Vegas Robaina XV Aniversario Pre-Release (Canada RE)

Vegas Robaina XV Aniversario Pre-Release (Canada RE)

Origin : CubaVegas Robaina
Format : Sublime
Size : 6.5 (164 mm) x 54
Release : 2012
Hand-Made
Price : ~$50 each
More info about purchasing Vegas Robaina cigars...

Back in November I attended the famous Partagas festival in Havana, Cuba along with the Toronto contingent. This was my first time going and I must say I am now hooked. After a few days of hunting in every cigar store in town, I was invited by the good people at the Montreal branch of the Casa Del Habanos to a pre-launch tasting of this year’s Edicion Regional Canada, the Vegas Robaina Aniversario XV Exclusivo Canada. Vegas Robaina is not a marca I particularly appreciate but I am more than ready to have my mind changed.

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Cohiba Behike BHK 52

Cohiba Behike BHK 52

Origin : Cuba
Format : Petit RobustoCohiba
Size : 119 (4.7'') x 20.64 mm
Ring : 52
Hand-Made
Price : In Cuba $18.50 (Other Parts of the World, $30.00 -$45.00)
More info about purchasing Cohiba cigars...

In 2010, Cohiba officially unveiled perhaps one of its more exclusive cigars ever. The cigar received extensive reviews at the time of release ranging from over-priced to the best cigar the reviewer had ever tasted. I understand that whenever a cigar is priced in the highest end of the price range for a particular product, there will often be resentment associated with that. However, the fact they are priced in the “exclusive” end is perhaps why they are consistently sold out even two years after their release. Although we can still call this cigar new to the scene, it really isn’t all that new to the aficionado anymore because anyone with a passion for Cuban cigars knows very well about the story behind these cigars and their desire among smokers and collectors alike. One of the best cigars to come out of Cuba in a long time is also one of the most, if not THE most expensive to come off the Island and as a result, people will have varying opinions, often wrongly, because of that price tag.

What makes the Behike so special is that unlike many other Cubans, this cigar, for all intent and purpose really needs no aging in large part due to the fact that the cigar is essentially constructed with aged tobacco. For example, the filler is made up of tobacco known as medio tiempo which is a sun-grown leaf that grows at the top of tobacco plants. Not all tobacco plants produce this leaf though but it is known to be full-bodied and loaded with coffee-like flavors with a very creamy texture to the smoke. Essentially, this leaf has elements of tobacco leaf that has already been aged and, even with young medio tiempo, one can detect the same creamy, earthy and coffee-like flavors of a well-aged cigar. The BHK comes in 52, 54 and 56 which corresponds to their respective ring gauges and, once stabilized for humidity, can be smoked “out of the box”.

I’ve been lucky enough to obtain 2 boxes both from Cuba and at Cuban pricing. The first one, bearing a box date of October 2011, was brought back for me in early December of 2011 from a vacationing friend. At 180 Cuban Pesos per cigar, the 10-count box worked out to 18.00 Cuban Pesos per stick. With an exchange rate to the Canadian dollar being almost equal, we can fairly say that these cigars were roughly $18.00 each. The second box was purchased for me in June of 2012 and they carried a box date of May 2012. Again, I placed the order through a vacationing friend and that second box cost me 183.00 Cuban Convertible Pesos or roughly $185.00 Canadian dollars for a 10 count box ($18.50 each cigar).

These cigars sell out fast wherever they are, indicating that the price is not keeping people from indulging in the pleasure. I’ll comment some more about this later. First, however, let’s talk about these cigars of which I have 1 box left, having smoked the last one out of my first box just a few weeks ago.

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Por Larranaga Montecarlo

Por Larranaga Montecarlo

Origin : CubaPor Larranaga
Format : Slim Panetela (Delicioso)
Size : 6.3 x 33
Hand-Made
Price : ~$125 for a box of 25
More info about purchasing Por Larranaga cigars...

I got this cigar in a trade on r/cigars and, to be honest, wasn't expecting much out of it. Not my favorite brand, not my favorite format (although Montecristo Especial No. 1, a slightly thicker panatela, is a fine smoke!). These cigars used to be machine-made back in the days, but now proudly bear the hand-made tag. Besides, they are rather cheap... Let's see how the Por Larranaga Montecarlo fared?

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H. Upmann No. 2

H. Upmann No. 2

Origin : CubaH. Upmann
Format : Piramide
Size : 156 x 20.64 mm
Ring : 52
Weight : 14.26 g
Hand-Made
Price : ~$6.60 Cuban pesos
More info about purchasing H. Upmann cigars...

