Where are the 2011 UK Regional Editions?

regional cigars, uk regional edition, united kingdom, la flor de cano short robusto, bolivar britanicas, punch medalla de oro

Every year, the Edición Regional (Regional Edition) series is released to fanfare amongst Cigar smokers. However, the programme is littered with issues, one being that it's 2012 and the UK 2011 Regional Editions have still not arrived! I look into why the Regional Editions for the United Kingdom have become a little bit of joke...

For those who are unaware of the Regional Edition series, every year the distributor of each country can request a special, one-off Cigar produced for them. This gives the distributor the chance to commission a Cigar, that fits the profile of the smokers in that country.

For 2011, Hunter's & Frankau, the distributors for all Cuban Cigars in the United Kingdom commissioned the following:

Name Brand Vitola
Britanicas Bolivar Perfecto - 46 x 137
Medalla d'Oro Punch Double Robusto - 50 x 155

Here we are in January 2012, and as of yet, I have not heard one word regarding when the United Kingdom Regional Editions will be released. One Cigar Retailer that I asked a good few months ago mentioned that he hoped they would be here before the end of the year. Looks like that was wishful thinking.

This is not the first time that we have seen a late release of a United Kingdom Regional Release. The La Flor de Cano Petit Robusto, that was scheduled for release in 2010 finally was avilable to purchase a year later the summer of 2011. Hunters & Frankau, nor Habanos SA, have stated why the Cigar was delayed for so long. I heard that the green ink used for the boxes that these Cigars were housed in were delayed, but it's a Hell of a long time for a delivery of ink.

Another Cigar that was released behind schedule, funnily enough due to packaging, was the Romeo y Julieta Julieta. A Cigar that was announced in the Habanos Festival back in 2010, however, didn't find their way into Cigar retailers until the summer of 2011. So, it appears it is not a Cigar production problem, but a packaging problem?

So... what's the problem now? I don't understand why we haven't heard one thing regarding the Bolivar Britanicas or the Punch Medalla d'Oro. Why haven't they been released yet?.

Other distributors have had their allocation delivered to them. The Germany Regional Editions were released in October, while other Regional Editions; China, Canada, Russia and Asia Pacific have been made available in November and December. So we are seeing Regional Editions being released, just not ours.

Por Larranaga Regalias de Londes 2010 United Kingdom Regional Edition

So where are they?

Reading on the excellent Cuban Cigar Website, it notes that as of 2012, there will only be one Regional Edition Cigar per distributor. So what does that tell us? Well, it could be two possibilities:

Dying demand

Firstly, there's just not enough demand for these Regional Edition Cigars. Maybe two years ago, when these limited edition Cigars were something new and desirable collectors went out of their way to snap them up. Read any popular Cuban Cigar Forum on the Internet and you'd find at least a few people who would obtain Regional Editions of not only their country but other countries as well.

However, the glitz and glamour of these Cigars has died down since many of these releases have been poor in both flavour and smokeability. Too many of them being the same as each other and not representing their brand, I want a Bolivar to taste like a Bolivar.

Just not enough to go around

The second reason why is that Habanos SA have to scale back on the Regional Edition series is that they just don't have enough resources to produce more than one Cigar for each distributor.

All the special releases are being released in the last few months of the year. I can remember the Limited Editions being released in July and August, but now they seem to be released in October and November.

Cohiba 1966

Cohiba 1966 - Limited Editions are released on time, but seem to be on sale later and later every year.

Does that point to the fact that Habanos SA are producing too many different ranges and are falling behind their 'orders'?

I hope this gets better

Hopefully, with each distributor only being able to commission one Regional Edition, a few things will happen:

  • Less strain will be put on the operations of Habanos SA, that will mean higher quality Cigars overall, and Cigars that are released in an acceptable time frame.
  • Distributors will put more effort into making one Regional Edition Cigar for the countries they are responsible for.
  • With there being only one Regional Edition per distributor, that could mean there will be fewer Cigars made under the Regional Edition banner. This would mean that the high quality tobacco would be put back into the regular production lines.

I like the idea of the Regional Edition series. Unfortunately, it had become abused and bloated. Hopefully Hunters & Frankau are doing their utmost in getting the 2011 released soon, and are pressing Habanos SA to ensure that the 2012 Regional Edition is released on time.

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