Early last year, Habanos S.A. released the list of cigars that were expected to be a part of last year’s Edición Regional releases, and on that list was the first cigar produced exclusively for the Benelux region since 2010: the Juan López Don Juan. Measuring 5 3/10 (135mm) x 52, the robusto extra is limited to 75,000 total cigars, and is sold in boxes of 25.
Patrick Lagreid wrote an excellent description of the Edición Regional program:
The Edición Regional program sees Habanos S.A., the marketing and distribution company behind Cuban cigars, create unique, limited vitolas for its distributors around the world. Sizes must be those that are in the Habanos S.A. portfolio, but not amongst the regular production offerings for the brand, although some discontinued regular sizes can be created. New vitolas created for a certain brand are also not eligible to be used. In addition, the “global” brands—i.e. Cohiba, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, José L. Piedra, Montecristo, Partagás and Romeo y Julieta—are not eligible to be made into an Edición Regional.
Since 2012, distributors have been limited to a single release per year, a change from prior years when some distributors would receive multiple releases per year. Distributors are the ones to initiate the idea of a new release, and the cost for any new Edición Regional must be underwritten by the distributor. There is no guarantee that any particular region will get a new release in a given year.
In 2011 the Edición Regional’s for the Benelux region were split up into the Belux region (Belgium and Luxembourg) and the Países Bajos region (Netherlands). Each region had its own releases that year: the La Gloria Cubana Belux No.1 and the El Ray del Mundo NL No.1, respectively. The Juan López Don Juan marks a return to all three regions being included in the Benelux moniker.
- Cigar Reviewed: Juan López Don Juan Edición Regional Benelux (2014)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 5 3/10 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $15.68 (Boxes of 25, $392)
- Date Released: March 22, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 3,000 Boxes of 25 (75,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Covered in a cinnamon brown colored wrapper that has a bit of tooth to it, the Juan López Don Juan features a flat cap and some prominent veins running up and down the length. There is some slight evidence of oil on the wrapper, and it is slightly spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet cream, leather, peanut butter, manure and cocoa while the cold draw brings flavors of orange cream soda, cedar, creamy peanuts, earth, barnyard and some slight white pepper.
Starting out, the Juan López Don Juan features a very earthy profile, with some creamy leather picking up the slack and another notes of cinnamon, generic nuts, espresso and hay. There is a bit of a lemongrass noticeable on the retrohale, and a nice creamy finish, although the smoke production is a quite anemic. The burn is a bit wavy, but nothing to get concerned about yet, while the draw is quite nice on this sample, giving me a great resistance every time I take a puff. The overall strength is pretty much nonexistent so far, and ends the first third just above the mild mark.
The lemongrass note becomes a bit stronger on the retrohale during the second third of the Don Juan, hitting its high point right after the halfway point before slowing starting to recede. The dominant flavors remain creamy leather and gritty earth, and while the cinnamon, espresso beans and nutty notes remain from the first third, the hay flavor has increased noticeably. Construction-wise, the burn has evened out nicely, and the draw continues to impress, but the smoke production has not increased at all. The strength has increased a bit, and ends up about halfway between mild and medium by the end of the second third, but does not seem to be going anywhere else very fast.
While the lemongrass note in the Juan López Don Juan remains fairly strong during the final third, the rest of the profile mirrors the second third, with leather and earth dominant followed by hay, espresso, nuts and dark cocoa. There is a bit of saltiness that shows up close to the end, it does not stick around long and is not very strong to begin with. The burn is a bit wavy, but the draw remains excellent, and the smoke production has actually thickened up a bit. Strength-wise, the Juan López Don Juan ends about where it began the final third, closer to the medium mark than the mild mark, but never threatening to cross the line.
- As is the case with many of the Edición Regional blends, the Juan López Don Juan was announced as a 2014 release but did not actually ship until 2015.
- Benelux is a union consisting of Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands. The official distributor in the region is Cubacigar Benelux b.v.
- Last year, My Father Cigars released a new, limited 5 1/2 x 58 robusto grande vitola in the Flor de Las Antillas line for Benelux region appropriately named the Flor de Las Antillas Benelux.
- One of the samples featured a draw that was significantly tight, no matter what I did to try to alleviate the problem. While it was still smokable and I was able to power through it, the profile of that sample definitely suffered because of it.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just under two hours.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
While the Juan López Don Juan was enjoyable and two of the samples performed extremely well construction-wise, even at its best, it features a profile that is both light and understated. One sample had and extremely tight draw that could not be fixed, but the flavors and strength remained relatively consistent between all three cigars even with that. There is no doubt quite a few flavors that pop up, but unfortunately, none of them stick around very long and very few are strong enough to make more than a passing note of. In the end, this is just another in a long line of decent but ultimately forgettable Edición Regional releases.