In a Casa del Habano shop on the island of Saint Kitts, store manager Orlens Guerra keeps his new Diplomaticos Reserva Exclusivas out of sight. They’re one of Cuba’s newest Regional Edition cigars, and this one is made exclusively for the Caribbean and Central American territories, but he’s holding off until next month before he puts them out for sale.
“We are keeping ours for the start of the cruise season,” Guerra tells Cigar Aficionado. “American tourists are most of our customers. Our store is located at the very entrance of the Cruise Port, in the duty-free area in Saint Kitts.”
At 5 7/8 inches long by 54 ring gauge, the Diplomaticos Reserva Exclusiva is a size known as a geniales in Cuban cigar factories, the same beefy format as more common Cuban cigars such as the H. Upmann Connossieur B or Montecristo Open Eagle. The price at the Saint Kitts La Casa has been set for $700 per box of 25, or $28 per cigar. Although the official currency in Saint Kitts is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, this Casa is in a duty-free zone, where they trade in U.S. dollars.
You could get it cheaper if you island hop a little north to Saint Barthélemy, where the new Diplomaticos only costs $550 per box, or $22 per cigar. But the Casa del Habano there doesn’t plan on selling the cigars until October either.
“We’ve been lucky to have only a few boxes, but they are not on our shelves yet,” says Sandrine, who runs the Casa on the tiny island better known as St. Barths, and did not want to give her last name. She hopes to put some away for aging, as she believes that these cigars will be ideal 18 months from the production date. At least, that’s the plan. Seeing how the box dates for this first run of Diplomaticos are stamped February 2021, they won’t be optimum by her estimate until August 2022.
“It will be a very nice best-seller once it reaches the perfect age,” she says.
Off the coast of Venezuela on the island of Curaçao, the Regional Editions are for sale right now. Official Habanos Specialist Don Caribe sells them for $38 each. Don Caribe is located right on Mambo Beach Boulevard, a seaside commercial strip in Curaçao’s capital.
“The Diplomaticos Reserva Exclusivo is bought by both locals and tourists,” said Ken Bakhuis, the shop’s co-owner. “Although I must say that the sale to tourists is higher. Often they will contact us before visiting Curaçao to reserve a box.”
This Diplomaticos is only the third Regional Edition designated for the Caribbean, following the La Gloria Cubana Paraiso in 2014 and the Juan Lopez Short Torpedo in 2008.
The Diplomaticos Reserva Exclusivas come to the Caribbean and Central America by way of regional distributor Caribbean Cigars Corporation N.V., a company that counts more than 30 countries in its sphere of distribution, including Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Martinique and Montserrat as well as El Salvador, Honduras and Belize.
Only 2,400 boxes of these Regional Edition Diplomaticos are being produced.
For a rating of the new Diplomaticos Reserva Exclusiva, see an upcoming issue of Cigar Insider.