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Stogie Reviews: Ramon Allones Small Club Corona (Cuban)

A few nights ago, Washington was witness to the sort of howling, chilling wind that can make a butane torch flame shiver and bend. This stark reminder that winter is rapidly approaching had me reaching into my humidor for a petite stick that wouldn't require me to be outside for hours.
It wasn't long before I stumbled across a Ramon Allones Small Club Corona, a Cuban that I've often turned to when time is short and temperatures are low. Considered a good companion cigar for seasoned smokers, this 4.3 inch by 42 ring gauge stogie has a reputation for packing lots of flavor into a quick format. Other reviewers have noted tastes ranging from nuts and dried fruit to herbs and wood.
I was actually surprised to find so much info on the web because Ramon Allones is definitely one of Cuba's lesser-known trademarks. That's one reason the brand's cigars are affordable, at least by Habanos' standards. You can find the Small Club Corona for $5-8, and most boxes of 25 for $115-130.
The Ramon Allones legend, however, is far bigger than its name. While others claim to be the first, I've heard the brand—founded in 1837—was the first to have colorful lithographs for box art, the first to utilize bands on cigars, and the first to package cigars in the "8-9-8" style.
Enough history. As I used my V-cutter to establish a moderate draw from the cap, I noticed the thin cigar's bland band, undistinguished wrapper leaf, and lack of prelight aromas don't make for a terrific first impression. There's also something awry about the Small Club Corona's inconsistent shape.
The cigar improves dramatically once you fire it up. I found a dry, cedar taste with some spice that builds to include notes of black coffee and cashews. Fairly strong, definitely full on flavor. If you make a habit of smoking down to the nub, however, you may be disappointed with the last half inch; it is characterized by a bitterness that's hardly enjoyable.
While the Small Club Corona burns evenly, it does possess some odd combustion traits. The mascara is obnoxiously pronounced and protruding, and the foot becomes more cone-shaped than one would expect once the stable ash is tapped. But neither quirk adversely interferes with the smoking experience.
This cigar costs more than I'd like to spend on something of its size, even for a Cuban, and it's no match for the exquisite Specially Selected vitola. Still, I find myself occasionally turning to it for its big taste and 30-minute format—particularly this time of year. That's why give the Ramon Allones Small Club Corona three and a half stogies out of five.

Source: Stogie Guys Online