Brand: Perla Del Mar
Size: Corona Larga (5 1/2” x 46)
Factory: J.C. Newman PENSA
Wrapper: Ecuador Corojo
The J.C. Newman PENSA family is growing with the Perla Del Mar Corojo!
We relaunched this brand in 2012 after more than 50 years in hibernation. Perla Del Mar translates to “pearl of the sea” which is an old nickname for Cuba. This year, the brand got a facelift: a new box-pressed shape, as well as the new Corojo wrapper option. The new vista depicts the Morro Castle in the Havana Harbor. The bands are now different between the shade, maduro, and corojo wrappers. The corojo for instance has a burgundy accent on the bottom of the band which ties into the reddish-brown shade of the wrapper. The old PDM sizes were lettered correlating to the sizing of pearls. Now they carry traditional cigar sizing. The size I will be smoking is a Corona Gorda which used to be called the “L”. It still measures 5 ½ x 46.
Being a fan of the Brick House Ciento por Ciento which has a Corojo wrapper as well, I am excited to smoke this. It would be nice to have a regular production Corojo option in the JCN portfolio.
Once removing the Corojo Corona Gorda from the box, the first thing you notice is the new shape. The old Perla was a square shape, while this new one is more or an oval. After that, you are greeted with a beautiful, oily, reddish-brown wrapper. It is complimented nicely by the band due to the burgundy accents. Perla Del Mar is abbreviated on the center of the band. The band is much less busy than the previous one. Due to my preference, I cut the cigar with a shallow guillotine and it is completely intact afterward. The cigar has a little bit of give and is on the softer side. The cold draw reveals hints of sweet figs and coffee beans. I am delighted with the flavor before even lighting it up.
I retrohale the first puff to reveal everything the cigar has to offer.
The flavor consists of a bright spiciness that I best describe as ginger and coriander, which made me tear up slightly (a feature I like). Leather, coffee, cocoa, and a mild sweetness can be found as well. The texture of the smoke can be described as silky and leathery. By the end of the first portion of the cigar my palate adjusts to the spice and things seem to balance out according to my taste. The flavor and strength have proved themselves to be medium to full in the first third.
Upon beginning the second third I note the razor-sharp ash.
The draw and burn have been phenomenal so far. With most of the cigars I smoke, I notice that the strength mellows out during this portion. This is not the case with the PDM Corojo. Although I am conditioned to the strength at this point it has remained medium to full in both intensity and flavor throughout the second portion. You can still taste the figs on the wrapper, cocoa, leather, and coffee are still present. I also notice that a thick earthy flavor enters the mix. On the retrohale, the ginger and coriander are still obvious. Root spices are a rare component to find in a cigar.
The draw has remained perfect with smoke leaking out of the cap of the cigar after each puff I take. The burn has remained even, and I have not touched it up at all after the initial light-up and the ash is dark grey. As I approach the end of the second third, I am in love with this cigar. It is everything I would want from a Nicaraguan cigar. The flavor is different, the strength is there, and the balance of flavor is perfect. The shape of the cigar is so enjoyable and comfortable; the oval box press shape takes the shape of your mouth.
The final third of the cigar is when I find the spice to be most mellow. The ginger and coriander that I love so much are still apparent, especially on the retrohale, though it has toned down a few notches. Notes of figs, coffee, and leather are still easy to find, and a new component of licorice that has entered the mix. The final third is still pleasant to the taste and burning even and cool. In all honesty, this cigar is not acrid or bitter at all even when smoking it all the way down until my fingers cannot safely grip it anymore.
The cigar is still filling the area with a sweet and spicy bouquet. No matter if I am smoking it or smelling it, I am pleased with the experience. The retrohale is amazing and smooth, with intensity to be found. This cigar has a smoke time of around 55 minutes on average with flawless construction. This is somewhat of a long smoke time for a cigar in this size.
As I put the cigar down, I am fulfilled, intrigued, and thinking about the next chance I can find to smoke another. This is everything I hope to feel during and after smoking the ideal cigar.
As I reflect on the Perla Del Mar Corojo, I would have to say that it is my new favorite cigar from the Nicaraguan portfolio offered by J.C. Newman. The consistency, flavor, price point, and construction fit the bill for me. I am without a doubt fond of the rebrand and new wrapper option. The shape is more comfortable to smoke and the corojo has great taste and intensity. I tried to find inconsistency in the four different samples I smoked for this review but had no luck. Each one burned the same, tasted the same, and had the same riveting effect on my palette.
It is the perfect box purchase and daily cigar. The cigar is medium to full undoubtedly with just enough bite and smoothness to be had. I encourage everyone reading this to give it a try especially if you are a fan of Nicaraguan cigars.
A Note to Retailers:
While the old Perla Del Mar might have been a tough sell due to its packaging and unique shape, the new PDM is a super easy sale. The new packaging has just enough brand heritage with a modern twist that makes it stand out and catch the eye of the consumer. The new shape of the Perla makes it somewhat uniform amongst the rest of the box press cigars in the industry. I have encountered numerous cigar smokers that only smoked box-pressed cigars for a variety of reasons. This puts the PDM in the running. You would win some trust from your customers by suggesting this cigar to someone looking for a new box-pressed option to add to their arsenal. The last few releases from J.C. Newman have been quite different and have caught the attention of much of the industry. The American and the Yagua are one-of-a-kind cigars with unique stories and craftsmanship behind them. The company is doing big things. Based on their track record in everything from value cigars to super premium cigars, the whole portfolio is worth a try for one reason or another.
About Nikolaos Psilopoulos
Nik has been working on the retail side of the cigar industry for 5 years. The past 3 years his palette has been experienced enough to formally taste and review cigars for your reading pleasure. At El Reloj he is running our factory store and giving tours. He is a Certified Retail Tobacconist with the PCA’s educational resource, Tobacconist University. You can expect him to further his tobacco knowledge with us at J.C. Newman and encourages visitors to ask all the questions that come to mind.
Outside of the world of cigars, you can find him enjoying the great outdoors or participating in dog sports with his Australian Shepherd.
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