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  1. Ramon Allones Hunters & Frankau Aniversario 225 Review Vitola: Gorditos 50 ring gauge x 141 mm or 5.6 inches How does one follow-up smoking a Cohiba Gran Reserva Cosecha 2003 Siglo VI? Answer: with great difficulty! And so it was that after Trevor and I enjoyed that sterling cigar, I offered my humble split of Ramon Allones Hunters & Frankau Aniversario 225 cigars. I too, was able to get some of these thanks to @LordAnubis (or Mus as we know him), so a big thank you to you! For those of you wishing to know the background of this special United Kingdom Regional Edition, please kindly read below: About this cigar: To mark Hunters & Frankau's 225th Anniversary, we are offering a very special Havana cigar and a commemorative humidor. Just 50,000 of the cigars have been produced in numbered SLB boxes of 25. Master blender Arnaldo Vichot at the Partagas factory, created the rich mixture of leaves for the cigars. Two different blends were submitted to a tasting panel in November 2012 and once the blend was chosen by H&F representatives, production of all 50,000 cigars took place between February and May 2013 and was undertaken by just three top grade torcedores. In the traditional British manner, the cigars were then shipped to the UK and aged for a period of two years in their condition-controlled warehouse so that they would be fully matured before being released to the market. Popular Vitola: H&F 225th Aniversario Factory Vitola: Gordito con Cabeza Tumbada Ring Gauge: 50 Cigar Length: 141 mm / 5.5 inches Body: Medium - Full Hence, as can be seen in the notes above, it was intended as a special cigar (the very fact that the head is tapered, like a Numero 109, alludes to this, visually). But if you've tasted it, what exactly is special about it? After sampling it, I was most impressed, as was Trevor. However, I believe this is because of the fact that this cigar has been aged a few years and utilised a blend that was, in my opinion, a touch under medium body, unlike your standard Ramon Allones cigar which tends to be fuller-bodied. @Jeremy Festa wrote a review recently stating that this cigar had notes of madeira cake and was floral. I feel that this is an apt description of what this cigar is like... A Ramon Allones cigar that is like madeira cake and is floral, and medium-bodied? Surely not! Alas, this is what this is, and if you are an archetypal Ramon Allones aficionado, then dare I say, this cigar may not be for you. So whereas Rob and Ken didn't mind this refined offering... our dear friend from the UK, Laurence Davis, didn't like it in quite the same way. FoH Forum member @Luca and I regularly discuss Laurence's preference for larger ring gauge and powerful cigars, and his passion for fine cigars, so I can understand why the RA H&F 225 Aniversario was not to his liking. And so the question remains...if you enjoy your Ramon Allones cigars fuller-bodied with a rich 'Christmas cake' profile, is this 'pared' release, in comparison, for you? While you ponder that, below are some other references on our forum to this cigar. One thing I know for sure, if you have these, and you feel you need to age them further, I'd say they won't improve much more than what they are now. This is definitely one cigar you can enjoy now, if it suits your profile.
  2. Ramon Allones Club Allones - Edición Limitada 2015 (AUM Jul 2015) Vitola: Club Allones (47 ring gauge x 135 mm or 5.3 inches) Introduction: Just like the Partagas Seleccion Privada 2014, I've been meaning to visit this cigar for some time now, again as much as 12 months. Again, you rated it highly. A recent thread below discussed the two best Limited Editions of the past three years and the Ramon Allones Club Allones got many of your votes. Alas, unlike the Partagas Seleccion Privada, the Club Allones has enjoyed a 'longer life' than most Limited Editions by being available for acquisition well into 2017 (well, it didn't come out until 2016 though, didn't it?). In the annual FoH Top 25 Cigars for 2016 poll, you voted it 9th overall . El Pres requested your thoughts on the Ramon Allones Club Allones when it first came out and the consensus was positive... A quick note on the wrapper, the Ramon Allones Club Allones has been noted for its dark wrapper, although these aren't Cuban Maduro wrappers, which are a different thing altogether . I find Ramon Allones, as a marca overall, tends to attract a higher proportion of Colorado Maduro (and darker) wrappers than other marcas, and this has been true of the Ramon Allones Club Allones, like Limited Editions cigars in general. A poll in 2014 indicated that FoH members prefer Colorado Maduro shaded wrappers to other wrappers, is this one of the reasons for the popularity of the Club Allones? This Limited Edition cigar has enjoyed multiple reviews on our forum, and I must admit that in writing this review I find that I would struggle to say anything new that hasn't been said before. Perhaps I can add what Habanos S.A. wrote about this cigar on their website when it was released... Ramón Allones Club Allones (47 ring gauge x 135 mm length) is the other 2015 Edición Limitada. This vitola is