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Cigar Review – Fonseca CXX Anni Rarissimus

Since we’re right in the midst of the IPCPR trade show, where cigar makers will undoubtedly be dropping their most ridiculous offerings yet, I decided I’d review something brand new: the Fonseca CCX Anni Rarissimus Corona. I’ve heard it colloquially called the CCX, CCX Anni, and 120th Anniversary, but CCX Anni Rarissimus is, in fact, the proper name according to the guys at SAG Imports.

Anyway, this was a nicely rolled smoke. The cap was nice and tight, and the wrapper had few veins and very subtle seams all the way to the foot. There were no soft spots, and the filler was nicely layered at the foot. The wrapper had a very cool “bleed” effect around it—the darker, oilier tobaccos underneath had started to seep through, coloring the outer leaf in some places. Once I clipped the cap, the draw was firm but generous, revealing flavors of nuts, cedar, and most importantly, tobacco.

Lighting up was easy due to this corona’s manageable 46 ring gauge. Once it got going, the cigar delivered flavors of burnt butter, cedar, red pepper, and tobacco. An inch or so in, a leathery flavor became prominent and combined perfectly with a hint of caramel on the retrohale. At this point, the ash fell off at a respectable 1 ¼ inches. I should add that this cigar had a particularly cool looking ash; it was dark grey and black on the outside with very big cracks but no flaking, while the inside was pure white. Not sure what caused this effect, but it was eye-catching nonetheless.

Further into the smoke, the leather evolved into bitter malt, cream, and some dry earth. I also picked up a woody, leafy note that plunged me into some serious autumn nostalgia, which was impressive considering the scorching weather outside. The last third of the cigar reminded me of a milder version of the Fonseca Cubano Limitado that I smoked a few months ago—full-flavored but smooth and totally devoid of frills. The burn was a little ragged but totally consistent for the duration of the smoke, the draw never became plugged, and the cigar didn’t need to be relit once.

This is the kind of cigar that could impress an old-school smoker, but at the same time, it could teach a newbie what a cigar is really supposed to taste like at its core. There were no bells, whistles, or exaggerated sweet candy/floral/booze notes—just leather, malt, pepper, and well-aged tobacco leaves. I don’t have any “smoke after a meal” caveats about this one; it was definitely mild enough to enjoy on an empty stomach, if you’re into the pre-meal smoke.

Production on the Fonseca CXX Anni Rarissimus is limited to 2,000 boxes per size, so it’d be a good idea to stock up while they’re still around—as SAG Imports’ website puts it, “Enjoy them while they last,” and I’m definitely glad I did.