Posts Tagged With: regional edition

Ramon Allones 898 RE Alemania 2014

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.

Score: 86


Categories: 86, Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory, Ramon Alones (Habanos) | Tags: , , , , , , ,

La Flor de Cano Casanova RE Italy

I worked in several industries from pharmaceutical to the entertainment industry and the cigar industry. While in most industries its just work and once you’re gone you’re out of sight and out of mind, the cigar industry is different. You form friendships and connections that last even when you leave the industry, weather its on free will or not. And this cigar is proof of that. How you might ask? Well, I got this cigar from Yuri Dijkstra, owner of the La Casa del Habano Almere, probably the most beautiful shop in The Netherlands and trust me, I’ve seen them all. I’m not a big fan of Cuban cigars, so me saying this about a La Casa del Habano means a lot. But him giving me a cigar isn’t proof of the bonding you do in the cigar industry. Oh, and to add, the day he gave me the cigar this Regional Edition of Italy was only released a few days before.

I saw Yuri at the funeral of Berry van Nugteren, owner of Van Lookeren Cigars in Amsterdam (if you’re ever in Amsterdam, visit them, great people, fantastic lounge). Berry was not just a shop owner but always looking for ways to elevate the whole game in The Netherlands, helping others, having a vision for the future and that didn’t change when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He kept fighting, not just for his health, but also to grow the market for everybody. I met Berry years before, as an account, but I visited him at home to smoke a cigar when he was ill and unable to go to the shop, he lend me his Porsche Cayenne when I had to drive Andre Farkas, Abe & Judy Flores and myself with our luggage to Intertabac and hardly fit into my Volvo V40, he visited me at my private lounge in my home to smoke a few cigars and even though I lost my job in the industry we stayed in touch and I visited his funeral where I ran into Yuri. Yuri is very partial to Cubans while I’m all about Nicaragua, yet we formed a friendship too that exists even after he sold his shop and started a La Casa del Habano where I had nothing to sell to, so it’s not about business and that makes the cigar industry so great.

Even though this cigar was released mid april 2017, it is the 2016 Edicion Regional for Italy, a petit robusto, 4 1/3×50 sized for the La Flor de Cano brand and is dubbed Casanova after the legendary ladies man. The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a spark of minerals, a mild shine and no big veins. I can see a big vein on the binder though. When I look at the foot of the cigar it looks very well packed and it feels the same way which makes me worry about the draw, something I do anyway with Cuban cigars. The ring is a new design, much better than the old one. A white ring with golden details and a red circle with the old logo in gold. It looks clean, sharp and is very clear. I am digging this new ring a lot. The secondary ring is the regular exclusivo ring we have seen for the last 12 years. Much to my surprise I don’t smell ammonia in this young cigar but pure manure.

I punched the cigar and the draw is a little tight so I decided to cut instead which only improved the draw by a little bit. I taste a sharp and spicy raisin flavor. One I lit the cigar I taste a mildly harsh leather with a mild chocolate sweetness. After half an inch I taste herbs with salt and a faint chocolate. Halfway I taste nuts, salt and pepper. The cigar is gaining strength with an almost Nicaraguan, original Don Pepin twang pepper.

The draw is good, better than the cold draw and the tightly packed construction suggested. The smoke is medium in body and volume. The ash is quite dark and firm and there are white spots on the dark ash. The burn is straight and slow. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored, strong for a Cuban.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a Cuban that I would love to smoke more often.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Cuban cigars, Flor de Cano (Habanos), La Corona | Tags: , , , ,

Bolivar Especiales No.2 Exclusivo Alemania

This is the fourth lancero review and it’s a Cuban cigar, a German regional edition. When I started to smoke cigars and was uneducated I smoked a lot of Cubans and my favorite brands were H. Upmann, Bolivar and Punch. And I fell for the marketing too, hunting down regional editions even though it’s not made with limited tobacco, alternate blends, it’s just the regular blend is a limited made vitola, nothing special and nowadays Cuba seems to produce more limiteds than regular production cigars with the anejados, limiteds, gran reserva and regional editions. Once I realized the bull shit of the regional editions I stopped chasing them but when I read about the Bolivar lancero aka Especiales No.2 as a regional edition for the German market in 2009 I knew I had to buy a few as I love that vitola.

