Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cigar Review: Ramón Allones Specially Selected (2007)

The Ramón Allones brand is an interesting brand for Habanos S.A. It is a brand that has only three regular production smoke, but it is a brand that is packed full of regional editions. It is a brand that everyone wants, but not a brand that Habanos will make more available. While that is slightly irritating, I give Habanos props as it keeps smokers wanting to smoke the brand and keeping it in demand. It has seen some great sticks over the years, some discontinued now, but it is a brand that has continued to move along since the early 1800's. Today I look at one of the three remaining smokes in regular production, and it is also the newest offering for Ramón Allones. That smoke is the Specially Selected, a robusto, and it has been in production and demand since 1980.

The Specially Selected is probably the most well known and most smoked Habanos in the brand, and is a robusto in measurements. The Habano measures 124 mm (4.9"), and has a ring gauge of 50. The Habano is composed of Vuelta Abajo tobacco and is made at the El Rey del Mundo Factory. The Habano gives off a rich aroma and this may be old, but it still has the juice. I am detecting notes of leather, spices, wood and hay on the wrapper, and it is giving off similar and sweet qualities as well on the foot. You can still see the press on the smoke from when they were put in the box and pressed down, and it has some noticeable veins present on the wrapper as well. It has a coloring that is of a dark Natural and light Colorado, and while the cap is not the best, you really don't see the triple cap in one section, it does have one and the problem lies with the top cap applied that is quite large.

The first third begins by showing some classic flavors and it has a nice herbal quality to it with some notes of Asian spices and sweetness. There is a nutty flavor profile present as well, and it is accompanied by some sweet leather flavors. There are hints of earth present on the finish and this is a very enjoyable and complex flavor profile. I would say it has mellowed in the years since I first got this box, and it has aged wonderfully showing lots of improvement. The construction is top notch on the cigar and it has a razor sharp burn line that is practically dead on with the cigar. It has a charcoal ash with some brown coloring present on the foot, and it is holding on to the Habano firmly. The draw is cool and showing a nice bit of smoke, and I would say that the Habano is smoking at a body level around medium and a strength level there as well. When younger there is a little bit more present, but right now it is closer to the medium side of things.

I am in the second third of the Habano now and some coffee flavors are really beginning to emerge. It is pairing with those herbal and nutty notes as well making for an interesting flavor profile. There are some Asian spice notes present as well and it has a touch of sweetness and earthiness present with that. There is a finish of leather and tobacco, and this is a smooth and flavorful Habano that is balanced and complex. As I said earlier, it has softened a lot over the years and it has really become a friendly smoke to a lot of smokers. I would classify the strength at a medium level and the body is right there as well. I would light this up in the morning or afternoon now, but years ago it was an afternoon and evening smoke. The construction remains top notch with the smoke and it is showing an even burn line with a soft charcoal ash along with that. The draw is cool and the finish is smooth and tasty.

The final third shows some similar qualities to that of the second third and it is producing a flavor profile that has a variety of characteristics. I am getting some coffee and earth notes at points, and at other points some herbal and woody qualities. It has a nutty characteristic as well, and of course the sweet Asian spice, leather and tobacco flavors. There is a reason I love this brand, and the reason is in the flavors the Habano delivers. The construction remains top notch with the Habano and it shows an even burn line with a nice charcoal ash all the way to the end. The draw is cool and smooth, and it delivers flavors all the way to the pressed nub. The finishing body level is that of medium, similar to how it was throughout, and the strength is there as well. In seven years, this Habano has really come together and matured wonderfully.

Whether the Habano is young or old, I love the Ramón Allones Specially Selected. It is a terrific robusto and one of the best on the market. After the Royal Coronas, it my favorite, and it is part of a terrific brand that ages well and produces great flavors young and old. The Specially Selected is fairly well known when speaking to an experience Habanos smoker, and what makes it even better is the pricetag. The Habano has always shown great construction and terrific flavors, and that is why it is one of my everyday robustos. If there is one brand that can relate to some non-Cubans, it is this brand. I think it is cleaner and more elegant than some of those, but this is a bran that is bold when speaking of the Habanos portfolio. Overall, this Habano has done wonders in seven years and that is why I am giving it a rating between 93 and 95 points. When young, the Habano can get between 92 and 94, but with age it can get even better. I can safely say that in three more years, this smoke can be in the high 90's.

Young Rating: 92-94
With Age Rating: 93-95