In November, Reinado Cigars announced plans to introduce a new blend that would be the first non-Nicaraguan puro in their portfolio. Named the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition, the new release focuses on a new wrapper, Ecuadorian Connecticut. 

The original plan was to release two vitolas at once: a 5 x 55 box-pressed size known as Elegidos and a 7 x 50 Churchill, but those plans have changed. Now, the inaugural release of the new blend will consist of only one vitola, a 6 x 38 petit lancero retailing for $8.99 and sold in boxes of 10.

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition Box 1

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition Box 2

Reinado Announces Grand Empire Ecuador Edition

Reinado Announces Grand Empire Ecuador Edition 2 

Reinado owner Antonio Lam made the change because he felt the blend worked better in the 6 x 38 format, which the company added as a limited edition size for its regular Grand Empire Reserve line last year. The wrapper on the prototype obviously looks nothing like the production version.

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition Prototype

  • Grand Empire Reserve Connecticut Edition Elegidos Prototype (5 x 55)
  • Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition (6 x 38)

The cigar is expected to debut at the 2014 IPCPR convention and trade show in July. 

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Agros Tabacos Industriales
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Petit Lancero
  • MSRP: $8.99 (Boxes of 10, $89.90)
  • Release Date: July 2014
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

Covered in a golden brown wrapper that seems to glow, the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition sports a well-made coiled pigtail on the cap and a round clean cut foot. The wrapper itself is quite smooth to the touch, but features a few noticeable bumps under the surface running up and down the length. The cigar is surprisingly spongy when squeezed and aroma from the wrapper is a combination of light vanilla, hay, barnyard and wood.

Starting out, the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition has some sweet vanilla, hay, barnyard, clay, wheat and cedar, along with a nice white pepper on the retrohale that really sets the flavors apart.  There is a very slight lemongrass flavor that comes through every once in a while, and the smoke production is enormous and dense, smelling of sweet wood. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw are phenomenal, with the razor sharp burn line the standout so far. The overall strength is quite mild at this point, and falls far short of the medium range by the end of the first third.

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition 2

Coming into the second third of the Connecticut-wrapped Reinado, the vanilla sweetness from the first third has morphed into more of a marshmallow note, along with other flavors of hay, creamy leather, tobacco, almonds and milk chocolate. I do taste a bit of citrus tartness that comes and goes, but is wonderful when it is noticeable. Both the draw and burn continue to impress, as does the smoke production, which has not decreased at all. Strength-wise, the Reinado has bumped up a little, hitting just below the medium mark. 

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition 3

The citrus note from the second third begins to get noticeably stronger right around the start of the final third, becoming the dominate note in the profile. Other flavors of nuts, creamy leather, hay, espresso, cedar flit in and out, and the white pepper on the retrohale remains strong, although there is no spice on the palate. The marshmallow sweetness has decreased a bit, but is still quite prominent, while the strength has finally hit the medium mark. The burn continues to be razor sharp until the end, and the draw continues in its excellence as well. I am able to smoke the cigar down to less than an inch left with problems, and the nub is cool to the touch when I put it down.

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition 4

Final Notes

  • As with most cigars that have a pigtail on the cap, I just pulled the pigtail off instead of cutting each of the three samples I smoked. I was rewarded with excellent draw each time.
  • Agros Tabacos Industriales is owned by Omar Ortez. It’s one of the few factories in Nicaragua located outside of Estelí, in this case, Condega.
  • As our original story mentions, the blend was supposedly going to be named the Grand Empire Reserve Connecticut Edition, but that has now been changed to the Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition.
  • Like the original Grand Empire Reserve, the line launches in one size. 
  • Charlie Minato smoked one of the original Connecticut prototypes, he had positive things to say about it.
  • The construction for all of the samples I smoked was nothing short of phenomenal and the smoke production was massive.
  • I love the fact that these come in 10-count boxes, as it definitely makes them easier to afford by the box. I think it’s particularly intelligent for newer brands trying to open new accounts.
  • The final smoking time for the three samples I smoked averaged a relatively quick one hour and 15 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were provided to halfwheel by Reinado Cigars.

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90 Overall Score

I am always on the lookout for a great Connecticut wrapped cigar and the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Ecuador Edition fits the bill nicely. The profile is not only decently complex, but also consistent on all of the samples, and I love the fact that the first size was a petit lancero, making it ideal for a fairly short smoke in the morning. The burn and draw were absolutely phenomenal on each sample, and they put out quite a bit more smoke than I expected. All in all, a very good cigar that I can easily recommend, especially if you are looking for a flavor bomb as an early morning smoke with coffee.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.