unique within the range of sizes of the brand and it is characterized by an intense and complex flavour. Club Allones is an opportunity for those smokers who enjoy full flavours Habanos and who now can taste them with the particular characteristics of the Ediciones Limitadas. Aroma and Cold Draw: Again, as is typical of Limited Edition releases, the aroma was refined yet strong. The wrapper was a distinctive Maduro wrapper shade that is common with this cigar (although please note, they aren't maduro-leafed wrappers). The cold draw exhibited characteristics of strength, with a earthy and tobacco combination, yet the draw was very good and construction was excellent. First Third: The first few puffs gave me a nice smooth taste of a combination of espresso and dark cocoa flavours. A few more draws and the 'Ramon Allones stewed fruit' profile came to the fore, giving this cigar a nice balance between it pleasant sweetness and its strength. There was excellent smoke per draw. Second Third: The strength picked up, this is definitely a medium-full bodied cigar, and it remained that way. The combination of espresso and rich, dark cocoa and stewed fruit is similarly intensified. A highly enjoyable cigar! . Final Third: Normally the final third is where your cigar is most intense, flavours drop off and acridity or bitterness can build up forcing you to extinguish it early. This was not the case today. I had no issue whatsoever with drawing this down to the nub, and although the flavours that I enjoyed in the first two-thirds weren't anywhere near as evident, the wonderfully strong toasted tobacco richness in the final third more than compensated. Conclusion: Why this is a great Limited Edition cigar ultimately comes down to a number of factors in my opinion. Firstly, I think the vitola is just right, it would be prefect if it was a 42 ring gauge, in my view, yet the fact that it's not over 50 ring gauge is just ideal, as is its length. At 135 mm in length it is about halfway between the length of a Petit Corona (129 mm) and a Corona (142 mm), which again I consider ideal. Simon Chase wrote an in-depth article for Cigar Journal last December lamenting the steady decline of Ramon Allones as a marca, yet praising Habanos S.A. for encouraging Regional distributors the freedom to nominate their own marcas and vitolas for their annual Regional releases. Simon stated in his article that around one-third of Regional Editions have been Ramon Allones cigars, thus, amongst aficionados and the public in general, Ramon Allones still courts favour. Finally, what about comparing this Limited Edition to the LCDH Superiores from 2010? The Superiores is a Corona Gorda at 46 ring gauge x 143 mm (or 5.6 inches) in length and is similarly popular. I find the Superiores a milder smoke, with more elements of lighter cocoa and a sweeter fruit profile. Ultimately, I think there's a place for both the Superiores and Club Allones in your humidor. Below are some other reviews and discussions on this cigar for your perusement. The Ramon Allones Club Allones is an outstanding cigar, get it today if you haven't done so already.
  3. Anyone any deeper insight into the latest vintage? With the current price announcements and critic's notes having come to light, it is not a particularly hyped year, but most say, the best vintage since 2010, with the right bank having been particularly successful. While JRobinson sais it will drink "relatively early", but reports to be "glad to be able to report enthusiastically", I read one crtitics even speak of the "most beautiful year" in his 30-year career, Suckling calls it "extremely exciting"..... The typical "best vintage is current vintage"- gibbberish, or more flesh to it? My interpretation from what's published so far would be - at least heterogenous, and one will have to carefully select. Your take? Is it an attractive Bdx year? A solid or even good buy at prices up by about 15% on the 2014s? Perhaps even bargains to be had? Will it be a primeur buy? Cheers Paul
  4. Format: Double Robusto Dimensions: 56 ring gauge x 150 mm Date: Saturday 25th of June, 2016 Cold Draw: A lovely, quality barnyard and tobacco smell. The cold draw was good with cocoa, bean and barnyard flavour coming through. Lit: 1:00 p.m. Initial Draw: I used my 3-in-1 Credo Punch Cutter, using the largest 14 mm cut, to make a perfect punch. (After) The first few draws in and I could easily tell that this was quality cigar. It was medium to medium-full in body, but the smoke output was exceptional. Chocolate, Upmann Shortbread, perhaps licorice, and a hint of pleasant spice through the nose. First Third: I've paired this with a nice black espresso, my usual beverage of choice. I'm telling myself to slow down as I want to take multiple puffs, much like what Laurence Davis does in his Sautter Video Cigar Reviews when he enjoys a cigar. Thankfully for me, the burn is a little uneven, so this forces me to slow down and reflect/contemplate the cigar experience so far. (There's) Some nice, mild spice is detected now with each puff. As I see the burn start to correct itself (the sign of a quality cigar), I can make out the iconic H.Upmann toasted tobacco profile