New Releases From Habanos: What's Out And What's Coming
Late summer and early fall are usually the times of year when cigar shops around the world receive most of the new and limited-edition releases from Cuba. The cigars are traditionally previewed in February at the Habanos Festival, and then trickle into the market as early as August or as late as the following January. This year, retailers have received some, but not all, of the scheduled 2015 releases from Habanos S.A., the global distributor for Cuban cigars.
One of the first new cigars to reach the global market was the H. Upmann Magnum 56 Edición Limitada. Measuring a hefty 5 7/8 inches by 56 ring gauge, it's the thickest H. Upmann ever released. This cigar is a continuation of the Magnum Series within the H. Upmann line, which started with Magnum 46. Then, in 2005, the Magnum 50 was released as an Edición Limitada before becoming a regular-production cigar in 2008. Habanos has not announced any plans to turn the Magnum 56 into a regular-production cigar. Boxed in slide-lid cabinets of 25, it retails for £28.96 (about $44) in the U.K.
Made with a more traditional ring gauge, the Ramon Allones Club Allones Edición Limitada (92 points, Cigar Insider) measures 5 3/8 by 47 and is also available in retail shops around the world. The Club Allones comes in regular dress boxes of 10 and retails for £18.88 (about $28.75). It marks the second time a Ramon Allones has been chosen for the Edición Limitada program, which started 15 years ago.
For the first time in brand history, Partagás has gone dark with the Partagás Maduro No. 1. It's one of the few Cuban cigars that officially wears a maduro wrapper and started appearing at retail in August. Though billed by Habanos as being a La Casa del Habano and "Habanos specialist" exclusive, the cigar lacks the secondary band that normally identifies such releases. Rather, the secondary band reads "Maduro No. 1, Partagas-Habana." Each cigar measures 5 1/8 by 52 and comes in wood boxes of 25. To better distinguish these unorthodox maduros from regular-production Partagás, the boxes are affixed with dark brown exterior side stickers (called costeros in Cuban cigar factories) as well as a large dark brown protective leaf of paper (bofeton) on the inside of the box. They retail for £18.95 (about $28.85) each in the U.K.
The Romeo y Julieta Cedros de Luxe is the second La Casa del Habano exclusive for 2015, yet this cigar is adorned with the normal secondary sienna-colored band usually found on La Casa exclusives. At 5 1/2 by 50, it is the thickest cigar in Romeo's Cedros de Luxe line, which does not go beyond a 42 ring gauge. It's also the most expensive, retailing for £20.40 (about $31).
There's still no sign of the Montecristo 80 Aniversario or the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Gran Reserva Cosecha 2009. The Montecristo was created to celebrate the brand's 80th anniversary. The large cigar measures 6 1/2 by 55 and is adorned with a bold, golden Montecristo band minted especially for this release. Only 30,000 boxes of 20 are being produced, but there is no official word from Habanos as to when it will come out. Nor is there word on the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill, which was purportedly made with tobaccos from a 2009 vintage crop. Only 5,000 boxes were produced. The Gran Reserva designation indicates that all the tobacco in the cigar is aged for a minimum of five years before the cigar is rolled.
The list of proposed 2015 products from Habanos also indicated other upcoming releases like the Hoyo de Monterrey Maravilla, Romeo y Julieta Club King and Partagás 170 Aniversario humidor, but those lists are subject to change and there have been no updates regarding these cigars.
The Montecristo Media Corona also hit retail this summer, as did the new glossy Trinidad Vigía Tubos, which come in handy packs of three. Astute fans of the Trinidad brand might remember plans for the Trinidad Robusto T Tubo back in 2009, but the project was scrapped and the Robusto T was discontinued. The Vigía is the newest regular-production Trinidad.
Habanos put another Hoyo in a tube with the Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo de San Juan Tubo. First released last year, the 5 7/8 by 54 cigar now comes in a glossy white, pull-top aluminum tube. Like many tubed Cuban cigars, these Le Hoyo de San Juans come in packs of three. They retail for £25.23 (about $38) each in the U.K, or £75.69 (about $114) per three-pack.
For ratings on the new Cuban cigars, see upcoming issues of Cigar Insider.