Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Ramon Allones Specially Selected

Ramon AllonesOrigin : Cuba
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm (4 7/8 x 50)
Ring : 50
Weight : 11.66 g
Price : $230 for a box of 25

I bought of box of Ramon Allones Specially Selected back in July 2010 on the advice of a friend. I smoked a few when they were very young and gifted a couple others. I set aside 15 for the sole purpose of aging them. They were fantastic when I bought them so I was really looking forward to tasting them after two years in my humidor. Robustos are generally my preferred vitola so I was eager to have a go. Short and sweet, before I get into the review let me tell you that I was absolutely floored with this cigar and I will not hesitate in buying more.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★☆
The cigar looks rustic. The 50 ring gauge is my preferred size and the 4.8 inch length allows for a very rewarding 60-70 minute experience. Mine were very mildly box pressed but felt exceptionally balanced in the hand. I did not find these to be as heavily pressed as some of the prior reviews I read implied. Then again, mine were purchased in Cuba the month after they were boxed and they went straight from box to humidor. At first glance it did appear that the wrapper would unravel during smoking but contrary to the appearance and initial impressions, it held together just fine. The Colorado shade wrapper had a few tiny green water stains close to the cap. The band is a simple one but sometimes simplicity is elegance at its best. I don’t select cigars because their bands are elaborate and neither should you. A few veins were visible but not enough to detract from the beautiful sheen of the wrapper. The cigar I smoked aged well with tiny specs of plume starting to appear. I gave it 4 out of 5 only because of the water stains and the anxiety over whether the slightly uneven press would cause the cigar to unravel. The cap was less than perfect but I did not experience any cracking after snipping it off with my double guillotine.

Construction : Rating: ★★★★★
As I said, the wrapper looked like it was sure to unravel but it stayed together perfectly during the entire duration of the smoke. The draw was absolutely perfect and getting a ton of smoke was effortless. The burn was even and it burned at a very comfortable rate, remaining consistent and never requiring any touchup or re-lighting. The cigar was nicely rolled with no soft spots.

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★★
What can I say? … This 2 year old sample was absolutely amazing. The pre-light aroma had some cedar tones and sweet tobacco scents. The pre-light draw was sweet, easy and mouth watering. I just knew it was going to be a good smoke and I couldn’t wait to toast the foot and dive right into it.

The cigar started with some cedar tones with a cracked pepper finish. Right off the bat the flavours were full bodied. I did not need to wait to get bold flavours from this cigar. The peppery “hit” that I received on ignition didn’t last long at all and it quickly gave way to hints of black cherry and honey sweetened coffee with some mild nutty undertones that made their appearance after approximately 1 cm. The cigar remained sweet with small hints of salt on the lips for the first third. The best way to describe the sweetness of this cigar would be “creamy sweet” often tasting like a very rich and creamy cappuccino sweetened with a touch of honey.

I cannot get over the amount of velvety smoke put out by this cigar. The Smoke was very thick and given I likened the tobacco taste to that of a sweet cappuccino, perhaps then the best way to describe the smoke would be like smoking the froth from that aforementioned cappuccino.

Both the smoke and more importantly the cigar remained cool, never heating up despite the fact that I smoked this cigar a bit quicker than I normally do. I had a few unflattering cigars in the days leading up to this one which is why perhaps I felt so rewarded with this one. I felt that the flavours, while extremely pleasing and noticeable with each and every draw, didn’t last long though and perhaps that short finish contributed to me taking more frequent puffs than I normally would. In any event, I can’t remember having a Cuban cigar recently that yielded so much smoke, and tasty creamy smoke at that.

I did come across a very mild and short lived bitterness near the midpoint of the cigar (perhaps because of the aforementioned rate at which I was smoking it) but this did not last long. The hint of bitter black coffee experienced at the halfway point quickly gave way again to sweet coffee, honey and black cherry flavours with the occasional nutty and very subtle pepper undertones. I did get hints of salt throughout the smoke but the sweetness of the cigar in general balanced those flavours beautifully.

The final third was absolutely mouth watering. By then the flavours were blended perfectly. I got so fascinated by the re-emergence of the strong sweetness that I forced the cigar a tad much and was punished with a hot and bitter final draw. (Not the cigar’s fault but my own) In my view this cigar should be smoked until you reach just beyond the band (after removing it of course) and should not be forced to the nub no matter how much you are enjoying it or it will bite you with heat and bitterness and let’s face it, we all hate having an extremely pleasurable cigar experience ruined because we forced the smoke for too long. Lay it to rest once you get beyond the band and savour the experience you just had. The finish does get a bit longer near the end of the cigar.

Ramon Allones Specially Selected didn’t overpower me with heavy nicotine and in that regard it was medium strength. Mind you, I did enjoy it on a full stomach after a hearty steak dinner. It is certainly full-bodied in flavour and aroma. It is a Robusto after all so I still recommend it be smoked after dinner or with something in your stomach. Don’t be fooled by the chocolaty goodness of the cigar. This cigar can creep up on you near the end.

If there is one thing that I still cannot get over after smoking this cigar, it is the sheer volume of smoke it exhaled.

Value : Rating: ★★★★★
I travel to Cuba often enough (or have friends that do) where I can re-stock as needed. I have a variety of humidors so I can handle a fair bit of inventory. Not everyone is so fortunate. Current Island prices are $4.95 (Cuban Pesos) per stick or $123.75 for a box of 25. This is slightly less than the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill and the Vegas Robaina Famosos (one of my favourites as well). It’s cheaper than the Partagas Series D No 4 and the Montecristo Petit Edmundo, some of my favourite robustos. I’ve seen them retail from $13.00 (CAD) to as much as $21.00 in local Cigar shops here in Canada (we have some of the highest tobacco taxes here in Canada). I would not hesitate to pay $10-$13 per stick for these very enjoyable cigars. If you travel to Cuba or have friends that do, pick up a box. For my money it is a better smoke than the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill and is cheaper. In fact, you are getting a very comparible smoke to many of the aforementiojned cigars for less money. It is not as common as the aforementioned cigars but then again, we smoke for enjoyment of the leaf and not to be pretentious in showing off our bands. This cigar is worth every penny. This cigar is perhaps more flavourful than some of favourite Robustos and knowing I can pick it up for less money makes it that more enjoyable.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★★
I am so glad that I have found another very enjoyable Cuban robusto that won’t bust the wallet. Although this cigar is slowly rising in popularity as more people look for different flavour profiles, it hasn’t become too popular yet to affect prices. Perhaps because Ramon Allones only make 4 Vitolas at the moment is why so much attention was paid to the blend which in view was perfect. This cigar deserves a spot in any humidor. Give them a couple years though for a truly rewarding experience. Tip: If any time you find yourself with guests who haven’t smoked many cigars before, handing them one of these would be a wise choice as the flavours are very discernable and pleasing and the cigar won’t knock them off their feet. They will quickly understand why we have such a love for the leaf.