Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cigar Review: Ramón Allones Gran Robusto Edición Regional Benelux (2008)

Very rare has a regional release been re-released for a second year, but those that have are truly successes and great releases that are worthy of box purchases. One of these regional releases that was released in back to back years is the Ramón Allones Gran Robusto Edición Regional Benelux. Originally released in 2007, the regional was so successful that it came back in greater numbers in 2008. I never had the opportunity to smoke the 2007 release, but when in Belgium last year, I was able to pick up some remaining 2008 releases and today I finally get around to reviewing it.

Habanos: Ramón Allones Gran Robusto Edición Regional Benelux (2008)
Country of Origin: Cuba
Wrapper: Cuba
Binder: Cuba
Filler: Cuba
Length: 155 mm (6.1")
Ring Gauge: 50
Vitola: Dobles/Robusto Extra
Production: 204 slide lid numbered boxes of 50 & 600 numbered dress boxes in 2007. (25,200 Habanos) 1,400 numbered dress boxes of 25 & 600 numbered slide lid boxes of 50 in 2008. (65,000 Habanos)

There is nothing beautiful about the wrapper on this Habanos, but like many things you can't judge a Habanos or cigar by the wrapper. Finished with a solid triple cap, the wrapper is marbled brown in coloring and sports some medium to large sized veins throughout. The veins are noticeable to touch and added darker coloring to the faded Colorado color wrapper. The Habanos is firm throughout and the wrapper has faint aromas of salted wood, tobacco and hay. The foot is showing some similar qualities with some fruit bread and very soft spice qualities.

The first third opens up with an array of flavors. There are some salted wood flavors that were present in the cold draw and they are paired with sweet Asian spice qualities, soft red pepper and licorice. I am picking up bit of earth, leather and tobacco as well, and it has a finish of sweet fruit bread flavors. It is very complex and incredibly balanced. Eight years have done wonders to this Habanos and I would love to know where this Habanos will be in five years and how it was when it was first released. This is a medium-full offering in terms of flavors, body and strength, and always balanced. The construction was solid as well and I was getting an even burn line with a solid ash on the end that had a nice charcoal coloring to it. The draw was perfect and it produced a great amount of smoke.

I am in the second third now and the Habanos continues to keep those amazing flavors and complexity. I am getting lovely salted wood notes that are paired with red pepper and Asian spice notes. There are those touches of licorice and I am getting earthy qualities with strong tobacco and leather flavors. The fruit bread qualities have faded, so some sweetness is gone but it is replaced with a dark and stronger profile. The Habanos is still very complex and easily medium-full for flavors, strength and body. The construction is top notch in this second third as well and I am getting a cool draw with a nice bit of smoke production. The burn line is still even and on the end is a firm charcoal ash that is holding on well.

I am in the final third and there has been a nice transition of flavors. It is not as strong now as it was in the second third, but showing a return of the first. I am picking up some wood, earth and tobacco notes, and it is paired with cereal qualities and this sour fruit flavor. There is very little spice, pepper or licorice, and it has an herbal and hay like finale. It remains complex and balanced, and the finish is smooth and easy, making me want another. I would classify the strength, flavors and body as being just below medium-full, closer to medium actually, and with that is a nice burn line and a charcoal ash that is firm on the end. The draw is also cool to the end and producing a nice amount of smoke that is not too much but the perfect amount.

The Ramón Allones Gran Robusto is an example of why Habanos are light years ahead of non-Cuban offerings when they are dead on. The Habanos was incredibly complex in terms of flavors and it showed depth and transitioning throughout. The body and strength always paired well with the flavors and it was completely balanced. This is one of those rare cases where a regional release was something truly special and great, and I tend to find that is the case more often with this brand than any other brand. The Gran Robusto was simply special and was a simple but awesome vitola offering for a regional release and this brand. The regional program is setup so that if there is a lot of success with the first year batch of release, they can re-release it the following year and this was one of those cases where it was re-released. Production was actually increased in the second year, and a part of me wonders if Habanos S.A. ever thought of adding this to the brand's portfolio. The Ramón Allones Gran Robusto is something truly special and while I reviewed the second year release, I imagine it was as good as the first year's release. Eight years have been great to this smoke and I am curious to see where the Habanos is in four years, as I think it will still have lots going for it. I am giving this smoke a rating between 97 and 99. Simply a stunning Habanos

Young Rating: Inconclusive
With Age Rating: 97-99