In June of 2012, Winston´s Humidor out of Midlothian, Va. announced a blend produced by Regius of London to commemorate their third anniversary in business. The release consisted of three culebras in a box, each of which had the same binder and filler, but was wrapped with a different wrapper. Only 100 total boxes were produced with an MSRP of $63.
More info was given in a press release:
Regius of London and Winston´s Humidor jointly announce the release of their limited edition cigar in honour of Winston´s Humidor´s third anniversary as a premium cigar tobacconist.
The cigar is in a Culebra (snake) format, in a set of 3 as is traditional. Each cigar has the same Nicaraguan binder and filler, but in a variation, 3 different wrappers are used – one for each cigar. There are 9 cigars in total in the box – 3 sets of 3.
The three wrappers used are Nicaraguan “claro” (light) Cuban Seed grown in Jalapa, an “oscuro” (dark) version of the same leaf and a Connecticut wrapper grown in Talanga, Honduras.
Kevin Edmiston, President of Winston´s Humidor, states “My goal to celebrate the third anniversary was to take the enjoyment of the cigar to the next level. I provide people with not only a memorable keepsake, but also an insight into the fundamentals of tobacco. I want to show my customers some of the history behind the Culebra, hence the description inside the box, and also how something seemingly so insignificant as the thin wrapper leaf can completely alter the flavour of the cigar”.
Akhil Kapacee, CEO of Regius of London said “Kevin smoked the Lord Madsen cigar which is not available in the States. He really enjoyed it and so we made the same cigar in Culebra format, with 2 other wrappers, creating a really interesting contrast”.
As was announced earlier this year, the company is once again producing a culebra, this time in honor of the U.K.’s Alfie Turmeaus Tobacconist, now part of Mitchell Orchant’s C.Gars Ltd family, although the cigars will be available for the U.S. While the cigars are the same size and feature the same wrappers as the Winston’s Humidor release, Kapacee says the filler blend is different. The cigars will debut in a week at the 2013 IPCPR trade show and convention.
- Cigar Reviewed: Regius Winston’s Humidor Third Anniversary Culebra Rosado
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa Rosado
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 39
- Vitola: Culebra
- MSRP: $7.00 (Boxes of 3 Culebras, $63.00)
- Date Released: August 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 3 Culebras (300 Culebras)*
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The rosado-wrapped portion of the Culebra has a slightly reddish mocha-brown color to it and a tiny amount of tooth when felt. Resistance is appropriate when squeezed and the cigar seems very well constructed, despite the overall twisted look. The wrapper has a tiny amount of oil present, and smells faintly of leather, oak and sweet chocolate.
The first third of the Rosado version of the Regius Culebra begins with strong flavors of leather, wood, dark chocolate, coffee beans and nuts. There is a noticeable white pepper on the retrohale and a fleeting spice that makes my tongue tingle, but neither of them are strong enough to really affect the profile much. A nice generic sweetness starts to show itself after the first 10 puffs or so and I find myself hoping it will develop into something more. The draw is excellent so far, but the burn is just a bit wavy, and while the smoke production is well above average, the overall strength barely hits a mild medium by the end of the first third.
Right about the start of the second third of the Regius Winston’s Humidor’s Third Anniversary Culebra, the sweetness I was tasting in the first third almost explodes, morphing into a wonderful vanilla note that pairs wonderfully with the white pepper that is still present on the retrohale. The spice on my tongue is long gone, but other flavors of espresso, chocolate, leather and creamy oak continue to ebb in and out, with no one note really being dominant. The burn has evened up nicely, and the draw continues to impress me, while the smoke production remains fairly high.
As the final third of the Regius Culebra starts, it is obvious the vanilla sweetness is beginning to recede a bit, although it is still a major player in the profile. The background flavors remain consistent: leather, dark chocolate, oak and coffee, and a white pepper on the retrohale that comes and goes until the end of the cigar. Both the burn and draw are wonderful until I have finished, and the strength ends firmly in the medium category. I am able to smoke the nub down to about a quarter of an inch before I even notice it getting warm, a testament to its construction.
- Before we start, basic culebra information:
- You smoke each cigar individually. This involves taking the string or ribbon off of the three cigars.