So once they were released I got in my car and drove all the way to Dusseldorf, to the biggest lounge in Europe with the biggest selection in Germany including a lot of shop exclusive cigars. Cigarworld is more than just a shop with a huge selection and a beautiful and big lounge, on the second floor they have a smaller lounge and a smaller humidor that is reachable either by a stair from the lounge or from a separate entry on the side of the building and that humidor and lounge are an official La Casa del Habano with all the unique LCDH releases. Since I’m not into Cuban cigars a lot it doesn’t mean a lot to me but I can understand that it’s a great move from owners Marc & Patricia Benden to include a LCDH at their location because it still appeals to a lot of people and now they get all the LCDH releases and way more of the limited editions than non LCDH shops. Completely off topic, but if you are traveling to visit a LCDH, check out the one in Almere, that is most likely the most beautiful shop i’ve seen in my life, their downstairs lounge is the bomb.

Now the wrapper is a nice milk chocolate brown with a few veins and a mild reddish glow, some parts have an oily shine while others don’t. It’s not the most beautiful wrapper I have ever seen but also not the worst. The construction feels good but the proof is in the pudding, especially with Cuban cigars and double with hard to roll vitolas like the lancero. The rings, printed by Vrijdag printing in Eindhoven (NL), are well known amongst cigar smokers, a yellow circle with the picture of Simon Bolivar with a golden dotted outline. The golden outline continue to the back while the inside is red and white striped and covered in the medaille d’or that Bolivar won in the past. The second band is silver colored with a white dotted line on both bottom and top, a big red band with white lettering exclusivo Alemania. The cigar measures 7.6 inch with a ring of 38. It has a triple cap like all Habanos hand made cigars. I cut the cigar with a straight cut and I just took the cap off. The cold draw is good and taste hay with a mild freshness and some spices. The cigar has a mild barnyard aroma.

I lit the cigar with my trusted vintage Ronson soft flame. The first flavor is a spicy yet sweet coffee. It’s a little bit bitter. After a few puffs the flavor changes to a little cedar with far far on the background some milk chocolate but the chocolate disappears quickly. I now taste cedar with dried grass soon to be followed by a cumin flavor. This cigar is dynamic to the extreme and a testament of why I love these thin sticks. After a third I taste spicy wood with a very mild cumin and a little bit of honey. The cumin changes into nutmeg and the wood loses its spice. In the aftertaste I get some black pepper. Halfway I taste spices with caramel and there’s a mild pepper on the back of my throat. Sometime later the flavor changes to salty nuts with some pepper. That is to be replaced with oak and pepper a few puffs later. After two thirds the salty nuts are back with a little bit of lemon.

The draw is surprisingly good, I was expecting the worse. The smoke is thick and abundant, nice and white colored too. The ash is salt and pepper colored and you can see the layers. The ash isn’t too firm at the start, later it is. The burn is straight as an arrow. This is a medium to full bodied cigar and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It was a regional edition, they can’t be found anywhere unless you go to the collectors market and pay more than top dollar. But this is a great Cuban cigar and it shows that they still can make great cigars.

