It is always a pleasure to get an early look at a great new cigar. Thanks to a good friend who was traveling in Mexico and headed back to the United States, and a conversation with Max Gutmann, the importer of Cuban cigars into Mexico, I was able to get my hands on the new Mexico Regional Edition cigar, the Edmundo Dantes Conde 54.
This is a beautiful cigar. The light, reddish-brown Colorado wrapper speaks to the current high quality of Cuban wrapper leaf. And, the construction of this cigar is perfect. While it did show some uneven smoking performance that I associate with the relative young age of the cigar, the flavors were already quite mature and robust, with strong notes of coffee bean and some pleasant toastiness. There’s also a solid backbone of earthiness that I always associate with a healthy dose of ligero leaf in the blend.
The Conde 54, also known as the Sublimes, highlights Habanos S.A.’s new fascination with larger ring gauge cigars. There was an Edición Limitada in 2004 constructed in the Sublimes’ dimensions, and it was one of the first Cuban cigars to exceed 50 ring gauge. Then, the Cohiba Behike was produced in 52, 54 and 56 ring gauges, which represented the first time the Cubans had opted for regular production parejos with ring gauges thicker than 54. The Conde 54 measures 6 1/2 inches by 54 ring gauge. It is a substantial cigar that burns coolly and with an excellent draw.
This is the second Regional Edition cigar for Mexico. The first one, the Edmundo Dantes Conde 109, was about 7 1/4 inches by 50 ring gauge with a tapered head. It was an excellent cigar that was well received in the market and quickly sold out its production. Only 1,000 boxes of the Conde 54 will be made.
Since Cigar Aficionado does not rate cigars non-blind, I won’t give a score to this cigar. But it is an excellent, medium- to full-bodied smoke that approaches our classic rating, and with a few years of box age, it will become a great Cuban cigar.