Habanos S.A.’s Edición Regional series has included exclusive releases for specific countries, regions of the world and even distributor’s areas; however, one of the releases scheduled for 2018 was named for a country that no longer exists.

That cigar is the El Rey del Mundo Tainos, a 7 x 47 Churchill that was released for Formosa, a former republic located on modern-day Taiwan that last under five months. The name Formosa was first used in 1542 by Portuguese sailors who, after discovering an uncharted island, labeled it on their maps as Ilha Formosa, which translates to beautiful island. Formosa existed from May 23-Oct. 21, 1895 following the first Sino-Japanese War, in which the island declared its independence from the Chinese Qing dynasty but was then taken over by the Japanese.

As for the cigar, it’s limited to 8,888 numbered boxes of 10 cigars, which were released exclusively in Taiwan in mid-2019. The name, Taínos, likely references the group of natives who occupied what is now the countries of Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands and are popularly credited as the ones who introduced Christopher Columbus—and thus the entire Western world—to tobacco.

Patrick Lagreid outlined the Edición Regional series in his review of the Por Larrañaga Robustos Edición Regional Alemania (2010):

The Edición Regional program started in 2005 and utilizes the 17 local and multi-local brands for their releases exempting the ten worldwide premium global and niche brands. The cigars are limited production releases with a minimum run of 25,000 cigars and are made exclusively for a regional market, which can range from a specific country to a geographic region.They are available for one to two years, after which time the cigar can be added to the line’s current production range. The vitolas used for Edición Regional releases must be selected from current production vitolas, but ones that are not already used by that lineIn addition, r  ecent changes, as noted by Trevor Leask of CubanCigarWebsite.com, have included a lifespan of 12 months with release dates generally in August, September and October. In addition, while some regions have received multiple releases in a calendar year, it has been reported that starting in 2012 Edición Regional releases will be limited to one per distributor.

Finally, the cigars generally use the marca’s main band with a second red and silver band that indicates the region it was made for, in the format “Exclusivo ___” with the region’s name in Spanish. Italy and Switzerland each got a Punch and Ramón Allones release when the series debuted in 2005.

  • Cigar Reviewed: El Rey del Mundo Taínos Edición Regional Formosa 2018
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: Not Disclosed
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 47
  • Vitola: Churchill
  • Est. Price: $29.80 (Box of 10, $298)
  • Release Date: 2019
  • Number of Cigars Released: 8,888 10-Count Boxes (88,880 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The El Rey del Mundo Taínos doesn’t wow me in terms of appearance: it is a fairly standard vitola with a nondescript milk chocolate brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch with a little tooth, albeit very little visible oil. The cigar is quite hard when squeezed but one sample had a huge soft spot—more like a crater—about halfway between the secondary band and the foot on the backside. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of light orange citrus, cedar, cocoa nibs, barnyard, cinnamon and hay while the cold draw brings flavors of aromatic cedar, leather tack, spiced oranges, roasted espresso beans, earth and creamy almonds.

Starting out, the El Rey del Mundo features a profile dominated by a distinct combination of leather tack and almonds, interspersed with notes of cedar, earth, cinnamon, hay and slight soapiness. While the finish is full of bitter espresso, the retrohale includes both generic citrus and white pepper. In terms of construction, two samples feature an excellent draw after a straight cut while one is extremely tight. The burn follows suit, as two samples need no attention while the last one has to be touched up a couple of times to avoid it getting out of hand. Smoke production is on the low side of normal while the overall strength shows early signs of life, hitting a point closer to medium than mild by the end of the first third.

The generic citrus note on the retrohale from the first third increases quite a bit in the second third of the Taínos—now easily identifiable as lemongrass—and it combines nicely with the combination of leather tack and almonds that are still the dominant flavors on the palate. Lesser notes of creamy cedar, coffee beans, hay, bread and dark chocolate flit in and out, while both the bitter espresso on the finish and the white pepper on the retrohale have decreased noticeably. Construction-wise, the draw continues to give me no issues while the burn has evened up nicely, although the smoke production continues to lag a bit below normal levels. The overall strength continues to increase just a bit, ending up just under the medium mark by the time the final third begins.

While the profile of the Taínos Edición Regional makes a significant shift in the final third, unfortunately it is not for the better as the flavors on both the palate and retrohale have become quite a bit less distinct. I can still taste flavors of generic nuts, leather, hay, earth, anise and bread on the palate as well as citrus on the retrohale. The bitter espresso on the finish doesn’t fade and has become strong enough to overtake all but the most prominent flavors in the profile. Both the burn and the draw continue to give me no issues, while the smoke production continues to be a bit thin. Finally, the overall strength of the El Rey del Mundo Taínos continues to increase bit by bit until the end of the cigar, reaching a point just over the medium just as  I put the nub down with a little more than an inch remaining.

Final Notes

  • Fans of the El Rey del Mundo marca—or Cuban cigars in general—may find the name of this cigar familiar. The Tainos was a regular production cigar in the El Rey del Mundo brand until it was discontinued in 2006. That cigar was also a 7 x 47 Churchill.
  • The smoke emanating from this cigar—while a bit thin in volume—smelled absolutely amazing, like a combination of nutmeg, milk chocolate and cedar.
  • Construction was all over the place: one sample had to be touched up at least once in each third—incidentally, that is the sample that had the poor draw and also the worst tasting cigar of the three—while one sample was touched up only once and the last burn almost perfectly.
  • Editor’s Note: The difference in scores between the average of the two “good” samples and the other cigar was 18 points. — CM.
  • There have been a number of other cigars released with the Taínos name or a variation, including the Serino Taíno, Tatuaje Tainos as well as the Tainos Reserva Broadleaf and the Roberto P. Duran Tainos.
  • While these cigars were originally announced as a 2018 Edición Regional, they did not actually ship until mid-2019, which happens quite often.
  • Pacific Cigar Co. Ltd. is the distributor for Cuban cigars in the country of Taiwan.
  • The box number is 1020/8888, and the box code is LAT AGO 19.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel; we paid $29.80 for each of them.
  • Final smoking time averaged one hour and 48 minutes, although that total was skewed a bit due to the tight draw on the first sample.
79 Overall Score

It is never a good thing when the cigar smells better than it tastes, but that was the case with one of the El Rey del Mundos. It starts out bitter—albeit not altogether unpleasant—and while it does recover in the second third, the profile is just never more than halfway interesting. Even with that, some blends could recover and pull out a nice score, but unfortunately, the one bad sample that featured a sub-par draw, multiple burn issues and a profile that was obviously not up to snuff sealed this cigar’s fate. If you get a good one, the El Rey del Mundo Taínos is a decent enough cigar with some reservations, but at its worst, it is one to stay away from.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.