Reinado – Grand Empire Reserve – Cigar Review
I had a fun filled weekend after a week long head cold. Had a little bon-fire and Jeremy came over to enjoy some great cigars and awesome beers on Friday, and then on Saturday I got a bit tipsy while celebrating an ADDY (advertisement) award that my company won at the awards ceremony. Today, I relaxed, had a nice breakfast, and then headed out back to fire up a Reinado Grand Empire Reserve.
The Good Stuff: Heard of Reinado Cigars? If you are active on social media (check out Reinado on Facebook and Twitter) they are everywhere. I hadn’t heard of the brand until a year or so ago and every since then they have blown up the review sites with high-rated reviews and a ton of buzz. This isn’t brand I could find locally, but lucky for me our good friend Jay over at Cigarphoto.net made the connection between me and Antonio over at Reinado and he was kind enough to hook us up with a few samples of their newest release, the Grand Empire Reserve (GER).
The Grand Empire Reserve was released at last year’s IPCPR show and created a lot of buzz ever since. The Nicaraguan Puro is created in the Condega region, and only comes in one size, the Elegios which is a 5 x 55 box-press format. The cigar will come in boxes of 20 and run $9.95 a stick.
Here is what Reinado had to say about the blend:
Oradell, NJ, July 03, 2012 –(PR.com)– Following the success of the 92 rated Petite Corona known as the Habanito and the 91 rated Torpedo, REINADO will unveil the Grand Empire Reserve at the 80th Annual IPCPR Convention and International Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, in August, 2012.
The Grand Empire Reserve is a box pressed Robusto that incorporates a select Habano maduro wrapper and an additional aged Nicaraguan filler which leverages REINADO’s signature fermentation process to provide even greater depth, richer undertones, and enhanced overall complexity for both the casual and the distinguished cigar smoker.
“The flavor profile of the Grand Empire Reserve was developed after extensive sampling to deliver a truly exceptional blend,” said Antonio Lam, owner of Cubanero Enterprises. “We believe the flavors and balanced strength developed through extending REINADO’s unique fermentation process along with the inclusion of the aged Nicaraguan filler will distinguish the Grand Empire Reserve from all other cigars on the market,” said Lam.
A single size called Elegios meaning “chosen” is scheduled for release in August, 2012 followed by additional sizes.
“As demonstrated through the REINADO core product line and the introduction of the Grand Empire Reserve, we are dedicated to innovation and offering smokers quality choices of highly rated cigars,” said Lam.
The Grand Empire Reserve will be available through select retailers and, on a limited basis, directly through REINADO.
You can find out more about Reinado, their cigars, and retailer locations on their official website.
Size: 5 x 55 box-press
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Select Maduro
Pairing: Sixpoint 3Beans (10% ABV – Baltic Porter)
Prelight: The Grand Empire Reserve starts out with a beautiful, I mean beautiful, oily, toothy, dark brown wrapper. There are a few smaller veins throughout the box-pressed body, but the vast amount of oils and tooth on the wrapper are by far the stand-out Characteristics. The wrapper feels really firm, and thick, while the cigar doesn’t showcase any soft spots at all. The cigar is really firm all the way through. Again, again, again, I LOVE these soft-box pressed cigars. Reinado’s construction on each of the samples have been flawless, capped off with a beautiful, round, triple cap. The cigar is polished off with the simple, elegant Reinado crest and a secondary gold band stating “Grand Empire Reserve”.
The wrapper gives off lots, and lots, of sweet tobacco and spice aromas while the foot of the cigar screams of spice and pepper. The cap on this cigar clipped very easily and very cleanly using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produced a ton of black pepper, spice, and so much sweetness.
