Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cigar Review: Vegas Robaina Unicos

In 1997, Habanos S.A. announced that they would be releasing a new Habano and that this Habano would be honoring a tobacco legend and more importantly, his family. You see, since 1845, this man's family had been growing tobacco in the fields of San Juan in Pinar del Rio, and even after the Revolution, the government recognized how great the tobacco was that came from this families farm, that they decided to leave it under the control/maintenance of the family. To this day the farm is run by a family member and I see that tradition continuing on for many more years. Tourist flock to the farm to see the fields and meet the new farm head, but when this Habano was first released, they came to see the man who was a tobacco growing legend. The man was Alejandro Robaina, and the brand made in his and families honor was Vegas Robaina.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cigar Review: Ramon Allones Edición Regional Gran Bretaña Petite Belicosos

            Ramon Allones is a brand I have little experience with, and I hate to say that really, because I adore the RASS and it has always been one of my favorite robustos.  I had a box of TEB AUG08 that was legendary, and I wish I never gave them out to my buddies they were so good.  There is something about the Ramon Allones profile that hits the palate with a wonderful honey note that drives me crazy.  I happened to receive this Gran Bretaña Exclusivo from Perkinke as a gift on the forums, and man I was excited when I saw it.  Knowing it was a newer regional release, I did want to wait a bit to fire it up, but I could wait no longer.  The size is a petite belicosos, which is a bit shorter then a normal belicosos at 4.9in, but still has the 52 ring gauge.  The release came in boxes of 10 in 2012, with 5,000 total being made. 

Dry Draw: That Ramon Allones honey all day baby!

First Third: Sheeeeeeeeeeeeee’s as sweet as, tupelo hoooonaaay!  Yup, honey all day baby, right off the bat, smashed my palate with that signature Ramon Allones goodness I love.  I got some super floral notes as well, the honey bees were spreading the pollen around on this one.  Citrus peel arrived at times, and the floral moved to the nose.  Amazing first third; however, the draw was a bit tough and took an extra cut.  That did not stop me from chugging away, but I would have used a poker if I had one.  At times it the Gran Bretaña seemed candy like on the palate, making for an exquisite first third.

Second Third: The Gran Bretaña began to mellow a bit, with light cream touching the tongue, and the floral notes tickling the nostrils.  The blending reminded me of a modern switch really, as most Non-Cuban start out strong, then pull back in the middle. The candied appeal was still there as well. The sugar sweetness seemed to creep precisely down the middle of my tongue, morphing into a light custard as I entered the final third.  A return of the clove notes signaled another shift.

Final Third: Sugar kept growing, but with the clove it just had this cool ethnic food appeal. I just recently ate at this Punjabi restaurant that was divine, and had the most odd tasting food, different than other Indian places I had been.  This was a similar type experience in that regard, not that it tastes like Indian food, just unique.  The candied sugar continued to paint the tongue, and the floral hit the nose again, making for a wonderful ending.

Construction: Draw sucked for the first third, and it needed a poker really, but it just meant I had to draw 3-4 times, as opposed to 1-2.  It did not tar though, and eventually opened up.

Final Thoughts: This was a damn good representation of what Ramon Allones should taste like to me.  It reminded me of my TEB08 RASS box really.  I am not sure of the price point, but for being somewhat fresh it had the flavors of an aged RASS while being very fresh.  I am looking forward to searching for a few more of these, as I loved the size as well.  I was a little bummed about the draw issue, but it did not stop me from enjoying the hell out of that cigar, and that’s what matters most.  Big shoutout to Perkinke for throwing this down, I will hit up the LCDH Ramon Allones next brother. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cigar Review: Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de San Juan

It has been six years since Habanos S.A. released a new regular production Hoyo de Monterrey, and the release of this smoke could not have been more perfect. While the world is looking for larger ring gauge offerings, I believe the days of looking for super strong smokes is over and there is a return to a flavor focused offering. The big ring gauge craze is still present, but at least we are getting somewhere with simply making a flavorful cigar or Habano. Habanos has slowly been introducing large ring gauge offerings in their bigger and more well known brands, and this year at the Habanos Festival they revealed the new large offering. The offering was tittle Le Hoyo de San Juan, and was the newest addition to the Hoyo de Monterrey brand. It is an offering that is meant to pay tribute to the old brand, but do it in a manner that is modern/new, but also traditional. The Habano is just now making its way into stores across the globe, and today I take a look at this new release and see how it smokes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Habanos S.A. News: Cohiba Brand Gets New Bands

On Thursday, October 16th, 2014, Habanos S.A. announced that the two core lines in the Cohiba brand would be getting a packaging upgrade. Habanos announced that the Línea Clásica and Línea 1492 lines would begin to have the new Cohiba bands applied to all vitolas, and that the transitioning would begin right away. The new band being applied is the same band that is used on the Piramides Extra, and this is a combined version of the Behike and most recent Cohiba band in my opinion. This band was introduced in 2012 when the Piramides Extra was released to the market.

The new band features the hologram technology present on the Piramides Extra and Behike bands, and will help in the prevention of counterfeiting. As Habanos has stated themselves, the new ring that incorporates this new authenticable hologram design, as well as other measures of increased security, allows for better traceability of each Habano brand. I imagine this transition will happen quickly, so do not be surprised if you see some new Siglo VI', Robustos and Esplendidos arrive with this band.

On a personal note, I think this transitioning is a great one and will do a lot for the Cohiba brand. It will definitely help in working against counterfeits, and the new bands in all reality make it easier to spot the difference between a genuine and fake Cohiba. Along with better security, it is safe to say that the new bands are flashier and better for Cohiba. Habanos has stated this is only for these two lines, but I would not be surprised if you see a new Maduro 5 band down the road.

photos from Habanos S.A.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Cigar Review: Hector Luis Prieto Robusto Extra Farm Roll

If you have not heard of Hector Luis Prieto, you will soon. A quick search will find articles in Cigar Aficionado of one of the upcoming superstar farmers in Cuba. So much so, that he warrants a show on What Embargo as well. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of his farm rolls at my friendly neighborhood LCDH, and was interested to see if his farmies lived up to his reputation. Prieto is known for innovative farming and curing techniques, employing new technology, and old secrets of the Cuban tobacco tradition. I had heard he grows criollo for wrapper, and his roller Miguel has been trained at the factories as well. The wrapper itself is beautiful, and the foot is semi-closed, draped in the wrapper.