Cigar Review – Ramon Allones Phoenicio RE Libano, Sep 2008 “TEB” box code (Box # 1889 of 6000); Final Score – 97

Well, since my post-Cuba wrap-up from my Havana trip in Feb-Mar has drawn so much of my time, I’ve got a bit of a backlog of formal reviews to get posted.  This one especially, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get done.  Easily, my best cigar ever to date, at least since I’ve been “keeping score” so to say and recording my reviews in a Cigar Dossier since about 2008 or so.

I was sent this sample with some surprise.  During last Christmas, I “cigar bombed” a number of good BOTL’s – guys and gals worldwide that I’ve done trades with in years gone past, and whom I really enjoyed our trades, but for whatever reason, it had been a while since we last traded – so I sent out some assortments of fresh custom cigars from Cuba.  So, with this cigar reviewed in particular, it came to me from Emil / “Tropical Doc” down in Florida.  He and I have talked and traded cigars for about 5 years or so now, but it had been nearly 3 since our last trade.  So, at Christmastime, I bombed him down a package with about a 1/2 dozen or so miscellaneous Cuban customs, some specific favourites of mine.  Then, in January, I opened up my mailbox to find a package containing this…

So, yes Emil, you’re a force to reckon with, and not to be outdone!  LOL.

He sent me the above, along with some party favours / promo material from his new lounge he’s started up.  As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, LOL, he’s taken on this new venture.  I highly encourage you to check out his webpage here at, and visit his lounge if you can, if you’re in the area.  After meeting him in Havana last month, I can gladly say he’s one of the most enthusiastic and passionate guys for cigars, especially for someone that’s not directly in the main industry (until starting up his lounge now).  My plans are to take a swing by next spring when next down in Florida with the family.

In the meantime though, this piddly little cigar would have to do!  I picked it first out of the cornucopia he sent me, as I’ve heard lots about it, and was very interested in it.  Emil was also kind enough to pass along some “product shots” of it’s kin-folk…

The Phoenicio was a nice, hefty sublime.  This particular sample was the first coming out of box number 1889 out of 6000.  These cigars were made to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Phoenicia Trading, the importer for Lebanon.  A Phoenico, made for Phoenicia – yup, it gets more confusing.  This particular variant was from the 2008 release, when there were 6000 boxes made, with 30-sticks per box.  They proved to be so popular and well-reputed, that they created a re-release in 2009, with 15-cigars per box and 3000 boxes produced of that variant, though it apparently hasn’t been as well-regarded of a smoke.

But, this one being from 2008, I was looking plenty forward to it.

Reviewed Cigar:  Ramon Allones Phoenico, 2008 RE Libano

Box Date:  Sep 2008

Factory / Manufacture Code:  TEB

Packaging:  30-count varnished box, numbered boxes (box # 1889 of 6000)

Price per cigar:  Unk.

Length:  6 1/2″, or 164 mm

Ring Gauge:  54

Format:  Sublimes / Double robusto

Weight:  20 grams / 0.7 oz

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This cigar was constructed so damn impeccably.  I love a cigar that hits all the good aspects of construction (no soft-/hard-spots, good fill, nice foot, pungent aroma, etc.) and also has a wrapper that’s dark and “marbled” in appearance, showing the oils within and on the wrapper leaf.  This cigar was all of that.

Beautiful band, beautifully oily and marbled wrapper, strong aroma, great format, heavy and sturdy cigar, and then, upon clipping the cap, a slight divot (revealing great construction/roll within), and just the perfect slightly resistive draw.

At cold, strong cherry and molasses notes.  Strong woodiness.

Opening Impressions:  Upon lighting and initial puff, just enthralled.  Thick, creamy smoke, and big puffs of it.  Sweet, rich – like a sugar-coated dank forest floor.

First/Second/& Final Thirds:  Fuck me.  This was just a DAMN EPIC CIGAR.  I didn’t take detailed notes – I remembered to take some pictures, and that was about it.  I got lost in the cigar itself – those are the BEST cigar experiences, in my opinion!  I just remember the overall experience of the cigar, but not so much the individual aspects / thirds of it.

It had huge, bold flavours.  I noted that my wanted RA flavour-tones were all there at some point – Christmas fruitcake, molasses, rich carmelized brown sugar, stewed dark fruits (prunes, cherries, blueberries?), dark and damp rich woods (that forest-floor oak tone), and an almost sweet, bready, cookies-and-rich-coffee tone.


This cigar just hit home run after home run, puff after puff.  Loads of smoke on every pull, and thick, viscous, coat-your-palate-good smoke at that.  That unsweetened-whipping-cream sort of palate-coating goodness.  This cigar was just a flavour-laden stick, with a size format that, while on the larger-side of what I enjoy, actually made it all that much better – and that I wish lasted another hour or so!

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  What else can I say?????

A box of these (which is no doubt in the higher realm of pricing due to slim availability now) is on the short-list for me now.

To me, these don’t need anymore age at all.  I would be interested to see what they do over the next 5 and 10 years though, but if I had a box in hand, they wouldn’t last 1/2 that long I don’t think!!!

Final Score:  97

Total Smoking Time:  1 hour and 36 minutes

Date & Time Smoked:  February 19th, 2015; lit up at 9:00 pm, done at 10:36 pm

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke

Last Meal:  Can’t remember – didn’t make note of it

Smoking Conditions:  In the hot tub, light breeze, -19 degrees Celsius, 92% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Havana Trip, Feb-Mar 2015: Another nice visit with the Lung Kong Society…

Another nice visit was had to the Sociedad Lung Kong in Havana last month.  As I wrote about previously, I loaded up ahead of this trip with some various wares for the lovely ladies and gents there.  Through Tom’s help (a great Toronto BOTL), I had gone out prior to the trip and got four dozen “long life”-design teacups, lots of cooking utensils, some very gorgeous looking exotic wood chopsticks (a darkened bamboo perhaps?), and a few other much-needed cooking items, all from a nice little Chinatown shop that Tom steered me to.  I definitely went a bit overboard though, as when I checked in my luggage for my flight down I was hit with some hefty overweight charges for my checked bags – not surprising considering half of both checked bags were a mix of these gifts for Lung Kong, and for other Cuban friends.

So, when I arrived down in Havana last month, Nino was neck-deep in planning and organizing for the Urs Portmann group, but managed to find a day that all meshed well with everyone’s schedule, and we were all able to meet up at Lung Kong.  I unfortunately arrived a bit late that day, with my cabbie getting lost and not knowing where Bario Chino was in Havana (only two blocks west of the Capitolio, I kept trying to explain), and then him wanting to drop me off something like 6 blocks away.  Seemed like he simply didn’t want to go there – he kept saying he was afraid his car would get stuck in the narrow roadways. Suuuuuure.  “We’re driving in a Lada”, I told him.

Anyways, after I got there, it was all smiles and hugs.  I met “Santa Claus” (Nino), and very quickly the “Buddha” exclaimations were out there as well.  To be joined there as well with Yannick, Michel, Luka, Thomas, Urs – it was just that much nicer.

Graciela was happy to hear that perhaps some of the other Toronto gents might be visiting her and the rest of the elders later on this spring, and that we’d be back in the fall as well.  She asked to send along her best wishes to Tom and the others, as well as Joe and the rest of her “Chinese-Canadian boys”.

Always nice to see friendly faces in these visits too. “Peso cigars” received as well from the same fellow that’s always tickled pink with our visits.

Hope we can continue to visit and support this venture for a long time to come.

Cheers all.