Rafael González Panatela Extra

Here is a cigar that’s with me for a long time. I bought this box seven or eight years ago, so this had a good chance to age well. Still, this is a Panatela, usually a cigar people buy to smoke quickly and do not give it a chance to let is age. Hey, but I did! Rafael González is a very small brand, that has always been known for a very good Lonsdale or Corona Extra. Now only this Panatela Extra, a Petit Corona and a Perla are made. All small cigars.

Cuban Rafael González Panatela Extra (36 x 127mm, Vegueritos, Short Panatela, Box Code ORE JUN 04)

Color and Looks: Colorado with a big green spot. (It was the only one in the box with a green spot). One larger vein, otherwise smooth surface and no frays. Feels firm.

A cru: Nice ‘old’ smell. Well aged. Nothing overpowering. The foot smells great. With cedar, leather and old books.

Taste: Draw was ok, a bit heavy at first. Great smoke that’s a bit sour. Woody and well rounded out, very balanced. Ageing did this cigar well. Mild smoke. Draw now ok. Mocha, milk chocolate mousse. Firm white ash. Easy, uncomplicated smoke. Again the second-hand smoke smells great. Still it’s not overly complex. Ash falls off rather quickly. The whole taste is on the dry side, woody, cedar, it would have been nicer if it had a creamy component.

Almost halfway its grassy, cool and I detect something chemical, but I can’t put my finger on it. Predominantly white ash with some grey thrown in. After the halfway point the wrapper started to crack. Later I found out that the binder was locally folded and wanted to unfold itself. All this without any problems in draw. The cigar keeps giving you a lot of smoke.

Than the last third, and boy what a turn! When the first part of the cigar is very mild and tasty, the last third is extremely strong. It does have its merits but if you are an inexperienced smoker, this part is the part that turns you green! (I’ve seen it happen to someone at work, with this cigar when it was younger). The strength is well countered by a good coffee, but without is it is extremely drying and a bit harsh. Heavy on nicotine. The ash turns brown so you’ll even have a visual aide in recognizing the last third…

This cigar tastes great with double roasted coffee and also does very well with water. I didn’t try it with anything alcoholic, because the cigar doesn’t call for it. It doesn’t need anything really, it does very well on its own. Beware of the last third! I’m writing this the next day and I still have the taste of the last third firmly embedded in my mouth.

76 Points

P.S. Both guys are really called Rafael González. If you turn out to be one of them, I hope you let me use these pictures.