married with hints of pepper. (There's) Exceptional smoke still per draw. Second Third: The Upmann toasted tobacco and pepper is coming through stronger now, but is not overpowering the cigar to the point where you'd want to re-visit this in 3-6 months to get some flavour out it, as there's flavour to be had now! There's a little licorice to each puff, I'd describe it as being more than your standard chocolate flavour which you associate with recent Limited Edition releases. I am really enjoying the subtle spice and pepper on the aftertaste. The burn has corrected perfectly and smoke output is consistently outstanding. Final Third: At the beginning of the final third, and the question I ask myself is, "how do I slide off the band/s?" Experience tells me to slide off the 'El 2015' band forward, and use the heat of the cigar to attempt to slide off the other one later. The intensity is identical to the second third, again, another sign of the quality of this cigar. As I draw down I marvel at how smooth this is in comparison to the second third and I'm well-pleased that I have had the opportunity to review it at the 12-month stage. With very careful manipulation, I was able to slide off the large H.Upmann 56 band towards the head of the cigar. Completed: 2:30 p.m. Conclusion: I am indebted to my dear friend and brother-of-the-leaf Jimmy (jimsta10) for gifting me this superb cigar to review. I also struggled (mentally) with the concept of a 56 ring gauge cigar prior to lighting, I much prefer a standard ring gauge 42 mm Marevas or Corona/Corona Grande cigar. I'm not going to excuse the size though, it is a jaw-breaker. I compensated for this by 'sipping' from the 14mm punch cut all the way throughout smoking the cigar, at least the smoke output was able to compensate for small draws and maximum flavour/s! It's easy to understand why El Presidente has found it difficult to keep his hands off these so young, the fact is that this is brilliant. If you've haven't committed to getting a box or partaking in a split, the simple truth is, you've made a mistake. You simply must get your hands on this! My recommendation is to smoke one every 3 to 6 months, and patiently wait until they get to 3 to 5 years in age, when they will become exceptional in my opinion. In the meantime, I aim to re-visit the other recent Limited Editions (2015 Ramon Allones Club Allones, 2014 Cohiba Robusto Supremo, Bolivar Super Corona and Partagas Seleccion Privada) in the next coming weeks to compare.
  5. Had a good friend bomb me a La Escepcion Don Jose. Here's the review! If you want to listen to the podcast: Podbean - iTunes -
  6. Smoking a first MdO No 4 from a ETP SEP 15 box to check out how they are going. No review, but just to report, and interested in member’s views of these: Draw, construction, burn in this specimen perfect, although the box showing quite a wide range of ring gauges, feels like 30 to 36…. Definitely young with a noticeable greenish note. No ammonia, as this one had been stored separately for a couple of days. Med-full-bodied right now, while the retrohale is not too acrid, manageable, in particular after an inch in. Classy smoke already at this young age. Most remarkable was a certain taste, a note which I couldn’t quite pinpoint, as hard as I churned my head. Something along the lines of, well, not the normal green/young taste but perhaps – Wasabi less the hot component? Smell of “new car” interior? Sawing a multiplex wood board? Absolutely no idea, it’s just not exactly it. But as weird and nasty as it might sound, not at all unpleasant. Rather giving the whole smoke a somehow refreshing note. Wouldn’t mind at all if that undertone would stay during aging. Anyone else having tried this ETP 15 batch already and perhaps experienced similar? Paul
  7. Obtained this cigar as a gift from my boss who recently visited the island. He forgot to check the box code he purchased singles from so apologies on that. Size: 4 7/8 X 50 (robusto) First Third Slightly looser draw than average. Creamy coffee. Soft white pepper on the finish and through the nose. Roasted nuts and sourdough bread come through at half inch point. Medium Bodied. Second Third Body scales back to just under medium. Same flavors with the creamy coffee taking on a more cappachino texture. A light cocoa note appears. Flavors coat the mouth and lips with a long lasting finish. Final Third Body increases to just over medium. Sourdough bread moves to the forefront. Touches of salt, earthiness, and black pepper show on the finish with white pepper increasing through the nose. Mouth salivation is quite high. Hardly any young hotness to the nub. Conclusion This cigar didnt have much transitioning between thirds but the flavors I decribed were quite prominent throughout the cigar. They delivered in an overall medium and smooth profile that was quite pleasant and delicate. As far as its similarities with other Diplomaticos Im not the best person to ask but compared to recent Dip2s Ive had it was certainly a lighter profile. I enjoyed this cigar and the time invested though the slightly loose draw kept it under 1 hour. Rating: 89-90

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