This vitola used to be machine made with hand applied wrapper. My box, coded SMG JUL 07 states Totalmente a mano.
Place of purchase: La Casa Del Habano Hamburg online
TASTING SHEET RESULTS
SIZE: 5x42 (used to be 5x44, but I guess when Habanos switched production method, they also changed the size on these)
APPEARANCE: average, slight box press, moderately veiny, evenly colored colorado claro wrapper, wrinkles, chipped wrapper on several spots, green dots on the wrapper
CONSTRUCTION: very good: firmly applied wrapper and cap, firm, nicely filled bunch with fine give, good cap
BURN: good, tipical cuban
AROMA: very good to excellent
FLAVOR: very good
DOMINANT FLAVORS: salt, leather, earth, caramel
AFTERTASTE: salt, leather, earth
GENERAL IMPRESSION: good to very good
CUT: Double guillotine
LIGHT: torch flame lighter, easily
BEVERAGE: coffee black
Opens with strong leather, salty earth and cedar, while pepper acts as a backdrop. Divine aroma of cedar, caramel and sweet baking spice. Burn tipical cuban, ash flaky. Nose blow peppery but on the smooth side with strong salt, leather and earth notes. Slight runner appears on one side, but corrects itself. Salt fades with sweet caramel appearing. Ash drops just as I want to tip it off. Body in the lower medium.
Flavors at this stage are pretty much static, but very smooth with sweet caramel dominating and leather and earth firmly planted in the back. Aroma is excellent, sweet spice with a hint of vanilla. Burn thinned out and is quite even for cuban. Ash is dark grey and very chippy. Ashing reveals no cone, body in the solid medium. Pepper is picking up on the nose blow. Towards final third vanilla gains ground with prominent light roasted coffee notes while sweet caramel fades to backgroung, accompanied by ever present leather.
Body slowly moves to medium-full. Smoke remains very smooth with light coffee roast, vanilla and caramel presence unchanged. Sweetness has lessened somewhat but still heavily present in the aroma. Finish at this point is long with heavy leather mixed with pepper.
Flavors persist with addition of pepper and slightly bitter woody notes, but still very pleasant.
Partagas Petit Coronas Especiales are great mareva sized smoke, especially considering the price. When I first purchased a box in the early 2008, they had about 8 months of box age on them and were clearly showing youth. While they were good, they were way too perfumy and grassy for my liking, so I smoked only a couple of them to check consistency and put the rest to sleep. I have to report that as of September 2008, these are starting to come around and show great potential to be really fantastic with some more age. As a side note, these have a reputation of having the "old" Partagas blend...