During the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Serino Cigar Co. showed off two brand new cigars, one of which was a bit larger than the other.

The Serino Vintage 2012 A is a 9 1/4 x 49 gran corona, a vitola more commonly known as A, that is made up of a multi-leaf, single year origin blend. Specifically, the cigar features an Ecuadorian habano 2000-seed wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos that were all grown in 2012. The tobacco was then aged until 2016, when it was rolled into the cigars at the La Corona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. The cigars were then put aside and aged until this August of last year.

Production-wise, the Serino Vintage 2012 A is limited to just 1,000 single coffins priced at $18.95 each.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Serino Vintage 2012 A
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Corona
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano 2000 Oscuro)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 9 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 47
  • Vitola: Gran Corona
  • MSRP: $18.95 (Coffin of 1, $18.95)
  • Release Date: July 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Coffins of 1 (1,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

As with any gran corona vitola, the Serino Vintage 2012 A is an almost comically long cigar and this particular cigar is covered in a very nice looking dark espresso brown wrapper with a noticeable reddish tint along with plenty of oil. It is extremely spongy when squeezed and the covered foot adds a nice visual touch. The aroma from the wrapper and foot is a combination of creamy leather, wood, earth, cocoa nibs, sweet manure, almonds and maple sweetness, while the cold draw is loaded with bitter dark chocolate, creamy oak, cocoa nibs, leather, barnyard and a touch of citrus.

The first third of the Serino Vintage 2012 starts off with a dominant flavor of distinct aged oak on the palate, along with lesser notes of leather, coffee beans, hay, earth and slight anise. There is an interesting slight generic citrus flavor that makes itself known every once in a while on the retrohale as well as some general sweetness, but there is virtually no pepper or spice that I can detect. Construction-wise, the draw features an ideal amount of resistance for my tastes, while the burn is wavy but non-problematic so far and the overall strength is so light that it barely rises above the mild mark by the end of the first third.

While the citrus note on the retrohale and the generic sweetness make themselves known a bit more in the second third of the Serino A, those are basically the only changes in the profile that I can detect. The distinct aged oak flavor is still easily dominant, beating out notes of coffee beans, hay, anise, creamy leather and gritty earth, all of which fight amongst themselves to gain prominence. Both the draw and burn continue to impress, while both the smoke production and overall strength have increased a bit, although the latter is still light enough that it fails to even come close to the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end.

Although the profile in the final third of the Serino Vintage 2012 A is close to identical to what was seen in the second third, the aged oak flavor fades enough to be threatened by the other notes of leather, espresso beans, dark chocolate, earth and hay. The sweetness remains in the profile as well, but it remains fairly generic and starts to become less and less distinct as the final third comes to a close. Unfortunately, one of the big changes compared to the previous two thirds is the burn, which becomes problematic enough that I have to touch it up a couple of time, although the draw continues giving me no issues. Finally, the strength does increase a bit, but not nearly enough to make any sort of major impact on the profile as a whole, and it barely hits a point firmly between the mild and medium mark before I put the nub down with less about an inch left.

Final Notes

  • People who grew up in the tobacco business and decided to join it themselves have always fascinated me, and Carson’s story is particularly interesting in that regard: he started helping out at his father’s business when he was quite young and eventually started his own brand. You can find the whole interview I did with him here.
  • I have long lamented the lack of new releases in certain vitolas—most notably lonsdales and petite coronas—but the A size is just not one you see very often for a good reason: they don’t sell very well.
  • The coffin used for this release is quite nice, you can tell a lot of time and effort went into how it was presented. Having said that, the band is actually the same one used on Serino’s Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro releases.
  • While the construction was decent enough—the high point was the draw, which was excellent despite the fact that I used a punch on one, cut another with a straight cutter and used a v-cut on the last one—the ash is almost comically flaky, to the point where I was wiping ash off my table very 20 minutes or so.
  • I covered the Serino booth during the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show and you can see that coverage here.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by Serino Cigar Co.
  • Final smoking time averaged three hours and four minutes for all three samples.
86 Overall Score

When it comes to a release like the Serino Vintage 2012 A, its greatest asset is also its greatest weakness: specifically, while the profile is extremely smooth and very well balanced, it is also noticeably linear in terms of both flavors and complexity, something that becomes significantly more obvious as the hours burn down. In addition, the overall strength was visually non-existent—even after a bit more than three hours of smoking time—and while the draw was excellent on all three samples, I had to touch up the burn at least once on each cigar. Serino produces better cigars—I would put the Royale 20th Anniversary Maduro XX Sublime and the Wayfarer at the top of that list—but I enjoyed smoking the Vintage 2012 As every time I lit one up, something that has not always been the case with cigars this size.

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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.