Cigar Review – Rafael Gonzales 88 Regional Edition Asia Pacifico

Origin : CubaRafael Gonzalez
Format : Britanicas Extra
Size : 5 3/8 (137mm) x 48
Hand-Made
Price : $25.00 each
More info about purchasing Rafael Gonzalez cigars...

Cigar Rating

Draw : ★★★☆☆☆
Burn : ★★★★½☆
Flavour : ★★★½☆☆
Aroma : ★★★★☆☆
Strength : ★★★★☆☆

The Rafael Gonzales 88 is a "perfecto" shape cigar. Not completely straight (or Parejo in Spanish) not completely double figurados (both end pointed like the Cuaba Salamones).
As described in my review of the Pre-Release Gloria Cubana Exclusivo Gran Bretana (click here), this vitola is part of my top three favorite. First introduced in the Regional edition series in 2012 for the Bolivar Britanicas, UK edition. Then for the Ramon Allones Perfectos Swiss and now the first Rafael Gonzales for Asia Pacific.
The Rafael Gonzales 88, comes in boxes of 10 cigars. 8,888 numbered boxes have been produced.

Tasting

Just like all the regional edition (except the first one released) the Rafael Gonzales 88 wears a double band red and silver indicating its market.

I cut my cigar very shallow, as I lit it, it was slightly tight like my Gloria Cubana britanicas reviewed last month. However a great aroma came out of the smoke straight at the beginning.
The first taste feeling was very floral with dried fruits notes on the palate. As expected in rather young cigars, even though this one was part of the 2016 release but came out only in 2017, there is a slightly dry finish to the blend. Talking about the blend the latter is light just like a Rafael Gonzales should be. However due to the tightness of the cigar it is hard to fully appreciate the blend's potential as the amount of smoke is very low.

The end of the first part is very dry on the palate but a slight creaminess can be appreciated, this shows the blend potential. I like the toast aroma of the smoke. Even-though its density is too low.

The second part doesn't Start very well, sadly it’s very tight. On top of it the dry feeling from before remains very present and persistent.

The cigar burns funnily and goes off very quickly as there is not much air going through to keep it lit.

It is not my first Rafael Gonzales 88, I had one in the past that was just so lovely and was excited to review this one. You can feel the flavours are interesting but to shy to really give a serious opinion about it.
As soon as I 're-lit' the second part again a warm creaminess comes out very gooood :)

I finally decided to cut a bit more, really to the edge of where it would pill off. And, magic!!! All opened. High density of smoke, great expression, no more dry finish all of a sudden really round and fruity kind of finish.

Complete change of direction towards the end of the second third. Very strong. High woodiness and stone fruits. Mineral on the finish.

The draw is even too loose. But can’t complain after the struggle of the first part.
We always say cut it a bit more but sometimes we are shy to do so. We shouldn’t be. I would have ruined a great powerful cigar. Never thought a Rafael Gonzales could be that strong.

The end turn into almond notes. Very complex as the flavours profile keep on changing and it would be complicated for me to describe it in two words.

The Rafael Gonzales 88 offers a very long finish at the end. A by dry still but nice lingery flavours.

The finish is creamy but still with some bitterness and freshness the blend need some times to be more round and smooth.

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