4.50 (Bundle of 20, $90)
  • Pelones Maduro Toro (6 x 52) — $5 (Bundle of 20, $100)
  • Pelones Maduro Gordo (6 x 60) — $5.50 (Bundle of 20, $110)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Pelones Maduro Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Corona Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Maduro)
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $4.50 (Bundle of 20, $90)
  • Release Date: August 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

In terms of packaging, there are no bands, but the cigars are in cellophane. Other than that, it’s a dark robusto-like cigar. When I first saw the bundle I thought the Pelones might be box-pressed, but they are not. Once removed, I get a bit lighter aroma than the wrapper color would suggest. There is also nothing that reminds me of an actual pile of tobacco—a pilon.. Instead, there are notes of hot cocoa, some leather and a bit of an espresso bean, right around medium-plus. The foot is medium-full with a rich chocolate flavor dominating some leather. If you don’t pay attention to the cold draw, it’s very easy to leave with the impression that it is just chocolate; however, a deeper inspection reveals some sunflower seeds, cocoa, a bit of gravy and some lemon.

The Pelones Maduro begins with cedar, some nuttiness and a bit of a burning sensation. That’s pretty much how the first third goes with earthiness staying up top, with white pepper and some lingering harshness behind it. Retrohales have a lot more earthiness, something that reminds me of the smell of clay, creaminess and an unripened strawberry. The finish is a mixture of burnt acidic coffee, earthiness, some roughness and a bit of cinnamon. I think that a more generic pepper note would be preferable to the harshness, which just doesn’t provide any complexity to the profile. Flavor is medium-full, body is full and strength is medium. At times the draw seems like it is a bit too open, forcing me to touch up the burn a few times.

In the second third there is more burnt coffee, now upfront in the profile, on top of lots of oatmeal and damp earth. Retrohales have even more coffee and walnut in front of some mustard and paprika. While the harshness stays away from the initial flavors, it is present on the finish, now surrounded by walnuts and creaminess. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is medium-plus. Construction seems a bit better, though I also am puffing a bit quicker. Regardless, the Pelones makes it through the second third without a touch-up.

The final third has a great popcorn flavor that dominates wet leaves, mustard and an unfortunate harshness. Retrohales have an herbal flavor and, unfortunately, more of that harshness. If I take it slow and let the smoke slowly exit my nose I get an interesting mixture of kiwi and creaminess. The finish has more popcorn, a berry sweetness and a harshness that sits on the top of my mouth and extends deep into the finish. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength its medium-plus.

Final Notes

  • The debut of this cigar was rather interesting because Ilegal—the other new launch from La Familia Robaina—is also offered in three different wrappers with three different sizes each. There wasn’t packaging for either at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, which is somewhat confusing.
  • A bundle cigar in the $5 price range—before taxes—is a good representation of just how expensive cigars have gotten today.
  • I seem to recall there being bundle cigars from the La Corona factory before this, but I can’t seem to find any record of that.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged around an hour and 40 minutes.
  • Site sponsor Famous Smoke Shop has the Pelones Maduro Robusto in stock.

Editors’s note: An earlier version of this review indicated that pelones were the term for a pile of fermenting tobacco, when the word actually translates as hairless or bald. We regret the error.

86 Overall Score

I’ve smoked a lot of cigars from the La Corona factory and I can’t recall ever being concerned by harshness. But after three of the Pelones Maduro, that’s the only thing worth remembering. Yes, the cigars are relatively inexpensive; and yes, it comes from a factory that generally makes cigars that are much more expensive. However, that doesn’t make this version of the Pelones a good value. Save your money and buy the more expensive cigars.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of 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.