The story of the Vegas Robaina Marshal, which is the Edición Regional for the Adriatic region in 2008, is one of the most interesting, and honestly, confusing, to come out of Cuba in a long, long time.
In 2008, the official Habanos S.A. “Proposed Regional Editions” list was released. At that time, the list contained a release called the “La Gloria Cubana Marshal” which was a robusto, and was to be distributed by Camelot, which serves Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.
List courtesy www.InternationalCigarClub.com
Well, as time went by, it became obvious that the La Gloria Cubana Marshal was going to be another one of the oft delayed Cuban regionals as no one heard anything about the release date. However, there were prerelease samples of the the La Gloria Cubana cigar with the “Exclusivo Adriático” second band on them that were given out and smoked.
It was later learned that because of trade mark issues, i.e. Swedish Match registered La Gloria Cubana in Croatia and other regions long before Habanos S.A. ever did, and they would not relent to letting Habanos use the name without paying quite a bit of money, the La Gloria Cubana cigars had to be re-branded as Vegas Robaina before their release to avoid litigation issues.
As you can imagine, this caused all sorts of problems. Apparently, the boxes for the cigar were already produced and prerelease samples of the La Gloria had already been sent out. No one that I have talked to knows with any certainty if the cigars for this release were rolled before the Trademark issues were realized or after. If they were rolled before, it would be hard to believe that Habanos S.A. would destroy the entire stock of rolled cigars, so that would indicate they are a rebounded La Gloria blend. If rolled after, who knows what they are.
Whatever the case may be, there were only 1,500 boxes of 10 cigars officially released. The boxes are actually fairly unique, in that they are in a 3-4-3 configuration. Here are some photos of the box itself.
Instead of destroying the original La Gloria boxes that had already been produced before the copyright issues came to light, Habanos S.A. decided to just put a silver plate with the Vegas Robaina info on top of the La Gloria stamping into the box, and if you notice, on top of the banner on the top right corner as well. If you were to pry off the plate, underneath you find this.
- Cigars Reviewed: Vegas Robaina Marshal Edición Regional Adriático (2008)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: Fernando Perez German
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 4 7/9 inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- Est. Price: $15.00 (Boxes of 10, $150.00)
- Date Released: 2009
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The Vegas Robaina Marshal is a perfect-sized smoke to me, a classic robusto. The wrapper is a medium brown color, and is actually quite rough to the touch. It is extremely hard when squeezed, almost shockingly so. Also, it has a second band which says “Exclusivo Adriatico.” The cap is extremely well made and the wrapper is very dry, and also quite bumpy along its lenth, and smells slightly sweet, with notes of leather and hay. The cold draw had notes of sweet cedar, hay and just a tiny bit of pepper.
The first third starts out with just a bit of pepper, but mostly a nice, creamy and sweet cedar and hay flavors, along with a little floral note tossed in. A very nice start, quite mild, but very flavorful.
The second third continues with the same flavors, mostly a sweet hay and woodiness, however, I did notice a note of honey and even some nutty notes as well. The pepper remained noticeable, but very much a background element.
The final third switches profiles almost totally with quite a bit more sweet fruitiness coming into play. I still taste the same woodiness and a bit of leather, but they took a backseat. There was just a bit of pepper still, but really not enough to make much of a difference. It never got hot at the end, or harsh, and had an extremely dry finish.
- Unfortunately, we might never know for sure what happened with this release. It is possible that the cigar is just a Vegas Robaina blend, it is possible it is an LGC blend with a VR band, and it is possible that that the LGC boxes were built, but the actual blend could have been changed to a VR blend after the boxes were already made.
- In case you missed it, if you look at the detail of the side of the box, the name stamped on the side of the box is “Marshall” (with two Ls), while the name on the removable plate on the front of the box is “Marshal” (with one L.) Afar as I know, the oficial name has always been “Marshal,” so I am at a loss as to where the “Marshall” even came from.
- Interestingly, the Vegas Robaina Marshal got quite a bit stronger body wise as it ended, almost surprisingly so, considering the sweet and milder profile.
While the Vegas Robaina Marshal was one of the better Edición Regionals I have smoked in a while, albeit mild, I have to be honest and say the story behind the release is more interesting to me. It is a very good smoke, quite flavorful, and I will be buying more of them, if I can find them. Having said that, the flavor characteristics of a Vegas Robaina blend and a La Gloria Cubana blend are nothing alike, and the two Marshals that I smoked for this review tasted much more like an LGC blend than the Vegas Robaina. In fact, it was not even close. I am going to have to say that the Vegas Robaina Marshal ER is just a La Gloria Cubana blend, rebanded and released as a Vegas Robaina.