Score: 92


Categories: 92, Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , , , ,

Oliva serie V Maduro Short Robusto Edición Europa 2010

In 2006 the Nicaraguan cigar producing and tobacco growing family of Oliva and their Oliva Cigar Company, not to be mistaken by the Oliva Tobacco Company who are also tobacco growers but not related, released their strongest cigar to their portfolio, the Oliva Series V and with succes, the torpedo made it into the top 25 of Cigar Aficionado the next year and the blend has been voted in that top 25 for 6 years in a row, an industry record. In 2008 Oliva released a limited edition maduro version of the Series V in a torpedo shape and a Broadleaf wrapper and repeated that in 2009 with a different wrapper, Nicaraguan Habano Maduro this time. In 2010 they changed the size to a 6×54 with yet another another wrapper, Mexican San Andres Maduro and they not only released a limited edition for the USA but also a different size just for the European Market. For Europe they picked a 4 1/2×50 Short Robusto, 1500 boxes of 10 cigars were made. I really loved the 2008 release but wasn’t impressed with the later releases until I smoked this one.

Now this review is not the only one this cigar. I gave a few to Brooks from a few years back and he posted a review. The prices mentioned on Halfwheel come from U.K. based websites and the U.K. has crazy taxes. In The Netherlands the cigar had a fixed price tag of €8,50. The cigar has been aging for a minimum of 6 years so the cellophane is discolored from the inside. The band is the normal Oliva serie V band, big, beautiful and printed in my home country of The Netherlands at Vrijdag Printing. The wrapper is dark, toothy, rough and leathery with some veins and it feels leathery. It is not a good looking wrapper when you base it on esthetics but it’s beautifully intimidating. The construction feels good. After a punch I had a tight draw so I made a cut with my xikar butterfly cutter and then the mild spicy cold draw was good. The aroma is thick, rich and deep, reminds me of a horse stable.

I managed to lit the cigar with the last remaining gas in my vintage Ronson and straight away I taste espresso with a lot of cane sugar, it’s like Cuban coffee. After a centimeter the espresso becomes a little milder and the sweetness also toned down a little. The flavors are getting a little toasty though.

Halfway I still taste sweetness but now with more earthy flavors and a little bit of pepper. This Maduro wrapper surely lives up to the ‘Maduro is sweeter’ people always say but it’s not overpowering. After two thirds I get more of a woody flavor with some pepper and the sweetness, which now reminds me of honey.

The smoke from this small cigar is medium thick, not as thick as I like and not as much as I like either so there go some points. The ash on the other hand is amazing, white and very dense. The burn is a little bit off but not enough to correct. The draw is great, but I always expect good draw from Oliva. This cigar is medium plus bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time of this enjoyable cigar is close to 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? They are nowhere to be found, its been over 6 years since they were released but I’m glad I bought all the boxes I could find.

Score: 91


Categories: 91, Nicaraguan cigars, Oliva, Tabacalera Oliva | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Punch Superfinos Regional Edition Italy

Browsing through my humidor I found this tiny 4.3×42 minutos from Punch that was the 2005 regional edition for Italy. Now I don’t know if this cigar is from the original 2005 release or from the re-release in 2006. All I know is that the Punch Superfinos is a cigar that had been discontinued but made a comeback as this limited released Italian regional edition.
The cigar is small and thin and has a reasonably dark, mild oily wrapper with lots of veins. The construction feels good and I smell a strong barnyard smell. The predraw is fine and tastes mild sweet.
I taste coffee, mild sweet but that sweetness disappears almost immediately. I still taste coffee but now with leather and earth. The sweetness makes a comeback though and after half an inch I taste wood with nuts, with a tiny bit of leather and sweetness.
Halfway I still taste the nut and wood mix, both mild sweet and the wood flavor is the main flavor. Near the end the sweetness disappears.
Even though this is a small cigar, it lasted me forty-five minutes. I got a decent amount of reasonably thick gray smoke. The ash is dark. The draw is great but I had to correct the burn a few times. This cigar is full flavored yet medium bodied.
Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them, I should give them another chance.

