When a Cuban cigar aficionado talks to you about Regional Editions, what does he or she mean by that exactly? When it comes to selection of the finest Cuban cigars, you’ll need to know the difference between Regular Production Cuban cigars, Limited Editions and Aged/Vintage.
Related: Five tips to store a premium Cuban cigar if you don’t have a humidor handy
Basically, in 2005, Habanos S.A., the Cuban company (half owned by the Cuban state tobacco company) that controls the promotion, distribution and export of premium Cuban cigars, introduced the Edición Regional program. Regional distributors are given the opportunity to commission special exclusive cigars for their region. Hence those Diplomaticos Nortenos – Canada we mentioned. If you wonder why Cuban cigars are the best, this careful control over quality and production is one of the answers.
Regional Edition – La Flor de Cano Magicos Espana RE
One thing: regions cannot have a cigar from the same brand two years in a row. The cigars must be standard current production factory size. Regional distributors approach Habanos S.A. with an idea for a Regional Edition. In the case of Canada, the distributor here went to Habanos S.A. for the Nortenos. The distributor tells Habanos how many cigars they want for distribution and pays for the costs up front. The distributor also has to pay for any special packaging.
Prototype blend options for the Regional Edition cigar are something Habanos will produce. The distributor will pick the one that goes into final production. Look for the “Exclusivo” band on Regional Edition cigars with the country name in Spanish. All in all, these are opportunities for regional distributors to make a stronger statement with cigar smokers in a particular region.
Here are three of the best Cuban cigars we recommend highly:
Diplomaticos Nortenos – Canada Regional Edition
One of three Diplomaticos regional editions released in 2018. The Nortenos in a popular robusto format was limited to 6,000 boxes for the Canadian market. Diplomaticos have been known for their great aging potential. This top Cuban cigar is no different. In a few short years there is a noticeable difference in the progression of this cigar. There is a smoother draw and open nutty creamy flavours.
With the looming plain packaging regulations in Canada, the Nortenos may be the last regional edition released in this market. Or at least the last fully branded Canadian regional. These are medium to full body cigars, with a duration time of 45 minutes. Size: Cepo 50 x 124 mm in length.
Pairing suggestions: Beverage – Cuba Libre (Aged Rum & Coke) / Food – Macadamia Nuts or Dried Fruits.
Saint Luis Rey Marquez – Cuba Regional Edition
Following the previous two short robusto regionals from the Saint Luis Rey Marca, the Marquez is a 2016 regional release for the Cuba market. It was produced as Robusto Extra with a Geniales vitola. SLR’s are known for their medium to full strength and flavour profile that includes woody leather and spice.
This size of cigar makes for an easy draw with an abundance of smoke and flavours. Medium to full body strength, 70-minute duration time. Size: Cepo 54 and 150 mm in length.
Pairing Suggestions: Beverage – Spiced Rum / Food – Chocolate Almonds
Regional Editions: Diplomaticos Nortenos – Canada, La Flor de Cano – Espana, Saint Luis Rey Marquez – Cuba
La Flor de Cano Magicos – Espana
The latest Exclusivo Espana (Regional Edition) release from 2018 is the Magicos vitola from La Flor de Cano marca. This may be the best regional release from this marca. It may actually be the marca’s best cigar ever, including their regular production lineup. With little age this chubby robusto provides a unique flavour profile of creamy woody and subtle spices.
Medium strength, 45 minutes in duration. Size: Cepo 52 x 115 mm in length.
Pairing notes: A lower proof bourbon or a Manhattan.
Regional Edition: La Flor de Cano Magicos – Espana