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Happiness Is A Dark Wrapper Called Edición Limitada

I have been smoking a number of Edición Limitadas since arriving in Cuba more than a week ago. I am a big fan of the cigars. I can’t say that I have collected, or bought, every edition, but I have most likely smoked them all one time or another in my career.
I think they are getting better and better each year. I remember when they first came out in 2000: a robusto Montecristo, a torpedo Partagas and a gran corona Hoyo de Monterrey. The quality was pretty bad. In fact, the Hoyo was so bad that most key retailers in Germany and Great Britain returned them. They were re-released the year after, if I remember correctly.
I recall trying to smoke a Partagas Pirámide with Desmond Sautter at his shop in the fall of 2000, and I had to light two or three of the smokes to find one that burned properly. They were not a great success.

The 2001 and 2002 editions were better, but I think that the darker colored wrapper dominated the blend too much. This most likely could have been because the blends the Cubans were using at the time were far too bland; so the darker colored wrapper had a bigger influence on the cigar in general.

Some of this year's corona tobacco leaf harvest ripens in the sun.

In fact, I smoked a Romeo y Julieta Robusto Edición Limitada 2001 a few nights ago, and it was surprisingly mild with some spice and coffee character but rather neutral and boring. 87 points, unblind.

I was never a great fan of the RyJ E.L. Robusto anyway. I remember sitting on a panel during the 2002 cigar festival in Havana and comparing the robusto to the Partagas Serie D No. 4. The half dozen, or so, panelists preferred the standard issue Robusto to the Edición Limitada. Looks like we were right all along.

Anyway, what’s being made now as EL es la bomba. They are the bomb. They are excellent quality. I love last year’s, Cuaba Pirmáde. If you get the chance, find one and smoke one. (I have one in my bedroom waiting to be smoked. But I have a slight cold, and I am not smoking. It’s freezing cold in Cuba at the moment. Cubans are all wearing ski jackets here! I almost froze at the ballet the other night.)

I am looking forward to trying this year’s release of Edición Limitada: the Bolivar Petit Belicoso, 52 ring gauge by 4 7/8 inches, H. Upmann Magnum 48, 48 by 4 1/3 inches, and a Romeo y Julieta Duke, 54 by 4 7/8 inches. The later is a new vitola for Cuba. They should be announced this April, and released on the market later.

It’s the same story with the tobacco being used.

Dancer Carlos Acosta and Cuban ballet publicist Heriberto Cabeza speak with Hiroshi Robaina about corona leaves.

The wrapper is the highest priming on the plant, or corona, and they are left a few weeks later than normal to become as ripe as possible when picked. They are fermented and aged for two years before being put to use.
“We used to just leave the corona on the plant during the harvest, and never use them” Hiroshi Robaina pointed out earlier this week. He runs his family’s famous wrapper plantation near the town of San Luis. Check out my blog from a couple of days ago.

“Now we are happy to leave them on the plant and then harvest them at the right time for dark, limited edition cigars,” he added.

I am happy too. And I bet you are if you have smoked any.
Michael Thompson Berkeley, CA February 5, 2009 5:42pm ET
I'm wondering, James, why, if the corona leaves that are used for the LE cigars are alway the darkest, then how come the color of various LE cigars can vary so much? The Monteristo LE Robusto reissued in 2006 as well as the Trinidad LE Ignenios released in 2007 had lighter wrappers than many of the others, which are more maduro in color. Is this intentional or do the top leaves simply vary from plant to plant? I have to confess that I generally enjoy the lighter wrapper LE's more than the darker versions, as they don't seem to take as long to mature and don't, as you point out, dominate the taste of the cigar as much.
James Suckling February 6, 2009 10:37am ET
Funny you should mention this. I once asked Ana Lopez from Habanos about this and she said that LE's are not necessarily dark wrappers. They are simply wrappers from the very top of the plant, or the coronas. This said, they are normally colorado in color compared to claro for most normal cigars.
Steven Marsh Phoenix, AZ February 6, 2009 12:07pm ET
James~Did you leave your flip camcorder at home with you credit cards? Where are all the videos? What region is the Bolivar Petit Belicoso going to?~steve
Michael Thompson Berkeley, CA February 6, 2009 12:52pm ET
Thanks James! That was very helpful. Perhaps this distinction might be noted whenever CA or CI reviews Limited Edition Habanos, with relevant information regarding the flavor profile of their wrappers?

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