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, La Corona, Punch (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

Ramon Allones Estupendos RE Asia/Pacific

The Ramon Allones estupendo is the 2006 regional release for the Asia & Pacific region. The cigar is a Julieta #2, which means that it is a 7 inch long cigar with a 47 ring. They were released in 2006, 1500 boxes of which 260 50 count cabinets, the 1240 remaining boxes were dress boxes of 25. In 2007 they released another 1400 boxes of which 200 were 50 count cabs. I got this cigar as a gift from a friend during my 2009 US roadtrip.
The wrapper is light brown with lots of small veins. The cigar has a mild barnyard smell and the construction feels good. The predraw is fine and I taste dry hay.
I taste a smooth and sweet leather with some wood. After half an inch the flavors I taste are just the sweet and smooth leather. I like the flavor because it is so smooth. The flavors won’t change anymore in the first third of the cigar. The leather then gets a bit dry and stronger while the sweetness gets a little less. I also taste a bit of dark chocolate.
The leather and the chocolate are well balanced and mixed, I also taste some spicy herbs on the background and I get a dry feeling in the back of my throat. The cigar slowly gets stronger and I taste more herbs with the dark chocolate, the leather moves to the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste a nice mixture of herbs and leather which is mild sweet. Near the end the cigar gets spicy with leather, herbs and even some pepper.
This cigar lasted me for an hour and a half. The draw was great, but I had to correct the burn. The ash is ugly, medium gray and frayed, and it won’t stay on the cigar for long. This cigar has a nice build up, from mild bodied in the beginning to full bodied near the end, and all medium flavored.
Would I buy this cigar again? I might have to find a few more

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory, Ramon Alones (Habanos) | Tags: , ,

Bolivar Simones RE Canada

In 2007 Canada got their first Regional Release from Habanos SA with the Bolivar Simones, a 5×48 Hermosos #4. I was able to get my hands on a few due to some trades and a group buy.
The cigar has a pale brown wrapper with some spots and one vein. It is a Cuban cigar, so it’s triple capped. The construction feels good but the cigar doesn’t have a lot of aroma. I have to try hard to smell a bit of wood. The predraw is fine and leaves a soft, mild spicy, nut flavor on my palate.
I taste a mild bitter coffee flavor and some leather, but the coffee is clearly the dominant flavor. The feeling in my mouth is dry. After half an inch the bitterness disappears and a hazelnut flavor joins the party, but the nuts taste mildly burned.
After an inch and a half the flavors change to earthy tones, leather and a hint of the hazelnut. Halfway the leather becomes stronger and the dominant flavor, the earth favor becomes the support and the hazelnuts are just an aftertaste. At ⅔ the nuts become a bit stronger, but still a support for the leather and the aftertaste.
I got a lot of smoke during the 55 minutes this cigar lasted. The draw is good, just like the burn. The ash is quite dark. I would rate this cigar medium to full flavored and medium bodied.
Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few, won’t buy them again. They are nice, but there are better Bolivars out there

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , , ,

Bolivar Libertadores RE France

A friend gave me this Bolivar Libertadores, the 2006 French Regional Edition, a 6½ x 54 monster. He knows I want to smoke all Regional Editions and that I am a self proclaimed Bolivar whore and he did me a huge favor by giving me this cigar. Now collecting cigars is one thing, smoking them is another and as all cigars are mend to be smoked I decided to light my one and only Libtertadores.
The looks of this cigar aren’t up to Bolivar standards, the wrapper has a dirty brown color and the wrapper lacks oil and has a lot of veins. The cigar also lacks smell. The construction feels good and after punching the cigar I get a good predraw with a wood flavor.
I taste a nice full flavor of freshly toasted coffee beans. After a quarter of an inch I can also taste a citrus like sourness. The citrus disappears after an inch, the coffee is slightly sweet but the cigar becomes flat and less full flavored.
The coffee turns to wood, but not a very nice wood flavor. After ⅔ the flavor turns a bit musty. A few puffs later I taste a very dry chocolate flavor, it is so dry that cocoa powder is a better description. I purge the cigar and get a salty flavor with the wood and cocoa powder.

