2012 Rafael Gonzalez Perla

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I picked this up as my local La Casa Del Habanos recently. They told me that sales of this cigar and the H Upmann Half Corona have been brisk. I was interested in giving this a try when Habanos first announced the release of this vitola as Rafael Gonzalez has always been a good change of pace cigar for me.

I’ve grown to like the smaller sized cigars due to time constraints as well as it provides the opportunity to try different marcas due to the size. It also allows me to have a quick cigar in the winter time. RASCC, Siglo Is and most recently H Upmann Half Coronas have always been my go to short smokes and I was hoping to add this to the repertoire.

Let’s see how it is progressing…

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The 2012 Rafael Gonzalez Perla is a nice looking cigar. It comes in at a 40 ring gauge and is 4 inches in length. These come in 5 packs as well as 25 count boxes.

The wrapper is a nice hazelnut, honeyed hue of brown. Aromas of milk chocolate and caramel emanate from the cigar.

The construction is excellent. Nice and firm throughout the cigar, with a slight give when squeezed. The triple cap is well done and the foot is nicely packed.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

A quick snap from my Palio and we are ready to go…

The draw is good. Nice airflow with a slight resistance.

The initial flavours from the cold draw are roasted nuts, caramel, and milk chocolate.

Time to take this to the flame…

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First Third
Lightly toasted almonds hit my palate first, followed by oolong tea and a vegetal note. Leaving a metallic taste on the palate. Not pleasing. Strength is mild to medium. Very youthful. A little discombobulated at this point. Harsh….

The draw is perfect and great smoke production. The burn is razor sharp and the ash is a ‘Dirty’ whitish, light grey.

The after finish is off putting. Piercing and sharp. The metallic and vegetal notes seem to dominate the oolong tea and toasted almonds. Very weird flavour profile to start. The retrohale reveals pungent mushrooms. The after finish has some staying power, which, in this case, is not helping the situation….

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Second Third
Much better now. The metallic and vegetal notes have moved on. Glad I stuck with this as I was about to pitch it if it didn’t improve. No need to waste time on bad cigars. Oolong tea has disappeared as well

This has taken a turn for the better. Much more delicate profile. Floral notes, a touch of honey, cocoa and a hint of spice note come to the forefront. A complete 180 degree turn from where we started. The toasted almonds come back, here and there.

The retrohale has a nice balance between toasted almonds, honey and cocoa. The floral notes really come into play on the after finish, lifting the profile up. The strength is at a medium level now. The after finish continues to linger on the palate for a long time but it is a more more pleasant profile than the first third. More rounder and better integrated.

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Final Third
Toasted almonds converts to roasted peanuts in the final third, accompanied by expresso and honey. A slightly richer profile now. The strength continues to be at a medium level. The floral notes have dissipated as well.

The retrohale emits roasted peanuts and expresso. Very rich. The honey joins in at the after finish, calming down the bite of the expresso. Very interesting changes throughout this cigar.

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Final Impressions
This has the makings to be a good cigar in the near future. Needs some time to integrate and settle in. The first third was very disappointing however, the remaining two thirds were very interesting. Lots of flavour profile change for a small cigar. The construction and quality of tobacco is excellent. The cigar is in a confused state right now and I think that time in the humidor would be beneficial.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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