They Are Magnifico

Nov 26, 2007
On November 16 I smoked the fabulous regional edition Cuban cigar for the U.K. market in London’s Davidoff shop, and what a smoke. The Por Larrañaga Magnifico is one hell of a cigar. It was specially produced this year for Hunters & Frankau, the U.K. agent for Cuban cigars. It measures 50-ring gauge by 6 3⁄4 inches long.

The cigar is a replica of the famous Por Larrañaga Magnum, although it is two millimeters shorter. The original magnum was one of the greatest cigars ever produced in my opinion, even though it ceased production in the 1970s. I have smoked old Magnums over the years including those from the 1950s and 1960s and I was always impressed with the cedary, floral and rich tobacco flavor of the cigars. And the large size assured a beautiful draw.

The Magnifico is very close in character. Here is my tasting note: This starts out very florar with cedar and tea character. Very Por Larrañaga. Medium bodied very fine and balanced. Grows in flavor. Mine has a very white ash for a Cuban. This is very creamy and refined as you smoke it down. Superb smoke. 94 points.

The Magnifico was essentially the brainchild of Simon Chase, the marketing director of Hunters & Frankau. He is one of the most knowledgeable blokes (guys) I know on Cuban cigars. And his dream was always to make the PL Magnum again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t call his regional cigar by the same
name because H. Upmann is already making Magnums, primarily the Magnum 46 but also the Magnum 50 Edicion Limitada 2005.

Check out my video Simon and Edward Sahakian, owner of Davidoff London. Both said the new smoke reminded them of the old Cuban Dom Perignons from Davidoff.

Simon said that he flew to Cuba late last winter to finalize the production of the cigar at the new H. Upmann factory. He landed in Havana with two original magnums and about 20,000 gold leaf bands for the smokes. “I was worried what would happen if they stopped me in Havana airport,” he said as we prepared to smoke the cigar together with Edward Sahakian, the owner of the Davidoff shop. (Simon doesn’t strike me as resembling a counterfeiter or cigar bootlegger! He shouldn’t have worried.)

He had a couple of friends in the cigar trade and collectors to help him with the development of the Magnifico including Davidoff of London proprietor Edward Sahakian, fellow London cigar merchant Desmond Sautter and restaurateur and cigar connoisseur Sir Terrance Conran. They all went to the H. Upmann factory in Havana during the February cigar festival. Simon admitted they didn’t do much more than smoke the prototypes though. He asked for a slightly lighter wrapper or more claro in style. But he was more than pleased with the new smoke.

In any case, Hunters scored a superb regional smoke. And we all did too if you can afford the hefty price -- £456.80 for 25, £187.30 for 10, or £19 each.
"Hi James. since you have tried both the dante (Mexico),and the Magnificos (uk), which one do you prefer?." —April 7, 2008 18:01 PM
"Yes. It's called sampling..." —December 1, 2007 03:22 AM
"Sorry about that Simon. I always mix it up because the new La Corona factory is the old H. Upmann cigarette factory. Great smoke, where ever it was made!!" —November 27, 2007 12:54 PM
"James.Many thanks for the piece, but I must make just one correction. The Magnifico was made at the new La Corona factory under the direction of Jose Tavier, not at H. Upmann. Sorry if I misled you. Simon" —November 27, 2007 05:45 AM
"So England's smoking ban permits smoking in cigar stores?" —November 28, 2007 11:23 AM

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