Regional Edition Cuban Cigars: Forgotten Treasures, Future Classics

Regional Edition Cuban Cigars: Forgotten Treasures, Future Classics

by Nick Hendry

There are many factors which can contribute to a Cuban cigar becoming collectable.  The most common is rarity – when a cigar release ticks the 2 boxes of being particularly high quality and limited in number aficionados will usually compete fiercely to get their hands on a few boxes.  This could be because they are an official Limited Edition, or because they require unusually large wrapper leaves to roll.  In the case of the Cohiba Behike the extreme rarity of the medio tiempo leaves is transferred to the sticks which contain them.  There is one other collection of Habanos which is often overlooked, but has provided some wonderful cigars over the years, cigars whose time on shelves was all too fleeting: the Regional Editions.

The Edición Regional programme was first introduced by Habanos SA in 2005.  Distributors were offered the chance to commission special cigars only to be sold in their own territory.  In the years since some of the bigger distributors – those covering many different nations – have also commissioned cigars for certain nations within their overall area.  Some caveats are attached: the 6 Global brands are off-limits, the vitola must be already in use but not for the brand suggested for the special edition, and a distributor cannot request the same brand in 2 consecutive years.  Minimum order is 25,000 cigars – paid for in advance – but most Regionals are made in batches of around 10,000 boxes of 10.  Each box will be numbered, adding to their collectability, and some will feature special bands or packaging to commemorate an occasion or anniversary.

The series has grown in popularity year-on-year, with more and more nations being awarded their own cigars.  This has led to a flourishing market for those outside of the issuing jurisdiction looking to get their hands on rare smokes they have heard about from their friends in the international cigar community.  Swapping of regionals has become a popular way to bring cigar smokers who have become acquainted online closer together, while the rare boxes kept carefully in humidors long after the rest of that particular batch had been enjoyed have become prized assets on the auction scene.

Over the years some magnificent cigars have been produced by this initiative.  Some treasures are still out there for those lucky enough to find them, and the cigars available now will no doubt attain the same status in a few years’ time.  Here are a few of our favourites, either forgotten gems on future classics.  Grab them while you can, because those production numbers are strictly limited.

El Rey del Mundo La Reina

The magnificent El Rey del Mundo La Reina

El Rey del Mundo La Reina (Exclusivo Gran Bretaña)

This cigar became an instant classic on release.  Officially from the 2018 list, the arrival was delayed until the summer of 2019 and a gala evening at The Churchill Bar & Terrace, but the reception when it was finally lit soon put memories of the wait to one side.  Presented in the same Laguito No 1 vitola as the legendary Cohiba Lanceros, La Reina is an elegant cigar to see and hold, and a delight to smoke.  This most elegant of vitolas smokes for at least 90 minutes and will bring plenty of nutty, woody flavours.  Also worthy of note, from the same brand in the same year, is the El Rey del Mundo Tainos; the only Regional Edition ever produced solely for Taiwan (known as Formosa in Spanish) 8,888 boxes of these Churchill-sized smokes were made.  Both are well deserving of a place in your rare smokes vault.

San Cristobal de La Habana La Cabana

One of the few Regional Editions made for the island of Cuba

San Cristobal de La Habana La Cabaña (Exclusivo Cuba)

Cuba is not left out of the Regional programme, with some cigars being made only for sale in the tourist shops on the island.  La Cabaña was exactly that.  Like La Reina, it was subject to delays in release – it appears on the 2017 release list but only arrived in 2019.  The large dobles format proved popular with visitors to Cuba however, and the stylish varnished boxes made for a fabulous souvenir from many a trip to the island.  Only 10,000 of those boxes were produced, containing 10 cigars each, so three years on they are already in extremely short supply.

Rafael Gonzalez North Star

The North Star is one of the smallest and rarest Regional Editions.

Rafael Gonzalez North Star (Exclusivo Nordico-Baltico)

In 2017 smokers in Scandinavia and on the Baltic coast were treated to the North Star – a petit robusto of the same dimensions as the Hoyo de Monterrey version which carries the name, but featuring the slightly fuller-bodied blend of Rafael Gonzalez.  With only 60,000 sticks made and presented in boxes of 10 this is the rarest cigar on this list.  This may be your last chance to pick up a box.

Our lead image above features 2 of the newest additions to the Edición Regional portfolio: the Quai d’Orsay Clemenceau (Exclusivo Francia) and the Diplomaticos Colección Privada II (Exclusivo España).  Both appeared on the last full list to be announced – 2020 – and have only recently arrived to their local markets.  Both are delicious cigars, and will be regarded as classics in the very near future.  Alongside them is an El Rey del Mundo Petit Compañia (Exclusivo Francia) – only 8,000 boxes of these were released in 2009, so if you can find another one you’re doing very well.  They are a fine demonstration of why it can be a wise investment to grab a box of regionals and age them for as long as your willpower allows.

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