Asylum Medulla at King Corona

So one time, at King Corona, I was perusing the humidor wanting something more woodsy and peppery.  The associate pointed me to the Asylum 13, and then directed my attention to the Medulla and the Oblongata.  These are the same cigar, but the Medulla is round while the Oblongata is box pressed.  While I usually favor the box pressed cigar, I decided to give the round version of this blend a try instead.   As I have already confessed I like the pepperiness of the Asylum 13 in general, my curiosity was piqued to see the difference between the  13 and the Medulla.

The cigar comes with a nice bit of tissue paper wrapping, and you can smell a distinct cedar aroma through the paper.  Unwrapped and unlit, the pepper and the cedar are more evident.  The wrapper on this is a bit more veined than the usual Asylum 13, which is a nice touch.

I smoked this with my usual house Merlot at King Corona.  A small personal aside– while a wine bar with friends, I overheard the sommelier explain that Merlot had still lost some popularity because of the movie Sideways.  Folks, that movie was 14 years ago. Merlot is amazing. Don’t let one cranky scene in a movie dictate you away from a delicious vino– if you choose to try it and not like it, that’s okay.  Side rant over, this cigar was very nice with the dry Merlot and would probably work well with a good whiskey, bourbon, and for a non-alcoholic twist, a nice root beer.

It starts off heavy on the cedar, but it doesn’t feel like I’m smoking the tree because that peppery aroma that I like form this line is still quite evident.  At the midpoint of this cigar, there was actually even a soft fruity undertone, like a persimmon.  It wasn’t very obvious, it was subtle but it did take the intensity off the cedar flavor and and made the pepperiness brighter.

The draw is very easy,  and keeping a foot together was a little more difficult than usual for me. Your mileage may vary, but I did find that I had to ash this rather frequently, and I suspect the loose draw might have been at play with that.  I have not yet tried the box-pressed Oblongata, but I’d be willing to bet that this ashing situation would not be as prevalent on that cigar.   Either way, the smoke was invigoratingly peppery, with enough cedar to be a little differing for me.  A good smoke for a relaxing time outside.

Java by Drew Estate and Oliva Series G at King Corona

For this post, I’m reviewing cigars I like with coffee, and also the very first two cigars I had ever had at the very place where I had them.  Caffeinated nostalgia for the win!

King Corona has one of my favorite espresso drinks, the Cafe Corona, a blend of espresso and steamed milk and just enough cayenne caramel to warm your tongue and pleasantly sweeten the beverage.  While I’m usually not a sweets person, this is one of the only “not blacker than my soul” coffees I will imbibe because it’s really just that good. And I like spicy.

Cafe Corona

For Sunday cigars, I opted to jump into the wayback machine and picked out the first two cigars I had ever smoked.   A Java by Drew Estate and an Oliva Series G.   And I bought them at King Corona, so it was a happy memory.  I also have found that I do tend to favor the boxed press cigar, but maybe because I also like the Huey Lewis and the News song “Hip to Be Square.” As I started with the Cafe Corona, I also started with the Java.  I know some cigar folks out there are not fans of flavored or infused cigars, but I like when they’re very well done as they can have a completely different mood suffuse through the smoke.  The Java is definitely a sweeter than most cigars, and the only thing it’s really infused with is a strong coffee flavor.  I’ve had some of the other renditions, but I really prefer just the simple Java.  The ring for the cigar is very plain, but it’s a bit of ‘simpler is better.’ When you smell it pre-lit, the smell is mostly coffee and a tinge of leather.

Java by Drew Estate

After lighting, the first thing that I noticed when I smoked it the first time and when I have smoked it each time since, is that the wrapper is very sweet.  Almost on the edge of cloying, but not quite.  As this is a cigar based on coffee, the coffee aroma is definitely the strong suit of this cigar and it will be prevalent through the whole stick, but it actually seemed strongest in the middle.  Here it blended with a bit more of a leathery aroma and a bit of chocolate.  The draw is medium, making the foot a bit more of a challenge. I do find that this cigar does smoke rather quickly, so perhaps the tighter draw is to help one savor it.   While I enjoyed this stick, I would regard it as a dessert cigar, or something to help someone with a sweet tooth (like me) acclimate to the world of cigars.   It’s certainly very sweet, but there is always a time for such a thing.