First Smoke: Reinado’s Grand Empire Reserve starts out with a massive black pepper explosion right off the bat. I was expecting it since the cold-draw. As the pepper faded out slightly I was able to get a real grip of the crazy sweetness this cigar carries with sweet tobacco, raisin, deep oak, and an almost maple syrup flavor. This cigar starts out amazingly bold in both the flavor and the strength department. The Grand Empire Reserve kicks out a perfect amount of thick, white smoke with every puff. As you can tell by the change in the background scenery I had to retreat to my patio due to the high winds out today and even then, the smoke was so thick it stuck around for a while before dissipating. The burnline is razor sharp, and despite a few early waves I didn’t have to tough it up at all during the first third. The ash is a medium and dark grey and held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Despite the trend in most smokes, the black pepper is still a dominant flavor in the Grand Empire Reserve’s flavor mix. There has been some nice chocolate notes moving in and colliding with the raisin, deep oak, spice, sweet tobacco, and that syrupy taste I picked up. The retrohale is crazy sharp, and so strong on the black pepper that I couldn’t find it in myself to do it too often. I am feeling a nice bit of nicotine at this point. This cigar isn’t “too” strong, in fact it’s strong but well balanced, just the way I like it. So many times I have been at a herf with a handful of friends and one person lights up a cigar that just smells so rich, so good, that it makes me jealous no matter how good the cigar I am smoking is. This is exactly what Reinado’s Grand Empire Reserve does. My entire porch was filled with strong, sweet, deep oak. It smelled liked a mixture of light incense and firewood.
Finish: Reinado’s Grand Empire Reserve took me a little over an hour to smoke and it was a flavor powerhouse from start to finish. The strength has began to pick up a bit more in the final third of the cigar while the flavors have just been relentless. The black pepper has now completely faded away just in the time create a smooth ending for this cigar while the syrup, sweetness, chocolate and spice are still going strong. The cigar finished slightly wavy but I never had to touch up, or relight the cigar the entire experience. The cigar left me with a nice little nicotine kick. Nothing that knocked me off my ass, but this cigar is very full in strength and body.
Overview: Can you tell how much I liked this cigar? If not, read again. In fact, as I was finishing it up I even messaged the Casas Fumando crew to tell them how much ass this cigar kicked (and it’s quite a bit). I was slightly skeptical about the Grand Empire Reserve for 3 reasons. 1) I was fearful that it was all the reviews had just over hyped it in my eyes. 2) This cigar is limited and Reinado’s cigars aren’t found in too many shops. And 3) the price is a bit steep for such a young cigar company. Now how did it do? 1) I can say that in my opinion the Grand Empire Reserve deserves 100% all the praise it has been getting. 2) despite the availably, if you are willing to purchase outside of your state or city these cigars can easily be found for shipping and 3) the prices is spot on for such a well manufactured, wonderful experience. This is a complex, strong cigar that won’t kick your ass. It’s perfect for the novice smoker looking to try a premium cigar as it serves as a perfect example of how great complex cigars can be. And ideal for any seasoned smoker looking for a cigar that will keep them on their toes the entire experience. This is a box worthy cigar for sure, and I know for a fact that I will be seeking more out.
Pairing: As I stated before, I have been on a huge Sixpoint kick lately. I really enjoy every single brew that I have found by them and I am glad that each week I find it in more and more shops locally. One of their most recent short run releases, the 3Beans has been making its way through said shops as of late. The beer is a Baltic (strong) porter brewed at the Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, clocking in at 10% ABV. The name of the beer comes from 3 different beans that are used in the brewing process of the beer. First, Coffee beans from Stumptown Coffee, Cocoa beans from Mast Brothers chocolate, and Sprouted Roman Beans which are similar to kidney beans. The Sprouted Roman Beans have actually been a documented supplement for barely by ancient brewers during times when barely was running low. Anyways, the beer is great. It gives off a nice chocolate, and coffee aroma with just a tip of alcohol. The aroma describes the flavors almost to a tee. Lots of coffee, chocolate, and malt. The coffee that I speak of is a really natural coffee, not just light notes. As you can tell these flavors pair wonderfully with the Grand Empire Reserve and that coffee just adds this amazing dimension to an already complex cigar. I can totally see why I read so many posts of smokers pairing this cigar with coffee.