In January 2022, Kyle Gellis announced he was forming a sister company to his Warped Cigars company named Venture 1492, which he described as a full-service company designed “to assist the next generation of premium cigar brand owners.” According to Gellis, one of the purposes behind Venture 1492 is to help bring new and emerging cigar brands to the forefront of the market through Venture 1492’s extensive network of premium cigar retailers, while offering services including distribution and fulfillment, private labeling, brand consulting and blend development.

One year after Venture 1492 was launched, Gellis announced the company would be releasing a line carrying the same name: specifically, a 5 1/2 x 48 gran corona vitola made with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering a binder from Cotúi, Dominican Republic and filler tobaccos grown in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Appropriately named Venture 1492 Gran Corona, the cigar has an MSRP of $10 and it is sold in boxes of 25 cigars.

The cigars are being made at the TABACALERA LA iSLA factory located in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. The Venture 1492 Gran Corona debuted during an event at Napa Cigars in Napa, Calif. on Feb. 5 and began shipping to stores on Feb. 7.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Venture 1492 Gran Corona
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Gran Corona
  • MSRP: $10 (Box of 25, $250)
  • Release Date: Feb. 5, 2023
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The first thing I notice when looking at two of the three of the Venture 1492 Gran Coronas that I am going to smoke for this review is that they have a very pronounced bend that starts around the halfway point and continues until the foot of the cigar. Each of the wrappers looks very similar from a visual standpoint: a mottled and rustic-looking, dark espresso brown color with plenty of mottling, numerous small bumps and a small amount of oil. The wrappers are also sandpaper rough to the touch and all three cigars are very firm when squeezed. Aromas from the wrappers include cocoa nibs and gritty earth as well as barnyard, chalk, leather, generic nuts and black pepper. Scents from the feet are quite a bit sweeter with graham crackers leading generic nuttiness, tobacco, earth, hay and dark chocolate. Finally, cold draws bring flavors of strong cocoa nibs, brewed coffee,  almonds, raisin sweetness, leather tack.

After I light the foot, very distinct flavors of anise and black pepper start the Venture 1492 off, but they are quickly overtaken by a combination of roasted coffee beans and leather. Secondary notes of cinnamon, earth, dry straw, almonds and toasted bread flit in and out, while the retrohale features quite a bit of black pepper and less obvious maple sweetness, the former of which seems to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. Flavor ends the first third at a solid medium, body is at mild-plus and the strength hits a point just under the medium mark. So far, there are not any issues whatsoever with construction.

There are some changes during the second third of the cigar, as the anise flavor that I noted from the first few puffs is once again strong enough to take the top spot in the profile, although it is joined by a distinct cedar note just before the halfway point. Additional flavors of leather, sourdough bread, cinnamon, generic nuts, espresso beans and light lemongrass make themselves known at various points, and while I pick up a metallic note on the finish on two of the cigars, it does not stick around long enough to have a negative impact on either cigar. There is also slightly more maple sweetness on the retrohale, although the amount of black pepper remains the same. Flavor increases slightly to a point just over medium, while both the body and strength also see increases to just under medium and a solid medium, respectively. However, although the draws and smoke production continue to be excellent, one of the major changes compared to the first third involves the burn, as two of the three cigars need a minor correction with my lighter to stay on track.

A combination of powdery cocoa nibs and creamy cedar easily outpace flavors of roasted coffee beans, leather tack, citrus peel, toasted bread, almonds and a slight vegetal note. While I was hoping that the maple sweetness on the retrohale would continue to increase, that did not end up being the case. Flavor stays put at a point just over medium and the body ends up firmly at medium, but the main story is the strength, which increases significantly to land at medium-full by the time I put the nubs down with less than an inch remaining. While one cigar needs another couple of touch-ups with my lighter, the other two cigars do not have problematic burn lines and all three cigars continue to exhibit excellent draws and plenty of smoke production until their respective ends.

Final Notes

  • So far, Chogüí is the only known client of Venture 1492.
  • In case it is not obvious, the 1492 in the Venture 1492 brand name refers to the year that Christopher Columbus landed on a Bahamian island and supposedly “discovered” tobacco. Of course, it turned out that Columbus was not actually the first to discover anything, as the indigenous people who had lived there for hundreds of years had been smoking tobacco for quite a while before Columbus stumbled upon them.
  • The 1492 date has been used in the names of numerous cigars over the years, including the 1492 Jerez Legacy from Casa Nicaragua Tobacco Group, the Heritage 1492 By Oliva Nicaragua, the Toscano 1492 and the Villiger 1492.
  • Along with the above, one of the lines under Habanos S.A.’s famous Cohiba brand named Línea 1492 was launched in 1992 to commemorate the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the island of Cuba.
  • Habanos S.A. also used the date in the name of the legendary Cubatabaco Grand Corona 1492 humidor that was released in 1992, one of the few cigars that I really, really want to smoke before I die.

  • If you turn the band around after taking it off of your cigar, you will find a small QR code on the back that takes you the official Venture 1492 website. Or, at least, a landing page for that website, as the only thing it actually has on it at the moment is the company name and a logo.
  • There were a couple of times when I puffed just a bit too fast on this cigar and was punished with an unpleasant bitterness on the finish. Slowing down the puff rate quickly returned the profile to its previous place, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three cigars averaged one hour and 29 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Venture 1492 Gran Corona cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigars Direct and Famous Smoke Shop all offer them for sale on their respective websites.
86 Overall Score

There are numerous aspects to like about the Venture 1492 Gran Corona: the profile features some enjoyable flavors with nice transitions between thirds and all three cigars had pretty good construction. With that said, there is just not enough sweetness to balance out the overt black pepper that is currently present, and the medium-full strength of the blend that makes itself known in the final third causes some issues with the overall balance by the end of the cigar. This is an enjoyable release now, but I do think some time resting will do wonders for this blend by allowing more sweetness to emerge while toning down the strength that dominates the final third.

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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.