As many of you know, I am quite the fan of Regius cigars, so I was rather excited to hear they were releasing a San Andreas maduro this year called the Damaris. My initial reaction was one of excitement, as I am a huge fan of San Andreas wrapped cigars, even though I rarely smoke maduro. Knowing owner Akhil Kapacee’s penchant for blending full flavored cigars with clean finishes, when a couple samples landed in my mailbox, my palate eagerly awaited to fire one up. The blue band is distinct against the darkness of the wrapper, and when I asked Akhil what was the story on Damaris, he explained it was actually a shop release for a store in Houston, called That Cigar Place. I reached out to the store as I was smoking the cigar, and this was the response I got.
“Damaris is the first of a new line for Regius cigars called Fusion. The Regius core line is an outstanding traditional Cuban style cigar which was originally designed for the UK market, which has done very well also in the US. Fusion is a line of cigars which keep a lot of the traditional traits of the core line but adapts to the current palate of the American consumer. Released in a small batch in a 6 1/2 × 56, it will be expanded in September to 3 sizes - robusto toro and the current gran toro. It has a Mexican San Andres wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder and filler. For now they are available at That Cigar Place in Houston (thatcigarplace.com); we accept phone orders. Soon to be available at other fine retailers.”
While the release started as production for a shop, my guess is these gentlemen want to go national with the release. The samples I received are the Gran Toro size, which is rather large for my tastes, and mimic the size of the famed Behike 56. When I initially wrote this review, my closing thoughts and rating is based on my thought that the Gran Toro was the only size. Knowing a robusto and toro will be available, I will be looking forward to the release of the new sizes more akin to my preference. For now, let’s get on to the review and see what the Damaris is all about.
Dry Draw: cloves, dark chocolate
First Third: Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal comes to mind. Why you say? Because my initial thoughts were this Damaris was the smoothest maduro I can ever remember smoking, not what I expected by any means. Most of the flavor was on the retro, all the classic San Andreas flavors of cinnamon, espresso, dark chocolate, which end up lingering on the finish post exhale. The draw was very light and creamy, mild really, with hints of nuts.
Second Third: I want a cookie. Give me a damn cookie already. The chocolate, nuts, creamy flavors, and hints of sugar at this point made me crave chocolate brownie cookies. The draw actually got smoother, and I swear you could have called this cigar a mild maduro at that point. The finish was still very long, without much flavor change, just a delicate maneuver of body. As I neared the middle, the flavor on the draw doubled, and the Damaris had become an extremely well balanced flavor bomb. The balance arrived, and I am in love with another Regius.
Final Third: By now, the Damaris is a full-blown chocolate bomb. We are talking Willy Wonka on acid crazy. I finally detected the clove spices from the dry draw as well, with a nice burn on the tongue and nose. The clove was definitely a distinct change here, along with the chocolate moving to espresso as I neared the nub. The espresso notes on the retro were well defined, and distinct, while the draw seemed to keep some creamier characteristics similar to a cappuccino.
Construction: It needed a touchup at one time, but nothing major. I expect that with large rings.
Final Thoughts: Box Split – 93. I am rating this on the high side of a box split. I would honestly rate it higher, if it was a smaller vitola, and box buy immediately. I was freaking out while I was smoking this, and immediately started contacting That Cigar Place to get in touch with a salesperson. This is the mildest maduro I have ever experienced, and I loved it. I could smoke this any time of the day really, and I think it would be best served as a morning coffee cigar for a full bodied smoker. I do think the lack of spice may turn off some modern smokers, but the flavor bomb that hits in the middle is unmistakable. The Damaris is really somewhere between a smooth rich Connecticut and a San Andreas really. Think of a good Padron ’64 or Ortega D and the San Andreas flavors you get there, then minus the filler and think of a smooth, creamy, nutty, Connecticut. That’s what I found the Damaris to be. I am not a huge maduro fan at all, and only smoke 1-2 maduro a month at most. This is a maduro I could grab any time, and if it was a robusto, I would smoke it regularly.