Reynaldo Jimenez is one of the major custom rollers who plies his craft in Cuba. The main location he works out of is the Hotel Conde de Villanueva, which is the former mansion of Claudio Martínez de Pinillos, Count of Villanueva, the leader of Cuban Creole society in the nineteenth century. The building dates back to the end of the 18th century, but it has been fully restored and is now run by the Office of the City Historian of Havana. The Hotel also apparently features Sebastian, the pet peacock, who roams the large central courtyard.

Sadly, I have not been to Cuba, so here are some photos of Reynaldo at work used by permission from our good friend over at Nino Munoz, whose blog, is a must see for any cigar lover:

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And some photos of his creations.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Reynaldo Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: La Casa del Habano Hotel Conde Villanueva
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Size: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • Est. Price: n/a
  • Date Released: 2010
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The cigar itself is a wonderful specimen. The wrapper is a very light golden brown, and there are quite a few veins running up and down the length of the cigar. There is a small pigtail on top of the cap, and the wrapper smells heavenly, like a combination of hay, earth, sweet leather and manure. It is a smell that is extremely recognizable. The cigar is very spongy when squeezed, but I have found that is not unusual with custom lanceros.

The first third starts off with just the ideal amount of spice on the tongue, along with some leather and pepper. It mellows off nicely after about 20 puffs, and the dominant flavor switches to an amazing creamy, sweet hay note that coats the inside of my mouth.

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About halfway through the first third, I took a photo of the amazing burn line of this cigar.

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The second third gets even better, if that is possible. The spice is still present, just a tad more than a background note, as were flavors of sweet chocolate, cedar, leather and an interesting floral note, which is hard to describe, but easy to enjoy.

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The last third is a continuation of the flavors that is present before. There was a bit more spice present, and notes of chocolate, leather, cedar, earth, and hay all together. Also mixed in, mostly at the very end, is a great sweet maple flavor that combined perfectly with the spice. The floral note is still very much in the background, almost too faint to be of any consequence at this point in the cigar. The cigar never gets hot or bitter at the end and I nub it as far as I could.

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Final Notes:

  • The burn and draw were absolute perfection for the entire cigar. Never had even the hint of a problem with either.
  • The ash did not stay on the cigar for longer than about a half inch for the entire smoke, no matter what I did to keep it on longer.
  • While this cigar was not an overwhelmingly strong smoke, nor did I expect it to be, there was a noticeable nicotine kick, especially at the end.
  • These custom rolled Cubans are not easy to find, and tend to be fairly expensive unless you can buy them from the rollers in Cuba, due mostly to the difficulties with getting more than a few at a time out of Cuba.
  • I was amazed at the wonderful flavors in this cigar, especially considering that it is basically only about six months old. I can only imagine what it will be like in five or 10 years.
  • The final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes.
93 Overall Score

To say I was impressed with this cigar is like saying the Death Star was a "big base." I can't help but think that the combination of complex flavors that changed constantly throughout the cigar and the perfect construction, burn and draw make this the epitome of the Cuban cigar experience. This is what I am looking for when I smoke Edición Regional after monotonous Edición Limitada, and honestly — there are very few, non-aged Cubans, that have come close to being this good in my humble opinion. Hopefully, this is the first of many great cigars in this series, and not the best example first.

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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.