Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cigar Review: Ramón Allones Gigantes (2007)

Easily my favorite brand in the Habanos S.A.portfolio, Ramón Allones is one of those brands that needs very little introduction. I think every Habanos smokers knows the brand and has tried a vitola in the brand at least once in their lifetime, and it is a Local Brand that is known for being full in body and strength. It has always been a brand that has been made for the seasoned Habano smoker, and I believe that is why it is so loved by the passionate smoker. It has been growing in popularity over the years, and while there have been no additions in vitolas to the regular production smokes, the Regional Editions released under the brand have been growing to be almost at the same number of releases as the famous Bolívar brand. With three vitolas available regularly in the line, excluding LCDH exclusives, today we look at the largest of the three and my favorite, the Ramón Allones Gigantes.

The Gigantes is a vitola that has been in production since the late 1970's, and it has continued to do well since the day it was released. It is a new vitola, when you look at the fact that the brand was established in the early to mid 1800's, but it is the third oldest double corona in production. (worldwide) The Habano measures 194 mm (7.6") and has a 49 ring gauge. It is classified as a Prominentes in the factories, and that is their word for double corona. The tobacco used in the blend is specifically from Vuelta Abajo, and because the cigar is stronger in body and strength, they are using some stronger tobacco that is most likely from higher primings. This particular Gigantes is from 2007, so you can see the old bands on the Habano. It is wonderfully pressed though and still has some soft oils present on the wrapper. There are some noticeable veins throughout the double corona, but it has a lovely triple cap and a beautiful Colorado Maduro coloring. I am getting an aroma of rich earth, tobacco, cocoa, coffee beans and stone fruit off of the wrapper and foot, and the cold draw is perfect.

Lighting up the Gigantes, I am greeted by some terrific nutty, cocoa and earthy flavors. There are bits of coffee present as well, and it has a nice soft stone fruit flavor following that. There are very little spices to the cigar and no pepper flavors present whatsoever. In seven years the cigar has mellowed in some ways and become a much more sophisticated and complex cigar. It is a terrific cigar in terms of flavors and it is accompanied by some great body and strength. I would say that the body is at a medium to medium full level and the strength is right there as well. When I first smoked these years ago they were on the fuller side of the spectrum, but it has really turned into a Habano that I can smoke more often. The construction is great as well and it is producing a beautiful burn line with that nice dark charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool and easy and it is producing a nice bit of smoke.  

I am in the second third of the Habano now and it is showing some similar qualities to before, so there is little transitioning, but there is a boost in some of the flavors. I would say the earthy and cocoa notes are much more prominent, and the nutty notes of almonds have faded. The nutty notes are actually pairing with the coffee notes on the finish and it is showing some herbal, stone fruit and wood notes towards the end. It is a complex Habano that has incredible body and strength and I would love to see where this smoke goes in another seven years. It has already come a long way in seven, and the body is right at that medium level with a similar strength level. It is a smoke that is focused on flavors right now and with the great construction I could not be happier. I am getting a burn line that is nearly razor sharp and it has that solid charcoal flavor on the end. The draw is cool and effortless still, and this is one of the best double coronas I have had.  

The final third shows a lot of the same qualities that I was picking up in the first and the second and it is a smoke that deliver a core flavor profile that shows a variation in dominant flavors. I would not say there are major transitioning shits in terms of new flavors, but more shifts in which flavors are taking the lead. Coffee, stone fruit and cocoa are leading the charge in this third and it is then following by those nutty, earthy and herbal/mineral notes. It has a definite Habano finish and it is a smoke that I love for a reason. The construction remains flawless in the final third and it smokes cool towards the nub while producing a lovely burn line and ash. The draw is effortless, flavorful and cool at the end, and I put the Habano down after it has smoked at a medium to medium full level in the final third. This was truly an amazing double corona.

Habanos S.A. knows how to make a great double corona and it seems that they are the only ones who know how to blend for the size. They are able to keep their double coronas smoking cool but showing tons of flavors, depth and transitioning from beginning to end. The Ramón Allones Gigantes is no exception and is a terrific smoke. I believe they are very enjoyable when young, nice strength and body, but with age they tone down some and really show more of the great flavors that the Habano can offer. This particular Gigantes was seven years old that I reviewed and it showed perfect construction throughout. The flavors were simply amazing  and you could not ask for more in a Habano. I always tell people, do not rule this Habano out, and buy a box, but recognize they will need a couple years to smoke truly amazing. I have always found it interesting that the Habano does incredibly well by Cigar Aficionado when rated, but it never makes it into the Top 25. I always wondered what happens. I am giving this Habano a solid 89-91 rating when young, but with seven years this Habano smokes between a 94 and 96.

Young Rating: 89-91
With Age Rating: 94-96