Officially launched in 1997, Vegas Robaina marca is one of the youngest brands in Habanos S.A.’s portfolio and named after the famous Alejandro Robaina, who grew tobacco at his Cuchillas de Barbacoa farm in San Luis, Pinar Del Río. After the elder Robaina passed away in 2010, his grandson Hirochi quickly began making a name for himself, even launching his own brand in the U.S. in 2014.
In 2015, Habanos S.A. began shipping a new Edición Regional release under the Vegas Robaina marca: the Short Robaina, a 4 1/3 x 42 petit corona packaged in individually numbered dress boxes produced for the country of Andorra, which is a tiny country located between France and Spain. Although it shipped to retailers close to a year after it was supposed to, the release consisted of only 2,000 boxes of 25 cigars.
For those who may not be familiar with the Edición Regional program, here is a brief summary:
In 2005, Habanos S.A. introduced a new series of limited production releases that would eventually become to be known as Edición Regional (Regional Edition). The program took regular Habanos S.A. brands and gave their regional distributors special sizes that aren’t part of respective brands regular production line-up. In some cases, like the Bolivar Gold Medals, Habanos S.A. gave specific distributors sizes that had been discontinued, but most are sizes that have never been available prior. There’s one major exception to the rule and that would be perhaps the most famous ER, the Edmundo Dantés El Conde 109, which is an ER available for Mexico that is related to the Montecristo brand, but is largely its own brand.The first Edición Regionals didn’t feature the red and silver secondary bands that read “Exclusivo (Region Name)” that have become synonymous with the ER releases.
As expected for the vitola, the Vegas Robaina Short Robaina is both quite small and quite light when held in my hand, with a golden brown wrapper that seems noticeably lighter than what I am used to with other Edición Regionals. The wrapper is very smooth to the touch and while there are a few bumps, there is also some obvious oil present. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of cinnamon, earth, grass, vanilla sweetness, cedar and barnyard while the cold draw brings flavors of orange citrus, cedar, creamy peanuts, cinnamon, hay and milk chocolate sweetness.
- Cigar Reviewed: Vegas Robaina Short Robaina Edición Regional Andorra (2014)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Length: 4 1/3 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Petit Corona
- MSRP: $13.40 (Boxes of 25, $335)
- Release Date: 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 25 (50,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Flavors in the Vegas Robaina Short Robaina start rolling in almost instantly after I toast the foot, including cedar, leather, creamy almonds, anise, dark chocolate and hay, along with a slight floral sweetness on the finish that seems to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. There is also a nice rich espresso note that combines nicely with a very slight white pepper on the retrohale, both of which seem to be content to stay where they are for the moment. Although the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, the burn starts up a bit wavy, forcing me to touch it up within the first 10 puffs. Strength-wise, the Vegas Robaina is quite light, failing to get out of the mild range as the first third comes to an end.
Although not a huge note so far, I start notice an interesting saltiness on my lips as the second third of the Vegas Robaina begins that seems to make the other flavors of cedar, gritty earth, hay, leather, cocoa nibs, creamy almonds and a touch of earthiness that is more distinct. The floral sweetness from the first third stays pretty consistent, although there is more white pepper on the retrohale compared the first third. Construction-wise, the Short Robaina still continues to feature a wavy burn that does not seem to want to even up, but the draw is still one of the best aspects. Overall, the strength does increase a bit, but the cigar still does not come close to reaching the medium mark by the time the second third closes.
The final third of the Vegas Robaina Short Robaina is virtually a carbon copy of the preceding third, with the same saltiness on my lips and mostly the same flavors, albeit in slightly different strengths: strong hay, creamy cedar and almonds as well as leather, earth and a nice amount of both white pepper and bitter espresso on the retrohale. One big change is the floral sweetness, which declines noticeably. It never comes close to reaching the same level it crested in the second third, although the strength does increase enough to come a bit closer to the medium mark. Finally, while the construction includes a familiar slightly wavy burn and wonderful draw for the first little bit of the final third, the nub gets harsh very quickly with about an inch to go, forcing me to put it down a bit before I wanted to.
- The Vegas Robina marca is responsible for perhaps one of the most interesting Edición Regional releases so far: the Marshal made for Adriatic region in 2008. The cigar was originally supposed to be a La Gloria Cubana, but due to trademark concerns, it was changed to be a Vegas Robaina release. Rather than creating new boxes, Vegas Robaina logos were pasted on top of the already-made La Gloria Cubana boxes.
- As I mentioned in my review of the Bolívar Short Bolivar, despite Andorra’s tiny size it has had seven releases in the Edición Regional program since it started: the Juan López Short Robusto in 2009, the Juan López Selección No.5 in 2010, the Por Larrañaga Robusto Superior in 2011, the Ramón Allones Petit Allones in 2013, the Vegas Robaina Short Robaina in 2014, the Juan López Malecon in 2015 and the Bolívar Short Bolívar in 2017.
- One of those reasons probably has to do with the tax rate in the country compared to its larger neighbors.
- The final sample featured quite a bit of a soapy note in the profile; not a bad flavor by any means, but noticeably different flavor-wise compared to the other two.
- In addition to the above, the other two samples featured quite a bit of floral sweetness on the retrohale that really helped the overall complexity.
- While the overall construction was not close to what I would call terrible in any way—the draw was actually excellent throughout—each of the three samples had to be touched up at least once, and each of them became very hot at the end.
- Maori Tabacs S.A. is the distributor for the Andorra region.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel, we paid $67 for five of them.
- Average smoking time for all three samples was an extremely quick 49 minutes.
As anyone who has read my past reviews of the Edición Regional cigars can attest to, there has been a large variance between the various releases in terms of construction, profile complexity and consistency. The Vegas Robaina Short Robaina seems to be a perfect example of this trend: two of the cigars I smoked featured almost exactly the same profile, while the third was markedly different. In addition, while each of the cigars did have to be touched up at least once, another main issue I had with the Short Robaina is that each sample became quite hot about halfway through the final third, forcing me to put it down just a little bit before I wanted to. A decent enough release—especially for the size—but don’t assume you are going to get to smoke all the way down to the nub.