Java Foot

Then we go on to the Oliva Series G, which while good with the last bit of my coffee, really opened up when I switched to a glass of the house Merlot.  This cigar is a prize winner, and it’s easy to see why.  The aroma of the stick is light cedar with some leathery notes before lighting, but the leather takes over after it’s lit.  At the mid-point, this had more of a leathery coffee profile, and then it finished with a mostly coffee cedar aroma.

This cigar smokes very cleanly and the draw is smooth and even.   I did have some difficulty getting a good foot on this one, but I’ve had success on other occasions. The smoke does tend to linger on the palate, making this a bit stubborn on the breath after it’s done, but it’s not a deal-breaker on this stick.  This is a solid cigar that would be a great stick with coffee, bourbon, whiskey, or beer.  Will definitely see this one again.

Light of Ybor at and by King Corona Cigars

This past Sunday, my friends and I opted to take our Cigar Sunday to the shelter of King Corona Cigars in Ybor.  As it is officially Hurricane Season, the Sunshine state has a penchant to have a thunder storm at least once a day, making smoking on a patio a risky affair.    This time around, King Corona was fully operational and complete with power for beverages and the lounge televisions showing a variety of sports shows and news.  Now I feel like I can give this cafe/lounge some justice that it has rightly deserved as a gem within Tampa for those that enjoy a good place to smoke a cigar.  This view is from the middle of the lounge area.  What sets King Corona apart from other places is that it is also a cafe.  The food is prepared in an area separate from the lounge and is really very delicious.  Another reason to try this establishment.

This time, I opted to try a cigar I hadn’t tried before.  I browsed quite a bit because the humidor has such goodies in it, but I felt that it was high time for me to try one of King Corona’s own, the Light Of Ybor.    I had this with a glass of house merlot and a cup of water.

Unwrapping this from it’s white tissue felt like unwrapping a gift.  The wrapper of this cigar is a tawny Ecuador leaf and surrounding an aromatic Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers.  The aroma of the unlit cigar had hints of vanilla, but smelled mostly of leather and coffee.    After it was lit, this had a similar creaminess to the H. Upmann, but not as heavy on the draw.  It also smoked as a coffee/leather combo with only a hint of sweetness to it.

The draw of the cigar is extremely easy, and made for developing a nice foot on the end.   While the leathery coffee smoke got heavier at the middle, it toned down at the end.  The end of this stick was more of a light vanilla with coffee and actually a refreshing way to round out the cigar.   I would recommend smoking this with a coffee, a black tea, whiskey, and it was tasty with my wine, too.   I would even go so far as to recommend this as an excellent beginner cigar for someone who wants to start down the path of the leaf.

Asylum 13 at King Corona

It was an odd rainy day that kept the power flickering in Ybor City, one of Tampa’s historic districts.  I’d met a friend for lunch at Hamburger Mary’s Pub, and we wandered down to King Corona Cigars after. King Corona is a Tampa icon– it’s directly on the ‘main strip’ of Ybor, and I would recommend them as a stopping point for any cigar aficionado.  The building is ancient and decorated as such, but the staff at King Corona are passionate about their work– both for their humidor and on the cafe side.

In other trips, I have savored their Cuban coffee with my selection of stick, but this go around, a power outage had struck King Corona   The stalwart staff of the humidor and cafe weren’t daunted by a lack of electricity, they just asked for cash only and explained that the espresso and cappuccino machines were down.  In answer to my, “Y’all still have wine, right?” was a glass of house Merlot, generously poured and a glass of water with what ice cubes they had left.

Ya'all got wine, right?

I’ve been to King Corona with enough frequency that the humidor associates usually have no trouble recommending a cigar to me.  And I can certainly say that while they may not have the largest or most diverse humidor in the Tampa area, I have never had a disappointing cigar selected for me. But the odd weather put me in the mood to have one of the cigars I consider one of my staples, an Asylum 13.


The Asylum line in general is quite good, but the 13 has that really simple but eye catching ring and the perfect amount of pepperiness that I love so much.  On a strangely cool rainy day, the Asylum smoked like an old friend. The draw is smooth and easy, and the cigar starts with a dark brew coffee aroma and ends with that gorgeous dark pepper finish that I love so much. My friend and I sat and people watched as we savored our cigars and our beverages, with the King Corona staff attentive and mindful of our drinks and bringing us another cigar ashtray, even as they were working on getting the power restored. A fine way to spend a Sunday.