Last year, Habanos S.A. shipped the first Edición Regional release to be seen in the Por Larrañaga marca since 2016.
That cigar was the Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto, a 6 3/10 x 50 double robusto ordered by Cubacigar Benelux N.V., the exclusive distributor of Habanos S.A. products in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. While the viola is known as the Magnum 50 and has been used in other marcas before—most notably for the regular production H.Upmann Magnum 50—it had never been used for the Por Larrañaga brand until this release.
A total of 10,000 boxes of 10 Por Larrañaga Gran Robustos were produced and priced at €152 each ($178.) While the release is technically from the 2017 batch of Edición Regionals, it did not actually begin to show up on retailer’s shelves until July 2018.
If you are unfamiliar with the particulars about Habanos S.A.’s Edición Regional program, Patrick explained it thusly:
The Edición Regional program started in 2005 and utilizes the 17 local and multi-local brands for their releases exempting the ten worldwide premium global and niche brands. The cigars are limited production releases with a minimum run of 25,000 cigars and are made exclusively for a regional market, which can range from a specific country to a geographic region.
They are available for one to two years, after which time the cigar can be added to the line’s current production range. The vitolas used for Edición Regional releases must be selected from current production vitolas, but ones that are not already used by that line. In addition, recent changes, as noted by Trevor Leask of CubanCigarWebsite.com, have included a lifespan of 12 months with release dates generally in August, September and October.
In addition, while some regions have received multiple releases in a calendar year, it has been reported that starting in 2012 Edición Regional releases will be limited to one per distributor. Finally, the cigars generally use the marca’s main band with a second red and silver band that indicates the region it was made for, in the format “Exclusivo ___” with the region’s name in Spanish.
While there are countries with fewer Edición Regionals under their belts—I’m looking at you Turkey—the Netherlands has a lot less than many other European countries. So far, there have only been six releases.
- El Rey del Mundo NL No.1 (4 1/2 x 52) — 2011
- Ramón Allones Specially Selected Robusto Corto (4 x 50) — 2013
- Diplomáticos El Ambajador (5 3/10 x 52) — 2015
- La Gloria Cubana Platinum Edition (5 1/2 x 54) — 2016
- Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto (6 3/10 x 50) — 2017
- Cigar Reviewed: Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto Edición Regional Paises Bajos (2017)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 6 3/10 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- Est. Price: $17.80 (Boxes of 10, $178)
- Release Date: July 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: 10,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (100,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Visually, the Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto is covered in a very attractive milk chocolate brown wrapper that is extremely rough to the touch and has virtually no sign of any oil. There are a number of large veins running up and down the length of the cigar and it is quite spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong hay, manure, barnyard, leather, dark chocolate and cedar, while the cold draw brings flavors of cinnamon, sweet cedar, barnyard, orange citrus, bakers spices, earth, cocoa and hay.
The flavors begin to make themselves known immediately after toasting the foot of the Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto, including a dominant combination of creamy hay and cedar. Additional notes include cinnamon, cocoa nibs, almonds, leather and a small amount of citrus. While there is some slight pepper and spice noticeable on my tongue, one of the strongest notes is a distinct orange Tang sweetness on the retrohale that seems to be getting slightly stronger as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, but the burn needs to be touched up almost out of the gate, although it is fine after that. There is plenty of thick, white smoke flowing from the foot, while the strength starts out too light to even approach the medium mark by the end of the first third.
Interestingly, the orange Tang sweetness on the retrohale ramps up a bit in the second third of the Por Larrañaga Regional Paises Bajos, while the dominant flavors continue in the same vein of creamy hay and cedar. There are also flavors of salted peanuts, cinnamon, leather, dark cocoa, creamy earth and a touch of floral to round out the profile, as well as more white pepper and spice. Thankfully, the burn has evened up nicely and needs no more attention, while the draw continues to impress and the smoke production remains quite high. Strength-wise, the Gran Robusto easily hits the medium mark just as the second third comes to an end and does not seem to be going much further anytime soon.
Although the creamy hay and oak combination continues to dominate the profile of the Por Larrañaga in the final third, the rest of the profile seems to get a bit muddy and less distinct. This includes the Tang sweetness on the retrohale—which has receded enough to basically become an afterthought—as well as most of the other flavors like grass, cinnamon, leather, earth and coffee beans. In addition, both the white pepper on the retohale and the spice on my tongue have all but disappeared, making the entire profile less complex as a result. In terms of construction, both the draw and the burn continue to give me no issues, while the smoke production holds a steady pace. As expected, the strength goes almost nowhere, meaning the Por Larrañaga ends up essentially where it began the final third by the time I put the nub down with a little more than an inch left.
- Paises Bajos translates into Netherlands from Spanish, although it also could mean low countries.
- Although the Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto is technically an Edición Regional for the Netherlands, the cigar was also seen on retailer’s shelves in the country of Belgium, which together with the Netherlands and Luxembourg form the Benelux region.
- The sweet orange Tang note surprised be a bit, as it is not something I have tasted in cigars many times. It immediately reminded me of my early childhood, when we would drink it in the summer months.
- According to CubanCigarWebesite.com, an unknown number of boxes were incorrectly labeled with a band inspired by a 1970s design that was used on the Picadores, a special release from 2014.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased on the secondary market by halfwheel for $22 each. In the interest of full disclosure, we were actually sent cigars by Cubacigar Benelux N.V., those arrived well after we had purchased these and arrived damaged.
- Final smoking time averaged one hour and 55 minutes for all three cigars.
After starting out with a bang, the Por Larrañaga Gran Robusto begins to fade a bit around the halfway point and becomes a bit muddier by the end of the cigar. The sweet Tang surprised me a bit, and I wish it had stuck around for the entire cigar, it definitely made an impact on the complexity of the profile in the first two thirds. While still one of the better Por Larrañaga Edición Regional releases I have smoked—at least for the first two thirds—the Gran Robusto shows quite a bit of potential in the long term, and I am betting it will be a much different cigar with a couple of years of age on it.