With winter almost upon us here in Canada, cigar season is starting to come to a close, if not already. I still use milder days to get out there and enjoy a cigar but surely my daily routine that I have during the warmer months is at an end. The quantity of reviews may decrease over the next few months but I still have some reviewed cigars that should follow with fully written reviews for you that I hope will give you some suggestions for stocking up your humidors for next year’s smoking season. That’s what I do during these colder months.

For this review I chose to write about a cigar I am very familiar with, the H. Upmann No. 2. This cigar is one of my personal favorites in this vitola (for flavour) and putting aside all construction issues that I will discuss later, the flavour of this cigar is what keeps me coming back IF the price is right. This particular cigar that I smoked for this review was from a 2010 box purchased in Cuba. A box of 25 cost me I believe $160 Cuban Pesos or just over $6 Cuban Pesos per cigar in early 2010. They retail in Canada at some of the online duty free vendors for approximately $17.00 per cigar and if you are forced to pay full retail you can expect to pay over $24.00 per cigar (thanks in large part to the crazy Canadian tobacco taxes).

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La Escepcion Selectos Finos (Regional Edition Italy)

La Escepcion Selectos Finos (Regional Edition Italy)

Origin : CubaLa Escepcion
Format : Panetela
Size : 6.5 (166 mm) x 38
Released : 2011
Hand-Made
Price : $15+ each
More info about purchasing La Escepcion cigars...

This cigar was sent to me by another generous Redditor from Canada so I could review it.

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Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva

Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva

Origin : Cuba
Factory : El LaguitoCohiba
Format : Canonazo
Size : 150 (5.9'') x 20.64 mm
Ring : 52
Hand-Made
Price : $100+ each
More info about purchasing Cohiba cigars...

With only 5,000 boxes made, harvested from the best tobacco of the 2003 crop, the Gran Reserva signifies the best possible product from Cuba. Here's more about this special smoke: Habanos Press release. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to smoke a cigar of this magnitude, even at nearly a dollar per millimeter of tobacco.

As I take it out of my trunk humidor, I can't help but notice how unassuming it is. The wrapper looks like any other Habano, light brown and thin with very little visible veins - just a little more red in color. I expected it to be heftier than it is: most Cohibas are packed very tightly, but not this one. Upon clipping it, I notice the pre-light draw is very easy - different from most Sig VI's.

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Romeo y Julieta Petit Piramides 2005 Limited Edition

Romeo y Julieta Belicoso 2005 Limited Edition

Origin : CubaRomeo y Julieta
Format : Petit Piramide
Size : 127 x 19.84 mm (5 x 50)
Release : 2005
Hand-Made
Price : ~$15 each (if you can locate them)
More info about purchasing Romeo y Julieta cigars...

I spotted this beautiful stick at Casa Fuster in Barcelona and, of course, I just had to pick up a sampler of these classic smokes. Even though I'm not a fan of the Romeo y Julieta brand, I had high expectations for this petit torpedo, mostly because of its age. 7 years (at least, because limited edition leaves are supposed to be aged prior to the release) seemed sufficient to me for the cigar to start shining, so I didn't wait long before firing one up. In fact, I was so impatient that I torched it 20 minutes after the purchase in a café nearby.

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Vegas Robaina Petit Robaina (Canada Regional Edition)

Vegas Robaina Petit Robaina

Origin : CubaVegas Robaina
Format : Petit Edmundo
Size : 110 x 21 mm (4.3 x 52)
Release : 2009
Hand-Made
Price : ~$15 each
More info about purchasing Vegas Robaina cigars...

I have always been a fan of the Vegas Robaina line of cigars. I remember years ago falling in love with the Famosos and buying enough to consider it my daily cigar. Of course, times have changed and although I still smoke the Famosos, they aren’t my daily go to cigar anymore but I always keep a few in my well-stocked humidor when I want a reliable, medium-bodied cigar with a pleasing, consistent flavour.

When it was announced in 2009 that Habanos SA was releasing a special Canadian Regional Edition, the Petit Robaina, I had to have a box. I managed to purchase a box in early 2010 for the cost of $230.00 here at a duty free supplier in Canada. That worked out to be $9.20 per cigar. Today, the cigars, if still found, are selling for $366 for a box of 25 from the same duty free supplier ($14.00 for singles). I have searched for these and have found them to be selling for as high as $27.00 per cigar. Remember, these are limited edition cigars with a small production run exclusively for Canadian Habanos S.A. vendors.

I remember smoking one as soon as I got it and it was admittedly young and still had some ammonia present so I did the difficult thing to do and that was put the box away in my humidor and wait. Recently, with these cigars having aged over 3 years, it was time to break them open and start smoking them. I’ve had 7 of them now over the past 2 months so I have been able to gain a pretty good feel for their profile and have made many notes about their construction and consistency.

Read the full review of Vegas Robaina Petit Robaina (Canada Regional Edition)...

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