Ramon Allones Regional Release ‘La Palmira’ Arab Emirates 2016 - Blanton’s Single Barrel Special Reserve Bourbon - Rymill ‘June Traminer (Botrytis Gewurztraminer) 2013 (half).
As I have mentioned elsewhere, Rob recently very kindly supplied some options for Kenfessions. There are cigars I might not have seen for a while, or possibly might not have access to. The drinks, however, remain my own and any failings there are purely my responsibility. With that in mind, I have been trying to include at least one left-field choice at the very least.
But, as usual, cigar first. The Ramon Allones Regional Release ‘La Palmira’ Arab Emirates 2016 is certainly a cigar I never expected to encounter. I am becoming more and more intrigued by Regional Releases. So many. Are they worthwhile? Mixed? A waste of time and tobacco? Stay tuned.
If, and yes this is certainly a miniscule sampling, this is the style of cigar that the Arab Emirates wants (and isn’t that largely the role of a Regional Release?), then we can ascertain that they like really, really big fat smokes. This was a whopper. I'm not a great fan of this size, but occasionally, you can get a cracker. Would this be one?
Ramon Allones is a very popular brand for Regionals, but we don’t see a lot going to the Arab Emirates. While this is part of the 2016 program for releases, in typical Cuban fashion it did not hit the shelves until 2018.
Did I mention it was big? 164 mm in length (6½ inches, for those yet to join the real world – I believe that is now just the USA, Liberia and Myanmar) and a ring gauge of 54 – so, the Sublimes/Double Robusto vitola. We have seen that used for Limited Editions for both Montecristo and Cohiba. This release is actually one of the more limited with just 7,500 sticks – they come in boxes of ten. While maths (and yes, it comes with an ‘s’) was never my strong suit, even I can work out that means just 750 boxes. Given one assumes that the vast majority went to the Emirates, this is all probably of academic interest only to most cigar lovers.
For those who like this sort of thing, Trevor’s brilliant site (www.cubancigarwebsite.com) advises us that this was the first use of a new regional band for the United Arab Emirates with the text Emiratos Arabes, as previous releases had bands noting E.A.U.
So how did it go? Construction looked excellent. An oily wrapper. The draw cold was fine. A good feel in the hand but big, very big. Started very nicely – the initial puffs were biscuity, oatmeal, nuts. A hint of honey. Reasonably plush. The body was slightly over medium. Didn’t take long to develop more honey. But that was pretty much it. No further evolution at all. And with a cigar of this size, if it does not change at any stage, it all gets a bit more same-as-before. A touch boring. And as it takes well over two hours to smoke, that is a bit of an issue. This seems harsh as it was not a bad cigar at all. Perhaps in time, it will develop so we see that evolution. As it all went reasonably well, I went 90 (okay, in truth I don’t want to discourage Rob for giving me these sort of cigars to try for Kenfessions).
Blanton’s Single Barrel Special Reserve Bourbon. I know we have heaps of bourbon devotees and of Blanton’s as well. I think they make superb bourbons. This is all cream and peaches, toffee and nougat, with some nuttiness. A supple creamy texture. Rich and balanced and very long. Just love it. a cracking bourbon, which for me, 95 to 96.
The power and the richness and the peaches and cream notes of the Blanton’s bourbon were an excellent match for the smoke, though to be honest, if the cigar gave more, it would have been even better. I regretted I did not pull this out for the Cohiba Siglo VI as I think they would have sung together.
Second drink for the day was the left-field choice, the Rymill ‘June Traminer’ (Botrytis Gewurztraminer) 2013 (in a half bottle). Basically, a nice little sweetie but it might surprise offshore wine lovers to learn that it came from Coonawarra, a region much more renown for its reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. What the history books will tell you is that it was not Cabernet which made the reputation of this region, often referred to as a cigar-shaped strip of terra rosa, but Shiraz. Wines like the Woodley’s Treasure Chest series, the 1955 Wynn's Michael Hermitage, the Redman wines and so forth. Cabernet soon caught up and overtook. But more bizarrely, until the mid-1970s, the most widely planted grape variety in Coonawarra was….
Seriously. And back then, when you had Riesling, you often got Gewurztraminer, as they were often blended. Patches remain and in some years, conditions allow the grapes to hang on the vine into June, developing the famous botrytis cinerea or Noble Rot (if you flip this for those in the northern hemisphere, it is the same as the grapes not ripening until December).
This was quite mature with loads of honey and coconut flavours. It was simple, easy to drink and seriously sweet. Lots of apricots. For me, 88. But as a match, simply too sweet.
But one lives and learns.