Max Foulkes takes us through the latest Cuban releases - some still in the making and some that have recently become available for your smoking pleasure.
Considering the current climate, it’s hard to believe that thought is being given to the creation of new cigars with the intention of release as standard production. I have, however, been informed of a number of Puros in the making, some closer to completion than others and one boasting a Vitola never before seen as a continued release. At the rate at which favourites of mine find themselves discontinued, the thought of being given the opportunity to smoke something new without the prospect of its cessation within the next few years excites me greatly.
One of the greatest tragedies in the Cuban cigar industry was the decision to desist with production of the majority of the ‘Le Hoyo’ series. Discontinuation was incremental with the Du Dauphin’s existence ceasing first after just 33 years on the market, followed shortly by the du Roi, du Gourmet, des Dieux and du Prince. Those pining for a decent smoke were left setting fire to Epicure No.2s, No.1s, Especials, from 2014 the San Juan and 2018 the Rio Seco. Combining both the width of the San Juan and length of the Epicure No.2, we’re soon to witness the advent of the Epicure No.3. This will be a stout cigar I expect to smoke for 50 minutes, hopefully providing its consumer with a comparable enjoyment time. Intriguing me most is the stick’s presentation, packaged both in slide lid boxes of 10, not dissimilar to the Epicure de Luxe, and display boxes of singles housed individually in aluminium tubes. Cuba’s objective was to debut the No.3 this year, something I and many others now believe to be an impossibility. I shan’t be disheartened, despite the 2020 LEs still having yet to have made their appearance.
Soon to be the latest addition to the Montecristo Open Range is the ‘Slam’. This line of cigars experienced their initial encounter with fire, no doubt on a golf course, in 2009. Since then they’ve been enjoyed as a milder alternative to the classic blend, allowing for the delivery of the brand’s conventional earthiness without the, on occasion, disagreeably high nicotine content. The Slam is a ‘Robusto Extra’ (54x142) that I doubt will ever be mistaken for the fabled Trinidad sharing both this cigar’s dimensions and Vitola de Galera. I’m hoping this new cigar is released to the agreeable standard of the line’s construction.
The Quai D’Orsay 52 (52x6 1/8) is one of the new releases to have left the Torcedores’ bench already, finding itself premiered at the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris last month. Initially made for the french market, the importance of which is often stressed by the Habanos co-president Luis Sánchez-Harguindey Prado de Vera, aficionados witnessed the brand’s release globally just 5 years ago, despite its initial appearance and continued production dating back to the early 1970s. Cigar fashion, as well as fashion in general, is as ephemeral as it gets. Long gone are the days when the Coronas Claro, baring the old matte brown band, were a staple in most humidors. The No.50 and 54 have since taken its place. Due to the mammoth jump of 2/64 of an inch in diameter between the two, it seemed only right Cuba fill the gap with the 52, the cigar we never knew we needed and a cigar I’m still not entirely sure we do. Never the less, this is a Cuban to be welcomed with open arms, taking pride of place in cigar merchant’s humidors on shelves that currently lie bare.
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