Ramon Allones Hermitage RE Russia REG DIC 17 (RARW)

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As a newcomer to the FOH community, I have been reluctant to post, but seeing this weekend's contest gave me the extra motivation I needed to get involved in the forum.

This weekend gave me the opportunity to finally try a cigar that I've been looking forward to for a while. Made originally for my former homeland, I was excited to try one (both for the sentimental value and for my love of Ramon Allones). The Hermitage is definitely not a typical RA -- it is unique in both its format and flavor profile. The construction was superb for this specimen -- tightly rolled, but not over-packed, the draw was close to perfect (for my tastes). The wrapper was a beautiful colorado claro color, and featured nearly no veins. As expected, the burn was very even and produced a wonderfully thick, but not overwhelming smoke. The scent was reminiscent of pryaniki, Russian sweet gingerbread cookies, which reminded me of home, but also featured woodsy and floral notes. The cold draw mirrored the aforementioned bouquet.

Upon lighting the cigar, I was not greeted with the stewed fruit or cream that one usually expects when lighting up a Specially Selected or Small Club Corona. Instead, the first third featured notes of shortbread, toasted tobacco, and an almost cognac-y sweetness of floral and fruity notes. This was all accompanied by woodsy undertones. The second and third thirds progressed very well and built off of the first. The woodsy undertone became more prominent and gave the previous notes a "darker" flavor. The cognac-y notes I was getting earlier turned into something a bit more reminiscent of the stewed fruits that one comes to expect from a Ramon Allones. I occasionally tasted notes of mushroom-like umami and toasted bread.

Overall, this a fairly unique cigar that I'm looking forward to aging further. The flavors were accompanied by a tannin and mineral quality that one expects from a relatively young cigar, but I expect those to become much more muted as the cigar "matures." I paired this cigar with a little Remy Martin VSOP cognac, which in my opinion did not take away from the cigar, but brought some of the more obscure flavors to the forefront.

I rate the Hermitage at a 84/100, but I think there is aging potential that may lift it up past the 89-90/100 mark.




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