Vegas Robaina XV Aniversario 2012 RE Canada, Sep 2012 "LAR" box code - final score, 90

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So, I’ve got another review here (finally)....

It’s actually been ages since I did a detailed review. Aside from the blind tasting competitions, I think the last full-on review I did was from late 2011 or so. And this was definitely one worth reviewing.

I enjoyed this on a visit to Montreal. I was actually on a bit of a road trip, on my way back out here to Nova Scotia for work. I made a stop into Toronto for one day and evening, getting together for a mini-herf with Frank, Art, Tom, and Mike, and we shared some great stories, great smokes, nice drinks, and good times like always. A nice little planning / brain-storming session for the upcoming 2013 Toronto MegaHerf III. But, then I travelled through to Montreal, and while waiting for my travel-wife Simon to get done his shift at work, I made a nice little 4-hour or so pop-in to the LCDH in Montreal. Simon prepared the introductions previously, and I had the chance to sit and talk a bit with Antonio Marsillo, the new manager of LCDH Montreal (Marc has recently retired, earlier last year, I believe).

So anyways, I tried this cigar during that visit. It’s one that I was very interested in, as both Simon and Art had the chance to attend the pre-release tasting panel for this cigar when we were down in Havana during the Partagas Festival last November. They had the chance to sit and taste and discuss this cigar with some H S.A. higher-ups, as well as with Carlos Robaina (of whom, we visited him in his shop earlier that week). Simon was actually invited to attend through/on behalf of the LCDH Montreal, and Art, similarly for LCDH Toronto. Now, no idea why I didn’t get a similar request/invite through LCDH Toronto, or even from Jay at LCDH Windsor, but that’s a different gripe for a different day....LOL.

Therefore, their reviews for this cigar definitely made me interested in it (and I took some pretty extensive notes and pictures with my iPhone), and I went into the review I did with some good hopes. Plus, theirs was damn near wet fresh when they did their H S.A. tasting, and it had been a few months of sitting time for this cigar when I tried it, so I was definitely interested to see where it was going.

Simon, Art – please feel free to post links to your original reviews so people can see the development so far. I definitely still want to find those reviews myself, so I can even see for myself how mine compares to after the extra months of humidor time. Also, this is definitely one I think would be great to see a video review on eventually, by Rob, Ken, and’ll see why.

Anywho....on to the review.

Reviewed Cigar: Vegas Robaina XV Aniversario, 2012 RE Canada

Box Date: Sep 2012

Factory/Manufacture Code: LAR

Packaging: 10-box, standard dress box, numbered

Price: Never talk money....(well, you can see the Canadian retail price in the picture)

Length: 6 1/2", or 164 mm

Ring Gauge: 54

Format: Sublime / double robusto

Weight: Don't you know it isn't polite to ask a fella this??

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light: This cigar was just flat-out nice. It’s a big sublimes format. This cigar (and for that matter, all the various ones that were in that retail box) just seemed to have impeccable construction, with no obtrusive veins at all that were noticeable. The wrapper was thin and lush, with a very super-fine-grain tooth, but still with some nice mild oils that left a luxurious feeling in the hand (especially when combined with the size and weight of the cigar). After clipping the head, and finding an interesting draw, I was getting hints of light, faint chocolate, and mildly faint Merlot wine at cold tasting.

Now, when I say "an interesting draw", it's because to me, it almost seemed wind-tunnel like at cold. It seemed to almost free flow, but then....

Opening Impressions: After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was just perfect when lit. It somehow firmed up to have just the right amount of resistance, exhibiting just the perfect smoke volume once lit. The body/density of the smoke, though, was almost a thin, lightly peppery smoke at the opening. There was even almost a slightly salt & peppery tinge – almost tannic, something that sticks to your lips, drying them out but still keeping you wanting more (which was fine with me, as I had lots of cappuccino on hand that day).

First Third: Into the first third, the story began to change a bit. The smoke started to develop a medium body, with medium-full flavours. The smoke almost "thickened up", which became very nice. I was smoking a big, bold statement of a cigar, and the smoke was now letting you know it. It was beginning to have....presence. Some wet, fresh leather tones were coming into play.

Second Third: Into the second third, the evolving continued. Also, the ash had shown to have almost a wonderful pitted appearance of dark granite or porous limestone. The ash was fairly firm, and holding on in inch-and-a-half chunks. About halfway through the cigar, I switched over to sparkling water and some Havana Club 7 – the cappuccinos were making me wiry, and I needed both something stronger for my palate to pair up with this cigar, as well as the San Pellegrino to help continually clear my palate (which was on its third cigar out of this five cigar day). At the halfway mark, the salt and pepper tones were really backing off, but were being replaced by a light but very fragrant expresso hit. Quite the voyage so far, this cigar was definitely keeping me more than interested.

Final Third: Into the final third, I started to get metallic hits of harsh youthfulness. Honestly, I was a bit surprised it took that long, for such a young and still fresh cigar (at this point, this cigar was still only 4 months old or so). While smoking this last third, I noticed a very unique cut to the RE band (something that Simon later told me at supper he noticed down in Cuba too). To the best of my knowledge or recollection, I haven’t seen this type of cut on these RE regional-designator bands before on any other RE release:

Also, in this third, I was starting to get a hard carbon tone added to the mix (almost like a pencil-lead sort of flavour). Thankfully, this was only coming into the mix when I was getting close to nubbing it.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression: I finished the cigar after a one-hour and forty-five minute joyride. It was definitely an enjoyable cigar (considering an unfortunate complete-miss on a failure of a RASS I tried to smoke earlier that day). This VR RE was a great performer overall, considering the format and age. I’m not a huge fan of something this big and bold in size (I like my piramides and robustos, but I find that stuff over 50 ring gauge can be just too annoying to smoke sometimes). But, like the Montecristo Sublimes, this blend just seems to work soooooo damn well in this format. A VR sublime is a definite score it seems with this result. It will be really great to see how these age and perform over time.

I'd say these are definitely box worthy, for at least one box in anyone's humidor. If you like VR (or the larger formats especially), this would be a good bet I'd think. It was extremely enjoyable for me, and I'm not even a huge overall fan of VR, and I don’t have a lot of VR product in my humidor. These were an absolutely solid 90 right now (at only 4 months old, with some harsh tones too!), very smokable right up front, and I think these have a perfect potential for an easy 94-96 with only 3 or 4 years aging time.

Final Score: 90

Total Smoking Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Paired Beverage: Cappuccinos, then sparkling water and some Havana Club 7

Date & Time Smoked: January 31st, 2013, lit up at 3:45pm, done at 5:30

Thanks for reading my review. Hope you enjoyed it.


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Great review! Sounds like a winner, I've only had one VR in the past but I recall it being enjoyable...might have to put these on the list!

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nice review Keith. All I will say is that I will be going deep on these.....

Thanks bud.

Art (and Simon too)....can you guys put links here to your blogs and your initial tasting reviews of this cigar, for comparison purposes? This is definitely one that I think I'd like to see a continuation of reviews to see how it evolves and develops.

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Thanks bud.

Art (and Simon too)....can you guys put links here to your blogs and your initial tasting reviews of this cigar, for comparison purposes? This is definitely one that I think I'd like to see a continuation of reviews to see how it evolves and develops.

Here you go Keith!

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Man, I see how close I was to the initial flavours there, Simon.

The thoughts of this cigar are still lingering with me. I wish I had another one to smoke right now, let alone wanting nice enough weather to have one right now in the first place.

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