Trinidad Topes (EL 2016) (Preproduction)

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If I walk into a store selling Cuban cigars and I needed something to smoke in that moment, chances are I’ll grab an Edición Limitada.

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.

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What’s unique about the Edición Limitada 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.

Typically, Habanos S.A. releases three Edición Regionals for each year. This year, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta and Trinidad all got the nod.

This is Trinidad’s third time being selected for the program following the Ingenios, a lonsdale released in 2007, and the Short Robustos T, a petit robusto take on Trinidad’s popular Robusto T released in 2010. This year, Habanos S.A. went in a somewhat different direction, a 4 11/12 (125mm) x 56 robusto gordo named Topes that furthers the company’s move toward thicker ring gauges.

It will be sold in Trinidad’s signature 12-count packaging with Edición Limitadas, and while no release date has been announced, the series regularly debuts in the latter half of the year. It was also the only one of the three Edición Limitada releases for 2016 handed out at the Festival del Habano XVIII in February.

Trinidad Topes (EL 2016) 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Trinidad Topes Edición Limitada 2016
  • Country of Origin: Cuba
  • Factory: n/a
  • Wrapper: Cuba
  • Binder: Cuba
  • Filler: Cuba
  • Length: 4 11/12 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Robusto Gordo
  • Est. Price: n/a
  • Release Date: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

My experience with Trinidad is limited to the aforementioned pair of Edición Limitadas, the Robusto and the Fundadores, though neither for a review on halfwheel. I’ve always found the marca’s wrappers to be on the darker side of average and the Topes is no exception. While the brown wrapper is quite beautiful, the cap seems haphazardly applied. The aroma off the wrapper presents nuts, salted chocolate and leather. Through the foot a sweeter cocoa emerges, as does a chocolate donut with a bit of barnyard. Cold draw is unmistakably Cuban with a great amount of resistance and a flavor list of berries, sourdough, some tangerine and a spiciness on the lips.

The Topes begins with pink salt, cedar, pita bread and some mild nuttiness. The initial puffs only produce a light amount of smoke in the mouth, though it’s pouring off the foot. Eventually the first third develops into a base of dried pita bread, mild charred meatiness and some berries. It’s easy to simply dismiss the flavor as simply toasty, but with some focus, the subtleties emerge, particularly on the finish. After an inch, I get some IPA-like hops through the nose—not the first time that’s happened. The cigar is burning extremely well, though the burn is a bit open. I’d peg strength and body at medium, while flavor is medium-plus.

Trinidad Topes (EL 2016) 2

Unfortunately, the burn issues find their way into both samples of the Trinidad Topes in the second third. One half of the cigar seems to not want to burn, which forces major corrections throughout the middle part. Whatever the construction issues, the flavor has improved with the pita, coffee, earthiness and a fresh campfire-like woodsiness in the mouth. Through the nose, I pick up lemongrass, wheat, roasting coffee beans and some saltine crackers. There’s some pepper on the back end, but it’s relatively faint. Body and strength remain medium, while the flavor has increased to medium-full.

Trinidad Topes (EL 2016) 3

The final third of the Trinidad adds some fruitiness to the profile—a defined lemon and apple mixture—alongside some pistachio, grassiness and a bit of saltiness. The sweetness is present up front, but it’s quickly overwhelmed by some pepper which sticks around the middle parts of the tongue well into the finish. One sample needs a full relight, which doesn’t seem to help the flavor profile. Other than that, the burn has at least fixed its evenness issues, though it’s hard to give the Topes high marks for construction.

Trinidad Topes (EL 2016) 4

Final Notes

  • A box code was not available for this cigar, nor was estimated pricing.
  • Outside of Cuba lies the Topes de Collates, part of the Escambray Mountains.
  • Given the recent woes with the Reserva and Gran Reserva series and the inability for products like the Montecristo 80 to come out on time, I’m curious to see if these actually come out in 2016.
  • While most people don’t think of Trinidad in the same light of Cohiba, it’s origin story is quite similar. The brand was relaunched after the revolution as a private brand for the Cuban government. Avelino Lara, the former head of the El Laguito factory, claimed they were a private brand of Fidel Castro. Castro himself denied this.
  • Cigars for this review were given to halfwheel at the Festival del Habano XVIII.
  • Final smoking time was two hours and 15 minutes on average.

Editor’s Note: As with every cigar given out during the Festival del Habano, there should be some disclaimers made. Samples of upcoming cigars given out at previous Festivals were almost certainly rolled at a different time than the production versions given the large gap in between the Festival and when the cigars shipped. Even if the cigars were rolled at the same time, the difference in time between when they were smoked for review and when they appear in the market will almost certainly show a distinct difference.

These reviews have been labeled as “preproduction” because there is likely to be a significant gap between when the cigars are reviewed and when they shipped. For reference, the two cigars we reviewed from last year’s Festival del Habano have not shipped as of late March, over one year after the Festival. — CM.

86 Overall Score

The Trinidad Topes follows much the same story of most of our reviews from the 2016 Festival del Habano, with one noted exception: this cigar did not want to burn. The young Trinidad showed that it’s an extremely flavorful cigar, fairly complex and rather enjoyable. That being said, the burn and the ring gauge are things that make this tough to recommend out of the class of cigars Habanos S.A. put forth at this year’s festival. Time will tell to see if the production versions taste anything like this.

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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