Though Alexander the Great conquered the ancient city of Sur and reduced it to rubble, Cuban cigar distributor Phoenicia Trading decided to memorialize the city instead with the Ramon Allones Sur, the newest Regional Edition Cuban cigar created especially for the Lebanese market.
The Ramon Allones Sur, now available throughout Beirut's duty-free shops, pays tribute to the ancient Phoenician island city of Sur (modern-day Lebanese city of Tyre), which was a center for trade and commerce founded around 2750 BC before its destruction.
The city's rich history is memorialized through the Ramon Allones Sur, which measures 5 1/2 inches long by 52 ring gauge, sharing its dimensions with the Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios. Only 5,000 numbered boxes of 25 have been produced. The Surs retail for $375 per box or $15 per cigar.
The internal box art depicts Europa, a mythological character who, according to the myth, was born in Sur. Enamored by her beauty, Zeus took the form of a white bull and carried her off to the island of Crete for an undisturbed love affair.
This release marks one of the last Regional Edition cigars of 2014 to hit the market. Habanos S.A., worldwide distributor of Cuban cigars, has been known to release Regional Edition cigars quite late, often times well into the next calendar year.
Phoenicia Trading normally adopts the Ramon Allones line for its regional program. The first was the Ramon Allones Phoenicio in 2008, followed by the Ramon Allones Beritus in 2009, the Phoenicia 32 in 2010, Macedonian in 2011, Eshmoun in 2012 and Sidon in 2013. Why always Ramon Allones? The brand is very popular in the region, and Phoenicia Trading considers it to be the local brand of Lebanon.
With offices in Cyprus, Greece, and Beirut, Phoenicia Trading is the exclusive Habanos distributor for the Middle East, parts of Europe and most of continental Africa, providing cigars for more than 40 countries, and is one of Habanos's largest customers. The company was founded in 1978 by Mohammed Zeidan, who is president of Phoenicia and the first recipient of the Habanos Man of the Year award in 1996.
For a rating on the Ramon Allones Sur, see a future issue of Cigar Insider.