The Cuban Quai d'Orsay brand might be one of the smallest lines in the Habanos portfolio, but France is determined to keep the name alive through the Regional Edition program. Early next year, France will be receiving the Quai d'Orsay Secreto Cubano, a 4 3/8 inch by 40 ring gauge petit corona slated to retail for 7.50 euro ($8.31). Only 10,000 boxes of 10 are being produced.
Should you find yourself in France and are fortunate enough to get your hands on one of these boxes, one of the first things that will jump out at you (after the aroma, of course) is the new band—it's larger, flashier and almost the exact opposite of the original understated, matte-finish Quai d'Orsay band that made its market debut in 1974. The new band is not only glossier and embossed, but has now been framed with a lustrous gold ring border around the edge. This new pattern marks the third incarnation of this band, which started matte in the '70s, went glossy in 2011 and is now gilded.
Quai d'Orsay was created in the 1970s by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who was France's secretary of the treasury. He felt that France needed an official cigar to complement the country's other lifestyle products such as Champagne and foie gras. The Quai d'Orsay cigar, named after the wharf along the river Seine in Paris, was the result.
Although never a major brand, Quai d'Orsay at one point had as many as five sizes. Today, there is only one size left in regular production, the corona.
Quai d'Orsay cigars are imported in France via SEITA, the French arm of Imperial Tobacco PLC and the country's regional distributor of the cigar. According to SEITA, the new Secreto Cubano cigars are being rolled right now.
For a rating on the cigar, see an upcoming issue of Cigar Insider.