We are glad to welcome Kaleehb, our new reviewer, to the CigarInspector.com community!
Released in 2010, the Le Matin is the first size in the Epernay line to be box pressed and offered in boxes of 25. After seeing the discontinued M-7 boxes lying about the factory floor, Dion Giolito decided to put them to use in making a cigar with balance and elegance. By perfectly blending Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo tobaccos and topping it with a Rosado wrapper Dion was able to create this newest member of the Epernay portfolio.
If I am not mistaken, the La Casa Del Habanos exclusive releases were started in 2004 and this is the 6th one of the series. There were originally 5,000 unnumbered boxes produced but I am sure they rolled another batch of these as they are quite popular. I am a big fan of the Ramon Allones marca and of the grand corona vitola. It was only right for me to do a review of this cigar.
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.
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.
We are back with another exclusive to one of the best cigar shops/lounges around… The Cigar Inn. The cigar line that we are reviewing is the O.S.O.K. (One Shot One Kill) 212 NYC Limited Exclusive. And we have made yet another addition to our fine group of reviewers. Now joining my Father Nick Sr., Neal and myself (Nick Jr.) will be Ricky in his very first official review with us. Now a little O.S.O.K. history…
The O.S.O.K. 212 NYC is an addition (though a limited exclusive) to the original O.S.O.K line. The O.S.O.K. line is a spin-off/addition to the Room 101 line (a joint venture between Camacho Cigars and Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars). The Room 101 brand is owned by Camacho Cigars which in turn is now owned by The Oettinger Davidoff Group (Zino Davidoff Cigars). Got all that? But this is all about the O.S.O.K. 212 NYC. Only 3,000 cigars in 10 count boxes are being produced across the 4 vitola line which shows just how limited this stick is! The 212 series, (212 is the area code in Manhattan. A tribute to New York City.), consists of two diademas (commonly referred to as salomons) and two parejos (standard vitola shape).
The Cigar Inn has been working very hard to provide only the very best to its clientele. Through very careful and thorough screening they have decided that the O.S.O.K. 212 NYC was the perfect cigar to represent the Cigar Inn name. Matt Booth, founder of Room 101 has also expressed his excitement in bringing this unique stick to The Cigar Inn. It is a top shelf stick that belongs in a top shelf shop, and Mr. Booth has found that in The Cigar Inn and its owners, the Fakih brothers: Billy, Bass and Gus. And you will never meet a nicer bunch of guys!
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.
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.