Delays in the release of Edición Regional cigars has become fairly common, but for two cigars headed to the Middle East, the delays have been compounded by not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but by civil unrest in Lebanon, pushing them back roughly two years from their original release schedule. But now, the Quai d’Orsay Baalbeck and Ramón Allones Phoenicio 40, both of which are part of the 2019 class of regional editions, are ready to hit stores.

The Ramón Allones Phoenicio 40 is a follow-up to two previous anniversary cigars, the Ramón Allones Phoenicio 30 and Ramón Allones Phoenicio 35, released in 2008 and 2016, respectively. It is a 6 1/2 x 54 double robusto vitola known as the Sublimes, a popular vitola that has been used for a number of Ediciónes Regional releases, as well as the Cohiba Sublimes Edición Limitada from 2004, the Montecristo Sublimes Edición Limitada from 2008, and the La Gloria Cubana Inmensos, a La Casa del Habano exclusive that debuted in 2010.

The first wave of cigars is being released via five Elie Bleu humidors; the first four, named Phoenicians, Mediterranean, Volutes and Horizon each getting 100 units, while a fifth line called Journey will have a production of just 40 humidors. Each humidor holds 40 cigars, and will sell from between $17,800 to $23,800.

For those looking for a less expensive option, the cigars are slated to also be available via 10- and 20-count boxes in about a month, though pricing has not yet been announced for those offerings. Across all the packaging options, a total of 450,000 cigars are being released. Phoenicia says all the tobacco used is coming from Hector Luis Prieto’s farm and the cigars were rolled at the Partagás factory, formally known as Carlos Baliño.

The other release, the Quai d’Orsay Baalbeck, is a 5 1/2 (140mm) x 54 robusto extra known as the Duke vitola. The size debuted in 2009 with the Romeo y Julieta Dukes Edición Limitada, and then was used for the Partagás Serie E No.2, which was released in 2011. It has also been used for a number of Ediciónes Regional releases.

Phoenicia has commissioned 60,000 cigars for this release, split into 1,200 sliding lid boxes containing 50 cigars each, a format that is an increasing rarity for Cuban cigars, let alone Edición Regional releases. The cigar gets its name from a historical city in Lebanon, with this particular one located approximately 53 miles northeast of Beirut. Individual cigars will sell for $19.80 via duty-free shops in Beirut, which puts the sizable boxes at $990 each.

Both cigars will get their official launch via a virtual event on Wed., June 23, before arriving in stores on Thursday.

Phoenicia T.A.A. Cyprus Ltd.,is the Cuban cigar distributor for Lebanon, the Middle East and much of Africa, covering more than 40 countries in total.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.