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Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda

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Serino Cigar Co. brought out a new line at this year’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, the six-vitola Wayfarer, which is not only the personal blend of company vp Carson Serino, but also has a starting point not normally associated with cigars: Iceland.

Serino said he first conceptualized the cigar on a backpacking trip to the country, beginning with accidentally leaving his travel humidor behind and being forced to pick up a number of Cuban cigars upon landing in Reykjavik, which he had little experience with prior. A number of the cigars began to give him an idea for a new profile, which he eventually brought to life by way of Omar González-Alemán’s La Corona Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

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The blend features an Ecuadorian corojo 99 wrapper on top of a binder from the Nicaragua’s Jalapa region, as well as Nicaraguan fillers from the Estelí and Jalapa regions. While it’s offered in six sizes, only four are regular production.

  • Wayfarer Corona Gorda (6 x 46) — $7.70 (Boxes of 20, $154) — Regular Production
  • Wayfarer Robusto (5 x 52) — $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170) — Regular Production
  • Wayfarer Sublime (6 1/2 x 54) — $9.48 (Boxes of 20, $189.60) — Regular Production
  • Wayfarer The 109 (6 1/4 x 50) — $9.20 (Boxes of 20, $184) — Regular Production
  • Wayfarer Dalia (6 3/4 x 43) — $8.98 (Boxes of 20, $179.60) — 300 Boxes of 20 (6,000 Total Cigars)
  • Wayfarer Corona (5 1/8 x 44) — $6.88 (Boxes of 20, $137.60) — 300 Boxes of 20 (6,000 Total Cigars)

The first four sizes the line got their widespread release in mid-September, the Dalia and Corona shipped later in the fall, with the Corona heading to retail at the end of November.

As for the name, it too draws from that trip, as a wayfarer is a backpacker or person who travels by foot. It wasn’t the original name of the cigar, however, as Serino wanted to call it Aurora Borealis, in honor of the northern lights that he saw as part of that trip. However, he realized that it might present issues with pronunciation as well as a design for the band that would facilitate readability.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Corona
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo 99
  • Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
  • Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí, and Jalapa)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $7.70 (Boxes of 20, $154)
  • Release Date: September 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda is rich with visual texture, from its mottled, graham cracker hue with a bit of oily sheen to its network of veins, there is plenty that calls out to the eye. It’s a firm, cleanly rolled cigar with a bit of give, and the caps look particularly well cut and applied. The foot offers an aroma that I struggle to match up with something specific; there’s a bit of sweetness but also cold meatiness that makes me think of a deli case in the first sample, while the second has a sweeter, graham cracker and honey start but with a surprisingly peppery backing. The third offers its own spin, with bagel dough pairing with the graham cracker, offering almost no pepper. Air moves well on the cold draw, with flavors alternating between wheat toast and mixed nuts, sometimes on the same sample. There is negligible pepper, and most of the tongue tingle I get comes by way of the dry toast flavor.

The Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda starts on a rather pleasant note, offering a medium bodied smoke that has touches of creaminess and sweetness but also a potent amount of black pepper through the nose, with a bit leftover for the palate. There’s a bit of cedar and hay mixed in as well, though they function more in a support role other than when the flavors break through to the forefront on the occasional puff. The first clump of ash breaks off suddenly just as it reaches an inch in length—right after the photo was taken, in fact—and the flavor pivots a bit to put white pepper into a more prominent position on the palate, with the sweetness and creaminess seeming to fade. Other than a sprinkling of pepper and cedar, the Wayfarer has backed off its starting flavor intensity and sits at medium-minus as it approaches its second third. The burn and draw have both been quite good, with my only frustration arising at a clump of ash dropping off without warning.

The start of the Wayfarer Corona Gorda’s second third is hardly a full-on reprieve of flavor, but it does ease up the pepper’s growing RPMs from the first third to allow some of the mellower core notes to shine, in particular the cedar and just a bit of creaminess. There’s a pronounced shift in the flavor and complexity at the midpoint, as the Wayfarer gets a good bit of the pepper back from its first third. This go-round it is softer on the senses and doesn’t want to dominate the profile, which allows it to support touches of mixed nuts, campfire, and firewood provide a fantastic depth and texture. There are a few spots where the flavor gets a bit out of balance; it’s not quite sour, but the cedar starts to wander and take on just enough of an edge to be noteworthy. The combustion and draw are still quite good, with the only relights needed when I’m not attentive enough to the cigar’s puffing instructions.

Pepper has established itself quite well at the start of the Wayfarer’s final third; it’s a potent mix of black and white pepper that isn’t heavy on the palate yet isn’t shy about its strength. I get a bit of dry earth coming through at times, which adds some texture to the base flavors of the smoke, particularly when its clay and rock notes gain clarity. the final third is the first time that the cigar struggles with combustion as two of the samples require relights, possibly due to some excess humidity or just to a slight change in the puffing rhythm the cigar needs. The final inches see the flavor morph again, though this time becoming a bit fractured as the wood note splinters off to do its own thing, and the pepper that was so good in the second third becomes a bit harsher and claws at the back of the throat. For a few seconds I feel like I get some peppermint candy cane through the nose, bringing an interesting new angle to the cigar as it comes to a conclusion.

Final Notes

  • Carson Serino spoke about the Wayfarer line in a video shot at the IPCPR Convention  & Trade Show.
  • I would certainly love to do a head-to-head-to-head comparison of the Dalia, Corona Gorda and Sublime sizes, as this seems like the kind of blend that could show some interesting nuance based on the ring gauge.
  • There isn’t much in the way of an after effect from the cigar; while it has a good amount of flavor, nicotine is minimal for my system.
  • In addition to the Wayfarer, Serino offers a quartet of lines under the Royale name: the Royale Connecticut, Royale Medio, Royale Maduro, and Royale Maduro XX. Those lines launched at the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
  • Serino Cigar Co. is owned by the same group behind APS Distributors, LLC. APS’ president is Tony Serino, Carson’s father.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Serino Cigar Co.
  • Final smoking time was two hours on average.
  • Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar carry the Serino Wayfarer line.
88 Overall Score

If you have the backstory of the Serino Wayfarer in mind while smoking the cigar, it can be hard to ignore the cigar's Cuban influence, which inevitably leads to looking for Cubanesque notes in the profile. While I personally don't like that term, there are some similarities to the island's medium-bodied blends, but the profile is distinct enough to carve out its own place on the flavor spectrum. Pepper is certainly a consistent note, though there are plenty of flavor changes that allow other flavors to come through, and the cigar is at its best when it gets complex with the cedar and sweetness. The cigar isn't without a few out-of-balance spots, and I'd love to see more consistent restraint from the pepper, but the overall product is a satisfying smoke enhanced by an easy draw and generally good burn. The Serino Wayfarer Corona Gorda definitely deserves a try; I'm now focused on seeing how the blend performs in its other vitolas.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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