A few weeks ago I was asked a question that no one had asked me before which was 'What is the oldest brand of Cuban cigar that is still available today?' Needless to say, I was not 100% sure so I had to go away and do a bit of research and was surprised by what I found.
Although it is not totally clear it does seem like Por Larranaga was one of the first, if not the first brand to be trademarked in Cuba in 1834, followed by Ramon Allones in 1837 and Punch in 1840. When you compare these dates with when the big boys were established, you can see these brands were well ahead of their time. For example, H Upmann was established in 1843, Romeo Y Julieta in 1885, Montecristo in 1935 (which, by the way, is the world's biggest selling brand of Cuban cigar) and Cohiba, which is the youngest of the big brands being created in 1966.
As you can see from the above list Ramon Allones is the second oldest Cuban cigar brand and by pure happenstance their Specially Selected is one of my favourite cigars. Although not a well known Cuban brand, they are none the less a firm favourite with many cigar connoisseurs the world over. An interesting fact is that Ramon Allones was possibly the first cigar producer to put full-colour labels on to their cigar boxes and as a nod to their own Spanish heritage, the coat of arms that adorns each box of Ramon Allones is of the Spanish Royal house.
The Ramon Allones Specially Selected are very well made and relatively full bodied, with a strong aroma (similar to Partagas, but certainly less than Bolivar) and a complex range of flavours throughout. It begins with roasted and slightly woody, leathery undertones with floral hints, leading into a slightly sweet cocoa & coffee ending. Not a cigar for the beginner but ideal for the experienced smoker after a heavy meal. Specially selected? Yes, containing a blend of only the finest Cuban tobaccos and 170 years of cigar making experience, these are very special indeed.
You can find out more at our next Cigar Club meeting on the 20th September when the Ramon Allones Specially Selected will be one of the featured cigars. For more details about this event please click here.