San Cristobal de la Habana Harimau Malaya Exclusivo Malaysia. That is a mouth full. Earlier this year Pacific Cigar Company, the second-largest Habanos distributor in the world, released this cigar. It is the first regional edition for Malaysia ever. And only the fourth time that Pacific Cigar Company made a regional edition for one country in their territory instead of an Asian Pacifico regional. Only Taiwan and Hong Kong had that honor, Hong Kong twice. And it is also the first time that Pacific Cigar Company is using San Cristobal de la Habana as the brand for a regional edition.
The cigar itself is a format only used for one other cigar, the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill. The factory name is Montesco, with a 5⅛x55 size. Habanos and PCC have released 8888 boxes of 10 cigars. And while that may sound like a weird number, it is not. There is a large Chinese population in Malaysia and in Chinese culture 8 is a number that stands for prosperity and wealth. Plus the cigars are also available in Hong Kong, where Pacific Cigars has its headquarters and a few lounges.
The wrapper looks good, quite dark for a Cuban cigar with a thin vein. The triple cap is placed perfectly. The cigar has the brown, yellow, and gold San Cristobal de La Habana band with the classic red, white, and silver exclusivo band. As we understand that Habanos likes uniformity in the exclusivo bands we get that they all have the same design. But often they don’t match with the regular ring, as is the case with this cigar. The construction feels good. For the last few years, Cuba has been improving the construction quality and it pays off. The cigar has a mild, yet deep aroma of manure and barnyard. There is no ammonia smell, which was kind of expected since it’s a young cigar.
The cold draw is fine and quite spicy. The first puffs are typical Cuban, old school. Soil, leather, and coffee. Then a strong wood shows up, not cedar but a stronger wood flavor. There is also a hint of citrus. Then there are spices, gingerbread spices, with cedar, soil, and leather. The leather and earthiness remain. But some salt, pepper, and nuts show up too. All quite nuanced and refined for a young cigar. There is no harshness at all. The second third has more power and strength. More pepper, with wood, nuts, and leather. The cigar gets more of a bite. One or two years of aging would improve this part of the cigar. The retrohale brings dark spices to the front. The final third has a nice mixture of spices, with nuts, soil, and leather. All in balance. The aftertaste has some pepper. Towards the end, pepper picks up a lot.
The draw is fine, but as said before, it’s been a focus of Cubatabaco for the last few years. Draw issues are less common than a few years ago. There are some burn issues though. The ash is dark but firm. It leaves a nice cone. The smoke is okay but could have been a bit thicker. The cigar is young and will improve with some aging. But this isn’t a cigar to age for more than 5 to 7 years is our expectation. The smoke time is two hours and thirty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? Not for the insane price they are asking