There is perhaps no site in Cuba as famous as the Malecón, a five-mile stretch on the coastline of Havana.

As such, it was only a matter of time before the name of the often romanticized waterfront found its way onto a Cuban cigar. That cigar oddly went to the landlocked principality of Andorra, a tiny country located between France and Spain best known for its ski resorts and tax haven status.

While the country might be small, it has a handful of cigar stores and has received seven Edición Regionals since 2009.

For those unfamiliar with the Edición Regional program:

In 2005, Habanos S.A. introduced a new series of limited production releases that would eventually become to be known as Edición Regional (Regional Edition). The program took regular Habanos S.A. brands and gave their regional distributors special sizes that aren’t part of respective brands regular production line-up. In some cases, like the Bolivar Gold Medals, Habanos S.A. gave specific distributors sizes that had been discontinued, but most are sizes that have never been available for that brand prior. There’s one major exception to the rule and that would be perhaps the most famous ER, the Edmundo Dantés El Conde 109, which is an ER available for Mexico that is related to the Montecristo brand, but is largely its own brand.

The first Edición Regionals didn’t feature the red and silver secondary bands that read “Exclusivo (Region Name)” that has become synonymous with the ER releases.

The Juan López Malecon is a 130mm (5 1/8 inches) x 55 parejo in a vitola known as montesco, best known for its use as the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills. It was part of the 2015 Edición Regional program, though like many Edición Regionals, was not released until 2016.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Juan López Malecon Edición Regional Andorra (2015)
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Length: 6 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 55
  • Vitola: Montesco
  • Est. Price: $15 (Boxes of 20, $300)
  • Release Date: 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 2,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Malecon is a beautiful cigar with a shiny, lightly-tanned wrapper. In just about every way, the pre-light ritual is everything most people would want. The cigar is well-rolled, the wrapper is pretty and the smells are big and floral. The wrapper is sweet with a ton of florals and a bit of acid. The foot is even sweeter with floral and vanilla taking the lead. And the cold draw is just a bomb of flowers. The only downside is the draw, which is a bit tighter than it should be.

For as much sweetness as the Juan López shows before the lighter hits the foot, there’s not much to start the cigar. It’s dominated by cedar, though I get some slight sweetness thanks to a creaminess underneath. The first third of the Malecon continues to the cedar bomb. In addition to the creaminess, the floral flavors reemerge as a secondary note. Through the nose, there’s some bright lemon and bread-like flavors. Overall, the flavor is medium-full and smooth, the body is medium-plus and strength is medium.

A pie crust-like flavor takes over as the main flavor. Overall, the Juan López is still smooth and creamy with no signs of pepper. The retrohales are slightly rougher than before with earthiness joining the fray, but still a lot of cedar and bread. When I take consecutive retrohales—particularly three or more—there are some faint signs of pepper. The flavor remains medium-full, body is medium and strength is medium.

A more generic bread-like flavor takes over the profile in the final third. There’s a fair bit of creaminess underneath it, but it’s intermittent. The acid intensifies, some earthiness lingers and the pepper is present. One sample has a bit of a blueberry muffin in the nose, but there’s zero sign of it elsewhere. With an inch and a half left, the pepper increases with each puff, though it doesn’t get to an even medium level when all is said and done. Flavor dips a bit to medium-plus, the body is medium-plus and the strength is medium.

Final Notes

  • The Cuban Dunhill brand had a cigar known as Malecon, that cigar measured 6 1/2 x 42.
  • My only real complaint was the draw, which was just a bit too tight on each cigar. It’s particularly too tight for the size and smoke production suffered a bit.
  • I really do like the look of the Juan López bands.
  • Maori Tabacs S.A. is the distributor for the Andorra region.
  • We paid a bit more than $20 per cigar on the secondary market though that was probably more than we should have as these were less than $15 when they debuted.
  • The box code these came from is PTR SEP 15.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
90 Overall Score

Time. The Juan López Malecon just needs time. The time won’t fix the draw—that’s not getting any better regardless of how long these sit for—but another year will help the flavor. It’s quite good now, though not a laundry list of flavors, but there could be a bit more finesse. There’s a certain level of detail and vibrancy that seems possible but just isn’t ready. I’m as curious to see how these are in 12 months as they are in 12 years because I do think the Malecon shows a lot of the signs of a good aging potential.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.