This 6½ inch cigar lasted me for about 90 minutes. The draw is good but the amount of smoke is poor. The burn is good and the firm ash is light colored, almost white. I got a huge flame while purging this medium flavored, full bodied cigar.
Would I buy this cigar again? No. I am a Bolivar fan but this Boli is disappointing

Appearance: 6 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 6 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: Bolivar (Habanos), Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory | Tags: , , ,

Ramon Allones Lusitano RE Portugal 2010

In 2008 the Vegas Robaina petit robusto became the first edicion regional for Portugal and two years later, in 2010, Habanos released the next Portugese edicion regional, the Ramon Allones lusitano. Again it is a short, relatively thick cigar. The Vegas Robaina was a 4×50, and this Ramon Allones is a 4.3×52 stogie, so I guess the Portugese aficionados like their cigars short and thick.
The wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban cigar and has some even darker stripes running over it. It makes the wrapper stand out. When punching the cigar I notice that the wrapper is quite thick too. The cigar has a mild barnyard aroma. The construction feels soft. The predraw is a bit on the loose side too and I taste spicy raisin.
I taste a mild spicy coffee flavor with earthy notes and some pepper in the aftertaste. The coffee disappears almost immediately. Far on the background I can also taste some chocolate and nuts. After half an inch I taste leather with the earty flavor and the chocolate and nuts.
After a third I taste more nuts and the cigar gets a bit spicy. Halfway the chocolate gains power. The nut, leather and earth flavors are background flavors now.
This small stick provided me pleasure for an hour and five minutes. I got a lot of smoke which was reasonably thick. The ash is dark and frayed but firm. I had to correct the burn a few times. The draw was good. This cigar is medium to full flavored and medium bodied.
Would I buy this cigar again? I really should

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory, Ramon Alones (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

Ramon Allones Grandes RE Spain 2008

Now some of you know that I would like to try all different Cuban regional editions and I have collected quite a few of them. An American friend, who studied in Madrid for a semester, used his spring break to travel Europe and I offered him and his friends a place to stay in Amsterdam for the few days that they were in town. As a thank you Ben brought me one of each Spanish regional edition, the 2007 Vegas Robaina Maestros, the 2008 Ramon Allones Grandes and the 2009 Punch Gran Robusto. I decided to light the Ramon Allones Grandes, there is something about the Ramon Allones brand that I like better than the other two brands.
This chocolate brown cigar measures 7.1 inch with a 49 ring and looks quite impressive with that length. The mild oily wrapper is a bit messy and has lots of veins, but the finish is flawless. This stogie has a recognizable Cuban barnyard smell and the construction feels good. The predraw is fine and I taste dry flavors of nuts and wood.
I taste a full leather flavor with some earth. I have said it before and I am going to say it again: these flavors are classic Cuban and these specific flavors you can’t fine in cigars from other countries. Leather and earth from other countries does taste different. I am not saying that Cubans are better than non Cubans or the other way around, I love both Cubans and Non Cubans. I am just saying that you can taste the difference. The aftertaste is a bit nutty. After an inch I also taste some chocolate on the background and the chocolate flavor is a bit creamy and sticky.
After ⅓ the nuts are getting a bit stronger and the flavor comes close to the strength of the leather and earth. The aftertaste is a mild chocolate. The nut flavor tastes a bit like hazelnuts. All flavors gain a bit strength and the nut flavor becomes the dominant one. The background is now leather, earth and chocolate. The chocolate gains power after ⅔ while the nuts and leather disappear. The nub also reveals some herbs and is quite spicy.
The smoke time of this Pacos is exactly two hours. This cigar gave me a good amount of thick smoke, a good draw, a good burn and some light colored firm ash. This cigar is full flavored yet medium bodied. The cigar burns clean, I did not get a flame when I purged.
Would I buy this cigar again? I suddenly have the urge to visit some old colleagues from the Barcelona office ;)

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Cuban cigars, Partagas Factory, Ramon Alones (Habanos) | Tags: , , ,

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