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Greetings again dear friends! Below are a number of video reviews of cigars which I've termed 'uncommon' due to their discontinuation (or hiatus), premium exclusivity or simply for the fact that as cigar enthusiasts we're more unlikely to reach for them from our humidors! Again, like the 2017 Xmas Sampler Series, I'd like to say that speaking 'on-the-fly' about cigars is certainly a challenge and I will need to acknowledge errors throughout this series (so bare with me). Also, please feel free to share your thoughts on these cigars in this thread. If you have views or opinions contrary to what has been stated, please feel welcome to express your thoughts and say so, after all, my own views here is intended to serve as a guide.
Rafael González 88 - Edición Regional Asia Pacifico 2016 (SOM Dic 2016) Vitola: Británicas Extra (48 ring gauge x 137 mm or 5.4 inches) Introduction: I had the opportunity to sample this newly-released Regional Edition cigar this week with Trevor Leask, the founder of Cuban Cigar Website, as I'm on vacation. There has been some outstanding PCC (Pacific Cigar Company) Asia-Pacific Regional Edition releases such as the Ramon Allones Celestiales Finos, the Por Larranaga Encantos and the Diplomaticos Bushidos to name a few, and this release saw much demand from our members when it became available late last month. The reason? Perhaps it was the cigar-aficionado friendly vitola, a Británicas Extra at under 50/64ths of an inch ring gauge, perhaps it was the fact that it was only the second Rafael Gonzalez Regional Edition release other than the 2013 German Petit Piramides, perhaps it was its availability in a 10-count box, or perhaps it was just because, as far as Regional Editions go, it was just so different in comparison to others. Aroma and Cold Draw: I found the aroma unlike the typical cocoa-rich, refined barnyard one gets with Limited Edition releases, rather this was very light and had more of a natural grass/hay aroma, so to speak. My cold draw was similarly very mild, but I was happy to sense the Rafael Gonzalez cocoa prior to lighting. First Third: In comparison to the PMS Abr 2015 box of Rafael Gonzalez Perlas I've been enjoying the past month or so (oh my, I've already gone through half a box!), the initial puffs were similarly very, very good, alas, the Rafael Gonzalez 88 was more refined, more milder. There were distinctive notes of cocoa and a floral sweetness, and a 'breadiness' in its spine (or core). Trevor found his peppery through the nose at first, but this settled for him. In contrast, my retrohale was very easy, no strong spice through the nose at all. In fact, this cigar was very mild through the nose for such a young cigar. Second Third: At this point, I felt that the strength picked up a little and the flavours were less distinctive. Perhaps a little light leather or nut combined with the cocoa. Final Third: During the final third, both Trevor and I remarked how non-descript the cigar had become. This wasn't a bad thing mind you, rather, the flavours we were able to delineate in the first half of the cigar were now much less definitive. Conclusion: I felt after smoking this that this cigar deserves some time down to properly blend. I spoke to El Pres (Rob) today to wish him well in regards to his health and the upcoming deciding State of Origin Rugby League game next week, and he was able to enlighten me in regards to my thoughts on this cigar in relation to the Rafael Gonzalez Coronas Extra, which was deleted in 2010. A little nut, a subtle refinedness and a reminder that PCC aim for their Regional Edition blends to develop with age, and I have no doubt that this will come into its own in the future. If you are expecting a powerhouse cigar, full of flavour, like recent Limited Editions, understand that this is the antithesis of that. Mild and subtle, the Rafael Gonzalez 88 is the type of cigar that will reward you for patience and is an homage to refinement and subtlety. I look forward to Ken and Rob's upcoming Video Review of this cigar, as they will be able to offer a fuller comparison to previous Rafael Gonzalez vitolas now deleted. In the meantime, below are some forum and video links to the Rafael Gonzalez Coronas Extra for your discernment.
Video currently ripping. Hold on to your socks! Just waiting on YouTube now...! Stop your grinn'n and pull up your linen... -the Pig