Punch "Rare Corojo" Review: Savoring the World's Most Deceptive Cigar

I get all sorts of mixed signals from the Punch Rare Corojo and for good reason. Even after smoking a few, I still find myself feeling a bit befuddled by General Cigar's decision to use the word "corojo" in the product name. Apparently I am not the only one who feels baffled by the naming of this stick, as fellow critics and stogie smokers alike ask the same question...

Why call a cigar a corojo, when it comes cloaked in a Sumatran wrapper from Ecuador?!

Proverbial elephant within the room identified, we start to form a hypothesis as to the rationale behind this inappropriate naming.

Was it due to the fact that the wrapper does look and smell a lot like a dark, oily red leaf corojo? Perhaps it is because there is some corojo leaf inside that long-filler blend somewhere, and we are just supposed to presume that we can detect it.

Or maybe someone had one Singapore Sling too many one evening, and thought it would be funny to name a cigar "Rare Corojo" because there is so little of the leaf in the blend that it is indeed quite rare. 

Whatever the reasoning behind the misnaming of this cigar, there are a few concrete facts about it that cannot be dismissed.

  1. It only gets released once a year in early February in limited amounts.
  2. The blend has been made offered since 2001, and remains one of the Punch brand's most sought-after cigars. 
  3. Cigar Aficionado has gone as high as awarding a 92 point rating for this blend, and it continues to score high in taste tests.
  4. There was a 10th Anniversary release that came out in 2011 that actually did use a Corojo wrapper, but that was just a one time deal.
  5. This cigar kicks a ton of ass, regardless of what it's called. 

[Buy 5-Pack]

Unlit Impressions 

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

Punch calls the 6 ⅛" x 50 dimensions of the cigar seen here a "Pita," which translates to a slender "Toro" with a round box-pressing. If you didn't know that this cigar was Sumatran-wrapped, you would swear that it had some sort of overly fermented corojo wrapper encasing it. 

Dark and oily, with a rich mahogany rosado glean in the sun, the wrapper on this stick is inviting and elegantly fitted. A slight crease here, a bulging leaf vein there, maybe a mottled discoloration dot or two, but besides these minor mentions this stick sure does show a ton of potential. The band however, is just what it is. Nothing fancy or memorable, but not dated looking either. I would almost prefer to smoke the cigar unbanded since the wrapper looks so damn nice.

It smells splendid as well. Sumatran leaf smells are all there, with oily leather, light tea leaf undertones, and a muffled mix of herbs and spices. From cardamom and clove, to cinnamon and all spice, this wrapper packs it in, without it being too overwhelmingly intense too.

The foot smells of dank earth and sassafras. Maybe a dash of dried cayenne and hickory too for a smoky touch, along with an afterthought of stewed dark cherries.

Cold draws are smooth yet spicy, and slowly build in depth after the second or third pull. Leading the senses with more of a loamy mulch taste than dried Spanish Cedar, these attributes come preconditioned with aged Sumatran flavor by the truck load.  

Initial Smoke   

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

No need to cough up a lung or two due to a raging red pepper onslaught here. This blend is all cured hickory wood, mellow turbinado sugar, and cinnamon toast from first puff. Less than 2–3 minutes later, and the sweeping saga that is the remainder of this well-balanced Sumatran-wrapped cigar unfolds with a pinch of nutmeg and an increase in smoke production.

1st Half   

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

Medium in all detectable forms, this "un-corojo" could not be any cleaner in its delivery. Toasty hickory smoke and cedar, and a warming lassi spice tea taste from the wrapper make me want to attempt a pairing with something tropical fruity. The body of the smoke is not something I would call milky or creamy, but it is extremely smooth and likes to linger.

Extract a retrohale along the way, and crushed black pepper and a touch of that chili spice may send your eyes watering at first. As your senses grow accustomed to the smoke, you will detect deeper layers of dark terroir and that the heat from earlier is more like a snort of cinnamon than anything else. 

Sumatran wrappers of this grade are glorious to behold, and I can see why everyone loves this stick despite its blatant misrepresentation. Dried ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, Indonesian black mountain tea leaves, fennel, star anise, saffron... take your pick. Chances are your taste buds will pick up some, if not all of these flavors from this cigar at some point prior to the second half starting.

2nd Half    

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

Darker but never heavier, the second section of this stick is charry in a most pleasant way, and takes the toasted hickory taste straight to the soil your tongue is sampling. This ignition of the USA-grown Connecticut Broadleaf binder feels a bit overdue, but is pleasant to discover at this moment and adds a much appreciated bump in body.

Flavors sway toward toasted vanilla bean and cinnamon heat, with more chai tea touches taking your mouth on a full spin of the cigar flavor wheel. Some of those stewed cherry subtleties are apparent, but they are on their way out, leaving you with a flavorful, slightly piquant final push toward parting puffs. 

Parting Puffs     

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

Smoke to the stub, and savor the smoldering remains of what once was. Oily and loaded with fermented combustibles, the last of this cigar sends you off with more of a mouth-watering finish than a look of disgust. It may not be intended to please the general hoi polloi, but for anyone who favors a dark Connecticut Broadleaf flavor and dry final pulls of Sumatran maduro depth will likely dribble a bit during parting puffs.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

Wavy at first, with odd ash discolorations here and there, it seems like this "Pita" vitola struggles during the first 15–20 minutes. After that it's all smoother than a fine extra añejo tequila on a Saturday night. Smoke is more than cloudy enough, and the construction of that soft box-pressing keeps the ash around long enough to keep the cigar's cone sheltered 90% of the time.

Although the draw was damn good, and the burn was anything but intense in temp, I did see this cigar starting to struggle burn cleanly in regard to its cone. A quick tunnel prior to parting puffs, followed by an immediate extinguishment of the cherry confirmed my construction fears.  

Final Thoughts  

Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

My mountaintop walkabout with Punch's inappropriately named red cigar was most refreshing. The weather was borderline ideal, and the premium cigar blend itself was splendacious. 

Strong enough for fans of full-force flavor, but polished to the point where those who favor the lower side of medium can stomach the blend in its entirety. 

Does it continue to irk me that this cigar is not a corojo, yet somehow everyone is perfectly fine with calling it that instead of something like a "Sumatran Rosado" or something along those lines? To the point where I almost lost sleep the other night.

My suggestion? Remove the band, ignore the moniker, and just enjoy this magnolious reddish hued spicy cigar for what it is: A premium cigar that only comes out once a year.


Punch "Rare Corojo" Review

Stogie Specs


Punch "Rare Corojo"


Sumatra (Ecuador)


Connecticut Broadleaf (USA)


Honduras, Nicaragua, & Dominican Republic "Piloto Cubano"




6 " x 50 "Pita" (aka "Toro")



Pairing Drink

Ginger & Lime Homemade Soda



Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.