Most likely, quite a few of you reading this review have never heard of Serino Cigar Co., but that does not mean it comes out of nowhere. In fact, while it is a new company that debuted this year at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, the brand is owned by the same group behind APS Distributors, LLC, which has been in the cigar business for over 20 years as a Dominican manufacturer and importer.

During the IPCPR convention, Serino Cigar Co. debuted four different cigars, all using the same internal blend consisting of a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobacco from both Estelí and Jalapa, but each with a very different wrapper. The Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Connecticut incorporates an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf, while the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Medio uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro utilizes an Ecuadorian habano oscuro leaf and the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX is covered in an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper.

All four blends are offered in four different vitolas packaged in boxes of 20, and are being rolled at Omar González Alemán’s La Corona Factory in Nicaragua, which is best known for producing the HR Habano line of cigars for Hirochi Robaina.

Carson Serino discussed his family’s company in a post on Reddit:

We’ve always wanted to create Nicaraguan cigars but would only do so if we could find a partner that offered vertical integration, was immensely passionate about creating cigars and could produce the highest quality of smokes. After years of searching and touring other cigar industry friends factories we were introduced to Omar González-Alemán and his La Corona Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. After many tours and talks with Omar, we knew this was the man we wanted to create a lasting partnership with. At the La Corona Factory, Omar doesn’t just get fired up about rolling/blending cigars, he’s one of the most passionate people I’ve ever known about all aspects of tobacco.

The Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX line is the strongest of the four new blends, and is comprised of an an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 “oscuro maduro” wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobacco from both Estelí and Jalapa in Nicaragua. The blend is available in four different sizes, three of which—the 5 1/2 x 52 Belicoso, the 5 1/8 x 48 Robusto and the 6 1/4 x 54 Sublime—are not sold in the other three lines.

The Maduro XX line debuted in four different vitolas:

  • Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Belicoso (5 1/2 x 52) — $12.50 (Boxes of 20, $250)
  • Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Robusto (5 1/8 x 48) — $11.95 (Boxes of 20, $239)
  • Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime (6 1/4 x 54) — $12.90 (Boxes of 20, $258)
  • Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Toro (6 x 52) — $12.75 (Boxes of 20, $255)

Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Corona Factory
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • MSRP: $12.90 (Boxes of 20, $258)
  • Release Date: August 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime is covered in a dark, espresso brown wrapper that is quite smooth to the touch and sports a number of large, obvious veins running up and down its length. There is a touch of oil present that give the top leaf a slight sheen, and the cigar is a bit spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of dark chocolate, coffee beans, earth, grass, oak and vanilla, while the cold draw has a huge dark cocoa note as well as hay, gritty earth, leather, espresso and black pepper.

Starting out the first third of the Maduro XX Sublime, I am almost overwhelmed with the amount of dark cocoa in the dominant flavor slot, followed by flavors of anise, leather, coffee beans, charred steak, aged oak and hay. There is a touch of spice on my tongue that already seems to be fading after the first few puffs, as well as some black pepper and dark fruit sweetness that reminds me of cherries on the retrohale. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent so far after a simple straight cut, and while the burn is a bit wavy, it is not bad enough to need correcting, at least not yet. There is plenty of dense, while smoke emanating from the foot, and while the overall strength fails to hit the medium mark by the end of the first third.

Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime 2

Both the cherry sweetness and the black pepper on the retrohale increase in the second third, hitting their high point right around the halfway mark before beginning to recede again. The dominant flavor is a strong and pervasive dark and bitter chocolate, with lesser notes of hay, oak, coffee beans, leather, licorice and slight vegetable notes fading in and out. The spice that was present on my tongue from the first third is long gone and while the draw continues to impress, the burn is still a little wonky and I have to correct it a couple of times to keep it on track. The strength does see an increase, easily hitting the medium point as the second third comes to a close, and is only increasing from there.

Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime 3

The dark cocoa note stays at the forefront of the profile in the final third of the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime, followed closely by notes of bread, aged oak, hay, citrus and raisins. The cherry sweetness that has been so obvious in the first two third is still noticeable, but a bit more muddy, and the black pepper on the retrohale as almost disappeared. Constriction-wise, the burn has finally evened up, and the draw remains as wonderful as ever, while the overall strength hits a point about halfway between medium and full before I put the nub down with about an inch left.

Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime 4

Final Notes

  • According to the company, all of the cigars for its initial launch of the Serino Royale were rolled in 2014 and then aged for over two years before being packaged. Interestingly, that means they weren’t rolled at the La Corona factory because that building was still occupied by NACSA at the time.
  • The naming system where each separate blend is differentiated on the foot band is decent in theory, but it means that you have to look fairly close at the writing in order to see which blend you have, since the band colors and designs are exactly the same. Of course, this is assuming you are not looking at the Connecticut-wrapped version, which is fairly obvious.
  • Having said the above, the box colors that the cigars come in are different for each blend: white for the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Connecticut, blue for the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Medio, red for the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro and black for the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX.
  • The draw was excellent for all three samples, and while I had to correct the burn on a couple of the samples, I never felt like they were going to get out of control at any point.
  • The company says that the Maduro XX is the strongest of the four lines, and while it did not exactly blow me off my feet, the strength level was definitely evident by the end of the cigar.
  • You can see halfwheel’s coverage of the Serino Cigar Co. booth at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show here.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just under one hour and 50 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by Serino Cigar Co.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX cigars, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar has them in stock.
  • Editor’s Note: The company sent these cigars for review, but then requested we review the Robusto instead. Our policy is that once we start a review process, we finish it without any changes.
90 Overall Score

Even though a dark chocolate flavor is not exactly a rare note to pick up in a cigar, the amount that was present in the Serino Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX surprised me quite a bit. It was not only present during the entire smoke—much of as the dominant flavor—but it was pervasive, showing up just as strong in the cold draw, in the scent of the wrapper as well as the scent of the smoke. This is absolutely not a bad thing, at least when it comes to this blend, which also featured excellent construction, good balance and a nice cherry sweetness on the retrohale. A very good under the radar cigar that people should take the time to try, even at the prices that are being charged for them.

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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.