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Por Larrañaga Belicosos Extra (ER Asia Pacific 2008)

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This is the tenth Edición Regional we’ve reviewed from the 2008 program. Astonishingly, that means we have seven left.

Back in 2008, Habanos S.A. was not only releasing Edición Regionals on time, it was letting distributors opt for more than one Edición Regional per year.

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Our two paragraph explanation of Edición Regionals goes like this:

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 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 have become synonymous with the ER releases.

Pacific Cigar Co., the massive distributor for much of Asia, received two releases in 2008. One was the Bolívar Short Bolívar and the other was the Por Larrañaga Belicosos Extra.

As for the latter, it’s a 140mm (5 1/2 inches) x 52 belicoso. It was packaged in numbered boxes of 25, of which there were 7,400 made, meaning there was 185,000 cigars produced for the release.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Por Larrañaga Belicosos Extra Edición Regional Asia Pacifico (2008)
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Belicoso
  • Est. Price: $10.50 (Boxes of 25, $262.50)
  • Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Cigars Released: 7,400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (185,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

When I first held this cigar, I thought it was under 50 ring gauge. Turns out, it’s not. Perhaps due to the cigars I’ve been smoking lately, I enjoyed the change of pace, or at least what I thought was a change of pace. The cigar is rolled well with the only notable feature being that the cap is a bit shorter than a lot of other belicosos. Aroma off the wrapper is medium with acidity and some oatmeals. There’s a bit more flavor from the foot which sees ketchup as the main flavor followed by some floral sweetness and then a few spices like cayenne and paprika. The cold draw has the same basic trend, though the Por Larrañaga tastes like flowers, popcorn and some burnt barbecue before transitioning into a Fireball candy-like mixture of sweetness and cinnamon.

The Belicosos Extra starts rather similar with some milder spices, cedar, ketchup and oatmeal cookies. For the first few minutes, it seems like those flavors will stick around as they only get stronger, but as is so often the case, just 15 minutes in and the flavors are in a very different place. There’s a mild earthiness, creaminess, chocolate chip cookie dough and some sweet licorice. Cedar seems to be coming and going, though always present on the finish and really tying the flavors together. The cigar is extremely smooth and medium-plus in flavor and body with little in the way of detectable nicotine.

In short, earthiness and pepper add themselves into the flavor profile. However, there’s this really bizarre sweetness in the retrohale and it’s annoying because I can’t put my hands on it. The flavor is wet, if that makes sense, and so my first inclination was like the skin of a Gusher’s, though I then wrote down apple sauce, leading me to believe that my brain was more concentrated on the liquidity and less on the flavor itself. Beyond that, there’s some white pepper and a Scotch-like peaty flavor on the top of the mouth, while black pepper sits on the tongue and lasts well into the finish. Hay and some gin-like botanicals show themselves after the halfway mark, but they do little to challenge the earth and peppers. The Por Larrañaga picks up to medium-full in flavor with a medium-plus body and a mild-medium strength.

Coffee emerges in the final third alongside some sweetness, similar to a lemon candy. The real magic is when the smoke leaves the mouth, a bad hamburger patty meatiness emerges before getting quickly absorbed by the earth and then pepper. For the first time, I find myself having to address the Por Larrañaga Belicosos Extra’s construction with the lighter coming out to provide a touch-up to keep the cigar burning. The flavor is generally medium-plus, though the finish is full thanks to the earth and pepper. Body remains medium-plus and strength remains just south of medium.

Final Notes

  • This is an example of a cigar that has excellent, albeit not perfect construction. I had to touch up the cigar in the closing third, which happens, particularly on a non-parejo vitola that I’m not trying to burn my tongue with. The only reason why it loses points is because there are cigars that can be lit once and burned until the end without issue.
  • Por Larrañaga went on a pyramid run for Edición Regionals after this came out in 2008,  as it was followed by the Los Andes (Peru) and Valiosos (Switzerland) in 2009. Since then, every Por Larrañaga released as an Edición Regionals been a parejo.
  • The Por Larrañaga Magnificos, which debuted in 2007 for the United Kingdom, is still smoking wonderfully.
  • I’d love to see Habanos S.A.’s overall sales numbers brand by brand, but I’d be really curious to see if when you remove Edición Regionals, Por Larrañaga cracks 1 percent of total sales. I had to look at Cuban Cigar Website to see what, if any Por Larrañagas are still offered.
  • Given Habanos S.A.’s war on small ring gauges, I’m curious to see how much longer the Panatelas (36 ring gauge) and Montecarlos (33 ring gauge) are made.
  • This is the same size as the Bolívar Belicosos Finos and Romeo y Julieta Belicosos. It’s also the size of the Ramón Allones Belicoso, one of the first Edición Regionals ever.
  • Pacific Cigar Ltd. is the distributor for the region. It includes over 30 places across Asia including Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and Singapore. David Tang, the founder and chairman of the company, passed away one month ago.
  • The box code for these cigars was EMA NOV 08.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel. We paid about $10.50 per cigar on the secondary market.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes.
89 Overall Score

My complaints about Edición Regionals have been that too often they are overpriced, mediocre tasting and burning cigars. The good news is at $10.50 per cigar this was affordable, the flavors were good and the construction was pretty good. I'd rather smoke a number of other Cuban cigars for the same money, but it's challenging to find much wrong with the Por Larrañaga Belicosos Extra. It wouldn't surprise me if these are declining flavor-wise, but this was still a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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