It’s not easy to share the stage with a new Cuban Cohiba, but that’s what two cigars were chosen to do as part of Habanos S.A.’s 2017 Edición Limitada releases.
The Edición Limitada program was launched in 2000 as a way to further showcase the company’s premium marcas by way of a vitola not being used in the brand’s current production. While originally it was just the wrapper that received two years of aging; since 2007 all the tobacco used in an Edición Limitada gets the extra time to mature.
As has generally been the case since the program’s launch, the Cuban cigar conglomerate released three cigars as part of the 2017 group:
- Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 (6 1/2 x 54)
- Partagás Series No. 1 Edición Limitada 2017 (5 2/5 x 52)
- Punch Regios de Punch Edición Limitada 2017 (4 7/10 x 48)
The Partagas Series No.1 uses the Noblezas vitola, a new 5 2/5 (138mm) x 52 robusto extra that is presented in a 25-count semi boite nature box. It is the first time that the vitola has been used by Habanos S.A.
It is the 10th time that the Partagás marca has been selected for the Edición Limitada program since its debut in 2000:
- Partagás Pirámides (6 1/8 x 52) — 2000
- Partagás Serie D No.3 (5 5/8 x 46) — 2001
- Partagás Serie D No.2 (6 1/8 x 52) — 2003
- Partagás Serie D No.1 (6 7/10 x 50) — 2004
- Partagás Serie D No.3 (5 5/8 x 46) — 2006
- Partagás Serie D No.5 (4 1/3 x 50) — 2008
- Partagás Serie D Especial (5 5/9 x 50) — 2010
- Partagás Serie C No.3 (5 1/2 x 48)— 2012
- Partagás Selección Privada (6 1/3 x 50) — 2014
- Partagás Series No.1 (5 3/7 x 52) — 2017
- Cigar Reviewed: Partagás Series No.1 Edición Limitada 2017
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 5 3./7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- Est. Price: n/a
- Release Date: January 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
It’s been a while since I last smoked a Cuban cigar, so I’d forgotten about the spongy firmness that Habanos can have, and the Partagás Series No.1 Edición Limitada 2017 is a near perfect example. The wrapper is an even, well-tanned shade of brown and has the puckered veins that I associate with Cuban-grown leaves. It’s a fairly clean roll, and even though the seams aren’t perfectly flat across the three samples, the triple caps are applied quite well. The aroma off the foot of the cigar is very light in the nose and has me thinking of dried strawberries with a bit of pizza dough crust and generic tobacco behind that. The sweetness isn’t as vibrant or consistent as I’d hope across the samples, with some samples eschewing it for a bit thicker dough flavor. The cold draw has just a touch of resistance and flavors that are equally as mild as what the aroma offered, though without as much the strawberry sweetness. Interestingly, that note seems to only want to be in one place or the other, never both. Find it on the aroma, don’t find it on cold draw, and vice versa.
I’ve developed a bit of trepidation when it comes to the first puffs of Cuban cigars given how the tobacco can be a bit young and thus rougher on the palate, but the Partagás Serie No.1 Edición Limitada 2017 allays my fears pretty quickly. It’s a medium-full bodied, just slightly peppery and thick and chewy smoke out of the gate. It’s by no means aged, and one sample has a bit of sourdough bread bite, but even the roughly 16 months since the box date of this cigar seems to have helped a bit. If anything, it feels like some of the flavors are cocooning a bit, having shed their youth but still not quite ready to spread their wings fully. The draw is quite good as is the smoke production, and while the burn line can get a bit wavy, it isn’t yet problematic.
The start of the Partagás’ second third has me enjoying it, if not quite enamored and enraptured by it, mainly because the real stellar flavors of the cigar seem to still be developing and not ready to take the stage. There’s still a leading note of pepper on top of an increasingly earthy base with hints of the pizza dough chewiness, though it isn’t moving much beyond that. Somewhere around the midway point of the first sample I begin to notice how relatively mild the flavors of the Partagás are, though the smoke doesn’t necessarily have me thinking the cigar is boring. There’s just a bit of pepper on top of the thick cake donut flavor that I’ve found in other cigars, and the combination is familiar and far from distracting or disappointing. One sample gets more robust as it progresses through this section, picking up a rocky spin on the earth that irritates the throat. The burn line also begins to get a bit uneven here, though only one sample merits a touch-up.
While the first two thirds have been relatively mild in terms of vibrant flavors, the final third rectifies that and brings on a good heaping of black pepper to brighten things up quite noticeably. Retorhales are a bit lighter, with more of a white pepper tingle, but still a much brighter sensation than where the cigar started. It certainly feels like the Partagás Series No.1 Edición Limitada 2017 is trying to come out of its shell, and white it does in some ways, it’s lacking the full development of flavors that would seemingly turn this into a truly stellar cigar. For now, it’s still quite enjoyable
- The box code for these cigars is UBM DEC 17.
- Now that the Noblezas vitola has been used, it’ll be somewhat interesting to see what the next cigar to use it will be, possibly an Edición Regional. It’s not a terribly distinctive vitola, however, just a slightly longer and chubbier robusto.
- The wrapper on the first and second samples did not fare well once the bands were removed, developing a sizable split or just disintegrating into a mess of flaps. I waited as long as I could to remove them to let the heat loosen the adhesive a bit, but it only did so much, if anything.
- As usual, here’s my standard grumbling about the difficulty of removing Cuban cigar bands.
- One of the things I had to keep doing a double check on was the name of the cigar, as it uses the word Series instead of Serie that is found on several of the marca’s other lines, such as Serie P., Serie D and Serie E.
- There wasn’t as much nicotine strength from this Partagás as I was expecting; in fact there wasn’t much at all.
- Pricing on this cigar varies widely due to taxes; when it was released in Switzerland it sold for 615 Swiss Francs per box, just under $641 at the time, or $25.64 per cigar. In Canada it was priced at CAD $59 per cigar, approximately USD $47.50, again at the time of its launch. Currently, in Germany they retail for €462.50, or $515.67 per box and $21.49 per cigar.
- I do want to note that while I say that Habanos S.A. has generally released three Ediciónes Limitada per year, the program launched with four releases per year from 2000 through 2004, shifting to three releases in 2005. However, there was no Edición Limitada releases at all in 2002. Additionally, in 2015 there were just two releases. That year featured the Montecristo 80 Aniversario.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel for $22.40 per cigar on the secondary market.
I've often said that if you want an enjoyable off-the-shelf Cuban cigar, you need to look to the Edición Limitada program. The extra aging of the tobacco generally does just enough to rid the tobacco of the harshness of its youth, though still leaves plenty of room for the cigar to age into something wonderful. That's almost exactly what I found to be the case with the Partagás Series No. 1 Edición Limitada 2017, a cigar that is over one hump but still not at its peak. As I noted above, the flavor seems to be in a resting period, and while very enjoyable, there were times when I was almost lulled into boredom with what the cigar wasn't offering. For the most part it was smooth and balanced, yet felt restrained and muted. Enjoyable, yes; delectable, not quite. With a bit more time this cigar should hopefully bloom into a great smoke, an event that I am very much looking forward to enjoying.