Robaina's plantation

Wednesday 31 July 2013

Ramon Allones 'Especial de Allones' Edicion Regional Francia 2008 (cigar review)

                I received this cigar through a trade with a friend who lives in Germany along the French border (or the other way around). Convenient, he's able to get me Regionals from France and Germany. This cigar was released in 2008, 2800 numbered boxes of 10 and 25 cigars were produced. This Campana weighs in at 52 x 140 (5 1/2"). I had this cigar after a Steak dinner accompanied by rice & black beans & yuka. I had one of my favourite wines, an Amarone by Zenato followed by a Santiago de Cuba Anejo Rum afterwards.
                Squeezing this cigar, I find it soft in a couple of spots. It makes me wonder how it's going to draw. Otherwise, a veinless cigar with a pointy cap. The pre-light draw gave me wood and tea. Once lit I picked up wood and straw. The burn was a little off and the draw, to my surprise, was a little firm. Once I got a little ways into this cigar it was tasting pretty mild with grassy notes and hints of earth and wood. The burn straightened itself out. By the time I got to the first quarter I picked up a hint of chocolate and the ash fell on it's own. It was definitely a mild smoke.
                 Nearing the half, the cigar is still mild and hasn't changed much. There's a little bitterness creeping in and I'm looking at a flaky ash. Passing the halfway mark the bitterness disappears but the flavour still hasn't changed. The last quarter is dominated by earthy flavours and it begins to pick up strength. It tastes great for a few minutes before I put it down, probably the best it's tasted throughout.
                 This cigar tasted like it was pretty good to go but could probably still change into something better down the road. I have one saved to try later on. It wasn't an overly exciting smoke but it doesn't mean it was bad either. It was pleasant all the way through and gave me no taste or burn issues and in my book that's a big deal. Worth a try if you can find one.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Partagas the Book (by Amir Saarony & Friends)

            I had the pleasure of picking up my copy of 'Partagas the Book' in Cuba on a current trip. I was sorry I missed the launch in Havana earlier this year but it was almost as good. I am happy to say that I'm a friend of Amir's and we don't live far from one another. I'm actually proud to personally know someone who can achieve such a masterpiece as this book. It's a must buy for any cigar lover but more so if you enjoy the Partagas Brand. It's packed with info and pictures....but read about it in Amir's words.

            At 272 pages and with more than 800 images, Partagás El Libro shows the great history of one of the world's most famous cigar brands. The lives and exploits of the men who owned it, their successes and foibles. Including, for the first time ever, the label from the cigars Jaime Partagás was convicted of forging another brand's cigars. The book looks at the owners, the cigars, advertising and competitors from the early era, as well as current quality control, the history of readers at the factory, an interview with the previous director of the factory and the history of the store as told by Abel Exposito, the manager of the La Casa Del Habanos in the factory for 17 years. As a special treat, Simon Chase, from Hunters and Frankau and one of the world's leading experts on the Cuban cigar and its history, writes about his early memories of visiting the Partagás factory. Many images and documents from the collections of the National Library of Cuba, The National Archives of Cuba, Partagás Archives, The Museum of Tobacco in Havana and collections private and public from all over the world. Collaboration with researchers, historians, collectors and writers from Cuban and abroad, the book will be an entertaining read to anyone who is interested in cigars, Cuba or history. Profits from this venture will generate a donation to the museum to help them to continue to collect, preserve, study, exhibit and promote the fascinating history of the cultural icon we call the Cuban cigar.

About the book itself:
Approx. 272 pages
8.75" x 11.25" ((22.225 cm x 28.575 cm)
Approximate weight: 3.6 lbs (1.6 kg)
Bilingual: English and Spanish
More than 800 images

             With over 2 years of effort by historians, writers, researchers, museum directors, collectors, cigar industry executives, cigar enthusiasts, translators, photographers and many others in Cuba and around the world. The final product was successfully launched during the Habanos Festival 2013, with a cocktail at the Partagás Factory. The response has been uniformly overwhelming. Profits from sales will generate a donation directly to the Museum of Tobacco in Havana to help continue researching and preserving the wonderful history of the Cuban cigar.

             As I said, this is a must have book for any cigar lover or would make the best gift for one. If anyone is interested, here's an address

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Partagas Culebra (cigar review)

                  I don't know how old this (these) cigar is...they were selling them as singles at the Partagas Store in Havana this past May and I couldn't resist picking one up. My guess is that it's pretty current. It smoked that way anyway. I don't understand how someone can roll this cigar, let alone make it so that it can be smoked. Inspecting the cigars closely, they're obviously rolled a bit looser so they become pliable and can be twisted into their final position. So well can they possibly smoke? Surprisingly, except for being just a tad loose, they smoked rather well. I was the first to question how this smoke was going to turn out. There was talk that they were going to be discontinued but I'm still waiting for the word. They were machine made until 2005 and hand made since 2007. This cigar is a 39 x 146 (5.7").
                   The pre-light draw gave me lots of wood. The wrapper was a little darker, oily and veinless. Once lit I picked up wood with a hint of floral notes, medium to strong body and dry. The draw was actually very I said, a little loose but not too bad at all. A big rustic earthiness took over after a few drags. The burn was also surprisingly good and not just with two friends were also having the same experience with theirs. I only smoked one of these one other time and remember having the same experience.
                   By the time I got to the first quarter I found the hints of floral coming and going but only faintly and the cigar had gone out a couple of times and had to be relit. I was having a problem because I usually smoke my cigars quickly but if I did that with this cigar it would burn hot (being so loosely rolled), by my smoking slower it had a tendency of going out. Went out again by the time I reached the half and after flicking the ash I noticed it was burning hotter through the middle so of course I touched it up. It's earthier now but otherwise the flavour hasn't changed much. The floral notes are a little more prevalent now past the half and I'm picking up hints of nutmeg.
                  So it continued like this to the end. I put it down at about the last quarter since it was beginning to take on some bitterness. I did however take a few drags through my dinner but at this point I considered it done like dinner. In conclusion....yes, I enjoyed it but as something different. Would I buy a box? No, but I would buy another single to share with 2 friends one day when I'm looking for something a little different. In my opinion it's a bit of a novelty. It doesn't taste too bad so it's not a terrible experience, quite fun actually. I enjoyed smoking them together with people I chose. I picked a great night; steak dinner at a friends house, good wine and rum with the usual 2 guys I smoke with. As far as my opinion on the actual seemed young and needed a couple of years to mature. It was a little rough around the edges but quite smokeable. If you ever have the opportunity, at least pick one up to share with a couple of friends. It's worth a try. It will definitely surprise you.



Monday 22 July 2013

Iglesia Catolica Santa Rita de Casia (Miramar, Havana) Return Visit

                 Once again I wasn't able to get any information on this church but at least this time I found it open and was able to take pictures of the inside. I don't know what the relationship is but the 'Ladies in White' always end up here for some kind of demonstration to draw attention to their cause. Other than that, I have no other will have to be for another time.