Sinistro Habana Vieja Corona (Prerelease)

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While Sinistro Cigars might not be a household name, it probably does have the most radical-looking profile in terms of the design of its cigars.

Its Scala vitola is a perfecto with a shaggy foot and somehow that’s not even the most unique thing about it, as Sinistro’s debut lines all feature thin twisted ropes of tobacco that run up the cigar. The company followed that up with Last Cowboy, which uses a contrasting candela rope for an even more radical look.

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And so to some degree, the Habana Vieja Corona—the company’s newest line—is the company’s most pedestrian-looking cigar I’ve seen from the company. Still, all it takes is one look down the cigar to see that this is not a typical cigar.

Like the rest of the company’s portfolio, Habana Vieja is made at the La Aurora Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic. Its name is also the same as the binder varietal: 10-year-old Habano Vuleta Arriba tobaccos, more commonly known as HVA.

Underneath that are Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers, all covered in an eight-year-old habano wrapper from Nicaragua.

Six sizes are offered, including the signature Scala:

  • Sinistro Habana Vieja Corona (6 x 42) — $7.80 (Boxes of 20, $156)
  • Sinistro Habana Vieja Lancero (7 x 40) $8.40 (Boxes of 20, $168)
  • Sinistro Habana Vieja Fat Robusto (4 x 58) $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
  • Sinistro Habana Vieja Ambassador (5 1/2 x 38/60) $12 (Boxes of 20, $240)
  • Sinistro Habana Vieja Scala LE (5 1/2 x 38/60) $16 (Boxes of 20, $320)
  • Sinistro Habana Vieja Salomon (6 1/2 x 50/60) $19 (Boxes of 12, $228)

In addition, the Salomon features a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper on both the head and foot. The Scala vitola also uses Mexican San Andrés for the accent rope.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Sinistro Habana Vieja Corona
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: La Aurora Cigar Factory
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano)
  • Binder: HVA
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Corona
  • MSRP: $7.80 (Boxes of 20, $156)
  • Release Date: April 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

There’s a good inch of an uncovered foot and that’s the first and last thing I notice. With the exception of that very notable feature, it looks like any other cigar and functionally it’s the same thing. There’s a lot of leather and barnyard off the wrapper in front of some acidity and charcoal flavors. The foot is full with a ton of chocolate and some oak, not as many flavors—plural—as I was expecting given the exposed foot. It’s a somewhat muted cold draw with cocoa, earthiness, some saltiness and kiwi. There’s also some sort of artificial vegetal flavor on two samples that I cannot place. The draw is somewhat open and intensity is medium-full.

The Habano Vieja begins with a lot of strawberries overtop some earthiness, creaminess and a bit of pink salt. There’s also some toastiness, though I imagine that is in large part due to the extended lighting period due to the covered foot. Shortly after burning through the covered foot, I hit the wrapper and the flavor shows a hearty redwood core on top of some oatmeal cookie. Behind that are creaminess, some wet leaves and lemon shortbread. That’s the good news; the bad news is the burn, which is requiring a lot of touch-ups. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-full and strength is also medium-full.

While I had originally hypothesized that the issue with the burn was the covered foot, the second third is having a much more challenging time staying lit than the first third. Flavor-wise, there’s cinnamon, sugar cookies and a simple syrup-like sugar. Behind that are earthiness and redwoods. Through the nose, the retrohale provides a buttermilk creaminess, kiwi and a finish of black pepper, though it’s overwhelmed by the cinnamon. Flavor and strength remain medium-full, but the body decreases to medium-plus.

The Sinistro Habano Vieja continues to put my Colibri lighter to work and it’s only getting worse. Flavor-wise, things are a lot toastier, but I think that is very likely to be a result of the touch-ups. Behind that is some plain bagel-like breadiness, lemongrass and some cinnamon, though far reduced from the second third. Flavor picks up to full, body is medium-full and strength is medium.

Final Notes

  • This is certainly one of the thinnest cigars to have a brushed foot.
  • Here’s a pro tip: don’t put long brushed feet on cigars. It’s annoying, it’s challenging to keep the cigar lit and I’m not sure it adds much practical purpose in terms of tasting the filler. At least nothing that couldn’t have been accomplished with a foot that was half the size.
  • I have a few extra Habana Viejas and I plan on cutting the foot off of one and smoking it at a future date. I’m curious to see if that improves the burn, though I don’t think it will magically fix the issue. Unfortunately, time constraints meant that I wasn’t able to test this theory, so if you happen to do it, please leave a comment below.
  • This was not an easy cigar to photograph.
  • On a similar note, for whatever reason, the bands were extremely challenging to remove in a normal manner. Sliding them off, particularly down the cigar wasn’t an issue, but removing them via where the band is glued was challenging.
  • I’ve smoked two Last Cowboys and find them to be the best cigars I’ve smoked from the company.
  • Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Sinistro.
  • Final smoking time was two hours and 30 minutes.
83 Overall Score

The glaring issue with the Sinistro Habana Vieja is the burn. Halfway through the cigar, my lighter was getting a workout that it really didn’t need. I’m not sure how much of this is related to the covered foot, but it certainly didn’t help. Beyond the constant fight to keep the cigar lit, it was actually pretty good, but it’s challenging to recommend smoking one given what it took to keep the cigar lit. If you are interested, I would highly recommend cutting off the foot and seeing if that improves the burn issues.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

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.

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