So, as I needed to get the swing of things rolling again, I’ve got another review here – a wonderful stick, the RA Grandes, which was the 2008 Regional Edition for Spain.
It’s a delicious behemoth…
I enjoyed this during a visit with some good ol’ buddies of mine. A couple of guys that I’ve known for more than two decades now – we all go way back, grew up separately initially but found each other in high school, have since stood up at each others’ weddings, have got into WAY too much trouble together, etc. I’ve always been told to make sure I have good friends outside of my work environment – guys that I don’t have to worry about “talking shop” with, and moaning about little things, etc. Guys that I can rely on to get my headspace out of the sights, sounds, and smells from work, and get me back to civilization / “normal” reality in my off hours. Guys that I can just be myself with. Guys that help keep me grounded and sane (yes – it can be a full-time job sometimes).
Some great buddies. Its always great times when we’re hanging out together. And we shared some wonderful cigars…
Reviewed Cigar: Ramon Allones Grandes, 2008 RE Espana
Box Date: Oct 2008
Factory / Manufacture Code: TEB
Packaging: 10-box, varnished 8-9-8 box, numbered boxes (box # 8888 of 12000)
Price per cigar: $22.50 USD (online vendor, 2012 purchase)
Length: 7 1/8″, or 180 mm
Ring Gauge: 49
Format: Pacos / double corona
Weight: 16 grams / 0.6 oz
Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light: This is my first of these. Bought these a few years ago, and honestly forgot about the box until recently. Picked the first one I saw, middle at the top. This cigar was just amazing looking. A beautiful cigar. Oily, dark silky wrapper, stellar looking cap, wonderful bunching at the foot. There appeared to be a few veins, but it seemed to be just some oil streaking to the wrapper leaf from the bunched up folds of the binder leaf below. There was a noticeable soft spot, right smack dab in the middle of the cigar, about an inch in length. I was going to keep my fingers crossed, therefore.
After clipping the head, noticed that there was that impeccable “divot” that are frequently present in well-rolled larger-format cigars. The draw at cold was dead on and with just the firm resistance I was hoping for. Soft spot be damned! Tasty too – at cold, there were hints of fresh leather, rich, dark molasses, and extremely dense rich tobacco tones.
Opening Impressions: After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw continued to be just perfect when lit. This thing belched out loads of fragrant smoke – wow, what a wonderful experience on the first puffs!
First Third: Into the first third, the story continued along, building like a grand orchestra crescendo. The smoke had a dense, velvety texture on the palate, almost like a creamy Greek yoghurt that coated your taste buds with a tangy sweetness. This thing was full body, full flavours.
Looking for that RA core of “stewed fruit” or christmas / rum cake. Not quite there.
Getting hits of damp leather, rich tobacco. Some fruitiness there, maybe??? A few relights…
Second Third: Into the second third, the burn was wonderful. Needed some cosmetic relights here and there, but the smoke quality and flavour cornucopia was spot on. Just wonderful. This was gearing up to be a wonderful experience.
Then, a few hints of a carbon, or pencil-lead tone. Yuck. Realized I was smoking my way through the soft spot. Smoke volume and creamy density was still nice. Some more touch-ups with the torch. Thankfully, this sour spot was only fleeting in time and negative flavours…
At the halfway mark, once through the soft spot, it really opened up. Started to get a sweet wood tone, almost like a nice cherry-wood smoked meat. Just a richness and voluptuousness to this cigar that was hitting the spot for me. Even my smoking companions were saying, “Damn, that smells good, what is that?!”
Final Third: Into the final third, it just kept building. Smooth, rich, dense, and flavourful. Big bold hits of rich leather. Started to feel the sweetness almost blend with a light cocoa tone – almost rolling into a cherry-tinged chocolate truffle. Cream flavours and texture rolling around again.
Finishing Comments / Overall Impression: This thing was a long voyage, and well worth the price of admission. I took my time and really savoured this cigar, smoking it right now to the spicy and hot nub, until I was forced by the heat to put it down. The creamy texture and flavour to this, with the leather and woody sweetness, made me savour the time that I spent with this, accompanied by my buds.
It took me forever to get through it, but never did I feel like I was rushing it, nor taking it too slow. This was a cigar that kept giving in spades, and let me truly get to my chi place and “become one with the tabac”. It was great. These are harder to find now, and are a princely-costing stick. But, the enjoyment, the size, the sheer smoking time enjoyed out of it, makes every part of it worthwhile.
These already have some great age on them, but with the richness that’s there, the oily-squishiness that’s still exhibited in these sticks, these have the legs for many, MANY more years to come. I think it will be amazing to see what these do at the 10-year mark, and think they’ll be epic once they’re in that 12-15 year timeline.
Final Score: 93
Total Smoking Time: 3 hrs and 5 minutes
Date & Time Smoked: November 8th, 2014; lit up at 9:15 pm, done at 12:20 am
Paired Beverage: Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke
Last Meal: Hamburger helper & garlic bread w/ cheese, 5:30 pm
Smoking Conditions: Climate-controlled garage, 23 degrees Celsius, 68% RH
Thanks for reading my review. Hope you enjoyed it.