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Cuban Cigars

Famous Cuban Cigars: Ramón Allones Specially Selected

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

If you love Cuban cigars, you’re probably accustomed to their medium-bodied consistency. While the construction might not always be top notch, and the color of each cigar in a box might be somewhat, um, “diverse,” there’s little question that Cuban cigars hew to a mild-medium to medium-full range. Except for the Ramón Allones Specially Selected, a Robusto – or should I say “Ro-BEAST-o” – measuring in at 4.875 x 50.

A LITTLE HISTORY LESSON

Ramón Allones is a Cuban brand founded by brothers Ramón and Antonio Allones (pronounced ah-YO-ness) in 1837 and was later hugely popular in the United Kingdom. Back in the 1900s, Ramón Allones offered 62 different cigar sizes. The second world war had a devastating impact on the brand as a result of currency restriction that prohibited importation until 1952. Only 10 sizes survived by 1957. The life of the brand has been troubled ever since, with Habanos, SA, the entity that controls Cuban cigars, listing it as a “local brand” not long ago. These days, the Ramón Allones stable has only three vitolas (sizes) in it, but it is a favorite for limited and regional edition offerings by the Cubans.

THE RAMON ALLONES CIGARS

The largest of the Ramón Allones cigars is the Prominentes, aka Gigantes, at 7.625 x 49, a long Churchill with significant girth. If you buy it in London’s venerable James J. Fox shop, it’ll run you around US$44. This is a fairly strong cigar, like all Ramón Allones smokes, and runs into the full-bodied category. The Small Club Coronas, 4.375 x 42, will run you close to US$17 a stick at Fox and is a favored short, powerful smoke for lovers of Cuban cigars. But the most popular of all the regular Ramón Allones shapes is the Ramón Allones Specially Selected, more than US$27 at Fox. I’ve seen them in boxes of 25 in Mexico for about US$350. And if you happen to be traveling through Beirut, the price is listed as US$440 for a box of 50. But once you price in airfare....

TASTING

The Ramón Allones Specially Selected is, I’d calculate, about 20 percent more powerful than its siblings. This Robusto has become somewhat of a go-to choice ever since Cigar Aficionado named it the number two cigar of the year in 2015. That certainly helped rejuvenate a relatively dormant brand. For a strong cigar – and, believe me, this is a strong cigar – the flavor is spirited and can be refined. You will note layers of spice, earthiness, espresso and perhaps some sweet almond followed by citrus. My experience is that these nuances come through after you’ve become accustomed to the power of the cigar.

FINALLY

Is the Ramón Allones Specially Selected the best Cuban cigar on the market? Well, it’s certainly among the favored stronger Cuban cigars available. In the past few years, as well, the construction and consistency have been very good. My recommendation, if you want to check these out, is to buy a box of 10 or 25. Take one out and smoke it. Then put the rest in your humidor for at least six months. See what you think.

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