When you think of Cuban cigars, La Flor de Cano is not where you would like start.
Without the Edición Regional program, the brand has been limited to mixed fill cigars since 2002. In 2010, the La Flor de Cano Short Robusto was announced as an Edición Regional for the United Kingdom, giving the brand a longfiller cigar, albeit, a limited one. The Short Robusto shipped in 2011 and another was announced two years later as part of the 2013 program.
That cigar is the Gran Cano, a 5 5/9 x 50 size known as gordito, that debuted in late 2013. The cigars were limited to 5,000 boxes of 10 priced at £20 per cigar, or about $280 per box with typical discounting.
For those unfamiliar with the Edición Regional program, I’ve summarized it a few times on the site:
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.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Flor de Cano Gran Cano Edición Regional Gran Bretaña (2013)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 5 5/9 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Gorditos
- MSRP: $30.13 (Boxes of 10, $301.30)
- Release Date: Oct. 15, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 5,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (50,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
It’s a shade or two darker than the average Cuban, albeit, not close to even a Cuban maduro or most Edición Limitadas for that matter. I don’t pick up a ton from the La Flor de Cano wrapper, not surprising given it’s been in a humidor for a while and comes without cellophane. That being said, the foot is very sweet with floral, sweet Hershey Kiss-like milk chocolate, a touch of cedar and some spices. The cold draw on one of three samples is enjoyable, unfortunately two others are overly tight. After adjusting, the cigars are pretty similar: sweet bubblegum, nuts, watered-down ketchup and some tea. It ends up being sweet and is obviously unique.
All three samples tighten upon lighting. For two samples, I need to recut again, on the other one things are okay. Flavor-wise there is a generic sweetness, freshly shaved cedar that reminds me of Aristocrat’s workshop, creaminess and a building saltiness. Once I’ve recut enough to get a solid draw, things are pretty solid. The Gran Cano burns extremely quick, but even. Flavors are pedestrian in the mouth with cedar, nuttiness, paprika and a big buttered bread note. Through the nose, there’s some twang and semisweet cedar. Full flavor, full body and full strength, although smooth enough to avoid being a monster.
Lemon cuts through the mouth, but the back of my throat is becoming a bit harsher as the Gran Cano advances. Elsewhere, the bread and paprika notes remain with the former continue to gain in pretense. The strength recedes a bit, down to medium-full, but still providing a fair bit of nicotine with a pretty fast burn. Speaking of the burn, the La Flor de Cano avoids any need for a touch-up.
The sample being photographed has fallen apart by the final third. The other, the one whose draw is the best of the three cigars I smoked, is doing just fine. Flavor-wise, there’s a sweetness, but it’s an odd and somewhat foul one, like soured milk. Elsewhere, a leather has added itself into the mixture alongside freshly chopped almonds, creaminess and a harsher black pepper. Strength is inconsistent in the final third ranging between medium-full and full.
- This release does not use the standard La Flor de Cano band. If you look closely, you will notice it reads “GRAN CANO” across the center of the band, which is unique to this release itself. Other releases have avoided putting the name of the cigar in the middle.
- In addition to the Gran Cano, the Asia Pacific region received the Grandiosos in 2013 under the La Flor de Cano label.
- In 2010 the secondary bands referred to the United Kingdom as Reino Unido, United Kingdom. By 2012, releases switched to referring to it as Gran Bretaña, Great Britain, starting with the Bolívar Británicas.
- The Gran Cano has plenty of nicotine, one of the strongest cigars I’ve smoked in the last six months and probably the strongest cuban I’ve smoked to date.
- One cigar was plugged. There was a hard spot a bit beyond a half-inch down from the top, rock solid. The cigar photographed needed to be recut a few times after the initial cold draw. I eventually found a happy draw, but the wrapper cracked on the third cut and that led to the battered look seen in the final third picture.
- I reviewed the Vegas Robaina Maestros, which uses the same vitola as the Gran Cano.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes.
When the Gran Cano drew, I liked it quite a bit. However, one cigar was plugged, another needed a lot of help and a third avoided any issues. I’ve often joined the chorus of complaints regarding the Edición Regional series as overpriced and inconsistent, with a few notable gems—and honestly, this La Flor de Cano doesn’t provide a ton of positives in the other way. So oftentimes Cuban cigars are criticized in elementary way, “they are great, if they draw.” That’s not true, there are plenty of lackluster Cuban cigars that drew just fine. The La Flor de Cano Gran Cano—for better or worse—isn’t lackluster in flavor, doesn’t draw just fine. Perhaps I got the only two samples in the entire world that had issue, but when two out of three cigars have issues, even if they are correctable and the flavor is great, the score is going to show flaws.