In 2015 and 2016, the premium cigar industry saw a trend of small cigar companies based in the Dominican Republic bringing their products to American retailers. One of those companies is HumiDom, or as it’s also known, Humidores Domicanos.
In April 2015, the company announced that it would be bringing three lines under the Faraón name to U.S. consumers: Esfinge, which uses a Connecticut shade wrapper over an American binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic; Tutankamon, which uses a Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper over an American habano binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and the U.S.; and Ramses.
For the U.S. release of Ramses, the cigar was reblended, using an Ecuadorian habano sun grown wrapper, American habano binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic. It was released in two sizes, a Toro and Belicoso that both measure 6 x 52 and have an MSRP of $8 per cigar. Production was handled by General Cigar Dominicana.
The name for the line comes from the Spanish word for pharaoh, faraón. It’s the title given to the rulers of ancient Egypt, and for those familiar with Egyptian history, it’s quickly recognizable that each line is named for prominent pharaohs. In the case of Ramses, its name comes from the English version of the name given to the 11 Egyptian pharaohs of the New Kingdom period, which covers the 19th and 20th Dynasties, spanning 1292 BC to 1077 BC. The name translates as “Ra is the one who gave birth to him,” and references Ra, the ancient Egyptian sun god.
Here’s what I said about the Faraón Ramses Belicoso when I reviewed it in June 2016:
I had both an open mind and some guarded reservations about the Faraónes Ramses Belicoso before smoking it; I knew little about the brand and certainly had no previous experience with it, but I was also a bit wary of the imagery and names selected as Egyptian history seems to get a bit overused at times across multiple industries. Fortunately, the first two thirds of each sample were quite good; balance was squarely on point, the construction was good for the most part, and the flavor showed surprising amounts of depth at times. The final third left the most to be desired, and while it can be smoked through, the cigar’s score would probably be better had it not been. With all that is happening in the cigar industry I’m intrigued to see what happens to Humidores Dominicanos and its Faraónes lines, as the Ramses Belicoso is an indication this company may have more good cigars to offer.
- Cigar Reviewed: Faraón Ramses Belicoso
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
- Binder: American Habano
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $8 (Boxes of 20, $160)
- Release Date: April 29, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
The Faraón Ramses Belicoso still has the beautifully tanned color I remember from a year ago, and the belicoso shape of the head still strikes me as unique. The wrapper is toothier than I remember, with a bit of mottling in place and very few visible veins, with the ones that are there quite small. The cigar has a firm core with a bit of give on the outer layers, though the wrapper doesn’t seem like it has much interest in being squeezed. The foot of the Ramses is buttery, sweet, and slightly herbal, with a slight bit of pan fried flavor added to the overall aroma. The cold draw is noticeably loose, even with a conservative cut of the head, and has more of the same notes, though the herbal note is a tick stronger.
Opening puffs of the Faraón Ramses Belicoso are mild, creamy and a bit oily, all quite welcomed for a first cigar of the day. There’s a bit of pepper that emerges shortly after but it is quite restrained, serving to warm up the palate gently. The flavor gets a bit toastier through the first inch but stays quite easy-going, although the incredibly delicate ash breaks off at a near constant rate and with the slightest handling of the cigar. After the second clump of ash breaks off a bit after the one inch mark, the cigar suddenly wakes up and starts piling pepper into the smoke, and the once mild retrohales are now alive with a tingling smoke.
After the outburst of pepper, it backs off a bit and it seems that the cigar has completely shifted gears from how it started, picking up a bit of char on the top of the toast flavors but not increasing much in strength. The pepper never makes a significant return until the final inch and a half, and then it’s only a sliver of how much it offered at the halfway outburst. After just under two hours, the cigar still burns well and can get smoked down to a tidy nub, with only a slight crack in the wrapper developing and becoming a minor annoyance.
The Faraón Ramses Belicoso certainly isn’t a well-known cigar in U.S. humidors, but much like I felt about it a year ago when I first smoked it, it certainly should be. After smoking this redux sample, I went back and reread my original review, and I’m happy to report that all of the rougher spots that the cigar showed, and for as much of an herbal note as I got prior to lighting the cigar, none of that was found once the cigar stared burning. Other than the big hit of pepper that transitions the cigar from its first half to it second, there aren’t much in the way of pronounced flavor transitions, but that’s just fine when the underlying notes are smooth and enjoyable. The Faraón Ramses Belicoso is an enjoyable, medium-flavored, medium-minus strength cigar that I’d certainly encourage trying and certainly wouldn’t mind have a few more of to smoke in the future.