UK Regional Edition Now Available
Hunters & Frankau is pleased to announce the arrival of the Por Larrañaga Regalìas de Londres, one of the two Regional Edition cigars that have been authorised by Habanos S.A. in 2010 exclusively for the United Kingdom. (The other, the Flor de Cano Short Robusto, a Petit Robusto size, is expected at the end of November.)
Brand: Por Larrañaga
Retail Name: Regalìas de Londres
Factory name: Gordito
Flavour category: Light to Medium
Dimensions: 50 x 5 ½” (141mm)
Presented in 1,200 numbered, labelled boxes each containing 25 cigars, the Regalìas de Londres has been made at La Corona factory at 520 Avenida 20 de Mayo, in the heart of Havana.
Each cigar bears two bands, one for the brand, which is a recreation by Hunters & Frankau of a century old design, and the other declaring “Exclusivo Reino Unido” or “Exclusively United Kingdom”.
WHAT DOES REGALÍAS DE LONDRES MEAN?
he nearest translation into English of Regalías de Londres is “Gifts from London”. However the word “Regalías” has another particular meaning in Spanish that relates only to Cuban cigars. It was coined during the 1850s and 1860s by Havana’s cigar manufacturers to describe cigars of the highest quality, which were specially packed in decorated boxes for export. Other lower quality cigars of that period were placed in packing cases containing a thousand pieces each and shipped around the world to be repacked at their destination.
In a price list dated July 1912 produced by a British cigar importer called Melbourne Hart & Co., which is in Hunters & Frankau’s archive, there is page offering twenty four different sizes of Por Larrañaga cigars. Amongst them is one called Regalías de Londres. It came unbanded in a box of 50 and was an unusual shape by today’s standards. Measuring approximately five inches by 42 ring gauge, it was a little shorter and substantially thinner than the cigar that is presented as a 2010 UK Regional Edition, which is more in keeping with today’s style.
Nevertheless Hunters & Frankau felt that the name was so appropriate for Britain and that it should be re-introduced and, once again, re-created the century-old design for Por Larrañaga’s band, which was first used in 2007 on the Magnifico, in a new size especially for the Regalías de Londres.
ABOUT POR LARRAÑAGA
The name Por Larrañaga, which means “By Larrañaga”, was first registered in Havana by a certain Ignacio Larrañaga in 1834. This makes it the oldest brand of hand made Habanos still in production in Cuba.
For much of the 19th century and into the early part of 20th the brand was owned by the Rivero family, who built its reputation for the highest quality particularly amongst the royal houses, the rich and the famous of that time. Its golden band attracted the attention of Rudyard Kipling who, in his 1890 poem “The Betrothed”, asserted that “There’s peace in a Larrañaga”. (The immortal, if obscure, line “And a woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke” occurs elsewhere in the poem.)
In the 1950s and 1960s Por Larrañaga’s factory in Havana was a magnet for the finest cigar rollers in Cuba. It gained a standing for the unrivalled quality of it cigars and its reputation lives on today in the small range of standard Por Larrañaga sizes, which are now made at the La Corona factory.
One standard size of Por Larrañaga is available in the United Kingdom. It is the Petit Corona in Cabinet Selection bundles of 50 cigars.
ABOUT REGIONAL EDITIONS
For the last six years, the companies that distribute Habanos in different territories around the world have been invited by Habanos S.A. to bid for the chance to develop their own special sizes in the less well-known Habanos brands, which will be made in limited quantities for sale only in their own markets. They are known as Regional Editions.
In 2005 Hunters & Frankau helped to pioneer the project with the Ramon Allones Belicoso Fino. However the Regional Edition concept has since been refined by the addition of numbers on all the boxes and a second band to identify the region for which the cigar has been made. In 2007 H&F was granted the Por Larrañaga Magnifico for which a special century-old cigar band was recreated.
For 2008 Hunters & Frankau was awarded two cigars. One was the Gloria Cubana Glorioso for which not only was a special vintage band re-created, but also an antique box label to be placed inside the lid. The other was the Punch Serie d’Oro No. 1 (Gold Series No. 1), which came in a style of box that had not been seen for over forty years.
The two 2009 UK Regional Editions were the Juan Lopez Seleccion Suprema, which had a special band made for it, and the Rey del Mundo Choix de L’Epoque, a short, stubby size that is ideal when the time available to enjoy a cigar is limited.
THE TASTE OF POR LARRAÑAGA
In the Encyclopaedia of Post Revolution Havana Cigars, Min Ron Nee identifies “an unmistakeable caramel sweet taste” in Por Larrañaga cigars and adds that they are “subtly aromatic”. His views are shared to some extent by Cigar Aficionado, which tasted “sweet cherry and leather flavours” and a “toasty, almondine finish”. Interestingly the magazine recorded unusually high scores (over 90 out of 100) for all of the different Cuban Por Larrañaga sizes it has tested recently.
In Havana the brand is classified Light to Medium, although in taste tests of the Regalias de Londres in London, some participants have felt it edged towards Medium. All agreed that it has serious ageing potential.