Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cuban seed Jalapa
Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan from Jalapa, Condega, Ometepe, and Estili regions
If you have not heard of Regius Cigars, you will. How do I know this? Because quality is objective, and while the brand was recently only available in the UK, I have perfect confidence success in the US is not far behind. I am no cigar expert or aficionado, just a collector honing his palate and skills at identifying flavors and intricacies in cigars. Rarely do I come across an example that challenges my expectations of a certain region, or confuses my palate in such a way that I am easily fooled. Enter the Regius; a cigar that one could have easily fooled me into thinking was a Habanos release. I was gifted one of these and my first experience was phenomenal, so much so, that note taking took place on the spot when I was not planning a review. From that point, I sought out more and contacted the company for information, only to find they are a B&M only brand and my search began. Aided by the blender Akhil Kapacee, whom reached out to me personally to assist in my search, I found a few singles to revisit my experience and see if my initial hunch was correct. Therefore, after a royal whopping by the Blackhawks on the Kings, and a balanced slow cooked Chile Verde dinner, I decided to grab the Regius Robusto to salvage the crushing blow my hockey team took this fine evening.
Prelight: Honey and nuts on the dry draw, beautiful light brown wrapper, no soft spots
First Third: The Regius opened very lightly, similar to a Connecticut, with a defined vanilla note that reminded me of an aged Diplomaticos No 2. Given that is one of my favorite blends for that reason; I could see why I was so attracted to this blend initially. Spices are lingering post draw with hints of pepper on the retrohale. The spices did not have enough clarity to define them here, but enough to challenge the mind and add complexity to a delicate profile. As the initial third progressed, the body became very rich on the draw, with hints of pepper on the retro, and cinnamon lingering on the tip of my tongue and palate. The retrohale began to provide an almond flavor, similar to amaretto at times, with a tinge of sweetness on the tail, and reminding me of crushed almonds on a sundae. The vanilla took a backseat to dominate almond flavors, dancing with the cinnamon in the background. Overall, the complexity was top notch at this point, with a finish rivaled by my growing Habanos collection.
Second Third: The profile began to grab the honey sweetness I detected on the initial dry draw. Hints of tealeaves and dark honey really jumped on the draw, sitting on the palate, and finishing back of mouth. If I was a tea aficionado, I could probably break down the complexity of that note here. The almond notes and cinnamon spices moved to the retrohale during this third, meeting with the honey mid tongue and palate long after the draw. The richness of the profile reminded me of custard, not so much in flavor, but consistency and body of the draw. As the final third neared, a whipped honey butter taste was left on my lips, I liken to the butter you get at Marie Callenders for the cornbread. The finish was long and enticing, continually challenging my palate, and adding new flavors while maintaining balance.
Final Third: The spice began to pick up towards the end. The vanilla, butter and honey dropped out of the profile, but the almond notes were still clearly defined as the dominant flavor in the blend. The tea flavors really picked up at this point on the draw, with the almond developing slowly on the finish. Pepper hit my nose again, but the main spices revolved around the ever present cinnamon note, and herbal tea. The finale at the nub, was a wonderful musk note developing mid tongue. The cigar never stopped developing, all the way to my fingers being burnt. Notes were jumping off each draw, surrounding the main flavors of almond and cinnamon spice.
Final Thoughts: I judge any cigar on finish before flavor, simply because a cigar that tastes good, but leaves harshness, ruins the experience for me and causes palate burn. When flavor and finish meet in perfect harmony, I tend to freak out a bit, and this was the case with both experiences in this vitola. Had I blindly reviewed this, I might have pegged it as a Habanos release, and never thought it to be a Nicaraguan puro. This truly could be somewhere between aged Upmann and Diplo in my opinion, but displays a rich uniqueness of Nicaraguan tobacco that sets it apart. I checked my notes from the first experience, and they were nearly identical, only I felt the nut note was more cashews. Both times, I wished the cigar never ended, and was left with a desirable finish for hours after the smoke cleared. I recommend this as a morning-mid day smoke for the full body enthusiasts, as their expectations may not be met placing this 2nd or 3rd in line for the day. For a mild-medium Habanos fan like me, this is a multi box buy, a nice change up and smoke it any time cigar, specifically after a rich meal. I have yet to have anyone I have recommended this to say they did not like it.
Final Final Thoughts: Yeah, this cigar required a second paragraph. Did I mention the Regius is a Plasencia cigar? Given several of my top picks of 2012 were Plasencia cigars, this guy must be holding some crazy tobaccos in his factory right now. Granted, we have yet to see new releases at the show, but the Regius a clear-cut top three for me right now for new cigars I have smoked in 2013 (yeah I know it was released in 2011, but these just started hitting the US). For me, the Regius changes the game of my expectations for Nicaraguan tobacco going forward, and is arguably the best non-Cuban Cubanesque cigar I have experienced. Honestly, I hate it when people employ that term because normally they are way off base, but it is fitting here. Now I am no Habanos expert, but my collection is 70% Habanos, 15% Henke humidor, and 15% everything else humidor. Kudos to Akhil and the team at Regius, for putting out such a fine blend that challenges the ceiling of Nicaraguan blending. Thanks to Brad at SAG Imports for gifting me this as well. In closing, the band reads in Latin, “Arbiter Elegantie,” meaning a judge of elegance or matters of taste. Well played Regius.
For more information on the brand visit: http://www.regiuscigars.com/
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