- You can smoke all three at once, but for most this will probably be too much, unless of course you normally smoke a trio of cigars together.
- Culebras require two people to twist the cigars into the shape they appear in.
- I have to say, the presentation of the three culebras in the box is amazing and distinctive. Whoever came up with the idea deserves a raise.
- The idea behind producing a culebra with three different wrappers is not new. Off the top of my head, both La Flor Dominicana and La Caridad del Cobre have produced them in the past.
- According to Cigar Press, the history of the culebra vitola is thus:
The Culebra is said to come from Cuba in the early 1800s. In Cuban cigar factories, the rollers were allowed to take three cigars home each day to smoke after work. Inevitably, many of those cigars ended up for sale on the black market. This led to the factories’ management to decide to twist or bend them in a way that would make it very difficult for the factory rollers to sell to the public because of their unappealing snake-like appearance. The management estimated that if the cigars were twisted together properly, it would remain possible for the cigar rollers to take them home and enjoy them, but they would not have much value on the black market. Other schools of thought believe that Culebras were created to ensure that cigar rollers weren’t smoking the profits away. They were allowed to smoke certain cigars only, and factory managers decided that by rolling them into Culebras they would see and account for exactly what the workers were smoking.
- I found it ironic that I smoked a cigar made by a Brit on Independence Day.
- Having said the above, I have always been impressed with Akhil Kapacee’s dedication to honoring the Cuban cigar culture with his releases, both in terms of flavor profile and the sizes he releases.
- Almost every Culebra is packaged in an individual coffin, this is an exception.
- A lot more manufacturers make culebras than you might think, the cigars just aren’t very popular.
- Of note, the Winston’s Humidor version was selling for under $60, the 2013 release will be $72. There are a few reasons that could explain the price difference, the likeliest being the general nature of cigar prices going up as well as the fact that SAG Imports is now distributing the cigars.
- The more I smoke of these vitolas, the more I am I am starting to think that every blend should have a culebras in it. In fact, a culebras was one of the best cigars I have ever smoked.
- Most culebras I have seen of non–Cuban origin seem to be between 6 1/2 to seven inches long – about the length of lancero – but the classic Cuban size of the culebras is actually 5 3/4 x 39, a Panatela that isn’t really a traditional Cuban size in orthodox parejo form. Interestingly, there are only three Cuban marcas that have ever officially produced a culebra: Partagás, H. Upmann and Romeo y Julieta.
- I am always amazed at the construction of a (well-rolled) culebra. Looking at one of the parts, it seems like they should not even be able to draw through them, but every one I have smoked has burned great.
- That being said, the rollers who roll culebras are going to be some of the better rollers on the floor given that anything at that ring gauge with any length will likely be amongst the most difficult sizes to roll for most factories.
- In fact, I was able to smoke both of my samples down to about a quarter of an inch without them getting noticeably hot, as you can see from the last photo above.
- Do not smoke this cigar—or any Culebra, honestly—too fast, or you will regret it, as they tend to get bitter fast.
- I cannot wait to try the cigar Regius made to be like Partagás Serie D No.4.
- The ash is a very light grey in color, extremely well-formed and almost totally seamless. However, as with almost all culebras I have ever smoked, the ash does not stay on for more than about half inch before falling at each point.
- Regius of London is distributed in the U.S.A. by SAG Imports, a sponsor of halfwheel.
- The final smoking time was quite a bit shorter than I expected, and averaged just over an hour for each sample.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Regius Winston’s Humidor’s Third Anniversary Culebra, Winston’s Humidor have a few left as of the publication of this review.
I have enjoyed the Regius cigars I have smoked in the past, as I have found them to be very well-made, with clean, well-balanced flavors. This specific release does quite a few things right: cool vitola, extremely well-constructed, a great presentation and a price that is lower than I would have believed for a Culebra. While the profile and flavors are not overly complex at any point, they are quite distinct, and I enjoyed each of the cigars I smoked quite a bit. In fact, I bought a box of my own. Just a nice, well-priced, easy-to-smoke-cigar, and I think a lot of people would be surprised at how much would like it.