Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cigar Review: Por Larrañaga Secretos Edición Regional España (2013)

If you pay enough attention to Catfish and I on What Embargo?, you would see that the two of us agree on certain brands in the Habanos portfolio, but there are a handful out there that the two of us do not see eye to eye on. I would not necessarily say it has to do with the strength and body of those brands, more the flavors, but when we disagree on a brand, we disagree. Two of the biggest brands that the two of us do not see eye to eye on are Quai d'Orsay and Por Larrañaga. I can't stand Qd'O and Catfish can't stand PL, and because of that we do not delve to deep into the opposing brands. So, with that being said, today I take a look at a regional edition for Por Larrañaga, a brand I care for, and see why Catfish wanted me to smoke this cigar so much.

Planned for 2013 but released in 2014, the Por Larrañaga Secretos was the regional edition for Spain, the only Por Larrañaga release of the year, and one of 13 regional releases brought to market. 8,000 boxes were produced, 25 Habano in each box, and they came in numbered dress boxes. The size of the Habano was a petit corona measuring 110 mm (4.3") with a 40 ring gauge, and it was composed of Vuelta Abajo tobacco. Sporting a poor triple cap, the Secretos has a faded colored wrapper, and it is between Claro and Natural. There are a lot of veins present in terms of appearance, and the wrapper is fairly rough in texture showing the bumps from the veins. It is firm in hand though and has a sweet aroma at the foot, delivering some floral, tobacco, spice, honey, and graham cracker qualities. There are some honey, leather, and additional sweet notes present on the wrapper, but it is softer overall.

The first half opens up by showing some strong pepper notes, and it is paired by this lovely graham cracker and honey flavor profile. There are some cedar notes on top of that, and it has a nice sweetness with strong spice notes overall. There are some tobacco and leather notes on top of that as well, and it is a pronounced flavor profile. I would classify it as being medium to medium-full in terms of flavors being delivered, and the strength is right at a medium level. The construction with the Habano is solid and it is producing a nice burn line with that solid charcoal ash on the end. The ash is holding on firmly and there is a nice bit of smoke being produced with each draw. I would say that the draw is fairly smooth and cool, but it is a little hot form time to time. So far, a solid smoke and while I like the size and flavors being delivered, I would love to see this flavor profile in a larger format so the draw could be cooler overall.

I am in the second half of the Habano now and I find that the flavor profiles being delivered are fairly similar to that of the first half. It is delivering those sweet honey and graham cracker notes, and it has a nice spice flavor on top of that which is showing some cinnamon qualities. There are some toast, leather, and tobacco flavors on top of that, and it is a nice finish to the shorter smoke offering. The construction remains perfect in the second half of the cigar and it is producing a razor sharp burn line with that charcoal ash on the end. The ash is holding on firmly and there is a nice bit of smoke being produced with each draw. The strength of the Habano is at a solid medium level right now and the body is just slightly above, smoking at a medium-full level. Like the first half, the flavor profile being delivered is great and to my liking, but it is a flavor profile that I would prefer in a larger offering as I believe it would perform better.

I enjoyed the Secretos, and while I love the actual vitola offering and the Por Larrañaga brand, I would have preferred to have these flavors be delivered in a different vitola offering. Most of the regional edition offerings in the brand are larger offerings, both in length and ring gauge, so for them to release a petit corona in a brand that is already packed full of small ring gauge offerings seems repetitive. I just believe that this flavor profile would have been more successful in a Dalias or Petit Edmundo offering, and even if you kept it in 25 count boxes it would be successful. With that being said, the Habano delivered a solid flavor profile that was not overly complex, though enjoyable, and it seemed to be a Habano that showed more transitioning at the halfway mark than the third mark. The strength and body were at a nice level with the flavors and the construction was solid throughout as well. I am giving this Habano a young rating of 87-89, and I believe that with age it will get better, but given that these are petit coronas I would not go crazy over them.

Young Rating: 87-89
With Age Rating: 88-90