The marketing manager from Habanos who came up with the regional editions idea was worth his weight in gold or even diamonds as the concept has proven to be a huge success for at over a decade with a growing number of releases every year and a peak in 2011. The number of releases now is a bit lower due to a few bad crops that caused a shortage of tobacco and therefore a lower number of cigars that can be made. It started in 2005 with Regional Editions for Italy and Switzerland but a year later France, Germany and Asia followed and then the ball really got rolling with a whole lot of cigar smokers chasing the Regional Editions from all over the world. And in the beginning I fell for the marketing too, chased a few before I realized it was nothing special, just another vitola for an added price and a whole lot of hassle to find then and get them into my humidor.
Now what I did notice is that Germany has had a few exclusivo releases that spark my interest due to the vitola. I like the skinny cigars and so far they had a Por Larranaga Lonsdale, Bolivar Lancero, Punch Sir John and this 2014 Ramon Allones 898 with ring gauges under 50. I reviewed the Bolivar No.2 (Lancero) earlier this year, now I’m going to review the Ramon Allones 898, a 6 3/4×43 Cuban puro that was gifted to me by my friend Kolja Kukuk from Cigar Consult International.
The cigar has a nice, mild shiny and oily, medium brown wrapper with a few thin veins. The construction feels good and the triple cap is esthetically well done. As for the rings, I said it before and I will say it again: I don’t like it that they use the same ‘exclusivo’ rings for every brand, even when it combines badly with the brand ring. I know some might say “but it makes it easy to recognize that its a regional edition” and I agree but then do a brand ring in the same colors for the regional edition instead of making it look like a carnival. I mean, every designer with just a little photoshop skills can change the color of the pretty nice Ramon Allones ring (a bright red circle with a golden logo surrounded by a bigger brown circle and white letters saying Ramon Allones Habana surrounded by a thick golden outline) so it would match nicely with the burgundy silver and white exclusivo ring and then the cigar would look 10 times better. It would also mean the exclusivo series are even more special. That is a missed opportunity. The quality of the rings is very good though, no complaints there, its just that they don’t match. The cigar has a mild aroma of barnyard with some fresh urine due to the ammonia.
I cut cigar with my Xikar. The cold draw has a little too much resistance and a quite peppery and spicy flavor. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste leather with pepper. The leather is growing stronger. The pepper fades a little and instead I taste honey with the leather. After a third it’s still leather with honey but the pepper is back in the aftertaste and it’s quite strong for a Cuban cigar. Once I passed the midway point I also taste a little chocolate. After two thirds I also taste some nuts and a little metallic flavor.
The draw is a little on the tight side but not too much to call it plugged. The ash is beautiful light gray and dense. The smoke is thin and only a little bit of it, I think it has to do with the tight draw. The burn is pretty straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, the flavors are good but the cigar lost a lot of points due to the lack of evolution, the minor amount of smoke and the tight draw. The smoke time is an hour and a half.
Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah for a reasonable price. With a better draw this cigar would scored a couple of points higher. I did like the flavors.