One of the Grand ol’ Dames of Cuban cigars, the El Rey Del Mundo (“King of the World”) was founded in 1882. The Choix Supreme, a Hermosos No. 4 vitola, just over 4.5 inches long with a 48 ring gauge, is perhaps one ERDM’s most well known cigars.

Its easy to mistake the ERDM as a robusto — but the Hermosos No. 4 is generally a more subtle cigar (other fine examples of the vitola are the RyJ Exhibicion No. 4 and the Saint Luis Rey Regios) than the head-on flavour delivery of a robusto. As it happened, this particular piece of trivia mattered litle with the box of ERDM Choix Supreme i received, and from which i sampled the cigar for this review.

I found this box hidden in the back recesses of the famed Casa la Habanos of Dubai Duty Free — they had about 12-15 boxes of ERDM Choix on display, and i took my time to open and inspect each box (they were already open, so it wasn’t like i was breaking a virgin box). I’ve had some prior experience with this cigar before — and the first dozen boxes or so i opened looked rather like what i would expect the Choix to look like. Most boxes had a ’02 or ’03 year stamp on them. Right at the back, i found something different: a ’01 box with cigars that were unusually dark, just a shade off maduro. The scent was overpowering yet distinct: these were ERDMs alright, but i really couldn’t explain why they were so dark. I just had to have these cigars, if for no other reason than they are an unusual find.

I smoked one recently, after letting the box rest for a month or so, and this cigar is remarkable for some very unusual reasons.

Nice, firm ash — even burn

The cigar had a healthy bloom on it when i inspected it. Its wrapper was otherwise perfect, except for its unusually dark colour. I had another Choix from another box to compare it with: the difference was marked. The scent test was delightful — the ERDM Choix tickled my nose with its soft woody notes.

The ash just keeps on going!

A swift cut later, a licking from my torch, and this cigar was away. I’ve had exactly 3 sticks of Choix before and none of them could have prepared me for the cigar i had in my hands. The draw was consistent and smooth and the burn started and ended evenly and fine. Absolutely no problems there, and nothing uptowardly unusual. What was unusual was the incredibly spicy and and full flavours the Choix delivered. From the first draw to the last, this cigar was a true heavy-weight. Very deep chocolate and wood flavours, dark leather tones, very unlike a traditional Choix. In fact, the only way i knew it was a Choix was from the unique cedar-flower aroma of the smoke.

Right to the nub

Verdict: I smoked this one right to the little-bitsy nub. That should tell you what i think about this fantastic cigar. The spiciness took me by surprise so early on, and it pleasantly peppered my lips throughout. Delightful! The flavour, while strong, didn’t get out of hand. A superb long finish accompanies the end of this cigar. Wow. Highly Recommended.