If you were given a mission to find a good Cuban cigar and given the option to pick amongst every cigar Habanos S.A. makes in any given year, I would start with the high-priced cigars that wear either Gran Reserva or Reserva bands.
In the event—as is typically the case at cigar shops around the world—that there are no Gran Reservas or Reservas, my next advice would be to pick Edición Limitadas, and for the same reason: all of these series have one notable thing in common: aged tobacco.
I’ve described the Edición Limitada series before:
While certainly priced at a premium, it’s not remotely close to the level of the Reserva or Gran Reservas. Furthermore, the cigars are produced in much greater quantity, making them much more readily available. Officially, the Edición Limitada sees Habanos S.A. produce non-regular production sizes of a particular marca with all tobacco aged for a minimum of two years.
What’s unique about the Edición Limitadas as compared to the aforementioned Reservas or red-banded Edición Regionals is that all Habanos brands seem eligible for the program. Local brands (Ramón Allones), multi-local brands (Punch), global brands (Cohiba) and niche brands, like Trinidad, have all been part of the program.
Edición Limitadas are made using tobacco that has been aged for at least two years and in general, there are three released per year.
In 2017, those three were:
- Cohiba Talismán Edición Limitada 2017 (6 1/2 x 54)
- Partagás Serie No.1 Edición Limitada 2017 (5 3/7 x 52)
- Punch Regios de Punch Edición Limitada 2017 (4 7/10 x 48)
Officially, the Regios de Punch is 120mm x 48, just shy of a robusto in both length and ring gauge. Interestingly, Punch has never have a robusto in its regular production portfolio; the closest size is the Punch Punch, a 5 3/5 x 46 grand corona. However, the robusto size has appeared as an Edición Regional release; Switzerland received the aptly titled Punch Robusto in both 2005 and 2007, the Emirates region received the same cigar one in 2008, and Portugal got one in 2011, though it was called the Punch Descobridores. All of those were 4 9/10 inches (124mm) long with a 50 ring gauge. Germany is slated to receive a robusto vitola as part of the 2017 releases, though it will be 5 1/10 x 55 vitola called the Punch Preferidoes, a vitola also known as the Montesco.
This marks the second time that Punch has been selected for an Edición Limitada since the program launched in 2000, the first was the Serie D’Oro No.2 in 2013.
- Cigar Reviewed: Punch Regios de Punch Edición Limitada 2017
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 4 7/10 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Corona Extra
- Est. Price: $20 (Boxes of 25, $500)
- Release Date: January 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The cigar feels light in the hand, something I rarely notice, though it was very apparent here. Aroma off the wrapper has leather and some acidity, right at medium-plus. The foot is sweeter with twang, some sugar and an underlying nutmeg that contrasts the sweetness. Each cigar has a cold draw that is slightly too open for the size with lots of twang, some barbecue sauce and a bright lemon. It’s medium-plus and extremely balanced, meaning no one flavor sticks out.
Each of the three cigars begins rather mild with cedar, creaminess and a touch of floral flavors. By the third and fourth puffs of the Regios de Punch, the flavor has picked up to medium, which is where it stays for the remainder of the first few inches. There’s oak, a lot of freshly chopped woody flavors and a touch of harshness. The retrohale has some thick vanilla as well as a black pepper, both of which add to the profile, though neither complements the mouth that well. Body is medium-plus and strength is medium.
While I’m able to make it through the first third without any construction woes, for all intents and purposes there are burn issues in the first third. As soon as I knock the ash off it appears the cigar is tunneling and some help is needed. I gather that if I knocked the ash off earlier, I probably would find myself relighting the cigar earlier. Nonetheless, the flavor gets more interesting with orange bitters, a toasty earth and some white pepper. The finish has a lot of acidity hanging on the back of the throat. Flavor picks up to medium-full, body is full and strength is medium.
A few more touch-ups happen in the final third of the Punch, which certainly doesn’t help the flavor. It’s getting earthier with each puff, though joined by some salted bread, a touch of black pepper and lemons. Fortunately, the retrohale still offers some complexity in the form of sugar cookies, white pepper and earthiness.
- The Punch Sir John, a 2012 regional for Germany, is a mere 7mm longer than the Regios de Punch, roughly a quarter of an inch.
- The factory name of this vitola is Hermoso Especial, and this is the first time it has been used in the Habanos S.A. portfolio.
- The word hermoso translates as beautiful, and it is one used in several factory names for Punch releases. The Punch Sir John is a Hermosos No.4, while the Punch 48 is the Hermosos No.3.
- Yes, there is the Hermosos No.1 and Hermosos No.2, but neither has appeared in the Punch portfolio.
- For as notable as the Punch brand is, we haven’t reviewed that many. This is also the first Punch Edición Limitada we’ve reviewed, which only means we didn’t review the Series D’Oro No.2
- I’ve always found it interesting that despite the use of limitada in the name, Habanos S.A. doesn’t disclose production numbers for Edición Limitadas.
- This year there is one Edición Limitada that got all the attention: the Cohiba Talismán.
- All three samples felt a bit light in terms of weight, two of the three had significant tunneling issues. Those two things are definitely related.
- The first cigar I smoked was far better than the other two. There were construction issues, but it was rather limited compared to the next two cigars.
- We paid $20 per cigar, a bit less than the 510 Swiss Francs per box the cigar sells for in Switzerland. As always, prices will vary dramatically depending on the country.
- Given that we purchased singles of this cigar, we were unable to get their corresponding box code.
- If you’re planning on the 2018 releases, they are scheduled to be the Bolívar Soberanos (5 1/2 x 54), H.Upmann Propios (4 3/4 x 46), and Romeo y Julieta Tacos (6 3/5 x 49).
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
There's about no circumstance I see myself recommending the Punch Regios de Punch. The construction issues aren't something I see being solved by dryboxing or aging, and the flavor isn't great. While I don't smoke regular production Cubans on a daily basis, when I do, they are usually much better than this particular Edición Limitada.