Regius Robusto - Cuban Cigar Review
Review of the Robusto size of Regius Cigars' . One of the best non-Cubans I have smoked in a long while, with a rich dark chocolate element.
A few weeks ago I received an email out of the blue from Akhil Kapacee, owner of Regius Cigars Akhil feels that Cuban Cigars have been resting on their laurels for too long and that Cigars have liked his have closed the gap so much that they are now on par or better that Habanos has to offer. The proposition was a simple one, to sample one of the Cigars from their range. From looking at their range, I decided to go for the Robusto size, as from what they described on their web pages, that the flavour was medium to full, which is the strength I would look for in a Cuban.
"The cigar is a more full-bodied creation and is consistent with being the preferred vitola of true cigar aficionados. The taste is perfectly smooth and the smoke lingers on the palate creating a beautiful, rich aftertaste."
There was no point going for a lighter bodied Cigar, as I would be stacking the deck against Regius as I'm not the biggest fan of light bodied smokes.
Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Non-Cubans. Firstly, 85% of the Cigars from the Dominican Republic, Nicaraguan and the Honduras just don't have the complexity or flavour profile to match the quality of the Cubans. Then, the other 15% get close but cost as much or even more than their Cuban counterpart. So I have to then ask myself why would I go for a Non-Cuban over Cubans?
There was no doubt at this point that it would take a lot for a Cigar from the Regius range to impress me. To persuade me to give these Cigars the thumbs up, they have to tick all the boxes of the following criteria:
Have the complexity and flavour profile of a Cuban
When you talk about Cigars from the Dominican Republic, Honduras or Nicaragua, one of the key points that they usually have a lighter flavour profile than Cuban Cigars. Many brands from the Dominican Republic have come close for example to match the power of Cubans. Arturo Fuente, for example, have full bodied Cigars that match the powerhouses of Cuba.
For Regius to win me over, their description of medium to full needs to match what I think as what medium to full would be for a Cuban Cigar. They need to first find the blend that will match the strength and complexity if the Cuban brands as Montecristo, Partagas and Romeo y Julieta.
There's no point just matching the Cigar against the flavour profile of a Cuban and not be aggressively priced also. Many Cigar smokers from the United Kingdom and Europe who has to choose between a similarly described Cigar from Cuba against a Non-Cuban are going to pick the Cuban almost every time. This is the way of the world. For Non-Cubans to be XXXX to smokers, they need to undercut the prices of their Cuban counterpart.
If a smoker gets as far as smoking a Regius Cigar, they need to be impressed enough for them to go for a repeat purchase. One area where a Non-Cuban can win over smokers is in being consistent. Cubans, particular in the last ten years have been plagued with inconsistency. The bad years of 2000 to 2003 have been a sore spot and Cuban Cigars have still not quite shaken these memories from the Cuban Cigar smokers.
If a non-cuban can deliver in a box consistency over and over again, then smokers will come back again and again.
Tonight I'm pairing the Cigar with a cup of black coffee. With Blood into Wine ready to watch, away I go.
The Regius Cigar has a very dark, smooth looking wrapper. The pictures of the Cigars on show don't do Cigar any justice when it's seen in the flesh. Cuban terms, you'd see this kind of wrapper more often on the fuller bodied brands such as the Partagas or Bolivar. The wrapper is slightly darker from other Nicaraguan Cigars that I have been privileged to smoke..
Obviously Regius prize themselves on having the full package when they go about producing a Cigar.
The Cigar itself is perfectly round. There is no box press here.
On the nose, the Cigar has a hay, barnyard aroma. Not strong, just subtle enough for you to know it's there. The pre-light draw has manly a hay element with a slight lingering sweetness on the lips. It's got a honey element, that's very subtle, but there.
The first draw I take, there's a smoky, element to the flavour profile that I have seldom experienced in other Cigars, Cuban or non-Cuban. It's not that I'm tasting smoke, but maybe it's more of a worn, leather like element. Very difficult to try to explain, but it's there. In no way it's bad however, it's quite pleasant and not overwhelming.
Once the smoky element starts to fade on the front of the palate, my mid-palate starts to pick up a sweetness that I was not expecting. The funny thing is that I should have expected this, as I find that many Nicaraguan Cigars have this molasses like sweetness. But after the smoky leather that I experienced, a sweet tang was the last thing I was expecting.
Progressing mid way through the first third, the smoky element that was at the front of the palate has given way to the sweetness that was tantalising the mid-palate. The finish builds from a sweetness to a subtle undercurrent of chocolate.
Is the Cigar full bodied? From the first ten or so draws. I would say no. The profile is squarely in the medium bodied range.
Towards the end of the second third, I'm picking up a much more stronger chocolate, cocoa character. Moving back and forth, there's now a dark chocolate, raisin play that is quite seductive in profile. There's no harshness, but a deepening of flavours. You cannot taste the sweetness that was the primary component of the first third any more – that subtle chocolate profile that was at the finish is now the primary flavour.
Would I purchase another Regius
Price wise, you can purchase two of the Regius range easily from the Cgars website. At £8.39 for the Robusto, they are priced, in my opinion, just about right. For example, there's the difference of three pounds between the Regius and the Bolivar Royal Corona on the CGars website that may just sway the smoker towards purchasing the non-cuban over the Cuban.
Akhil has mentioned that Regius Cigars are available from many of the bigger Cigar stores in the U.K, including the Davidoff shop in London's St. James Park. Plus if you're at The Ritz enjoying an afternoon Tea you can now sample a Regius Cigar at the Ritz Bar!
Conclusion and Scoring
I'm happy to report that Regius have done a very good job with their Robusto. Most of the elements that I look for in a great Cigar are here. The flavours, the complexity, the pricing and the attitude of the company themselves puts them on the forefront of Non-Cubans in the U.K.
It will be interesting in the next few years how far will Regius go into making not only a niche in the U.K. Market for Cigars but a following.
Using the on-line media delivery networks of Facebook and Twitter, Regius Cigars are on the forefront of using the Internet to their advantage, and that's refreshing in a Cigar company. One way that Regius can put their voice out there and point towards smokers towards their range is through these avenues and I'm pleased to see that their pushing themselves aggressively this way.Final Score: