Punch cigars have been made for a long, long time, but until now the Cuban brand never had a 50-ring-gauge smoke in its regular-production portfolio. That’s all changing with the launch of the Punch Short de Punch, a short but fat smoke that expands this venerable Cuban brand, which has been made for more than 170 years.
The new Punch Short de Punch, which was announced at the Habanos Festival two weeks ago, is 4 3/4 inches long by 50 ring, a size called Paraíso in Cuban cigar factories. It’s one of the shortest cigars brought out at the show, and it falls between the petit robusto and the traditional robusto size in terms of length. You won’t find another cigar in the regular Habanos portfolio with quite the same dimensions.
The short, stout cigars will come in plain, unvarnished wooden boxes (known as semi boite nature presentation) with 10 cigars in each box.
The Punch brand is among the oldest of Cuban brands, dating back to 1840. It ended up in the portfolio of Fernández Palicio y Cia. circa 1930, a company that also sold the mighty Hoyo de Monterrey brand. Palicio owned Punch and Hoyo up until the Cuban Revolution, when the company was nationalized by Cuba.
When you think of Punch, you typically think of corona gordas, also known as toros, for the brand once boasted a large library of those shapes. The Punch Punch is the best known (and it’s still made), but there was also the Black Prince, the Punch Royal Selección No. 11 and the Super Selection No. 2. Each of those cigars measured 5 5/8 inches long by 46 ring gauge.
But despite its long history, Cuban Punch cigars were never made in the robusto vitola (4 7/8 by 50) or in any straight-sided format thicker than 49 ring. (There was a huge figuardo with a 55 ring gauge produced years ago, but it has been discontinued, and some Regional Editions with a 50 ring gauge exist as well.) Cigars with ring gauges of 50 have grown increasingly popular in recent years.
Expect the new Punch to take some time before it appears on store shelves. The earliest you should expect them is toward the end of 2019, but it wouldn’t be unusual for their debut to be pushed into 2020.