In 2005, Habanos SA deployed a new marketing strategy by releasing the Regional Edition (Edición Regional) Series. These were cigars specifically and exclusively made and distributed to the various regions around the world, such as Asia Pacific (which includes Malaysia) and more specific regions such as United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland. You can find more information about these cigars on the Cuban Cigar Website (the best Cuban cigar resource on the Internet, in my opinion).
Since i heard about these cigars, i’ve been itching to sample some of these cigars, to see if the hype matches the end product. I picked up several cigars from various regions during a recent visit to La Casa del Habano here in KL, and i’ll be doing a series of reviews of each, to get a feel of how these “premium” and “exclusive” cigars stack up against the regular production Habanos. (View all the regional reviews).
The Vegas Robaina Petit Robaina was released in 2009 for the Canadian region, and it follows the recent trends of being shorter and stumpier; perhaps the research shows that this is the vitola that many aficionados prefer today. Weighing in at a 52RG and just about 110mm, it does look imposing. The wrapper is a gorgeous honeyed double claro, and the particular stick i had was an example of the care and attention that goes into the selection of tobaccos for the regionals. Wonderfully smooth, very minimal veining and just the right firmness to the touch. The cigar itself had a nice oily sheen that felt luxurious under the fingers.
Pre-light examination revealed a scent of toasted caramels that i found quite pleasing, with that light grassy hint that is quite common among Cuban cigars. Slicing the cap off, it took a moment to light. The first couple of draws were immediately spicy in short bursts of acidic flavour; that really took me by surprise as i don’t normally associate this with the Vegas Robaina brand. See my review of the Famosos from several years ago.
But just as suddenly as it started, it backed off right away, and the first third was dominated by a mild tobacco flavour that, while nice, wasn’t inspiring. The draw was lush and light, almost too easy for my liking, but i was rewarded by large plumes of aromatic smoke that quickly filled the room.
The second half changed the complexion of the cigar quite drastically, as i began to experience a full assault of heavy spice and pepper. The flavour really opens up at this point, and it took a lot of patience to hold back and pace my draws. It really was quite delicious, and was certainly the best part of the cigar. The nicotine punch was quite pronounced as well, and a warm tingling sensation that some may enjoy (and others not) began to swim over me.
The final third was a bit disappointing, as combustion problems arose, and the cigar died out despite not having been left alone. A quick tap of the ash revealed some tunneling that i dislike, as the photos reveal. A quick re-light was needed, and the flavour changed once again. A deep velvety leathery thickness became quite pronounced, and a peppery burn on the lips was noticed.
The finish is actually quite good, and even after several hours since i took the last draw, i can still taste a nice, pleasurable resonance on the palate.
As a final observation, as you can see from the photos, the burn line on this cigar was razor sharp — this tells me that the leaf was well cured, and the finished product properly aged. Its obvious some very choice leaves went into the production of this cigar, perhaps much better on average than what we can find in the regular production of Cuban cigars.