October 2, 2012
Origin : Cuba
Format : Petit Edmundo
Size : 110 x 21 mm (4.3 x 52)
Release : 2009
Price : ~$15 each
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.
Appearance : [rating:5/5]
A very beautiful looking, double-banded cigar offering the classic Vegas Robaina label with the secondary Canadian Regional Edition band. The cigar is short and stout and has some decent weight to it. The oily wrapper has some minor veins visible and has no visible seams.
Construction : [rating:3/5]
The cigar is tightly packed. In fact, most of the samples I smoked had very tight draws associated with them. As a result, it is a relatively slow burning cigar for its size. I find that the outside of the cigar burns quicker than the inside: as a result, and on many occasions, I got some “coning”. This often occurs when a cigar is smoked too fast but, in my case, I wasn’t smoking the cigar fast at all. I attribute this to the very tightly packed cigar and as such, I think what is happening is that the tightly packed filler is burning considerably slower than the binder and wrapper. Most of the samples I have had thus far have burned very slowly and again I attribute this to the very tightly packed construction of the cigar. Many times the cigars have required re-lights and although the burn is constant and self correcting, the result is less smoke output and a tight draw. I am admittedly disappointed with the smoke volume. The deductions were for a tight draw, coning, re-lights and low smoke volume.
Flavor : [rating:4/5]
The cigar starts with a very pleasing sweet taste. Hints of coffee and dried fruits are discernable with some very pleasant cedar undertones. The cigar is not peppery at all but you can get a little spice by exhaling through your nose.
For the most part the flavour profile remains the same through the first third and by the second third the flavors become a tad stronger with more hints of cocoa, coffee and a nicely balanced Cuban saltiness on the palate.
I never got any bitterness from the Petit Robaina. It starts off sweet and for the most part stays sweet. At times you can sense a little dried fruit or roasted nuts coming through but the cigar doesn’t have any earthy or grassy tones.
By the halfway point you can start to get some hints of citrus with that ever present chocolaty sweetness that the Robaina cigars are known for. It is a relatively mild cigar but the flavors aren’t muted. It is an enjoyable cigar despite the fact that it is a chore to smoke because of the tight draw.
The smoke is never really thick in the samples I’ve had although when you do get that mouthful of thick smoke you can really taste the caramel-like texture of the smoke. Smoke volume does seem to increase near the second band. This cigar can be nubbed. It burns slow enough to never allow for any bitterness to creep into the profile.
The cigar reminds me of a milder version of the Famosos but with less smoke output.
Value : [rating:3/5]
As I stated earlier, the price of these cigars has only increased with age, if you can even find some hanging around. I would gladly pay the original release price if I came across them but at today’s current price of $15.00 at the low end and up to $25.00 at the high end depending on where you are buying them, I would have to pass. For that money I can easily buy a bigger cigar offering more smoke, stronger flavors and a better draw. However, if you are a collector of regional edition cigars, I would highly recommend that this cigar be added to your collection because it is an enjoyable morning smoke with a coffee that can be completed in under an hour.
Overall Rating : [rating:3.75/5] (3.75)
All in all, the problem I have with the Petit Robaina is that I have now smoked enough to determine that there is a construction flaw. It is packed extremely tight and, as a result, is prone to coning and the draw is a struggle. However, the flavour profile of the cigar compensates because it really is a tasty stogie that offers up a very pleasing sweetness with no pepper to get in the way. There is a very mild spice present on some draws but not enough to warrant any commentary on the spice. The cigar moves elegantly through different types of sweetness. Hints of chocolate, coffee, dried fruit and citrus come in and out of it as you smoke, which is balanced beautifully with the ever present saltiness that Cuban cigars are known for. The smoke is velvety and caramel-like but, as I stated, you won’t get rich clouds of smoke very often when smoking this cigar. When you do manage to get a good mouthful though you will be rewarded with a very pleasing texture to the smoke that almost leaves a nice caramel-like film on your palate.
Cost can be an issue with these cigars as is scarcity. As I stated, I wouldn’t pay more than $15.00 for one of these because I do feel that there are better cigars for that money but if you want a good any time of day smoke, one that you don’t need to have a full stomach to enjoy and one that can be enjoyed in 40-50 minutes, then I would recommend this cigar if the price is right.
March 2, 2016
One of my favs. Although I did end up paying the top dollar ($25 per stick) for 3 boxes (could not turn it down), I don’t regret it one bit – having smoked about 25 out of 75 I purchased in 2013, I have not had any major issue (recall only 1 tightly packed) with tight draw or tightly-packed cigar. They seem to loosen-up with age, while retaining their excellent flavour. Really expensive, but that’s what you get for buying in Canada (the only sticks I’d ever bought here). Great-tasting cigar, cedar, leather, fruity at times, caramel – with that characteristic Robaina tinge to it before and after you light it up. Excellent construction, great ash – once, when patient, I managed to keep the ash stacked almost to the end. My special-occasion smoke (cuz’ of what I’d paid :-)), a treat everytime I smoke it. Famosos are by far my fav cigar, never any issues with them. Ideal Robaina for me would be a 4″ version of a Famoso…
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